VAVEL USA's College Football Roundtable: September 5th, 2014

Week one in college football has come and gone, but our team of college football writers looks at who stood out and who did not. Our team also looks ahead to some of this week's contests.

1) Which player impressed you the most in Week 1?

Jon Fox: Jameis Winston, quarterback at Florida State. Everyone is talking Todd Gurley and his destruction of Clemson, but Winston showed that he spent his offseason working on the nuance and subtly of the QB position. He was playing a well coached defense who had them prepared to face the FSU offense. FSU might lose a game or two this season, but it won't be because of WInston's play. This is the first time I could see seriously him as the #1 overall pick next May.

Dalton Keene: Todd Gurley impressed me the most in Week 1. The way he took over Georgia's game against Clemson made me really think about him having a chance at taking home the Heisman. There's a lot of stiff competition out there, but if the Bulldogs keep feeding Gurley like they did Saturday night he could really turn into something beyond special.

Mac Magee: Todd Gurley. 198 yards on just 15 rushes versus what is supposed to be an excellent front seven for Clemson. Break away speed and low shoulders. He might be why Georgia is playoff bound at the end of the season.

Austin Litterell: With 198 yards rushing and a 100 return, Todd Gurley was the most impressive player in week one.

Kev Connaghan: Kenny Hill. It's not easy to replace a school icon and to do so with a record setting debut on the road against South Carolina, that is remarkable. He had help, of course, as the Kevin Sumlin playbook is quarterback friendly, the Aggies offense looks loaded with talent, and the Gamecocks were far from their best, but it was still a terrific way to make your college football bow.

Caleb Wahlgren: I’m going to say Kenny Hill. Kevin Sumlin keeps doing great things with quarterbacks. But to come in without having experience at college and to perform at that high level on the road in Columbia, South Carolina, there weren’t a lot of expectations for the new quarterback. Hill simply was impressive.

Bryan Castillo: Kenny ‘Trill’ Hill had to be the most impressive player in week 1 of the college football season. There was so much hype and pressure on the sophomore quarterback replacing Johnny Football and playing on the road at South Carolina. In his first game ever starting he passed for 511 yards and broke Texas A&M’s single game record of passing yards more recently held by who else but Johnny Football. He led the Aggies to a major upset in week 1 on the road over South Carolina and has made an instant name for himself in the national spotlight.

Matthew Dixon: Todd Gurley. He had 15 carries for 198 yards and 3 touchdowns. Plus, he had that 100 yard kickoff return for a touchdown to tie the game at 21 in the middle of the second quarter. He looked healthy and had a ton of speed. If he plays like that, he could win the Heisman and Georgia could have a chance to win the SEC Championship.

2) Which team impressed you the most in Week 1?

Fox: Texas A&M went into Williams-Brice Stadium as a team that was wrongfully thought of as a team rebuilding after losing three first round picks to the NFL and they tore apart a good South Carolina team. If anything, they now look better as a passing offense over a..whatever thought popped in Manziel's head offense. And a defense that was beaten up all throughout the 2013 season clamped down on the Ole Ball Coach (who, to be fair, was missing Mike Davis for most of the game) all game long.

Keene: Texas A&M impressed me the most with their dominating win against South Carolina. I love how everyone expected Kenny Hill to be worse than Manziel and I love how Hill proved everyone wrong and showed that he's now taking over the SEC.

Magee: Texas A&M. They went from rebuilding to a top 10 team in the span of one game with their 52-28 destruction at South Carolina. That's a statement game!

Litterell: The team that impressed me the most in week one was Texas A&M. Putting 52 points and as many yards as they did against a top ten team was impressive.

Connaghan: USC, with the Josh Shaw incident and allegations of racism leveled at their new head coach, it's fair to say the Trojans enjoyed a less than ideal build up to the opening week. Fortunately for them it didn't show on the field, as USC thoroughly dominated one of the better teams outside of the Power 5 conferences. They also did so while blooding a large number of young players, which sets them up well for the future. We will know more about the 2014 Trojans after this week's trip to Stanford, but they looked good on this showing.

Wahlgren: The LSU Tigers impressed me the most in week 1. They have a lot of youth on the offense side. They bounced back from a 17 point deficit against the Wisconsin Badgers and won in a neutral location 28-24. Strong performances from unknown players like Anthony Jennings, Kenny Hilliard, Travin Dural, and John Diarse.

Castillo: Texas A&M had to be the most impressive team in week 1 with all the doubts and questions surrounding the quarterback position and their horrific defense from a year ago. Almost nobody picked the Aggies to upset the Gamecocks on their home turf and some were even picking South Carolina as a contender for one of the 4 playoff spots at the end of the season. Texas A&M proved that their success over the last 2 seasons were more than just Johnny Manziel and they’ll be a team to look out for in the SEC. They moved up from No. 21 to No. 9 in the AP rankings as well.

Dixon: West Virginia. Sure, they lost, but how many people even had them staying around by halftime against Alabama? I sure did not. Clint Trickett looked good going 29 of 45 for 365 yards passing and a touchdown, but more importantly had no turnovers. Mario Alford had 199 total yards on the game, including the 100 yards kickoff return. Kevin White looked wonderful catching the ball, as he finished with 9 catches for 143 yards and a touchdown. The defense gave up 538 yards of offense, but they battled to the end in a game where they over 3 touchdown underdogs.

3) Which team was most disappointing in Week 1?

Fox: Ohio State struggled for most of the game with a subpar Navy squad and only pulled away when the Midshipmen struggled to get the basics correct. Unless their QB develops quickly as a runner, then its hard to see them as a contender in the B1G. 

Keene: Well this one is sort of a tough one. As a Georgia Tech fan, I'd have to say Tech disappointed me the most. I expected them to win by a lot more than they did. The team altogether as disappointed me year in and year out so it's nothing new.

Magee: UCLA. Just an 8 point win at a mediocre Virginia and three touchdowns came via the defense. This is the national title contender we've heard about all summer?

Litterell: For me the most disappointing team was UCLA. They did not look like a team who could win the Pac 12 against Virginia after a lackadaisical effort last week.

Connaghan: Clemson, on paper they have one of the elite defensive lines in college football, so to allow 328 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns, at 8 yards per carry, is a horrendous day at the office.

Wahlgren: South Carolina was the most disappointing team in week 1. Losing by 24 at home in the season opener is abysmal when your team is favored by 10. The opposing team has lost a majority of their top talent. South Carolina should have won that game, but simply were outplayed start to finish by the Texas A&M Aggies.

Castillo: Anytime a you lose the opening game of the season it’s a disappointment, but it’s the way the Wisconsin Badgers loss that makes it so disappointing. Blowing a 24-7 lead to LSU atop with key injuries to their defensive line was the worst thing that could’ve happened to Wisconsin. They had commanding lead of the game and let it slip through their fingers. A victory over a ranked SEC team would have done wonders in the eye of poll voters and well as to the mental state of the player. Instead their looking at a 0-1 record and a long uphill battle to get into the playoffs.

Dixon: Wisconsin. That enormously loud thud you heard last Saturday night was the Badgers' door close on the new College Football Playoff. They blew a 24-7 lead when they had everything going their way. They lost two starting defensive linemen and Melvin Gordon, but that is still no excuse for Tanner McEvoy's 8 of 24 for 50 yards and 2 interceptions performance. The McEvoy performance and the lack of any type of receiving threat really hurt the Badgers. Credit should be given to LSU for find the weakness and exploiting to their advantage.

4) Which matchup are you most looking forward to in Week 2?

Fox: How can this be anything other than Michigan State - Oregon? The duality of old school college football (power running and tough defense) - new school college football (spread attack, aim to run 100 plays and a speed based defense) going toe-to-toe in the home of the Ducks. 

Keene: Again, as a Georgia Tech fan the Georgia Tech vs. Tulane game next week is the one game I'm personally looking forward to. Tulane sold out a home game and are opening a new on-campus stadium, so it should be a fun one to look. With an upset minded Tulane, Tech better go in there with all guns blazing.

Magee: USC - Stanford. Two top 15 and playoff contenders square of in week 2. It's a slow week for the NCAAs, outside of the Michigan State at Oregon game, so this is the one I'll put the ribbon around.

Litterell: The most interesting matchup is Michigan State at Oregon. It is a match of contrasting styles and a conference trying to prove it is not inferior.

Connaghan: Michigan State at Oregon. I'd have preferred them to meet a month from now, when the cobwebs have been blown away, but it's the classic matchup of high-octane offense against physical defense, and the Ducks have lost their share of those in recent seasons.

Wahlgren: I don’t know how anyone can choose any other game other than Michigan State at Oregon. Two top ten teams this early in the season, both potentially conference champions, this game will have some major implications for the final four of the playoff.

Castillo: Oregon Ducks - Michigan State Spartans is the game to look this Saturday. A win or loss for either team has huge implications on the playoff picture. Two top 10 teams going at it this early in the season is certainly must look TV. This game will feature a showdown between gunslinger QBs who combined for 7 TDs in week 1. Oregon will be riding a 10 game home winning streak while the Spartans are 10-1 in their last 11 road games, something has to give.

Dixon: Michigan State at Oregon. (I seriously considered Northern Illinois at Northwestern because NU needs the win if they want to make a bowl game in 2014). We all know the blueprint is there for Michigan State to beat Oregon, courtesy of Stanford's victories over the Ducks in 2012 and 2013. Can Oregon overcome a physical defense? If either team wants to make the inaugural College Football Playoff, they need to win this game.

5) Which game is most likely to produce an upset in Week 2?

Fox: Virginia Tech will go into Columbus and upset Ohio State in week 2. Ohio State struggled with Navy in week 1, but Va Tech is a much different beast. They won't spend the first half wasting their time with gimmick plays.

Keene: I just took a quick look at the slate of games next weekend and the one that stood out to me was the Vanderbilt and Ole Miss game. Low key SEC games are always entertaining and always come down to the last literal second. I believe Vandy will go in there with upset on their mind, play harder than ever and get the job done against a currently #18 Ole Miss Rebels football team.

Magee: Virginia Tech - Ohio State. The number 8 team is in trouble. Va Tech is always physical and the loss of Braxton Miller was evident in a much closer-than-the-score game versus Navy. I like Va Tech 23-20!

Litterell: Michigan at Notre Dame. The five suspended players did not make much of a difference against Rice, but Michigan is a big step up.

Connaghan: Western Kentucky at Illinois. The fighting Illini squeezed past FCS Youngstown State in their opener, despite being outgained by the Penguins. This week they host a Hilltoppers team that smashed a promising Bowling Green team in their own opener, lighting the Falcons up through the air with 569 passing yards and 6 touchdowns. This is Western Kentucky's first opportunity to claim a Big Ten scalp as a member of Conference USA.

Wahlgren: They struggled out of the gate in week 1, and Ohio State has a real chance of losing at home to Virginia Tech in week 2. They are still ranked way too high off their preseason rankings before Braxton Miller was hurt, and Frank Beamer knows how to get his team to perform well to avoid mistakes. Hokies will put the Buckeyes on upset alert.

Castillo: BYU at No.15 Texas. The big question in this week 2 matchup is if BYU’s physical defense will give Texas offense fits, or not. BYU will be returning home after a loss to Virginia in week 1 which included a two hour lightning delay, and redemption will be top of mind. Texas quarterback David Ash put on a very impressive performance in week 1 by throwing for over 340 yards and for 4 touchdowns, but he has been reported to not be playing in week 2 due to a concussion he suffered in week 1. BYU may be catching Texas at just the right time.

Dixon: I do like my colleagues picks above as possible upsets, but I am going with Northern Illinois over Northwestern. As of this publishing, Northern Illinois is a 6.5 point underdog, but the Wildcats did not strike fear last week with their performance against Cal. The Wildcats will be without their top wide receiver from last week in Tony Jones and the defense still needs some work. NIU does not have nearly the same offensive potency as Cal, but they will do enough to win in Evanston.

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