The college football season opened with a wild weekend that featured sloppy play, close calls and some startling upsets. Here’s a look at the top 10 things we learned during the weekend:
1. From the reaction of some members of the media, you would have thought Jadeveon Clowney played himself out of the Heisman Trophy Thursday night. Clowney, South Carolina’s star defensive end, did not have a sack and finished with three tackles. He said he was battling a stomach virus. Clowney’s tepid play had little impact on South Carolina’s 27-10 win over North Carolina. It shouldn’t diminish the way we view Clowney. I wasn’t expecting him to walk on water during the first game of the year.
2. When does a win feel like a loss? When you’re Lane Kiffin. The USC coach watched his team struggle against an inferior Hawaii team. Even though the Trojans got the win, it left many to wonder about Kiffin’s job security in the Land of Troy.
3. Johnny Manziel’s immature and entitled display during Texas A&M’s win over Rice shows why he won’t win another Heisman Trophy. Manziel said in July he would let his play on the field talk for him. Well, his play on the field Saturday showed he’s a spoiled brat and a poor leader.
4. Deshazor Everett must have something better to do during the first half hour of games. The Texas A&M defensive back was suspended for the first half against Rice due to an undisclosed violation of team rules and, thanks to a targeting penalty he picked up during the second half against the Owls, he was ejected and will miss the first half of the Aggies’ next game against Sam Houston State.
5. Despite the impressive final score, Alabama’s 35-10 victory over Virginia Tech wasn’t perfect. The offensive line allowed quarterback AJ McCarron to be sacked four times and only managed 96 yards on the ground. The mistakes can be corrected, but it’s a hurdle for a team looking to win its third straight national championship.
6. After the smoke cleared, eight teams from the FCS beat FBS opponents this weekend — the most during the BCS era. The FCS teams scored wins over well-known teams, including No. 25 Oregon State and Kansas State.
8. Three of the four new coaching hires in the SEC had successful debuts. Kentucky’s Mark Stoops was the only rookie coach who failed to secure a win. His Wildcats fell 35-26 to Western Kentucky. Former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino earned the win in his first game leading the Hilltoppers.
9. Clemson’s victory over Georgia was the programs second straight win over a SEC opponent. The Tigers beat No. 9 LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl last season and the win Saturday night over the fifth-ranked Bulldogs throws Clemson squarely into the national championship discussion.
10. The American Athletic Conference was hoping for a strong showing during the first weekend of the post-Big East era. The league couldn't deliver, with UConn and USF falling to FCS opponents. Rutgers, one of the league's stronger teams, also lost 52-51 to Fresno State in overtime. The AAC will be leaning Louisville, Cincinnati and UCF to help boost its image the rest of this season.
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