What We’re Reading: September 9

As we settle in for Week 2 of college football, we took some time to reflect on opening weekend. From beginning to end (thanks for the late-night free football, Georgia Tech and Tennessee!), Week 1 presented no shortage of upsets and surprises. The remainder of the fall should be no different, with plenty of shake-ups already underway.

  • The 2017 season took a page from the 2007 season in terms of upsets. While 2007 boasted three of the biggest upsets in the history of college football, one decade later the opening weekend alone hosted two of the most monumental upsets since that fateful year, with Howard beating a 45.5-point line to topple UNLV and Baylor losing to non-FBS Liberty. How do you measure an upset? ESPN’s FPI system is an opponent-adjusted analytics system that predicts team performance the rest of the season.
  • We can’t discuss upsets without mentioning UCLA’s incredible comeback versus Texas A&M. With 4:21 left in the game, A&M’s win probability was 99.5% according to ESPN Stats & Info. But it’s the 0.5% that made all the difference. The Bruins scored 35 unanswered points, including a final touchdown that involved a fourth-down conversion and fake spike. Instrumental in the Bruin’s win was QB Josh Rosen, who finished with 491 passing yards, the third most in UCLA’s history. The internet has had a field day comparing the comeback to a certain NFL game played last February.
  • There is plenty to talk about regarding the weekend’s marquee match-up: Alabama and Florida State. It was the most watched kickoff weekend game in history, with an estimated 5 million viewers tuning in to see Alabama maintain hold of its #1 ranking with a 24-7 victory. The Chick-fil-A Kickoff game, hosted in Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, also broke an attendance record with 76,330 fans taking in the game live.
  • As with any sport, injuries are an unfortunate constant on every college football field. Combine that with the unique importance placed on college teams’ starting quarterbacks, and playoff eligibility can disappear in a matter of seconds. Mark Schlabach of ESPN highlights the dilemma that many teams, including Georgia and FSU now face, as their starting QBs are off the field, likely for the season. With no waiver wire and a smaller roster, it all boils down to the backup QB.