To begin the Saturday marathon of college football most of us were watching the shitshow in Austin that turned into an early Heisman resume builder for defending-award recipient Bryce Young. Plenty of other weird stuff went down in the early window of intercollegiate gridiron. Aside from Alabama, the only ranked team that had any turbulence in the win column was No. 16 Arkansas, who started Southeastern Conference play with a win over South Carolina.
The Hogs are a trendy pick to either fall on their face the rest of the season or make a sneaky run to the New Year’s Six, and it’s easy to see why. Outside of facing two teams from the Show-Me State, up next against FCS-level Missouri State and a season finale against Mizzou, there’s no rest for Arkansas. It’ll build an impressive resume or a tailspin. I don’t see much in between.
Speaking of Missouri, the consistent quarterback play that dominated most of this century in Columbia with Brad Smith, Chase Daniel, Blaine Gabbert, and Drew Lock wasn’t on display today. The Tigers lost 40-12 to former Big 12 foe Kansas State with quarterbacks Brady Cook and Jack Abraham combining to throw four interceptions on four straight drives. And MU has Auburn, Georgia, and Florida as its first trio of SEC foes. Woof.
Ohio State, NC State, and Miami rolled through their opponents and continued the early-season honeymoon periods. Looking like his daddy, Marvin Harrison Jr. is emerging as a premier receiver in the Big Ten, catching seven passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns in Columbus in a win over Arkansas State. Wake Forest also took down previously undefeated Vanderbilt, 45-25, in Nashville.
North Carolina’s back-to-back road games against Sun Belt opposition led to another nail-bitter against Georgia State, winning by a touchdown. Rival Duke overcame a great performance by Northwestern’s Ryan Hilinski, throwing for 435 yards, to take down the Wildcats on the road. Utah easily bounced back after a season-opening loss to Florida and put up more than 70 points on Southern Utah. Penn State and Minnesota also blew out their opponents.
The biggest winner from the early window not named Bryce Young must be Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn. The all-purpose All-American from a year ago is in prime position to take down an All-American running back honor this year and not be shut out at his own position once again. He blazed past Missouri’s defense with 145 yards and two touchdowns. Vaughn has run for 100 or more yards in eight straight games, two shy of the Kansas State record held by Darren Sproles. Who do the Wildcats face in two weeks? Oklahoma, which should be one heck of a challenge.