College football matchups, storylines: Revenge in the cards, Tigers vs. Tigers


Florida State Seminoles
, you’re done. Sorry to be blunt, but heading into Week 2, it’s hard to project the Noles winning the ACC and/or getting to the College Football Playoff.

Everything that could have gone wrong just about did. Championship hopes (probably) and a top-five ranking went pfft when
Deondre Francois
was lost for the season. Oh, and the Noles lost by 17 points to
Alabama Crimson Tide
.

That’s just the harsh reality of losing the opener. The last national champion to lose its opener was Miami in 1983.

Welcome, then, to Elimination Saturday. Sure, it’s the first of many to come, but this week begins to clear up the big picture — or at least create a demand for picture-in-picture.

In their infinite wisdom, the nation’s TV programmers have scheduled the week’s four biggest games all starting within a 90-minute period.

Check out Auburn-Clemson beginning at 7 p.m. ET. That’s followed by Oklahoma-Ohio State and Georgia-Notre Dame — both at 7:30. Stanford-USC comes along at 8:30.

Thanks, TV execs. Viewers are assured of going tempo with their remotes switching from game to game.

As for September losers to come, an analytics website reminded us this week it’s better to lose “early.” 

Well, yeah, except when you’re Alabama in 2011 and 2012. Despite November losses those seasons, Bama won national championships both years. Oh, and don’t forget
Oklahoma Sooners
in 2003. The Sooners remained No. 1 in the BCS and played for a national championship despite four-touchdown loss in December to
Kansas State Wildcats
in the Big 12 title game.

The site also stated one-loss teams have been given more “leeway” in the CFP era compared to the BCS.

Again … duh, since the number of teams playing for a championship has doubled from two to four.

It’s early … but it isn’t? I’m confused. On second thought, FSU, get back in here — in the big picture.

1. Revenge motive:
Ohio State Buckeyes
plays so many of these big games it’s hard to imagine them looking past Oklahoma. The Buckeyes handled the Sooners by 21 points last year in Norman. But there is reason to believe OU can pull this off.
Baker Mayfield
seems to have moved to another level. The Oklahoma receivers — particularly tight end
Mark Andrews
— are better than the
Indiana Hoosiers
group that gave Ohio State so much trouble. The Buckeyes’ secondary lost three first-round draft choices. For the Big 12’s playoff sake, Oklahoma has to pull this off. “I could care less. I love the Big 12 Conference … but I’m trying to win, take care of Oklahoma.”

2.
Detroit Tigers
vs. Tigers:
We’ll find out if
Clemson Tigers
is worthy of defending its national championship. We’ll find out if
Auburn Tigers
is capable of winning the SEC. We’ll find out if
Jarrett Stidham
can be the reason. We already know
Kelly Bryant
isn’t
Deshaun Watson
even if he put up big numbers against air (a.k.a.
Kent State Golden Flashes
). The difference may be Auburn’s
Kerryon Johnson
and his apparent hammy. Bettors stay away: The last five meetings have been decided by an average of less than a touchdown.

3.
Georgia Bulldogs
‘s travel plans:
They haven’t included leaving the Deep South much, oh, in the last several decades. Saturday’s adventure to
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
is the farthest the Dawgs have been out of their comfort zone since 2010 (
Colorado Buffaloes
). This isn’t about geography. It’s about a true freshman
Jake Fromm
trying to keep from waking up the echoes at ND. Fromm looked capable against
Appalachian State Mountaineers
leading the Dawgs to 31 consecutive points. If Georgia pulls the upset, can you “quarterback controversy” involving
Jacob Eason
in Athens?

4. Pac-12 shuffle: Or rather reshuffle if
Stanford Cardinal
wins at
Southern California Trojans
. Until the opener, the Trojans were considered the favorite. After struggling with
Western Michigan Broncos
and
Sam Darnold
throwing up a goose egg (no touchdown passes), the quality of competition goes way up. An upset would force us to consider the Cardinal in the league race and look ahead to the Nov. 10
Washington Huskies
game. No matter what, Stanford won’t blink. They haven’t played in two weeks, looked rugged as usual against
Rice Owls
, sport the speedy
Bryce Love
and have won three in a row in the series and seven of the last nine. What’s your deal? 

5. Media blackout: If
Pittsburgh Panthers
loses to
Penn State Nittany Lions
, coach Pat Narduzzi can’t blame the media. For the second straight year, Narduzzi is the lone spokesman for the team during Penn State week. Nards, we love ya, but not letting your players talk this week isn’t the way to go. Don’t coaches love continuity? Doesn’t a media blackout tell your players, “Win this game or else?” Yes, it does, especially after surviving Youngstown State in overtime. Not speaking to other human beings isn’t the key to beating the Nits. In fact, it’s going to ramp up the pressure on the Panthers.

Quick kicks: This is one of the least-hyped SEC openers as
South Carolina Gamecocks
at
Missouri Tigers
marks the league’s first conference game … It has been four games and 294 days between home games for Washington, which hosts Montana … The Pac-12 not only went 11-0 in nonconference games, but only three teams trailed in the second half: USC,
UCLA Bruins
and
Oregon State Beavers
… Four of the top seven rated passers after Week 1 are all from the Big 12 in
Jesse Ertz
(Kansas State), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma),
Mason Rudolph
(
Oklahoma State Cowboys
) and
Nic Shimonek
(
Texas Tech Red Raiders
) … The feel-good story of the season just got better

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