Naturally, the first weekend of the football season produces sweeping overreactions. Football-starved fans break out their jump-to-conclusions mat and usually generate silly, knee-jerk reactions. Here are the five biggest ones:
TOM HERMAN SUCKS
Most stunning about the Maryland loss for Tom Herman was how impressive he’d been in early-season games the last two years: His Houston Cougars beat Louisville two years ago on the road in week two; last year they shocked Oklahoma in Week 1. You can’t return 10 starters on defense and give up 263 yards on the ground to Maryland. Yes, the defense was bad last year, but it was young. This was inexcusable. It’s also game one into a new era of a guy who isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. You don’t rotate coaches quickly at Texas. You learn patience. (And the defenders learn to tackle.)
GEORGIA IS BACK!
A 31-0 lead over Appalachian State in the 3rd quarter looked good on paper. Reality: Upon closer inspection, the Bulldogs didn’t do anything impressive on either side of the ball. The early-season, pay-to-play games are no-win situations for elite teams. You should win big; but you shouldn’t puff your chest out. Anything less is unimpressive. Only 5.8 yards per play, two turnovers, gave up 4.2 yards per carry, only 35 percent 3rd down conversions … any of it inspire confidence? Toss in QB Jacob Eason going down, and Notre Dame looming this week … it’s a big week for Kirby Smart.
FIRE KEVIN SUMLIN
Exhale, College Station. Kevin Sumlin came into the season on the hot seat, and he’d still have been there, win or lose against UCLA. He’s not getting fired this week, though if you wanted retweets, you should have pushed that on social media. No, I didn’t read the message board jokers; those same dopes were the ones who said, when leading 44-10, that the team was making the playoff and Sumlin deserves an extension. Reality: Yes, Sumlin did really boneheaded things in the 2nd half … things the Atlanta Falcons did in the Super Bowl. Snapping the ball so quickly for no reason up huge is always going to be foolish. Reality: The Aggies looked very impressive getting to that lead. The bad news is that QB Nick Starkel is out for at least two months with an ankle injury, and freshman Kellen Mond, while capable scrambling, was a woeful 3-of-17 passing. Two cupcakes follow, and then Arkansas and South Carolina, so 4-1 is possible before they get destroyed by Alabama.
Kelly Bryant is the next DeShaun Watson!
Bryant looked sharp in his first start (16-of-22, 236 yards, TD, INT; 77 rush yards, TD), and Clemson scored a resounding 56-3 rout. Folks, Kent State was picked near the basement of the MAC, and was a 38-point underdog. Read nothing into Kelly Bryant’s performance or Clemson’s. I’ve got the Tigers in the College Football Playoff, but I’ll reserve judgement on the QB and the team until after the Auburn and Louisville game.
Sam Darnold … WHAT’S WRONG?
I can’t even type it with a straight face. No TD passes, but USC scored 49 points. Two picks. Stanford this week! Sam Darnold will be fine, Jets fans. Marathon, not a sprint. Remember when Marcus Mariota had 25 TD passes and 0 INTs at Oregon in 2013, and then threw two picks in a loss to Arizona, and then two more the next week against Oregon State? WHAT WAS WRONG? He was fine. Sam Darnold will be fine.