College Football Observations from Week 1

by Vegas Writer

Tuesday, Sep 05, 2023
Welcome to a new football season ladies and gentlemen, and a brand new content format from yours truly, as I unveil the weekly plan to bring you informative articles leading up to a new week of action.

Starting next Tuesday there will be a weekly recap, giving you the digs on the plays I released the previous week - both winners and losers - with a brief discussion on some of the games that may have shocked me or some that provided no surprise at all. I won't go over every game, but more so the water-cooler conversational contests that deserve a follow-up.

On Wednesdays, you'll get the same type of article you're seeing today, beneath this introduction to my new content schedule, with College Football Observations. Things that stood out to me the week prior - some betting-related, others not-so-related - but let's be real, everything is betting-related this time of year.

Thursday we'll talk NFL, as you'll get my league rankings based on the previous week's observations, while I may add a few betting tidbits that might assist you with the upcoming week.

Those are the articles you can count on, but don't be surprised if I throw something in here and there.

For now, here are my College Football Observations after Weeks 0 and 1:

PRIMETIME BUFFS - As if this wasn't everyone's observation, right? Colorado scored six touchdowns in its season opener at TCU, resulting in a 45-42 upset as a 21-point underdog. Make note with this reinvigorated offense, the Buffaloes didn't score their sixth touchdown until the fifth game of the season last year.

Quarterback Shedeur Sanders, son of coach Deion, threw for 510 yards in the Buffs' season opener, and make note Colorado didn't reach 500 yards passing on the season until the second quarter of its fourth game last year.

Also impressive for the Buffs was Travis Hunter who was in for more than 110 snaps, playing on both sides of the ball. He finished with 11 receptions, 119 yards receiving, one interception and three tackles.

The Buffaloes, who are favored (-3) in their home opener against Nebraska, haven't been a favorite since Week of the 2021 season, when the laid -6 to Arizona and won, 34-0.

HEISMAN REPEAT - Two games into the season for USC's Caleb Williams, and I'm ready to hand him the Heisman Trophy for a second straight year. At the Pac-12 Media Day, he vowed to come into this season with a chip on his shoulder, after the way 2022 turned out. He and the Trojans were destined to make the College Football Playoff, but a hamstring injury in the conference championship led to a loss to Utah.

The revenge season is underway.

After throwing for 278 yards and four touchdowns in a Week 0 win over San Jose State, the reigning Heisman winner fired more touchdown passes (five) than he did incompletions (four) during the first half of the Trojans' 66-14 demolition over Nevada. He finished the game by torching the Wolf Pack for 18-of-24 passing and 319 yards to go along with his five TD tosses.

FLORIDA STATE DUDES - There's something to be said about having bonafide college football players, or having some downright dudes. If you know, you know. And what we saw during a dominating 45-24 win over LSU is Florida State chock full of talent that is laced with "them dudes" every roster should have.

Rewarded for their outstanding performances, Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis, wide receiver Keon Coleman and offensive lineman Bless Harris were named ACC Players of the Week.

Travis completed 23 of 31 passes for 342 yards and a career-high four touchdowns, including three to Coleman. Travis added a touchdown and 38 rushing yards on the ground to become the only quarterback in the country over the last 10 seasons with four passing and one rushing touchdown against a Top 5 team in the regular season. Thus far, he's the only quarterback with that stat line against an FBS opponent this season.

Coleman caught nine passes for 122 yards and three touchdowns, the most for a Seminole in his FSU debut, and the most for any Nole since the 2017 Independence Bowl. What was most impressive, and what reverberated with immediacy, was when Coleman slipped a tackle on his first catch and darted 40 yards for a touchdown to give the Noles a 7-0 lead. He tacked on a 21-yard touchdown to tie the game in the second quarter, and extended Florida State's lead with a 7-yard score in the fourth quarter.

Harris was impressive in his return from a season-ending injury against Duquesne in the 2022 season opener by playing 55 snaps off the bench. Harris was PFF's highest-graded offensive lineman for the Noles as FSU extended its streak of 35 points to seven games, the longest active streak in the country. Impressively, the Noles did not allow a sack against the Tigers for the second consecutive season.

The Seminoles, who are -29.5 in this week's home opener vs. Southern Miss, are on a 4-0 ATS roll when laying 18 or more to FBS foes since Week 8 of the 2021 season.

TOOTHLESS TIGERS - One of my best plays this past week came Monday night, when I loved Duke plus the big number against Clemson. Something tells me the Tigers have a long road ahead, after seeing their stagnant offense.

The Tigers, who get quite the reprieve this week against Charleston Southern, fell 16 places from No. 9 to No. 25 after their 28-7 loss to the Blue Devils.

I don't want to take anything away from Duke's defense, because it did stand tall against the Tigers when they pushed inside the 10-yard-line - as far as the 1 on two of those occasions - and held them scoreless.

It was Clemson's first game under new offensive coordinator Garrett Riley, after coach Dabo Swinney fired close friend and former OC Brandon Streeter back in January after just one season. Riley was hired away from TCU, where he served in the same capacity through the Horned Frogs' embarrassing 65-7 loss to Georgia in the National Championship.

It was a questionable move considering the Tigers improved from 5.2 yards per play, 26.3 points per game and 2.0 points per drive in 2021 to 5.6, 33.2 and 2.5, respectively, in 2022.

Again, it's not to take away from an experienced Duke team that brought back a wealth of its starters, but could be alarming when the Tigers have a guy like Will Shipley in the backfield.

HOPSCOTCH - Remember the days of drawing a hopscotch court on the playground? Big pieces of chalk to create the court, and you had to make your way through the lined course without stepping on a line.

Sort of feels the same way when maneuvering your way through college football's hopscotch course of favorites - ahem, chalk - without stepping out of bounds with any of the lines.

First of all, AP Top 25 results through Week 1 find teams 24-3 SU and 17-10 ATS, with the following breakdown:

Week 0: 2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS
Week 1: 22-3 SU, 16-9 ATS (one game involved two Top 25 teams)

As for point-spread breakdowns, every week I'll update you with regular board games (no FCS or added), broken down into different point-spread ranges.

Through Week 1, favorites are 26-26 with the following breakdown:

1-3 1/2 ............ 3-3
4-7 1/2 ........... 4-5
8-10 1/2 ......... 2-3
11-14 1/2 ........ 4-4
15-19 1/2 ........ 2-3
20 and up ... 11-8

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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