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Baker’s Dozen State of College Football Address: Week 1

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What an opening weekend for College Football.  Week 1 was being hyped up as the “best opening weekend of all time” and certainly did not disappoint.  Now that the dust has settled and tears have dried, let’s take a look at the state of college football after the first weekend.

Tennessee is overrated and Josh Dobbs isn’t good

  • This is finally supposed to be it, the year the Vols turn the corner and Josh Dobbs leads them to an SEC championship game and maybe even the playoff. That idea is off to a rocky start in Rocky Top. While dealing with my PTSD over seeing App State possibly knocking off another top 10 team, it became obvious that the issue was less about the Mountaineers and more about the Volunteers. Tennessee looked bad on offense and the main factor was how inept Dobbs looks as the signal caller. Athletically, this kid should be a perfect fit for Butch Jones’ spread attack, but he just has not been able to put it all together.  Even after he finally uncorked a 60-yard TD pass to tie the game, Dobbs looked lost and hesitant on the two following drives to try and win the game. This offense needs Dobbs to succeed, but unless he has any serious growth during the season I’m selling my stock on Tennessee.

Lamar Jackson is obviously good at video games

  • Eight f***ing touchdowns in one half????? That stuff is reserved for NCAA Football ’14 and that’s even hard to do on Xbox! Louisville sophomore QB Lamar Jackson did it one half of a real, live football game. Jackson threw eight TD passes in the Cardinals’ spring game, but no one in their right mind would ever bet on the fact that he could do it in a real game, much less a single half. I had mixed feelings about his hype train during the offseason, but I am on it now.  He did the impossible and it does not matter if the game was against Charlotte or Florida State, all the stock I’m selling from Tennessee I am reinvesting in Jackson and Louisville.  If any kind of production remotely this good continues from Jackson, expect this team to knock off FSU or Clemson this year, the hype is real.

Baylor is going to be just fine thanks to Seth Russell

  • With all the offseason turmoil in Waco, it is easy to forget how good Russell was before his season-ending injury. 16/20, 163 yards, and 4 TDs?  Not to mention he led seven scoring drives in less than a half of football, I would say Baylor is going to be a force in the Big 12.  Pencil Baylor in as the Big 12 champ after OU flopped, but more on that later.

Stanford needs more than just Christian McCaffery to win the Pac-12

  • McCaffery had a nice stat line and two impressive touchdown runs in his season debut, but his numbers are deceiving. On the 20 carries that weren’t his TD runs, he only amassed 50 yards.  He can and will be the focal point of the offense, but Stanford needs other playmakers to open up things for their shifty star.  Kansas State is a team that can be a thorn in anyone’s side, but they did do a good job of limiting the Cardinal offense as a whole which could be an issue when Stanford plays teams that can really score some points.

Michigan isn’t going to be tested until October

  • After all the tweets, music videos, and an unending ocean of hype, the Michigan Wolverines delivered a beat down to a travel worn Hawaii team. Michigan never punted and returned two interceptions for touchdowns while pulverizing the Rainbow Warriors with their ground game.  This team is good and has Jim Harbaugh, the pied piper of overwhelming confidence, to lead them. In classic Big Ten fashion, they don’t play any real games until October when Wisconsin comes to town, but that won’t slow down the hype around this team. Nothing has yet, but once Michigan starts to play some of the big boys in their conference, expect this team to be up to the challenge.

Ohio State is going to knock Oklahoma out of the playoff race

  • J.T. Barrett looked like the quarterback who scored 45 touchdowns just a couple of seasons ago rather than the kid who lost out to Cardale “I ain’t come to play school” Jones before last year’s opener. He had the Buckeyes offense rolling against BGSU. As much as it makes me want to vomit, I am picking Barrett and the Bucks to waltz into Norman and kick the living hell out of what looks like another disappointing Bob Stoops team.

Houston looks like a Playoff team after embarrassing the Sooners 

  • My favorite stat from Houston’s upset win over Oklahoma? Duel threat stud quarterback Greg Ward Jr.’s rushing stat line: 18 carries for 1 yard.  AND THEY STILL WON!!  This kid had over 1,100 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns last year and the Cougars didn’t need much from his legs to topple the favored Sooners.  Ward threw the ball around with ease and this team made big play after big play.  Even more impressive was five-star freshman Ed Oliver’s play in the middle: 7 tackles and 2 sacks from the 290 pound true freshman who should take the rest of the year off and wait to play again when he’s eligible to be a 2018 first round pick (kidding … kinda).  This team has playoff experience in their coaching staff thanks to Tom Herman and looks like they could make a run towards the playoff. The November 17th match-up with Louisville now looms large for this squad. As for the Sooners, they did the exact same thing that caused them to lose to Clemson in last year’s playoff game. They gave up on the run to try and give all the glory and numbers to Baker Football (Mayfield). That isn’t going to win any game against a team that can control tempo and make plays like Houston or a lot of teams in the Big 12. I think Oklahoma’s season is over with a date against Ohio State coming, but anything can happen.

Clemson will be fine, Auburn will not be

  • I don’t give Auburn credit often, but when I do, I am generally being an asshole. Auburn put up a better fight than many expected against Clemson, but still fell short because their QBs suck. Auburn’s defense bailed them out, but their inability to move the ball through the air was obvious and made them easy to defend. Sure, it came down to a Hail Mary break-up to decide the game, but this Auburn defense cannot play an entire season with this kind of QB play. As for Clemson, they have DeShaun Watson so they are gooooooooooooooood. It is not easy for any team to walk into a hostile environment like Jordan-Hare, but I fully believe in Watson’s ability to carry this team through the season. It will be fun to watch their match-ups with Louisville and Florida State.

LSU is in trouble

  • If the team that was supposed to unseat Alabama in the SEC couldn’t even handle an unranked Wisconsin team, they probably have some issues. LSU didn’t play poorly, but just like last year they look one dimensional on offense and my faith in Brandon Harris is slipping. Who else can they play at QB though? Danny Etling? That dude couldn’t even win the starting job at Purdue, much less carry LSU to the Promised Land. Wisconsin controlled this game, and the Badgers deserve some respect after containing one of this year’s Heisman Trophy favorites. Leonard Fournette looked good, but nothing spectacular just as his 2015 season ended. LSU has a lot to fix if they are going to keep their dim playoff hopes alive and keep their coach employed. The Mad Hatter may want to see if trading for a QB is possible in the college ranks.

Nick Chubb is going to make Kirby Smart look real good

  • Congrats to Kirby Smart on winning his first game as the head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. More congrats to Nick Chubb for being the reason Smart won his debut. Smart’s defense was solid all day, but it was the Return of the Chubb that really powered the Bulldogs. 222 rushing yards in a return from a gruesome knee injury? I suppose that’s a good number, nothing too outrageous. In all seriousness, Chubb is going to make or break Georgia’s season with true freshman Jacob Eason likely taking over the starting job.  Let’s just see how far those tree trunks can carry the Dawgs.

The Longhorn Hype Machine is Back

  • Are they really back? Can Texas actually win games again? Answer: maybe, but they sure as hell can score touchdowns again. True freshman Shane Buechele was fantastic in his debut and Tyrone Swoopes’ play out of the “18-Wheeler Package” was like watching a mack truck explode in a crappy Michael Bay movie. Notre Dame’s Deshone Kizer was no slouch himself. The Irish are going to have to score points to win games this year since they obviously can’t stop anyone and this guy can carry this team. Both these teams have some work to do on defense, but if you’re a fan of offense keep an eye on Buechele and Kizer this season.

Florida State can be dominant, Ole Miss is hurting up front

  • It was a rough first half, but after watching the Seminoles rip-off 33 straight points against Ole Miss I was sold on them as a legit national title contender. Not to mention the unmerciful punishment DeMarcus Walker laid on the Reb’s offensive line. This looks like a team that can do it all; rush the passer, force turnovers, throw, run, and can really be a force in the trenches.  That’s scary in an ACC that lost a lot of defensive talent to the NFL. As for Ole Miss, they got dominated upfront on offense. After scoring 28 first half points, the offensive line couldn’t keep their composure and imploded leading to three second half turnovers. This team needs to score to win, a running theme it seems because they have a great pass rush and need to keep themselves in situations to use that as a strength. It won’t matter though if they can’t protect Chad Kelly or if he doesn’t protect himself by throwing the ball away. With another big match-up with Alabama looming in week 3, Ole Miss needs to use this week’s tune up game to get things back in order.

Alabama is still really good at football

  • No experience at quarterback? Two new running backs? The Bama dynasty has to take this year off right? WRONG! Alabama thumped USC with a two freshman quarterbacks, two inexperienced running backs, and a reloaded defense full of talented future pros. Even after a rough first quarter offensively, the Tide’s ability to win this game never felt in question. Freshman QB Jalen Hurts lived up to his legendary off season and scored four touchdowns, including passing scores of 39 and 71 yards. This was the most impressive performance of the weekend besides Florida State’s. Alabama will be the No. 1 ranked team until someone knocks them off and by the looks of the first week, that is going to be tough to do.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dn7zyIiGO2o

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About Author

Shake n' Bake is a true sports nerd. Few things make him happier than sitting down with a beer and watching highlights to breakdown games and player's skills. If there is one thing Shake knows it is football and the NFL Draft ranks up there with Christmas and Opening Day. The author of the "Baker's Dozen" isn't just waiting around for weekends in the fall. He's all in on basketball, hockey, baseball, and golf. Shake is going let you know how he feels about something and is about as blunt as it gets so be ready Schmo's!