Don’t panic, college football fans. Breathe. It’s Week 1.
As is typical with the start of every season, it’s easy to overreact. For as bad as Texas looked against Maryland on Saturday, remember how good we all thought the Longhorns looked at this time last year in their double-overtime win against Notre Dame?
So before you declare Texas hopeless or give Baker Mayfield the Heisman, consider these top overreactions from Week 1, and whether or not you should buy into them:
Overreaction: Clemson QB Kelly Bryant is the next Deshaun Watson.
Verdict: Do it against Auburn next week and then we’ll talk. Bryant couldn’t have asked for a better debut, with 236 passing yards, 77 rushing yards and a touchdown in the Tigers’ 56-3 win over Kent State. One of the biggest questions heading into this season was how the defending national champs would fare without Watson, and the sneak preview was pretty darn good, but it came against a team that was missing its head coach and used four quarterbacks last year. The Golden Flashes didn’t throw the ball once in 25 first-half plays, and their offensive coordinator, Don Treadwell, took over while coach Paul Haynes is on medical leave. Clemson has a talented, confident quarterback, but he still has something to prove until he is tested by an elite defense in the national spotlight.
Overreaction: Michigan’s defense will be even better than last year’s.
Verdict: In spite of losing 10 defensive starters, Michigan had one of its best performances in the Jim Harbaugh era — allowing just three offensive points in a 33-17 win — but it came against a pedestrian Florida offense that struggled at quarterback (again). The Wolverines held Florida to 154 total yards — including a measly 11 on the ground — and the Gators’ best offense was their defense, which produced a pair of pick-sixes. It was a fantastic coaching job by coordinator Don Brown, as Michigan’s defense finished with six sacks and three takeaways, but in order to truly gauge how good this group can be, it has to be tested against an offense far better than the notoriously inept Gators.
Overreaction: Tom Herman can’t fix Texas.
Verdict: It’s going to take more than four quarters. Even Herman admitted he can’t sprinkle “fairy dust” on the problems facing the Longhorns, but Saturday’s 51-41 loss to the Terrapins looked as if it were Herman’s first day on the job. Desperate to see some semblance of defense and an improvement on special teams, Texas fans were instead disappointed with a rerun of last year. The 51 points allowed by the Longhorns marked the most they have ever surrendered in a season opener and their most allowed in a head coach’s debut. While it was a marquee win for the Terps, they’re not exactly the beast of the Big Ten East. This game was a reminder that Texas’ issues require more than a quick fix, a tough lesson for an already impatient fan base.
Overreaction: Baker Mayfield won’t miss Dede Westbrook, Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine.
Verdict: Who? Fourteen different players caught a pass and Oklahoma’s young running backs looked good in a 56-7 throttling of UTEP, but that was a warm-up before heading to Ohio State. Mayfield will give the Buckeyes some trouble, as he was almost perfect (19-of-20) and found a new favorite target in tight end Mark Andrews. Mayfield showed why, despite other quarterbacks getting the love from NFL scouts, he’s a repeat Heisman contender. The Buckeyes’ secondary will have to be less generous than it was against Indiana. Speaking of Ohio State …
Overreaction: Ohio State’s second-half performance against Indiana is the Buckeyes team we can expect to see.
Verdict: It’s a fair assessment, considering Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow and his receivers gave Ohio State’s secondary fits, but the Buckeyes made adjustments in the second half that they should only build on following their 49-21 win. This was the first time OSU’s offense under co-coordinators Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day had a chance to get the kinks out, and while J.T. Barrett started slowly and still needs to make some better decisions, the Buckeyes found a new star in running back J.K. Dobbins. The difference between Ohio State and Oklahoma heading into Week 2 is that the Buckeyes got a true test in the Thursday night spotlight, while OU cruised to victory against an unheralded opponent.