Here at Swoozie’s, we promised you weekly updates on everything you need to know from last weekend’s gameday festivities. With the excitement brewing, the first week brought plenty of action! Please enjoy our Week One’s updates from the SEC and ACC.
SEC Updates by Kate – Week One
1. Week One of the college football season has sadly come to a close, but not without giving the nation reassurance that the SEC is the most talented conference out there. The Alabama Crimson Tide came out victorious (duh!) against Virginia Tech with a 35-10 win at the Georgia Dome. If the Tide keeps playing with the same talent and momentum, it’s safe to assume we will see Nick Saban and his team back in the Dome on December 7th to compete for the SEC Championship and, more than likely, another trip to the BCS Championship game. With no game scheduled for this upcoming weekend, Alabama has an opportunity to rest up before facing their newest rival and the only team to defeat the Tide last year, Texas A&M, on September 14th.
2. Whether you’ve been watching your whole life or you just picked it up this season, I think it’s safe to assume we can all agree college football is full of surprises and we should all expect the unexpected. For SEC fans, no surprise was more unexpected than Georgia’s loss to Clemson. With both teams starting the season in the AP Top 25 Preseason Poll, the Dawgs at fifth and the Tigers at eighth, it was assumed their rankings would prove true and Georgia would come out on top. Instead, it turned out to be the Tiger fans who rushed to the field to celebrate the remarkable victory. But, don’t count the Dawgs out yet! Georgia’s explosive offense racked up 545 yards Saturday night and they plan on collecting many more, especially while facing off against the South Carolina Gamecocks next week on the Dawgs home turf. The Dawgs need next week’s win though. South Carolina has defeated Georgia for the past three years and will prove to be a difficult team to beat.
3. Even with this defeat, Georgia has the talent to quickly bounce back from its loss. On the other hand, some of the new SEC coaches may be feeling more pressure.
The University of Kentucky and new head coach, Mark Stoops, suffered a 35-26 loss to in-state rival, Western Kentucky, on Saturday. This is the second year in a row the Wildcats have failed to beat the Hilltoppers. Is this outcome a look into Kentucky’s future? Or will Stoops be able to salvage the season and turn his team around? We will have to wait and see how Kentucky plays against Miami, Ohio this weekend! And even though Gus Malzhan’s debut resulted in a 31-24 win for Auburn over Washington State, he must be feeling the pressure building as Auburn didn’t look particularly strong on either side of the ball. The Tigers must tighten up their game if they hope for their first SEC victory in just two weeks against Mississippi State.
4. The best SEC game of opening week wasn’t even played on Saturday. It was Thursday night’s nail biting game between Ole Miss and Vanderbilt that had SEC fans excited for college football. The most electrifying plays of the game came with less than 2 minutes left, with first the Commodores, then 23 seconds later, Ole Miss scoring. Ole Miss won the first SEC matchup of the season 39-35. Last year’s number one national high school recruit, Robert Nkemdiche, showed his worth to the Rebels all night as defensive end.
5. Texas A&M looked strong Saturday, defeating Rice 52-31. Quarterback and last year’s Heisman trophy winner, Johnny Manziel proved why he is called Johnny Football. Yet it wasn’t his playing ability that will have people talking this week. It was his actions. Manziel sat out the first half because of NCAA sanctions for “allowing his likeness to be used for promotional purposes.” But even his 2nd half return was cut short when he was benched by Texas A&M’s coach after receiving a penalty for unsportsman like conduct. While many are defending Manziel’s actions as just a kid getting wrapped up in the game, others are questioning whether his actions speak to his talent going to his head. Regardless, during Manziel’s playing time, three receivers found themselves in the end zone after catching six of his eight passes. Those six completed passes combined for 94 yards and quickly reminded college football fans everywhere why Manziel won the Heisman trophy. Sam Houston State should not stand in the way of another Aggie win this weekend.
ACC Updates by Charlotte – Week One
1. Clemson begins the season with a signature win over Georgia, an SEC team that had a great chance at going to the national championship game last year. The Tigers are the first non-SEC team to defeat consecutive top 10 SEC opponents after their bowl victory over LSU and the win Saturday over UGA. Rumors of Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd being a Heisman contender are stirring after he threw for 270 yards and 3 touchdowns with impressive plays from wide receiver, Sammy Watkins. The win is not only potentially season-making for the Tigers, but keeps the ACC in contention for a national championship run this season.
2. While Clemson got the best of Georgia, #1 Alabama demonstrated why they’ve won 3 out of the 4 last national championships with their defensive strength. Virginia Tech’s defense should also be proud of their performance against Alabama, holding them to 206 total offensive yards. Frank Beamer’s typically strong special teams did not give the same performance as the defense and gave up 2 touchdown returns which contributing to the wide margin of victory for the Crimson Tide.
3. UNC lost handily to South Carolina on Thursday night and the best thing the Tar Heels can take from the loss is the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and weaknesses. The Gamecocks’ offense put up 406 yards, which draws sizable concern to the UNC defensive line and secondary, fortunately they face Middle Tennessee State this week.
4. Florida State quarterback, Jameis Winston, led the Seminoles to a 41-13 win Monday night over Pitt in his first college football appearance and Pitt’s first game in the ACC. Winston threw for 4 touchdowns and added a rushing touchdown in a performance that set the school record for completions and passing yards by a freshman in his first start.
5. Dave Doeren’s debut at NC State was a refreshing change for the Wolfpack but came with a bit of disappointment as well. NC State defeated Louisiana Tech 40 – 14, however Brandon Mitchell, the starting QB for the Wolfpack, left the game in the first quarter due to a broken foot that will keep him off the field for 4 – 6 weeks. NC State does have other viable options at the QB position, but was expecting big things from Mitchell and will feel his absence.