Each week during college football season we put the conventional polls to shame by ranking every FBS team from 1-125, by whatever standard we see fit.
1. ALABAMA (1–0). If you only caught the final score, you might be under the impression that Bama's 35–10 win over Virginia Tech was just another routine bludgeoning on the order of last year's opening-night romp over Michigan, or January's championship romp over Notre Dame, or any number of identically grisly spectacles by the most ruthlessly efficient killers in the game. But you'd only be two-thirds right: While the defense and special teams did their part to make sure the outcome was never in doubt, the offense—equally celebrated for a change after setting school records for yards and points in 2012—was a distant shadow of the machine we saw in January's BCS title game. Most of the lineup in that game was intact against the Hokies, with the glaring exception of three All-Americans on the offensive line who are now drawing large NFL paychecks. The drop-off up front was immediate and obvious against Tech's long-in-the-tooth defensive line, resulting in Alabama's worst game in terms of total offense (206 yards), yards per play (3.3), and first downs (11) since 2008. A.J. McCarron, the most efficient passer in the nation as a junior, finished with the worst rating of his career by a mile.
All that notwithstanding, we're still talking about a team that scored touchdowns on offense, defense, and special teams less than 16 minutes into the season. The revenge date at Texas A&M is two weeks away.
2. CLEMSON (1–0). Last week I was on the Tajh Boyd bandwagon; after the Tigers' 38–35 win over Georgia I am driving it. Boyd is a great college quarterback (and pro prospect) for all of the usual reasons, beginning with his uncanny accuracy as a passer. But he's a fun, likable quarterback because he is so oblivious to his own well-being: Unable to establish statuesque "poise" behind a shaky line, Boyd will pull the ball down to run in any situation, and he takes on tacklers like the fullback he would have been if he'd had the misfortune of playing 20 years ago. He's also the Tigers' go-to rusher in short-yardage situations and in the red zone. Combining the win over Georgia with last year's above-the-fold dates against Florida State, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, and LSU, Boyd has carried 97 times for 161 yards—a tenderizing average of 19.4 carries per game for 1.7 yards per carry. But he's also run for six touchdowns in those games, two of them coming Saturday against the Bulldogs, where his long run of the night covered 10 yards. He does a lot of dirty work, and as a result Clemson has never been better.
3. LSU (1–0). The Tigers lost eight draft picks from the 2012 team, plus four others who declared for the draft, and benched their leading rusher due to an offseason arrest, none of which made any discernible difference whatsoever in a 37–27 win over TCU. As usual, Les Miles had no trouble finding new bodies for the backfield (Alfred Blue and Terrence Magee combined for 184 yards on 5.8 per carry) or the defensive line, which was largely responsible for limiting the Frogs to 289 yards on offense; as usual, LSU completely controlled the tempo, amassing a 12-minute advantage in time of possession. Even the passing game came through, producing a pair of 100-yard receivers. The only complaint is the final score was much closer than it should have been—TCU returned a kickoff for a touchdown, and scored another after an LSU fumble inside its own 10-yard line—and the bizarre sequence in which TCU's entire team had to be called back from the locker room for an LSU field goal attempt at the end of the first half could have been much more chaotic and hilarious than it was.
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4. OREGON (1–0). Feel free to ignore the fact that the Ducks ran 71 plays Saturday for 772 yards and 66 points in the first game of the post-Chip Kelly era, which is pretty much par for the course against the overmatched likes of Nicholls State. Pay attention to the fact that they did it while holding the ball for less than 20 minutes in time of possession.
5. FLORIDA STATE (1–0). Hyped redshirt Jameis Winston completed 25 of 27 passes Monday night for 377 yards and four touchdowns in the first start of his college career, a 41–13 blowout over Pitt. In the pantheon of opening-night performances against mediocre ACC defenses, this was Citizen Kane.
6. OHIO STATE (1–0). Urban Meyer called for two-point conversions after both of the Buckeyes' first two touchdowns against the Buffalo Bulls. Will this monster stop at nothing to satisfy his urge to bathe in the blood of the innocent?
7. TEXAS (1–0). Which Longhorns team do you prefer: the one that committed four turnovers on its first five possessions of the season against lowly New Mexico State? Or the one that proceeded to score five touchdowns on its next 16 offensive snaps en route to a school record for total offense? As always, reality is here to cater to your preconceived opinion, whatever it may be.
8. NOTRE DAME (1–0). Quarterback Tommy Rees passed for 263 yards and three touchdowns against Temple before halftime, a brazen slap in the face to Notre Dame tradition. (Rumor is that some of it was even produced from the scandalous "Pistol" formation.) Chastened, Rees returned to give the crowd its money's worth with an exhibition of tasteful handoffs in the second half, and was rewarded with both a not-too-decisive victory and a round of respectfully doffed caps from the gentlemen.
9. STANFORD. Cardinal didn't play Saturday, still gave up more points than they will in a handful of games this season.
10. SOUTH CAROLINA (1–0). I wanted to believe in the legend of Jadeveon Clowney very badly, but this was not hard to see coming: After eight months of being fed a narrative that billed Clowney as equal parts Grendel and Paul Bunyan, viewers would inevitably be disappointed to discover that the freak is but a mere mortal, and ESPN obliged by devoting much of the second half of South Carolina's 27–10 win over North Carolina to Clowney's apparent fatigue. ("The beast appears to be having difficulty breathing our air!") While failing to devour Tar Heel QB Bryn Renner whole, however, Clowney was a key part of a defense that held UNC to 10 points on 293 yards of total offense, more than 100 yards worse than its worst performance in 2012. How long do they have to keep that up before it's a bigger deal than Clowney's personal sack total?
11. OKLAHOMA STATE (1–0). At one point in the Cowboys' 21–3 win over Mississippi State, the announcers related the story of how OSU head coach Mike Gundy found his new offensive coordinator by literally conducting an Internet search in his office, which explains a lot. After averaging well over 300 yards per game through the air from 2010-12, the Cowboys racked up nearly twice as many yards on the ground against MSU—286 rushing to 146 passing—the first time they've failed to pass for 200 since 2009. Quarterback J.W. Walsh led the way with 125 yards rushing, and it looks like they're going to let him keep on running, much to the chagrin of his backup's family.
12. GEORGIA (0–1). Georgia is an extremely athletic team with top-shelf players all over the field, especially on offense. (Tackling sophomore tailback Todd Gurley is like tackling a large appliance on a ski slope.) But the turning point in the Bulldogs' loss to Clemson had nothing to do with talent, or scheme, or anything but random buggery. Trailing 31–28 early in the fourth quarter, UGA lined up for a chip-shot field goal to tie, only to come away empty after a botched snap/hold by a couple of guys who almost assuredly were not ranked by Rivals.com. From there Clemson scored again to go up by 10—catching another break on the way when a bad snap of its own was negated by a false start penalty—and just like that the game was effectively out of the Bulldogs' reach. Fittingly, the final margin between moving onto the short list of championship frontrunners and being relegated to the on-deck circle was, yes, three points.
13. LOUISVILLE (1–0).Teddy Bridgewater is who we thought he was, carpet-bombing Ohio's secondary for 355 yards and five touchdowns Sunday while looking about as engaged as Grigori Perelman in pre-algebra. He'll be putting on this show weekly for the next 12 weeks, reinforcing with each performance how depressing it is that he's not going to get a chance to do it against a real, live defense until either a bowl game or the Oakland Raiders' 2014 opener.
14. TEXAS A&M (1–0). You don't have to be some liberal Austin hippie like me to find the whole A&M gestalt suspicious, at best, especially if you're terrified by the looming specter of Rick Perry 2016. But I swear to God, nothing will stop me from becoming an open and enthusiastic Aggie if Saturday's swaggery debut against Rice is a prelude to a full-fledged heel turn over the rest of the season. Johnny Manziel alone has more potential as an unapologetic, harmless media villain than anyone in college football since the Jimmy Johnson/Luther Campbell-era Miami Hurricanes dissed Penn State at the Fiesta Bowl talent show. Immediately upon his return from one of the most pointless suspensions in NCAA history, Manziel was caught on camera talking shit to a Rice player, miming the universal signal for "MONEY" after his first touchdown pass, and getting flagged for more shit-talking after his third touchdown pass—all while wrecking shop in Heisman-worthy fashion. (As a bonus, two others Aggies were ejected in the span of a few plays for targeting and throwing a punch, respectively.)
It turns out that the only thing more off-putting than Manziel's entitled frat-boy vibe is hours upon hours of talking heads bitching about Manziel's entitled frat-boy vibe—phony, self-righteous clucking of the lowest order. (Did 20-year-old Todd McShay ever accept gifts from his parents, or do anything that might make him seem like kind of a jackass to strangers? Do we need an instant record of his every move on the Internet to answer that?) Manziel is the perfect candidate to embrace this role because he is a) just churlish enough to do things like engaging with Twitter trolls, getting kicked out quarterback camp for being hung over, flouting outdated NCAA rules, getting in an opponent's face, etc., while also being b) infuriatingly good at football. His potential as a tabloid antagonist is off the charts. I hope he is bad as he can possibly be while remaining eligible and not actually hurting anyone, and I hope he backs it up. If he takes A&M to the top, the disbelief and barely concealed disgust of the self-appointed adults in the room will be worth it.
15. WASHINGTON (1–0). The Huskies inaugurated their rebuilt stadium by taking the same Boise State team that edged them by two points in last year's Las Vegas Bowl behind the woodshed, 38–6, even with their best offensive weapon on the bench. The 32-point margin marked Boise's worst beating under coach Chris Petersen, by far—the last time the Broncos lost by that much was in the 2005 opener at Georgia, when Petersen was still an assistant—and their first double-digit defeat since 2007. All five losses from 2008 to 2012 came by a combined 11 points. In the same span, they won three opening-night games against heavy hitters Oregon, Virginia Tech, and Georgia. So for now, we have no choice to at least entertain the notion that Washington is pretty good all of a sudden.
16. OLE MISS (1–0). Given the rest of the schedule, the Rebels could pretty much call it a season with an opening-night loss at Vanderbilt, which is why their wild fourth-quarter comeback in Nashville was even more dramatic than it felt in the moment. Now all they have to do is survive Southeast Missouri before things get fun again during a five-game stretch against Texas, Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M, and LSU, the first three of those coming on the road.
17. PENN STATE (1–0). With freshman quarterbacks, the positives always loom larger than the negatives, and there was plenty to like about Christian Hackenberg's 22-of-31, 278-yard debut against Syracuse—especially on a pair of long touchdown passes in the second half, confirming rumors of his precocious arm strength. On the other hand, he also served up two interceptions and got nothing from the running game (the Nittany Lions' longest gain on the ground covered 11 yards), which is not a sustainable model for Big Ten play.
18. CINCINNATI (1–0).The Bearcats obliterated Purdue, 42–7, signifying nothing. (The only reliable takeaway from the victory was the triumphant return of Munchie Legaux as the starting quarterback after losing the job midway through 2012.) But the mere fact that they didn't fall on their faces against a Big Ten doormat keeps some hope alive for the best possible scenario in the BIG AMERICA, a meaningful showdown between Cincinnati and Louisville in the season finale, where a BCS bid will likely be on the line and both teams could conceivably be undefeated against meh schedules.
19. FLORIDA (1–0). My favorite quote of the weekend came courtesy of milquetoast Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel, who assured reporters after the Gators' milquetoast win over Toledo that, "Big plays will come. You can't force them. Later down the road they will come." Florida receivers in 2012: Thirteen touchdowns on 10.4 yards per catch, next-to-last in the SEC on both counts. Florida receivers on Saturday, against a MAC defense: One touchdown on 9.0 yards per catch, with a long of 26. But someday, somehow, just wait, that big-play plane is going to land
20. OKLAHOMA (1–0). Like Oklahoma State, the Sooners' new quarterbacks are more adept at this stage with their legs than their arms, combining for fewer passing yards against UL–Monroe (124) than Oklahoma had amassed in any game since a September 2007 loss at Colorado. Then again, OU was quarterbacked in that game by a young Sam Bradford, who turned out just fine, so the jury on redshirt freshman Trevor Knight will remain out for the foreseeable future.
21. WISCONSIN (1–0). The arrival of a new coach did nothing to change the essential Wisconsinosity of Wisconsin, which looked like every single Wisconsin team ever by rushing for 393 yards in a shutout win over UMass. Three different Badger rushers went over the century mark, which means very little against UMass except as an indication that the basic M.O. in Madison has not changed.
22. MICHIGAN (1–0). I respect Michigan for turning in a debut that so thoroughly defies comment. In beating Central Michigan, 59–9, the Wolverines did exactly what they were supposed to do to Directional U, nothing more or less, didn't produce any particularly gaudy statistics and revealed nothing we didn't already know in the process. This game ceased to be interesting after the first score, a blocked punt returned for a Michigan touchdown barely two minutes in.
23. FRESNO STATE (1–0). Derek Carr attempted 73 passes for 456 yards and five touchdowns in a wild, 52–51 win over Rutgers, which is all well and good. (If you're tuning in to Fresno State and Rutgers on a Friday night, it's certainly a hell of a lot better than the alternative.) But can we come to a clear cultural consensus already that throwing the ball a lot is not the same as throwing the ball well? Fortunately, we're long past the era when media types brought up on the Wishbone and three yards and a cloud of dust could be sufficiently moved by big passing numbers to anoint chuck-and-duck types like Andre Ware and Ty Detmer with the Heisman Trophy. Even in 2013, though, broadcasts still routinely defer to passing yards as the stat of record for quarterbacks, when it's almost always a measure of quantity rather than quality. In Carr's case, his total made him the leading passer in the nation. In efficiency terms, on the other hand, he finished with a pedestrian 6.4 yards per attempt and passer rating of 144.6, only about eight points above the national average.
24. TCU (0–1).The Horned Frogs held up better against LSU on the field than they did in the box score, particularly starting corners Jason Verrett and Kevin White, who combined for 11 tackles and seven passes broken up but seemed to be in on many more plays than that. In the end they were physically overmatched, and left the Jerry Dome with at least as many questions on offense as they had coming in. Given the competition, though, they did nothing to undermine their status as legitimate contenders in the Big 12.
25. VIRGINIA TECH (0–1). The Hokies have more to feel good about than the 35–10 final score against Alabama suggests, as they effectively played the defending champs to a standstill outside of three big, once-a-season kind of plays in the first half. (Here's guessing they don't have to worry much about losing again on punt, kickoff or interception returns, much less all three in a span of 15 minutes.) But we knew the defense was going to be good. The question was the offense, which was a one-dimensional horror show in 2012 and showed no dimensions against the Crimson Tide. (Yes, freshman tailback Trey Edmunds supplied a brief spark on a long touchdown run in the first half, but averaged just 2.9 yards on his other 19 carries.) Senior Logan Thomas may be the most physically gifted quarterback in the country, but for now he's also the lowest rated after a 5-of-26 debacle that undermines any notion of progress from his disappointing turn in 2012. Some help would be nice.
26. MICHIGAN STATE (1–0).
27. MIAMI (1–0).
28. UCLA (1–0). Bruin quarterback Brett Hundley accounted for 337 total yards and four touchdowns in a 58–20 blowout over Nevada. Hall-of-Famer Ronnie Lott honored the performance by falling off the Pac-12 Network set on live television.
29. USC (1–0). I took more heat last week for projecting the Trojans in the top 10 than any other pick, and while they still have every opportunity to finish there, I'm not clinging to any pride over a team that picked up right where it left off last year in a lackluster win at Hawaii. These rankings are meant to be more descriptive than predictive, and there are no ways to describe USC's quarterback situation right now without resorting to analogies to certain bodily fluids.
30. NEBRASKA (1–0). The Huskers also plummet from the top 10 for the crime of allowing 602 yards and 35 first downs in a razor-thin call against Wyoming. Dating back to last season, Wyoming is the third consecutive offense to average at least eight yards per play against the "Blackshirts."
31. NORTHWESTERN (1–0). The most impressive thing about the Wildcats' win at Cal may have been that they outgunned the Bears with both of their headliners, quarterback Kain Colter and tailback Venric Mark, sidelined for the entire second half with an apparent concussion and knee injury, respectively.
32. BAYLOR (1–0). This is not intramurals but seriously, an Art Briles-coached offense versus Wofford is probably deserving of some kind of mercy rule.
33. NORTHERN ILLINOIS (1–0).
34. ARIZONA (1–0).
35. ARIZONA STATE.
36. GEORGIA TECH (1–0).
37. NORTH CAROLINA STATE (1–0).
38. TEXAS TECH (1–0).
39. BOWLING GREEN (1–0).
40. TENNESSEE (1–0).
41. VIRGINIA (1–0).
42. AUBURN (1–0). Against Washington State, the Tigers relayed calls via giant placards on the sideline that featured pictures of (among others) Rick Ross, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, and the Antonio Banderas version of Puss in Boots as signals.
43. VANDERBILT (0–1).
44. ARKANSAS (1–0).
45. MISSOURI (1–0).
46. UTAH (1–0).
47. NORTH CAROLINA (0–1).
48. INDIANA (1–0). With 73 points against Indiana State, the Hoosiers currently lead the nation in scoring. Take a screenshot and frame it while you still can.
49. RUTGERS (0–1).
50. MARSHALL (1–0).
51. MARYLAND (1–0).
52. MISSISSIPPI STATE (0–1).
53. EAST CAROLINA (1–0).
54. SAN JOSE STATE (1–0).
55. WEST VIRGINIA (1–0). It says a lot about the West Virginia ground game the last two years that the leading rushers in both 2011 (Dustin Garrison) and 2012 (Andrew Buie) are still on the roster, but can't break the three-deep behind newcomers Charles Sims, Dreamius Smith, and Wendell Smallwood. Against William & Mary, the Mountaineers ran 44 times with just 27 passes, their most run-oriented distribution in three years under coach Dana Holgorsen.
56. UTAH STATE (0–1).
57. WESTERN KENTUCKY (1–0).
58. DUKE (1–0).
59. HOUSTON (1–0).
60. CENTRAL FLORIDA (1–0).
61. BYU (0–1.)
62. MINNESOTA (1–0).
63. IOWA (0–1). The Hawkeyes scored 24 points in the first half against Northern Ilinois, more than they scored in eight entire games in 2012. At halftime, they adjusted accordingly: In the second half, the Hawkeyes managed only a field goal and lost on the last play after throwing an interception deep in their own territory.
64. KANSAS STATE (0–1). I'm still a little bit wary of the people who actually predicted an upset by North Dakota State over the defending Big 12 champs, but in K-State's defense I am willing to believe that the shocker of the weekend says a lot more about the Bison than it does about their latest victims. For one, there have been others: Kansas in 2010, Minnesota in 2011, Colorado State in 2012, all practice runs for the big kill. For another, North Dakota State is just pretty damn good. Just a few years removed from "provisional" status, the Bison have won back-to-back FCS titles on the back of a dominant defense, one that's held eight playoff opponents over the last two years to 8.8 points per game. (The highest-scoring FCS team in the nation in both of those seasons, Sam Houston State, managed six points in the 2011 championship game and 13 in last year's rematch.) The upset in Manhattan looked a lot like a vintage K–State ambush, especially the winning drive, an 18-play, 80-yard march that snuffed out the final nine minutes of the game. If you can imagine a more fitting name than "Brock Jensen" for the quarterback who somehow out-tortoised Bill Snyder, I'd like to hear it.
Anyway, this is the part where everyone writes off Kansas State as marginally talented frauds getting a long-overdue dose of reality until we look up in a couple months and realize the Wildcats have won like eight in a row.
65. CALIFORNIA (0–1). At some point in the next couple of months Cal is going to set some unsuspecting frontrunner's season on fire. While the Golden Bears are still toiling near the bottom of the Pac-12 pecking order after a 44–30 loss to Northwestern, there was a lot to like in their debut, most notably their youth: First-year coach Sonny Dykes inherited the greenest lineup in the Pac-12, and aside from some untimely, correctable turnovers the result was reasonably competitive the first time out. The quarterback, true freshman Jared Goff, flashed a major-league arm in the course of throwing 63 times—a school record, if that was in question—and his top two receivers, Chris Harper and Bryce Treggs, are both true sophomores. Almost everyone who took the field will be back in 2014, and the ones that won't are hardly irreplaceable. But the first major ambush is going to come before that; once Goff's brain begins to catch up to his arm, no one is safe. (Well, Oregon. Oregon is probably safe.)
66. OREGON STATE (0–1).
67. ARKANSAS STATE (1–0).
68. RICE (0–1).
69. COLORADO (1–0). Buffaloes! Look at you snapping last year's eight-game losing streak against your in-state rival! After dropping eight games by at least 25 points in 2012, a late surge to put away Colorado State in the fourth quarter is the first sign of progress here, however small, since anyone on the current roster has been on campus.
70. BOISE STATE (0–1). I don't really think they're going to be this bad in the long run, but for now the most appropriate way I can think of to punish the Broncos for their uncharacteristic flop at Washington is to rank them below Colorado.
71. KENT STATE (1–0).
72. BALL STATE (1–0).
74. AIR FORCE (1–0).
75. WYOMING (0–1).
76. TOLEDO (0–1).
77. SYRACUSE (0–1).
78. PITTSBURGH (0–1).
79. BOSTON COLLEGE (1–0).
80. WAKE FOREST (1–0).
81. TROY (1–0).
82. NORTH TEXAS (1–0).
83. WASHINGTON STATE (0–1).
84. TULSA (0–1).
85. OHIO (0–1).
86. LOUISIANA TECH (0–1). After leading the nation in total and scoring offense in 2012, the new-look Bulldogs went three-and-out on eight of 13 offensive possessions against N.C. State, also losing four fumbles in a 40–14 loss.
87. MIDDLE TENNESSEE (1–0).
88. ARMY (1–0).
89. TEMPLE (0–1).
90. SMU (0–1).
91. NEVADA (0–1).
92. ILLINOIS (1–0). The official @IlliniFootball Twitter feed commemorated Saturday's down-to-the-wire win over an FCS school, Southern Illinois, with a tweet declaring the Land of Lincoln, "Our State," thus vanquishing the Salukis back to a specially designated reservation along the Kentucky border. After a nine-game losing streak to close 2012, any opportunity to assert your authority is worth taking.
93. TEXAS STATE (1–0).
94. TEXAS–SAN ANTONIO (1–0).
95. LOUISIANA–MONROE (0–1).
96. LOUISIANA–LAFAYETTE (0–1).
100. KENTUCKY (0–1). Officially, the Wildcats drew a larger crowd for coach Mark Stoops's debut in the spring game (50,831) than for Saturday's loss to Western Kentucky (46,723), and for his sake, that's probably a good thing.
101. PURDUE (0–1). Eight of Purdue's 11 offensive possessions against Cincinnati ended in a turnover, turnover on downs, or three-and-out, including all six possessions in the second half of a 42–7 debacle. The Boilermakers' only points were the result of a muffed punt that set up the offense at the Bearcats' 11-yard line. After next week's game against Indiana State, their next six opponents are Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, Nebraska, Michigan State and Ohio State.
102. EASTERN MICHIGAN (1–0).
103. IOWA STATE (0–1). When Cyclone fans looked at the 2013 schedule, they probably circled two games as non-negotiable, must-wins to have any hope of getting back to a bowl game: The home opener against Northern Iowa, and the home finale against Kansas. After Saturday's loss to UNI, suddenly the calendar is filled with tumbleweeds.
104. WESTERN MICHIGAN (0–1).
105. CENTRAL MICHIGAN (0–1).
106. TULANE (1–0).
107. SAN DIEGO STATE (0–1). It says a lot about opening weekend in the Mountain West that the Aztecs lost by three touchdowns to an FCS team, Eastern Illinois, and there are still four MWC teams ranked below them.
108. COLORADO STATE (0–1).
109. HAWAII (0–1).
110. CONNECTICUT (0–1).
111. MIAMI (OHIO) (0–1).
112. SOUTH FLORIDA (0–1).The Bulls scored a touchdown on their first play from scrimmage under new coach Willie Taggart, an 80-yard touchdown run by Marcus Shaw. From there, they proceeded to give up 40 consecutive points to McNeese State in a 53–21 embarrassment that marked the single-worst performance of the weekend by an FBS team. In 2012, McNeese State went 4–3 in the Southland Conference and didn't top 50 points against a Division I team, FBS or FCS. On Saturday, the Cowboys scored on each of their last eight offensive possessions.
113. FLORIDA ATLANTIC (0–1).
114. FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (0–1).
115. UAB (0–1).
116. BUFFALO (0–1).
117. NEW MEXICO (0–1). It's a testament to Breaking Bad's emphasis on character that—spoiler alert ahead—we as the audience initially have no idea whether Walt actually intends to kill Jesse at the end of last week's episode, as Jesse assumes and everyone else around Walt seems to consider a capital idea, or intends to follow his original plan to "make him see reason." (Which is not a euphemism.) Both courses of action seem equally plausible for Walt, because even at this late, deranged stage in the game, when he has repeatedly proven himself able and willing to destroy anything and anyone in his path, we can still see slivers of his original humanity. Hank is right to see Walt's relationship with Jesse as a soft spot, on both ends as Jesse has yet to break the now-heartbreaking habit of referring to his homicidal mentor as "Mr. White." Before Saul and Skyler not-so-subtly suggest to him that Jesse has become a "rabid dog" who needs to be put down (a reference to Jesse's own description of Gale Boetticher as a "problem dog" in season four), it is conceivable that it had never crossed Walt's mind to kill Jesse, whom he still considers to be a pliable, manipulatable junior partner despite Jesse's attempt to burn the White house down. At no point did it occur to him in his search that Jesse might have betrayed him to authorities. It's only after Walt hears an explicit threat from Jesse himself that he's compelled to bring Ricky Hitler and his Aryan muscle back into the picture, to commit the one act that may finally force him to see himself as everyone else already does.
118. UNLV (0–1).
119. SOUTHERN MISS (0–1). The Golden Eagles outgained Texas State by 185 total yards in coach Todd Monken's debut but also committed six turnovers—four fumbles, two interceptions—en route to a 22–15 loss, their 13th defeat in a row. That remains the longest skid in the country, with Nebraska, Arkansas, and Boise State on deck.
120. NEW MEXICO STATE (0–1).
121. IDAHO (0–1).
122. MASSACHUSETTS (0–1).
123. AKRON (0–1).
124. SOUTH ALABAMA (0–1).
125. GEORGIA STATE (0–1). A "transitional" program in its fourth year of existence, Georgia State did itself no favors in terms of local traction by losing its home opener to an FCS school, Samford, by ten points. The Panthers play at Alabama on Oct. 5.
Matt Hinton writes about college football for Football Outsiders and SB Nation's Football Study Hall. Follow him on Twitter @MattRHinton.