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Storylines Heading Into Week 1.

Photo Courtesy to The Gambler’s Report

Written by: John Stocco

Twitter: @realJohnStocco

Week 0 is in the books and it was already a wild one. Florida and Miami didn’t play the most polished game, but it was exciting and there was plenty of drama. It was a game where Florida walked away with the win, but when it comes down to the overall picture, it was a great building block for the young Miami Hurricanes led by first-year head coach Matt Diaz, and freshman quarterback Jarren Williams. The Hurricanes had the Gators up against the ropes and because of the lack of experience, they couldn’t find a way to capitalize on the mistakes the Gators made. It was the first week, so you knew there would be mental and physical mistakes on both sides of the ball. What’s next for Miami? They keep building. Jarren Williams, at times, played scored, but mostly played well. He threw the ball for 214 yards and completed 65% of his throws. He showed promise. Just like running back DeeJay Dallas, and the Hurricanes defense. What didn’t show promise? The Miami offensive line. Listen, Florida has a talented defense, but they’re not the 2018 Chicago Bears. The Gators sacked Jarren Williams 10 times. 10 TIMES. Good news, they don’t play another team like Florida the rest of the way. The bad news, they still let their quarterback get sacked 10 times. That’s Andrew Luck territory already. I liked what I saw from Miami, but if their offensive line continues this trainwreck they don’t have a chance. If they work their issues up front, I can see this being a 9 win season for the Hurricanes back in bowl contention. On the other side, Florida won the game and it actually made me feel worse about their future. Their defense looked awesome, but going up against teams like LSU, Auburn, Georgia, there’s no way they’re letting their QB get sacked 10 times. The inconsistency from Felipe Franks is what scares me the most for the Gators this season. It happened last year, and he can’t find a way to grow out of it. Again, it’s week 0, and I don’t want to make a huge deal out of this game, but if Franks had a statline that looked like this, 254 yards, 2 TD’s, and 2 INT’s, with some more poor throws that don’t show up on the boxscore, against some of the teams in the SEC I don’t see how Florida wins.

Week 0 is in the books and now let’s talk about some of the games and stories we’ll be feasting over this weekend with week 1 officially underway.

How good really is Oregon?

We’re starting heavy. This might be the biggest question all year. For Oregon to have any shot of the college football playoff they need to go undefeated, or they need to set the tone by beating Auburn decisively this Saturday. All the talk has been about Justin Herbert. Returning for his senior season how will he, and the rest of the Ducks improve? Their defense is one of the best in the country, and they bolstered up their receiving core by acquiring Juwan Johnson via transfer out of Penn State. Auburn has speed and plays physical defense, but the problem is there has been a lot of noise coming from behind the scenes and they have a true freshman starting at quarterback. Oregon has to show the world how good they truly are right from the start. Why? Because the committee has shown time and time again that they don’t think much of the Pac 12.

Can Northwestern prove they’re Top 25 worthy?

The Cats are coming to defend their Big Ten West championship, and it won’t be easy. Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, all have improved. Northwestern is coming into this season unranked, and they’re already put into a tough matchup against Stanford on the road. Stanford is a fundamentally sound team with a dangerous secondary, and experience leading the way at quarterback, KJ Costello. Northwestern is feeling a little disrespected. The 5-star recruit transfer out of Clemson is starting for the Wildcats and he’s already looked at as the savior of Northwestern football. Not savior like getting them out of hell, but savior as in putting them on the map as legit contenders in the Big Ten. There’s going to be nerves, there’s going to be pressure, and there’s going to be a lot of noise. It’s a tough game for Hunter Johnson and the Wildcats. Great time to prepare for conference games in October and November.

Watch out for Houston.

Sunday night, bright lights, Houston vs. Oklahoma, Lincoln Riley vs. Dana Holgorsen, get ready for the fireworks. This might be my favorite game of the entire weekend. I might actually pick Houston to pull off the upset. These are two high powered offenses and they’re both learning a new system. This is Dana Holgorsen’s first night on the job and he’s working with a dynamic quarterback in D’Eriq King, and playmakers like running back Patrick Carr, and wide receiver Marquez Stevenson. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t Holgorsen’s first rodeo. He just left West Virginia who almost beat Oklahoma last year. He’s back in familiar territory going head to head with Oklahoma. Oklahoma, on the other hand, isn’t necessarily learning a new system, they’re learning from a player who is new to the system. This is Oklahoma’s third starting quarterback in three years, and that quarterback is Jalen Hurts. Hurts is in an entirely new world. I’m not saying Alabama is running a 1953 playbook, but Alabama isn’t an air raid system like Oklahoma. Hurts has a lot to prove as a quarterback to the college world, the analysts covering the game, and to the NFL world. Nobody is questioning his success, but can he air it out with the best of them? Can he consistently make the big throws? Can he win a big game without relying on the defense? All of this is unproven for Hurts. To help Hurts he’s playing with the top tier athletes in college football. He’s playing behind the best center in college football, Creed Humphrey, dual-threat running back Trey Sermon, and CeeDee Lamb who’s a top-three wide receiver in the Big 12. The development of Jalen Hurts in the Oklahoma system is one of the biggest stories in college football, because not only can this season make Jalen Hurts a first-round pick, it could make Lincoln Riley the biggest coaching prospect in recent memory. The pressure is one, and Jalen Hurts will have to air it out to beat the Holgorsen’s Houston Cougars.

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