College Football Scores 2012: Analyzing the Impact of Biggest Week 1 Surprises
Some of the outcomes of the first week of the 2012 football season, we could foresee from miles away. Others, we never could have predicted.
Either way, though, some of the results of Saturday's matchups proved that this is going to be a very interesting season.
Here's a look at some of the most significant outcomes from Week 1 of the college football schedule, and what they mean for the rest of the season going forward. For a full list of the Week 1 scores, click here.
Alabama 41, Michigan 14
For all of the people insisting that Alabama's title defense would begin with a resounding thud, here was Nick Saban's retort. The Crimson Tide put Michigan in an early hole that it had no hope of emerging from, and though it's a little early to be predicting which teams we'll see in the BCS championship, Alabama has already done wonders for its own case.
Coming off a national championship, it's no easy feat to destroy another top-10 opponent—especially one with a history as rich as Michigan's. But A.J. McCarron—who threw for 199 yards and two touchdowns—and the Crimson Tide proved that they are ready to make another run.
Michigan, alternately, proved that its No. 8 preseason ranking was merely wishful thinking. It can still rebound—it's only Week 1—but a bad loss to the No. 2 team in the nation is going to be a tough blow to recover from.
USC 49, Hawaii 10
Though this win wasn't nearly as impressive as Alabama's, given the opponent, it was a statement win nonetheless for Lane Kiffin's Trojans as they begin their first quest for the BCS championship since being slapped with a bowl ban in 2010.
Which team looked like it had a better shot at the BCS championship?
The rest of the college football universe may not have had to fear the Trojans for the last two seasons, but now, there's a new heavy hitter on the horizon, threatening to get in the way of LSU and Alabama.
Objectively, USC has everything it takes to make a decisive run this season: It has a veteran quarterback in Matt Barkley—who threw for 372 yards and a whopping four touchdowns—and it now has Penn State defector Silas Redd, who rushed for 56 yards and a TD in his USC debut.
Hawaii is not the most intimidating of opponents, but still—a 39-point win in the season opener is a pretty good way for a championship contender to assert itself.
Ohio 24, Penn State 14
It was a rough introduction for first-year head coach Bill O'Brien on Saturday—and an opening-game loss to a lackluster opponent like Ohio was only the first indication that the next few years are going to be rough for the Nittany Lions.
In their first game since the end of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal—and in their first game under their new head coach—the Nittany Lions suffered an upset that many saw coming. Even though Penn State was playing at home, and even though its program has a much richer history than a team like Ohio, everyone knew this was going to be a tough victory for Penn State to pull off. It was without its star running back in Redd—as well as a select few others who elected to transfer—and there's always a period of transition that comes with a coaching change.
But the Nittany Lions are going to have trouble finding a way to excuse the fact that they blew an 11-point halftime lead to an opponent like Ohio. By all indications, it's going to be a long four months—maybe even a long four years—in State College.
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