The upset of Week 1 in college football wasn’t really an upset — if you ask SEC fans. Bill Napier, in his first game as the head coach of Florida, knocked off defending Pac-12 champ, No. 7 Utah, in a contest of physical strength that featured six lead changes and a tie.
After Gator QB Anthony Richardson punched it in from the 1-yard line with 1:25 left, Cam Rising led the Utes as far as the Florida 6 before Amari Burney picked him off in the endzone to seal the game, and send Gainesville residents into a blissful stupor for the rest of the weekend.
But Florida supporters weren’t the only SEC fans celebrating this week as every school — save for LSU who plays Florida State today — won. While there are a lot of gimmes early in the year, No. 11 Oregon, No. 23 Cincinnati, and Utah weren’t supposed to be them.
No. 3 Georgia rolled over last year’s momentum to this season with a 49-3 dismemberment of the Ducks that left nothing but a puff of feathers. Auburn transfer and new Oregon quarterback Bo Nix left the conference for this exact reason. He threw for 173 yards with two picks, and added another 37 yards on the ground. If you want to know how bad things were for Oregon, Nix’s 37 yards rushing led the team. Stetson Bennett didn’t even make it to the fourth and still finished with 368 in the air and three total scores — two by air and one-and-a-half by land. (If you’re going to use your legs like this, you get credit for half a rushing score.)
Like the Dawgs, No. 19 Arkansas also brought last year’s momentum and quarterback to the 2022 season as KJ Jefferson played nearly flawless football, leading the Razorbacks past the Bearcats with four total touchdowns. His only hiccup being a fumble in the third quarter.
I’m not going to say much about Alabama because they faced Utah State, winning 55-0. The only thing I’ll note is reigning Heisman trophy winner Bryce Young kicked off his follow-up season by tying Tua Tagovailoa’s school record for most touchdowns in a game (six).
As funny as Brian Kelly fucking up the SEC’s perfect opening week would be, the game is in the Super Dome, and the Seminoles are trying to dig out from a deeper hole than the Bayou Bengals. Take LSU -3.5 while the season is young and Vegas doesn’t know any better.
If you’re looking for other non-conference SEC games to wager on, Bama plays Texas next week, and the sharps can’t make that line high enough; No. 17 Pitt escaped the Backyard Brawl, and now has to sprint up and down the field against Hendon Hooker and Tennessee in Week 2; and No. 16-and-rising Miami tries to make it “back” for the 18th consecutive season against No. 6 Texas A&M in Week 3.
With Oregon and Utah losing, the highest ranked program in the Pac-12 could very well be No. 14 USC, who routed Rice 66-14 on Saturday. I don’t know if I’m prepared for this. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen an elite USC team more recently than the other schools who are constantly trying to return their football programs to former glory, but they already look like a their old behemoth self.
It also doesn’t help when you give Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams 18 points off three pick-sixes.