Wild weekend ushers in 2016 college football season

Now that college football is officially back (no disrespect to the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and California Bears playing in Australia), there is one thing we can say for certain: Joe Tessitore really likes saying the phrase "18-Wheeler Package".

If Sunday night's game, a 50-47 double overtime victory by Texas over Notre Dame, is to be any indication, the 2016 edition of college football is going to be a wild ride.

Three teams in the Amway Coaches Poll top-ten lost. Another needed overtime. And a few put up the requisite 50 plus points expected of them.

All in week one.

The Houston Cougars, current belle of the ball and Big 12 hopeful, took their first step towards an undefeated season and possible playoff berth. They used a 109-yard return after a missed Oklahoma field goal, helping them defeat the third-ranked Sooners, 33-23.

The Wisconsin Badgers, meanwhile, unranked and rebuilding, used a stifling defense and some timely offense to defeat the sixth-ranked LSU Tigers 16-14 on Saturday. Under new defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, the Badgers held the Tigers to 257 total yards of offense. LSU Heisman hopeful Leonard Fournette ran for 130 yards.

Over in Tennessee, the tenth-ranked Vols needed overtime to defeat Appalachian State, 20-13. The Mountaineers are only in their third season as an FBS school, but were once a FCS powerhouse. They own three national championships and famously defeated the Michigan Wolverines in 2007.

Still, Tennessee is considered to be a dark horse national title contender and to barely win at home may cost them a few votes in the short term. (Though, in the long season, a win is a win.)

Speaking of national title contenders, the first-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide handled the USC Trojans with ease in their opener, winning 52-6. And that was while breaking in a new quarterback and new running backs.

The infallible SEC, the greatest football conference in all of the land, managed an out-of-this world record of 7-6 over the weekend (with one game left to play, Monday night pitting Ole Miss vs. Florida State). Yes, they picked up some good wins (Texas A&M over UCLA). Yes, there was an in-conference game (South Carolina over Vanderbilt). And yes, teams lost to good opponents like Clemson (Auburn) and LSU (see above). When your conference loses against South Alabama and Southern Mississippi, though, networks should only devote 22 hours to the conference instead of the normal 24.

Back over to the FCS side of things. For the second straight season, the Washington State Cougars lost to a FCS school to sart the year. This time, the Cougars lost 45-42 to Eastern Washington, proving once again that a Mike Leach coached team will excel at offense, but struggle on defense.

We even saw our first dismissal of the season. Louisiana Lafayette defensive coordinator Melvin Smith was let go after his unit gave up 584 yards to the Boise State Broncos. The Broncos face off against Washington State this week. Could the Cougar defensive coordinator next?

All of this just a brief glimpse into the first full weekend of games. Fall is on the horizon. Pigskins are flying through the air. The chase is on for the top-four spots.

College football is back. If you're not already buckled in, you may already be left behind.


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