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Ohio State’s CJ Stroud led the Buckeyes to victory over Notre Dame (AP Photo/David Dermer)
It’s only the first week of the 2022 college football season, but unfortunately the Pac-12 is already in mid-season shape, and is soon playing its way out of the College Football Playoff conversation.
Well, not quite. AP 14 inflicted 66-14 damage on Rice with the help of not one, not two, but three six times. But No. 11 Oregon was decimated by No. 3 Georgia, and No. 7 Utah went to the Gainesville swamp and came out with an L against unranked Florida.
Temporarily unclassified, that is.
After ousting Utah State in Billy Napier’s first appearance as head coach, the Gators would move to the AP Poll, possibly reaching the top ten. , and they are at least one of the top 10 now as far as the Bleacher College football experts – David Kenyon, Adam Kramer, Keri Miller, Morgan Moriarty and Brad Shepherd – are concerned.
As that turmoil subsided on Saturday evening, AP #2 Ohio State gradually confirmed its desire for a 21-10 win over Notre Dame #5 in the opening main event of the weekend.
It’s been touch-and-go there for a while with Fighting Irish gaining 54 yards (69 if you count the 15-yard pass penalty) on the first shot of the game, followed by the Buckeyes losing Jackson Smith Ngigba to an injured leg (fingers crossed it’s nothing serious) In the middle of the first quarter. But Ohio State had too much talent, too much toughness and too much Meanne Williams and Trevon Henderson to deny a landmark victory.
We’ll update these rankings Monday night if Clemson struggles or even loses to Georgia Tech in a Chick-fil-A kickoff, but while we wait for that final game of Week 1, here’s what our consensus looks like that the top 25 games are headed into Week 2:
1. Alabama (previous rank: 1)
2- Georgia (3)
3. Ohio (2)
4. Clemson (4)[4)
5. Michigan (8)
6. Texas A&M (7)
7. Florida (NR)
8- Oklahoma (15)
9. USC (11)
10. Notre Dame (5)
11- Arkansas (16)
12- Michigan (12).
13. Miami (17)
14 (tie). Baylor (14)
14 (tie). BYU (23)
14 (tie). Wisconsin (18)
17- Oklahoma (9)
18. Utah (6)
19. Tennessee (NR)
20 – Pittsburgh (25)
21- Penn State (19 tons)
22- Kentucky (24).
23- Houston (19t)
24. Texas 22
25- North Carolina (10).
Votes also received: Ole Miss, Wake Forest, Mississippi State
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Stetson Bennett in Georgia (Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
After breaking through and winning the 2019 National Championship, LSU had 14 players taken into the NFL Draft…and later crash and burn.
But if you were concerned that reigning national champion Georgia could endure a similar fate after having 15 players (including five from the first round) in the 2022 NFL Draft, Oregon’s No. 11 annihilation on Saturday 49-3 should have been. To subside those irrational fears.
The passing attack was darn near flawless. Stetson Bennett did most of the work, but Carson Beck also contributed 439 yards and three air touchdowns. The Bulldogs averaged nearly 12 yards per pass attempt against what was supposed to be a good defense in Oregon under new head coach (and former UGA DC) Dan Lanning.
Meanwhile, it was the Georgia defense that dominated the day, with the Bo Knics scoring twice during the first 20 minutes of the game and limiting the Ducks to just one field goal. Before a long, no-nonsense ride in the final 10 minutes, Oregon had a modest 221 yards of total offense.
The Dogs didn’t get any sacks in this, so it wasn’t the same as “Holy cow, how could anyone score against this defense?!” The kind of statement they made in last year’s season opener against Clemson. However, it was a dominant performance, at least on par with what they used to do with the Knicks as the Auburn quarterback for the past three years.
If even Oregon can’t challenge this Georgia team from a distance, they may not legitimately face a tough test until their highly anticipated SEC Championship encounter with Alabama. The Bulldogs have only one other game in the schedule against a ranked opponent, and that match is at AP No. 20 in Kentucky is two and a half months away.
You get used to seeing these guys at or near the top of the rankings.
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Devin Leary of North Carolina (Grant Halverson / Getty Images)
The good news is that North Carolina State hasn’t actually lost its season opener in East Carolina.
The bad news is that the No. 10 team in the pre-season rankings could not have inspired any less confidence in their 21-20 victory over the Buccaneers.
With the help of a blocked kick retrieved for the landing, the Wolfpack 21-7 carried the lead into the break. But what we thought would be one of the strongest offensive tackles in the country this season, was done without a point from that moment on.
It was not due to a lack of opportunity. In one run, Wolfpack walked 74 yards down the field before flopping on ECU 1. On their next possession, they had the first and goal in ECU 1 before Demi Sumo Carangbye was stuffed at the goal line in four consecutive moves.
That was the start of a 12-minute period where the Wolfpack offense made 10 plays for just under 4 yards with an interception and a spin on touchdown.
Meanwhile, the ECU got what looked like a game-related landing until Owen Duffer missed the extra point. He got a shot at redemption when three NC State players left the Buccaneers with plenty of time to reach goal range. Unfortunately, Daffer pushed the 42-yard winning attempt to the right, allowing Wolfpack to escape the hair on her chin chin.
With all due respect to the ECU – which won seven games last season and has one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the country at Holten Ahlers – but this game shouldn’t have fallen apart. Since it happened, we’re left seriously wondering if NC State is really a leading candidate to unseat Clemson on the ACC.
Wolfpack has fallen in our rankings from #10 to #25.
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Ben Bryant of Cincinnati (Wesley Heat/Getty Images)
Well, the dream of the 23rd seed Cincinnati to go to the back-to-back college football playoffs has already died.
Had the Bearcats won their 19th season opener in Arkansas, the “unbeaten hour of the season” would have officially begun. The road matches against SMU and UCF in late October aren’t going to be easy, but they should really win every one of their remaining 11 matches if they’re 85% as good as they have been over the past few years.
Sadly, Cincinnati got off to a painfully slow first-half start in Fayetteville and couldn’t fully recover, falling to the Pigs 31-24.
In the season-opening Cincinnati campaign, Ben Bryant led the Bearcats down and out of the red before Arkansas DB Dwight McGlothern jumped on an off road to intercept and returned 51 yards to turn the field.
Cincinnati had two more long runs in the first half that resulted in missed field goals.
But despite digging an early 14-0 hole on the road, they did so almost all the way through.
In three consecutive possessions in the second half, they got the ball in the Arkansas area, and needed a touchdown to equalize the game. Instead, they knocked out a field goal from a campaign that began in Arkansas 3, a kick in a deep ride as the Arkansas 21 and a ribbon sack after Tre Tucker’s impressive comeback.
Cincinnati’s appearance wasn’t bad, collecting 438 yards in total against the SEC defense. This may be the representative of the Group of Five in the New Year’s Six for the third year in a row. She shot herself in the foot a few times this afternoon and suffered her first loss out of the bowl season since the 2019 AAC Championship against Memphis.
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Texas Steve Sarkissian and Bijan Robinson (Tim Warner/Getty Images)
First and foremost on the Week 2 slate is the Noon ET showdown between AP’s #1 in Alabama and unranked Texas. It’s the first time in more than a decade that Crimson Tide has played a real road game against a Power Five opponent without a conference, and it comes up against Nick Saban’s former assistant, Steve Sarkissian.
It should be a healthy diet mouse poison over the next seven days.
The only game between the teams from the AP pre-season poll is the evening (10:15 p.m. ET) #25 BYU host #10 Baylor. The Cougars have beaten at least one opponent in each of the past four seasons, but lost to the Bears in Waco at last year’s meeting. A little bit of Provo revenge would push BYU into a watershed conversation very early in College Football.
TN at 17 Pittsburgh (3:30 p.m. ET) should be a battle between the seeded teams when the new AP Poll comes out in a few days. The Panthers are looking to build on a chaotic first-week win over West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl revival as the should-rated Volunteers prepare for a big test after doing quick work at Ball State on Thursday.
Then there are three big convention showdowns, with No. 19 in Arkansas South Carolina (No. ET), No. 20 in Kentucky in Florida (7 p.m. ET) and No. 14 USC in Stanford (7:30 p.m. ET).
While nothing is on the scale of Oregon-Georgia or Notre Dame-Ohio, week two should be just as fun as week one — even though it’s almost entirely contained within a single day rather than a 100-hour class.
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