Week 1 could have been a little easier on the heart. Of the 81 games played in the first full week of the season, approximately 20% -- one in five -- were decided by eight points or less. That includes a hockey score in Iowa City, Iowa (Iowa 7, South Dakota State 3) and a basketball score in Boone, North Carolina (North Carolina 63, Appalachian State 61).
It also included Florida State surviving both LSU and itself. The result marked the SEC's lone nonconference loss (14-1) since the beginning of the season. Pittsburgh beat West Virginia with a pick six.before an emerging Heisman Trophy contending quarterback, Anthony Richardson, did his thing.
It's a trend. Slightly more than a quarter of Week 1 games in 2021 were decided by eight points or less.
The debut of the CBS Sports Power Rankings are not that dissimilar from the last edition in 2021. Michigan and Georgia look like they're on a bullet train to meet again in the College Football Playoff. The two defenses combined to give up 10 points against Oregon and Colorado State. Ohio State relied on defense to beat Notre Dame.
Alabama did everything against Utah State including posting its 25th shutout of the Nick Saban era, the first since 2020. OK, that's getting away from the angle. Time to pause and recognize the 20th anniversary of the 2002 national champion Ohio State "Luckeyes." That team won half of its 14 games by a touchdown or less.
We're on a similar path if Week 1 is any indication. Might as well check your latest EKG. There are 13 weeks to go.
|It looked a like receiving line of Aggies wanting to shake hands with Bryce Young after he threw five touchdowns against Utah State. Next up: Texas. The Crimson Tide haven't played a nonconference game this tough, this early since going to Penn State in 2011.||--||10-2|
|A repeat looked possible after a rout of Oregon. Bo Nix looked like Bo Pix. The Bulldogs scored on their first seven possessions. Defense was merciless. Sound familiar?||--||13-0|
|Did Notre Dame provide a blueprint on how to slow down the nation's most explosive offense? Defensive coordinator Al Golden dropped two safeties deep and kept everything underneath vs. C.J. Stroud.||--||11-1|
|Haynes King waited through a 2021 injury, and on Saturday, he waited out a weather delay to throw for 363 yards and three touchdowns vs. Sam Houston. The competition gets tougher immediately: Appalachian State, Miami and Arkansas in the next three weeks.||--||5-7|
|Coach Quirk's quirky handling of the quarterback situation did not sit well with Cade McNamara. Sophomore J.J. McCarthy gets the start this week against Hawaii. After that?||--||13-0|
|The Great Danes (of Albany) fell to the great Bears (of Baylor) by 53. Religious flagships rematch this week at BYU. Baylor won last year in Waco, Texas.||--||6-6|
|You could hear the groan from here to Salt Lake City when Cam Rising threw that interception at Florida with 17 seconds left. How do the Utes recover?||--||10-3|
|Mario Cristobal's old team (Oregon) lost by 46. His really old team (alma mater Miami) won by 57 in his debut with the Hurricanes. That's a net difference of 103. John Ruiz might call that a collective of points.||--||5-7|
|Do the Cowboys miss Jim Knowles? You tell me. In the first game after the loss of their defensive coordinator, Oklahoma State matched their most points given up since 2019 vs. Central Michigan (44).||--||7-5|
|The only drama in Brent Venables' debut was the Sooners covering late against UTEP. There wasn't a dry eye when the career assistant got the game ball from athletic director Joe Castiglione after his first game as coach.||--||6-6|
|The Coliseum hasn't rocked like this since the days of Pete Carroll, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush. It was only Rice, but the Lincoln Riley's Trojans didn't disappoint (66 points, 538 yards). Suddenly, USC might be the best team in the Pac-12.||--||11-2|
|Clemson got off to a slow start but eventually powered past Georgia Tech, 41-10. The offense was not any more impressive under D.J. Uiagaleli (two TDs), who looked shaky early before settling down. Cade Klubnik engineered an easy scoring drive in the fourth quarter, raising eyebrows.||--||11-2|
|I'm here for anything Pat Narduzzi has to say or do. That includes making the Panthers the newest power in the ACC. Judging by the West Virginia win, Kedon Slovis might be a plug-and-play guy after the loss of Kenny Pickett.||--||8-4|
|Whatever deficiencies the Gators may have this season, Anthony Richardson looks poised to mitigate most of them. My goodness, he was clearly the difference against a stout Utah team as Billy Napier's bunch got off to a hot start with their highest-ranked win ever in a season opener.||--||6-6|
|Not a bad debut for Marcus Freeman, whose defense held Ohio State to its lowest home total since 2017 in a 21-10 loss. Tyler Buchner seems willing at quarterback. The defense will keep the Irish in games. A 10-win season isn't out of the question.||--||8-4|
|Wolfpack heads were bowed in disappointment after a one-point, season-opening win at East Carolina. The Pirates missed an extra point that could have tied it and a field goal that could have won it.||--||8-4|
|Sam Pittman was headed for some cold beer after a close win against Cincinnati. Hopefully, QB KJ Jefferson (285 yards of total offense) is headed for some more attention. "Most every time we need him to win the game, he makes a play," Pittman said.||--||6-6|
|The Portal King (Lane Kiffin) won his season opener with a flipped roster and different look against Troy. USC transfer Jaxson Dart couldn't really throw deep but was backed up by a solid running game and a defense that accounted for 10 tackles for loss.||--||8-4|
|Wisconsin transfer Jalen Berger looked like the new Kenny Three Sticks (Kenneth Walker III) with a career-high 120 rushing yards in a three-touchdown win over Western Michigan.||--||5-7|
|For those of you wondering who the new dominant team is going to be in the future Big 12, behold the Cougars. They scored 38 unanswered at one point, throttling South Florida 50-21. Alabama is 24-2 in its last 26. BYU is 22-4.||--||7-5|
|The pursuit of a New Year's Six berth has begun after an overtime win at UTSA. A victory at Texas Tech this week could end up being the best of the season. It's early, but the CFP Selection Committee is watching.||--||7-5|
|Mark Stoops 60th win tied him with Bear Bryant for most at Kentucky after 10 seasons. Luckily, he didn't wallow it in after a season-opening win over Miami (Ohio). "You can't put my name in the same [sentence] as Bear Bryant's," Stoops said.||--||7-5|
|Braelon Edwards had the longest run in school history (96 yards). John Torchio had the longest interception return in school history (100 yards). That's all the Badgers needed in a shutout win over Illinois State.||--||6-6|
|Quinn Ewers threw his first pass in a game since he was a junior in high school. It was incomplete. The second was intercepted. Otherwise, a nice tuneup for Alabama.||--||8-4|
|A sneaky good mathcup this week with Pittsburgh. Not only do they share Johnny Majors in their history (Google him, kids), but they are both up and comers with difference-making quarterbacks. Hendon Hooker accounted for four scores against Ball State.||--||10-2|