Alabama and Georgia Dominate Week One of College Football

Week one of college football saw new talent, rivalries, blowouts and upsets. Some teams did not live up to their preseason hype, while other underestimated teams rose in the rankings.

Going into week one, three teams were favored to win the national championship: the University of Alabama, the University of Georgia and Ohio State University.

In their season opener, the Alabama Crimson Tide team showcased its expected skill and talent in their 55-0 win over the Utah State Aggies. Alabama quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young attracted a particular spotlight, passing for five touchdowns and rushing for 100 yards, according to ESPN.

Alabama’s win can largely be attributed to the team’s strong defensive performance. Star Alabama linebacker Will Anderson, who put up a record of 31 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks last season, was another prominent figure in the Alabama defense’s near-flawless performance.

The University of Georgia’s game was also a blowout, exceeding the media’s expectations for the season. The Bulldogs beat the Oregon Ducks 49-3. Despite losing 15 players to the NFL draft, the Bulldogs went on to score seven consecutive touchdowns on their first seven drives of the season.

Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett, a walk-on who led Georgia to a national title in 2021, recorded a career-best 25 out of 31 completions for 368 passing yards against the Ducks.

Other players continued to make strides for the Bulldogs offense, including tight end Brock Bowers, running back Kenny McIntosh and wide receiver Lad McConkey. The defense also contributed to the team’s success with 15 different defenders each recording multiple tackles.

While Georgia and Alabama both demonstrated championship-level play, Ohio State faced more difficulties.

The Ohio State Buckeyes defeated Notre Dame, 21-10, though they faced greater challenges in their win than anticipated. Ohio State had difficulty on offense with star wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njiba suffering an injury and quarterback C.J. Stroud having trouble moving the ball against Notre Dame’s defense.

Nevertheless, the Buckeyes secured the win, and Stroud used his speed and running abilities to create successful plays despite pressure. Another large part of Ohio State’s victory was the team’s offensive power, led by talented running backs TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams, who showcased their ability to get into open field and weave through Notre Dame’s defensive line.

Another prime matchup was between the Clemson Tigers and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, with the Tigers winning 41-10.

Clemson starting quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, however, struggled as his receivers failed to get open downfield, and the offensive line was unable to help the running game. On the other hand, Clemson’s defensive front flourished, thanks to the efforts of linebacker Barrett Carter and defensive end K.J. Henry.

One of the most unexpected upsets of week one was the Florida Gators’ 29-16 win over the Utah Utes. With new Florida head coach Billy Napier, the Gators, an unranked team, won against the No. 7 Utes.

The Utes’ defense could not slow Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson’s dominant rushing performance, along with  his 274 passing yards. Richardson threw three passing touchdowns, and his offensive production led the Gators to success.

The Florida offensive line also played a clean game, and the team went for four consecutive touchdown drives in the second half. To seal the game, Gators linebacker Amari Burney intercepted a pass  from Utah quarterback Cameron Rising, ending the Utes’ final push in the red zone. After this performance, the Gators moved into the national top 10 ranking, causing sports analysts across the board to name them competitive for the SEC East championship.