Studs and Duds from Week 1 in College Football
An interesting Week 1 of the college football season has wrapped up and it's time to start giving credit where credit is due. In other cases, players and teams need to be put on blast for treating the first contest of the year like a preseason game.
It's the studs and duds!
A stud is a player or team that showed up like a boss and got the job done, while a dud is a disappointing player or team that needs to go back to the drawing board and figure something out.
The first week proved to be the underdogs' shining moment and an ACC quarterback's worst nightmare.
Dud: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Jadeveon Clowney gets all of the love when he's knocking running backs onto another planet, and he deserves the same treatment when he doesn't show up on a big stage. He was ineffective in South Carolina's 27-10 victory over North Carolina, as he appeared to be gassed every other play.
Clowney spent plenty of time on the sidelines catching his breath and looking winded. His condition is in question, but he doesn't seem to be too concerned, per Bill Bender of the Sporting News.
"Don't matter," Clowney said. "We got the win. That's all that matters. As long as we get that win I could care less."
That's the right attitude, but this is a major concern for South Carolina, especially with a trip to Georgia scheduled next week. The nation's top defensive player must get it together if the Gamecocks will have any chance of making a national championship run.
All offseason, LSU was treated like the redheaded stepchild. Many believed that the Tigers were due to take a step back this season, and it seemed to be a battle between Texas A&M and Alabama for the SEC West title.
LSU reminded everybody why you should still be paying attention.
In a game that was supposed to be one of the most competitive of the weekend, LSU really controlled TCU in a 37-27 win. The defense generated consistent pressure up front and held the Horned Frogs to only 13 first downs. The offense looked solid against the top Big 12 defense, racking up 26 first downs and 448 yards.
LSU never seemed to be in any real danger of losing this game and looked comfortable for such a young squad. The win was impressive and proved that the Tigers are still a threat to win the SEC for the second time in three years.
Dud: Targeting Rule
As expected, it didn't take long for the majority of college football fans to despise the new targeting rule. Several players throughout the country were ejected and many of them were questionable calls, as Mike Pereira of Fox Sports breaks down some of the most controversial hits.
Player safety is wonderful, and it's great to see the NCAA is trying to make the game safer by removing some of the nasty hits that cause concussions and more serious injuries. However, a big hit to a player's head has now effected any impact to a player's shoulder or chest area.
Anytime a player goes above the midsection, his intentions are questioned and he has a chance of being ejected.
This rule is already getting out of hand and will soon force all players to tackle low, which then puts players' knees in jeopardy. Or worse, the game will soon become flag football.
Stud: FCS Schools
Teams may want to reconsider scheduling those cupcake opponents early in the season. They are no longer coming for the paycheck; they are showing up to compete and may pull off the upset if the team isn't careful.
In the opening weekend, an incredible eight FCS schools knocked off an FBS opponent.
They include Eastern Washington over Oregon State, North Dakota State over Kansas State, McNeese State over South Florida, Northern Iowa over Iowa State, Eastern Illinois over San Diego State, Samford over Georgia State, Towson over Connecticut and Southern Utah over South Alabama.
This is what makes college football so awesome, and it's neat to see the underdog make some major noise.
Come on, Alabama!
All offseason, nobody could stop mentioning the Crimson Tide. They are the favorites to win the national championship for a third straight time, have a superhuman head coach in Nick Saban and a roster that puts most other teams to shame. There's no possible way Alabama is going to lose this season.
Alabama may have beaten Virginia Tech 35-10, but it wasn't impressive at all. The offensive line allowed constant pressure, the offense only picked up 11 first downs and the secondary allowed receivers open deep, but Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas couldn't complete a pass to save his life.
The Tide still managed to win the game comfortably, but showed that there may be a chink in the armor. That trip to Texas A&M in a couple of weeks just got a whole lot more interesting.
Stud: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Just when you thought you were going to avoid this guy.
Johnny Manziel is simply a boss. You may not agree with his off-the-field antics, but how can you dislike him on the field? He entered the game in the second half when the Aggies had a seven-point lead over Rice. He completed six of eight passes and threw three touchdowns. Aggies win 52-31, Manziel barely breaks a sweat and it's just another day at the office.
Manziel also had no problem celebrating the only way he knows how. He gave one Rice defender an autograph gesture, was constantly pretending to count money and then pointed to the scoreboard to remind the Owls that there was no chance of a comeback.
Maybe his attitude away from the game damages his reputation, but he is gold on the field for the Aggies and college football.
Dud: Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
It may be time to give up on quarterback Logan Thomas.
After once being pegged as the next surefire NFL draft pick, Thomas has fallen off like Big Mac toppings. He threw 16 interceptions last year and didn't exactly play well in the Hokies' 25-point loss to Alabama. He completed just 19.2 percent of his passes and threw for 59 yards and an interception.
Well, he was playing the best defense in the country.
True, but if Thomas was really worth the hype, he would have performed a lot better. His accuracy is about 10 yards off, he consistently throws off his back foot and struggles to read coverage. At this point, Thomas may not even be on NFL scouts' radar.
Maybe things change later in the year, but it's hard to believe.
Stud: Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Clemson's Tajh Boyd is one quarterback who has really improved his draft stock and could be one of the first players taken next year.
In a tough game against an athletic Georgia defense, Boyd completed 60 percent of his passes and threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns. He fit the ball into tight windows and improved his decision-making from the last two years.
Most importantly, Boyd led the Tigers to a 38-35 victory over the Bulldogs, which certainly puts them in the national championship conversation. After topping LSU in last year's Chick-fil-A Bowl, Clemson is no longer the program that can't win the big game. Instead, it is back on the radar and ready to compete with the best in the country.
Boyd has a lot to do with that rise.
USC is in serious trouble.
The team looked like the same group of players from last year who disappointed. Against Hawaii, USC converted on just three of 14 third-down attempts, racked up nine penalties and managed a lousy 172 passing yards.
Well, at least the Trojans beat the Warriors 30-13. However, there were many points in the game where it got a little hairy and looked like USC could really blow the season opener. The consistency and mental errors must improve if this is going to be a successful season.
USC will not win many games once it gets into the heart of the Pac-12 schedule if the struggles on both sides of the ball continue.
One team that was mighty impressive but isn't getting much attention is Washington.
The Huskies dominated Boise State 38-6 and were firing on all cylinders. The offense produced 592 yards on a respectable defense, while the the Broncos were held to 175 passing yards. Washington entered the season unranked, but that may change with this solid win.
Quarterback Keith Price looked like his old self, running back Bishop Sankey picked up where he left off a year ago and a young defense was flying to the ball.
If this play can continue throughout the year, the Huskies are a legit contender in the Pac-12.