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2022 Post-Week One College Football Roundup

Stetson Bennett, Georgia

Although college football kicked off with a light slate of games on August 27, this past weekend was the true introduction of the 2022 college football season and boy, it did not disappoint. There was exciting game after exciting game and although the National Championship picture didn't undergo a massive shift, we got our first impressions of several top-tier contenders. In the midst of ongoing debates surrounding NIL, conference realignment, and playoff expansion, this weekend served as the perfect reminder of how great of an on-field product the sport remains.

Reactions & Thoughts

So, Georgia Is Still Really Good: If there was any question that wrestling a National Title away from Georgia was going to be difficult, this weekend was the answer. The Bulldogs pummeled Oregon to the tune of 49-3, providing the new Duck staff a rude welcome. It wasn't surprising that the defense remained stout, particularly going up against an Oregon offense with a bunch of question marks, but it was surprising just how tremendous the UGA offense looked. Stetson Bennett looked like a Heisman-esque quarterback and all the weapons on the perimeter showed out, sinking an Oregon defense that should be very good. If the Bulldogs can get consistency from an offense that dealt with injuries and a bunch of adversity in 2021, this team is genuinely terrifying and remains the National Title frontrunner.

Florida Will Be An SEC East Factor, But Pump The Brakes A Bit: The Florida Gators were one of the big winners of Week One, as Billy Napier and the new staff found a way to overcome seventh-ranked Utah in a thriller. There shouldn't be any denying how impressive of a victory this was for Florida, the Utes are a deep and experienced foe, but it's not time to overreact either. Utah outplayed the Gators for most of the game, even in a brutal environment in early September they weren't used to. Florida made the plays when it counted, including a tremendous showing from Anthony Richardson, but this is still a team with a lot of issues to iron out before they hit the meat of their SEC schedule. This upcoming Saturday will tell us a lot more about just how much of a contender Florida is, as they face off with Kentucky. The Wildcats weren't exactly impressive in their season-opening win over Miami (Ohio) but feature a skilled quarterback and play physical along the lines. 

The ACC Atlantic Is Going To Be Fun: I'm on record as saying the ACC Atlantic is one of, if not the, most underrated divisions in college football, and the first weekend demonstrated that there are going to be plenty of fireworks here. Clemson has regularly been the team to beat in the division this past decade, but their offensive woes appear like they could continue into 2022. NC State is going to be a tough out and they played a tough East Carolina team, but they realistically should have lost that game. Wake Forest pounded VMI and just learned they'll be getting QB Sam Hartman healthy. Then there's Florida State, who faced an LSU team that appeared wholly unprepared for the moment, but the 'Noles looked much improved. This is going to be a fascinating division race; even though Clemson is still the betting favorite, the Tigers are going to be tested once more in 2022. 

A Bad Couple Days For Special Teams: One of the largest storylines of the first week of college football? Just how absolutely atrocious some of the special teams play was. It kicked off Thursday, with the South Carolina State punter performing one of the weirdest plays I've seen ever in college football. Things continued into Saturday, with East Carolina missing an extra point that would have given them a tie game, then missing the go-ahead field goal as time expired, costing them a chance at one of the biggest upsets in school history over NC State. Onto Sunday, where LSU muffed several punts, had a field goal blocked, then had the game-tying extra point blocked, which doomed their chances of an impressive comeback. Amazingly, LSU Special Teams Coordinator Brian Polian was the lone coach on Notre Dame's staff who followed Brian Kelly from South Bend to Baton Rouge. It isn't a shock that special teams play was sloppy on the first weekend, as teams work out the kinks, but I suspect plenty of emphasis placed on this in practice over the coming weeks.

When Will The Coaching Carousel Start Spinning?: It may only be Week One, but that doesn't mean several big names didn't see their seats warm significantly over the weekend. Scott Frost's season-opening loss to Northwestern a week earlier than most put him in a precarious position, but it's more likely one of the ACC coaches that finds themselves out first. Louisville opened the year with a frustrating 31-7 loss to Syracuse and an impressive recruiting class may not save Scott Satterfield, while Georgia Tech lost to Clemson and faces down a brutal schedule the rest of the way.

Weekly Awards

Offensive Helmet Sticker: Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia

Stetson Bennett spent most of the offseason fighting off rumors that one of the younger guys on the UGA depth chart would overtake him in 2022. What did he do as a response? Simply by punishing a good Oregon defense (or so we believe) to the tune of 368 yards and two touchdowns, while adding one more with his legs. It felt like a statement game from Bennett; he was in complete control from start to finish and looked calm and confident as he picked apart the Ducks. There's still plenty of football to play and I don't want to overreact to one single performance, but it felt like the start of a special final season in Athens for Bennett.

Defensive Helmet Sticker: Jacoby Windmon, LB, Michigan State

Former UNLV transfer Jacoby Windmon was one of several players joining the Michigan State Spartans over the offseason as Mel Tucker and the coaching staff continue to work the transfer portal. Through one game, it's clear the defensive end/outside linebacker is here to make an impact. He was the best player on the field in MSU's 35-13 victory over Western Michigan, totaling seven tackles and recording a whopping four sacks. We always knew Windmon was talented, but it appears as though Michigan State DC Scottie Hazelton is going to fully unleash him this fall, a terrifying thought for opposing Big Ten teams.

Team of the Week: Georgia Bulldogs

This one is pretty self-explanatory, the Bulldogs faced the No. 11 team in the country and completely decimated them from the very first snap. I don't even think this was a case of Oregon being a bad football team or being unprepared; they got physically manhandled by a better team at the line of scrimmage and had no answers on how to stop the pass. It was quite the impressive encore from the reigning National Champions and they now get what is essentially a bye week this Saturday, when they welcome Samford into Sanford Stadium.

"Small-School" Team of the Week: Delaware Blue Hens

FCS over FBS upsets are a fairly common occurrence early on in a new season, but Week One was quiet at that front, with one notable exception. The Delaware Blue Hens went into Annapolis and pulled out a squeaker of a win over Navy, 14-7. This was far from a pretty game; neither offense could get much going with a combined 521 yards, but three turnovers from the Midshipmen proved to be the deciding factor in the upset. It wasn't a completely embarrassing loss from Navy, as Delaware has long been a respectable program, but does warm head coach Ken Niumatalolo's seat quite a bit, a guy who entered 2022 under some pressure.

My Top 25

Current Rank                        Preseason Rank 

1. Ohio State Buckeyes           (1)

2. Alabama Crimson Tide       (2)

3. Georgia Bulldogs                (5)

4. Clemson Tigers                   (6)

5. NC State Wolfpack             (7)

6. Texas A&M Aggies            (8)

7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish    (3)

8. Arkansas Razorbacks           (9)

9. Oklahoma Sooners                (10)

10. Michigan Wolverines        (12)

11. Wake Forest Demon Deacons    (11)

12. USC Trojans                    (13)

13. Miami Hurricanes            (15)

14. Florida Gators                  (NR)

15. Baylor Bears                    (17)

16. Utah Utes                         (4)

17. BYU Cougars                  (18)

18. Tennessee Volunteers      (19)

19. Michigan State Spartans    (21)

20. Cincinnati Bearcats        (14)

21. Minnesota Golden Gophers    (21)

22. UCF Knights                    (22)

23. Wisconsin Badgers            (23)

24. Oklahoma State Cowboys    (24)

25. Oregon Ducks                    (16)

Receiving Votes: Coastal Carolina, Pittsburgh, Oregon State, Penn State, Ole Miss

Dropped Out: Coastal Carolina (#25)

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