Who are the National Title contenders after Week One?
Contenders:
Alabama. The Crimson Tide absolutely annihilated USC, and appear to be the cream of the SEC crop. But let’s play some more football before we decided to crown the Tide as champions once again. Remaining losable games: @Ole Miss, @Tennessee, @LSU.
Clemson. Tough road win against an underrated Auburn squad. Remaining losable games: @Florida State, Louisville.
Ohio State. The Buckeyes had a stellar offensive performance against rent-a-victim Bowling Green. Remaining losable games: @Oklahoma, @Wisconsin, @Penn State, @Michigan State, Michigan.
Florida State: The Seminoles are loaded with talent and experience. Let’s see how they fare in their first game against Ole Miss. Remaining losable games: @Louisville, @Miami, Clemson, Florida.
Michigan: The Wolverines smashed Hawaii, as expected. Michigan will likely be 7-0 when they visit Sparty on October 29th. I still think Jim Harbaugh’s team is a year away. Remaining losable games: @Michigan State, @ Ohio State
Georgia: The Bulldogs earned a tough win in Kirby Smart’s debut. The Bulldogs are now slight favorites to win the SEC East. Remaining losable games: @Ole Miss, Tennessee, Florida, Auburn.
Tennessee: Pre-season expectations were sky-high in Rocky Top as Butch Jones’ squad returned 17 starters off a team that lost all four of its games last season by a TD or less. Those expectations plummeted after Tenner scraped by App State in OT – a game the Vols probably should have lost. I’m wondering if Tennessee just plays to the level of its competition? Remaining losable games: Florida, @Georgia, @aTm, Alabama.
On Life Support:
LSU: The Tigers were my pre-season pick to win the whole enchilada. Now, the Tigers may be lucky to make it to a New Years Day Bowl. I expected the Tiger offense to be improved from last season – but I was wrong. There doesn’t appear to be any improvement in LSU’s one dimensional attack. LSU looks much more like a 9-3 team than a national title contender. But hey, run the table, and LSU will be right back in the mix. Remaining losable games: @Auburn, @Florida, Ole Miss, Alabama, @Arkansas, @aTm.
Notre Dame: The Texas Longhorns ripped a hole in the Fighting Irish playoff hopes. Unfortunately for ND, they simply don’t have that many opportunities to impress the playoff committee, especially consider USC will likely have a down season. The Irish will need help elsewhere, even if they run the table, in order to make the playoffs. Remaining losable games: Michigan State, Miami, @USC.
Oklahoma: The Sooners are awesome when they are underestimated and absolutely suck when they are overrated. Methinks the Sooners were a tad overrated prior to the season. Oklahoma is likely a 9-3 team this year. Remaining losable games: Ohio State, @TCU, Texas, Baylor.
Dark Horses:
Houston: What a great performance in thrashing the Sooners. Tom Herman is the real deal, and will show up at a major program in the near future. The Cougars are now a legit playoff contender, but lack the talent to win the National Title. Or do they? Remaining losable games: Louisville
Washington: The Huskies hammered Rutgers as expected. If Washington can survive back-to-back games against Stanford and @Oregon, they should run the table. Remaining losable games: Stanford, @Oregon.
Stanford: The Cardinal were on the verge of knocking Kansas State out of the game Friday night, when a fumble nixed a Stanford drive and set up a Wildcat FG. The game against a middling Big 12 program turned out to be closer than expected by the end. Nevertheless, a win is a win, no matter how ugly. The Cardinal still control their own destiny, though the schedule will be most difficult to navigate unscathed. Remaining losable games: USC, @UCLA, @Washington, @Notre Dame, @Oregon.
Waiting in the Wings:
Texas: The victory over Notre Dame was a huge win for Charlie Strong and the Texas program. I still think Texas is a year away from contending for a National Title, and will finish 9-3, but let’s see what happens.
TCU: Oklahoma is wounded, but it took Four Quarters for the Horned Frogs to put away South Dakota State.
Baylor: Scored 48 points in the first half. The program is surrounded by scandal – will the players circle the wagons – or wilt when adversity hits?
Louisville: The best team that no one is talking about. The Cardinals will give either Florida State or Clemson a scare this year.
Oregon: The Ducks did not look great against UC-Davis; but it’s only week one. Oregon could be 3-3 or 6-0 by their October 15th Bye week.
Ole Miss: I’m not buying into the Rebel-Bears. Historically, Ole Miss tanks when they are thrust into the national spotlight. Beat Florida State on the road, and I’ll move them into the Dark Horse category. Beat Florida State AND Alabama in two weeks, then they will immediately pole vault into the National Title Contender category. I say Ole Miss will finish 8-4, at best.