The first full Saturday of college football is in the books, and we have seen a glimpse of what the College Football Playoff National Championship contenders will look like in 2023. Sure, some of them feasted on cupcakes, but there were a few compelling matchups that could resonate with the CFP Selection Committee when all is said and done.
No. 4 Alabama came into the season with massive questions, but Jalen Milroe put many of those to rest after accounting for five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) in a big win over Middle Tennessee. The Crimson Tide had the second-best national title odds coming into the season, and it'll be interesting to see how those odds move heading into next week's showdown with Texas.
No. 3 Ohio State started with a road game against Big Ten foe Indiana, and it wasn't exactly a crisp performance. First-year starter Kyle McCord struggled to get things cranked up, but came to life in the third quarter to help the Buckeyes pull away from a Hoosiers' squad that struggled to move the football.
How did the College Football Playoff National Championship contenders grade out in Week 1? Let's hand out report cards for notable teams around the country with their SportsLine consensus national title odds heading into the rest of the weekend.
College football grades: Week 1 report card
|12/5||B+||The offense sputtered out of the gate under first-year starter Carson Beck, but the Bulldogs got cranked up during the final 30-plus minutes to take care of UT-Martin 48-7. They didn't cover the 50-point spread and, in Week 1, that tilts the grading scale quite a bit. Plus, per the report card's completely made-up rules, teams can't earn an 'A' against FCS opponents.|
|11/2||A+||There was plenty of concern about the quarterback situation throughout fall camp, but Jalen Milroe put it to bed in the 56-7 win over Middle Tennessee. Milroe accounted for five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing), and cemented himself as the unquestioned starter for the Crimson Tide.|
|8-1||C+||The Buckeyes were 30-point favorites over Indiana, but the game was actually in doubt for the better part of three quarters until the Buckeyes pulled away for a 23-3 win. The defense was phenomenal, which is a massive development. However, quarterback Kyle McCord wasn't exactly crisp in his second career start.|
|17/2||A||The Wolverines went old school and pounded East Carolina into submission for a 30-3 win. It was vintage Michigan, and even more impressive considering coach Jim Harbaugh was serving the first of his three-game suspension.|
|10-1||A||The might come as a shock, but the Trojans offense was lights out in this one. More importantly, though, was the fact that the Trojans defense held Nevada to 360 total yards in the 66-14 win. Yeah, it's Nevada -- and the Wolf Pack aren't exactly juggernauts -- but my son's 5th/6th grade football team could have put up 400 yards against last year's Trojan defense. Baby steps.|
|10-1||C||No. 5 LSU fell to No. 8 Florida State 45-24 on Sunday night in a game that saw the Tigers give up 31 straight points. That's ... not good. Since LSU is in the SEC, it'll almost certainly make the CFP if it wins out. Things better change though -- especially in the secondary.|
|18-1||F||The 28-7 loss to Duke was flat-out embarrassing. The Tigers were out-classed by a team that looked bigger, faster, stronger and was coached significantly better. It was a loss that could (and possibly should?) knock the Tigers out of the Top 25.|
|20-1||A+||The Seminoles dominated LSU in the 45-24 win on Sunday night. Quarterback Jordan Travis looked like a Heisman Trophy front-runner, Keon Coleman caught three touchdowns and the defensive front showed that it's deep, talented and versatile. Coach Mike Norvell couldn't have scripted a better start to the season.|
|20-1||B+||The Nittany Lions were in a battle with West Virginia through three quarters, but found a way to pull away in the final frame and cover the 21-point spread in the 38-15 win. Drew Allar was solid in his first start with 325 yards and three passing touchdowns.|
|22-1||B-||The Longhorns had a slow start against Rice, but scored 21 points in the third quarter to pull away in the 37-10 win. Quinn Ewers threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns, which sets him up nicely for next week's showdown with Alabama. However, the fact that Texas didn't cover the 35.5-point spread costs it an 'A' in the Week 1 curved grading scale.|
|28-1||A||The Texas A&M offense was a point of concern heading into the season, but it passed the first test in the 52-10 win over New Mexico. Conner Weigman threw for five touchdowns and the defense held the Lobos to just 222 yards in the blowout.|
|28-1||B+||Ho hum, just another dominating defensive performance from the Fighting Irish. Oh, and that Sam Hartman guy, he's a pretty good quarterback. The defense allowed just 156 yards and Hartman tossed two touchdowns passes in the 56-3 win over Tennessee State. However, per my completely made-up rules, Notre Dame can't get an 'A' because it played an FCS opponent.|
|40-1||A+||What a performance by Oklahoma. The Sooners were a disaster last year, but came out firing in the 73-0 win over Arkansas State. No, the Red Wolves won't be competitive this year and coach Butch Jones should have been fired nine months ago. But they're still an FBS program and Oklahoma made them look like a bad Pop Warner team.|
|40-1||A+||Make no mistake, Boise State was supposed to hang with the Huskies. However, Huskies star quarterback Michael Penix Jr wasn't having any of it. Penix threw for 450 yards and five touchdowns in the 56-19 win. Not bad for a team that was only a two-touchdown favorite.|
|40-1||B+||Is Oregon still scoring? No, seriously, is it? The Ducks beat Portland State 81-7 in a game that wasn't even as close as the score indicates. Per our made-up rules, Oregon can't get an 'A' because it played an FCS opponent. However, this game might cause me to propose an amendment to the report card constitution.|
|45-1||A||No Cam Rising? No problem for Utah. The Utes dominated a Florida squad in a 24-11 win on Thursday night. Quarterbacks Bryson Barnes and Nate Johnson were incredible in Rising's absence, and Kyle Whittingham proved why he is one of the best coaches in the country.|