The biggest surprises of week one

College football has finally started! Make sure you read all of our articles about week one. Then come back and pull up a chair as TSS associate editors Bart Doan and Terry Johnson join staff writer Kevin Causey and special rotating guests in our weekly roundtable discussing all things college football.

Question: What surprised you the most about week one?

Bart Doan:
On Twitter @TheCoachBart

I suppose this is one of those “take your medicine about looking like you’ve never seen a college football game” situations, because I was surprised overall by how terrible my version of God’s Conference … the Pac-12 … looked. The league went 7-5 overall, but it was a hideous 7-5. The bottom end of the conference looks roughly like what you’d find at the bottom of a dumpster after a rainstorm if you tipped it over for some odd reason.

Washington State lost to Portland State and couldn’t even crack 17 points. Where have you gone, Mike Leach offense? Colorado somehow lost to Hawaii, surprising considering the Buffs looked like a sleeper team to get better.

It’s not the back end of the conference, though, which usually gets folks’ shorts all in a knot. It’s the games versus Power 5 teams, in which the Pac-12 didn’t look impressive either. Arizona State for the most part was manhandled by Texas A&M, an unranked SEC team still in the throes of figuring out its quarterback situation.

As said in this spot last week, Northwestern could seriously upset Stanford. So the Wildcats did, and let the Cardinal get all of six points in the process. It was literally the only good thing that came from the Big Ten this past weekend.

From top to bottom, the Pac-12 had the look of the nation’s toughest conference again, and while it’s unfair to totally condemn after one week, and while the best TEAM might still lie in that conference … if you’re asking for a surprise: I expected more West Coast muscle to be flexed. Obviously.

Kevin Causey:
On Twitter @CFBZ

Last week, I called out Texas as the team that was in most need of a win in week one. The Longhorns had a really tough road game against Notre Dame. They also needed to bounce back from countless blowouts in 2014.

Charlie Strong is a coach I have always respected. He was the man behind some very good defenses at Florida. When he finally got a head coaching job, he delivered the goods at Louisville.

In his second year at Texas, I was expecting to see significant improvement from the Horns. I didn’t know if they could beat Notre Dame on Saturday, but I expected them to compete.

Instead, Texas simply rolled over and played dead. Is Notre Dame that good? Or is Texas that bad? Maybe it’s a combination of the two. What I do know is that with the recruiting base and talent they have, the Longhorns should never lose they way they did on Saturday.

The biggest surprise for me on Saturday was how horrible the Texas Longhorns looked. Charlie Strong has to get this fixed… quickly.

Terry Johnson:
On Twitter @SectionTPJ 

As I wrote in my Takeaways from Week 1 article, this weekend’s slate of games provided plenty of surprises. Alabama’s offense – which had to replace seven starters – played much better than I expected it to, racking up 238 yards rushing and 264 passing. Likewise, North Dakota’s defense turned in a stellar outing versus Wyoming, allowing the ‘Pokes to run just four plays in ND territory for the first three quarters.

While these efforts were impressive, Temple’s 27-10 victory over Penn State was the most pleasant surprise of the weekend.

Let’s be honest: even the most optimistic Owl fan didn’t see this one coming. After all, Temple has just three wins in the entire series, with the last victory coming all the way back in 1941. Considering that the Nittany Lions welcomed back 15 starters from last year’s squad – which beat the Owls 31-13 – it looked like TU’s string of futility was going to continue, especially after Penn State opened up an early 10-0 lead.

Yet, it didn’t. Temple’s defense dominated Penn State for most of the afternoon. Sure, the Owls gave up scores on the first two drives, but they played like the 1985 Chicago Bears after that, limiting Penn State to just 52 yards the rest of the way.

If comparing the TU defense to the greatest defense in football history doesn’t constitute a “pleasant surprise,” I don’t know what does.

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