Welcome back to The Professor, a weekly guide to what we learned in college football. For more from Week 1 in college football, catch up on scores here and check out our five takeaways from Thursday night and Saturday night.

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In many ways, Week 1 of the college football season served as merely a warm-up for Week 2. Yes, Saturday featured No. 1 Alabama beating No. 3 Florida State, 24-7, in the biggest opening matchup ever based on the AP poll. Yes, Sunday and Monday offered fantastic entertainment, too.

But the second week of 2017 will feature perhaps the biggest entire night of games we will see all season.

Based on the rankings, Ohio State-Oklahoma will be the biggest. The most compelling, however, will be played at the home of the defending national champions: Auburn at Clemson, a matchup of two of the most intriguing quarterback situations in the country. Clemson's Kelly Bryant (charged with replacing Deshaun Watson) and Auburn's Jarrett Stidham (tasked with fixing Auburn's passing game) will be thrust under the brightest of spotlights following blowout wins in Week 1. While Alabama was busy with a massive opening game in Atlanta, Clemson and Auburn had runaway wins on their home fields, allowing their new quarterbacks to ease into the 2017 season.

Stidham was solid but unspectacular in Auburn's 41-7 win over Georgia Southern. The Baylor transfer, in his first game since 2015, completed 14 of 24 passes for 185 yards, two TDs and a pick, and he ran for 17 yards and a TD. Stidham was by far the most hyped new quarterback of the offseason, generating buzz as a possible Heisman candidate who can make Auburn a playoff contender, but Bryant will enter the prime-time battle in Death Valley with the more confidence-inspiring Week 1 performance.

Clemson opened its national title defense 2017 season against Kent State, an overmatched MAC team that has had one winning record in 15 seasons. The Tigers' 56-3 win over the Golden Flashes was impressive but meant little, given how outmanned the opponent was. Nevertheless, it was exactly the type of opener that Clemson needed. Facing the pressure that comes with playing the first game after a national championship, with a star quarterback gone, Clemson was able to put Bryant in position to succeed, in a test run for a pivotal early-season showdown with Auburn.

Clemson is actually only the 12th defending national champion in the past 25 seasons to be replacing its staring quarterback. Last year, with Jalen Hurts replacing Jake Coker, Alabama became the first of those teams to finish in the AP top 10 since 2001 Oklahoma.


Clemson is coming off one of its two greatest seasons ever, and Bryant is replacing the greatest player in program history … and also trying to hold onto the job over touted redshirt freshman Zerrick Cooper and true freshman Hunter Johnson, the No. 2 QB recruit in the class of 2017 and an early enrollee who has been competing for the job since the spring.

In his first game as starter, Bryant stepped into the Clemson offense nearly seamlessly, getting his feet wet in a well-managed game by offensive coordinators Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott. Bryant was as sharp as hoped against an inferior opponent: He completed 16 of 22 passes for 236 yards, one TD and one INT, and he ran seven times for 77 yards and a TD. That's more rushing yards than Watson had in all but two games last year, and a higher average per pass attempt (10.7) than Watson had in all but one game.

On the first play of the post-Watson era at Clemson, Bryant sped around a block to the right and sprinted for an easy first down. Two plays later, Bryant made an easy throw to Milan Richard, who ran 26 yards for a first down, setting up an easy C.J. Fuller touchdown run. On Clemson's second possession, Bryant fired a perfect downfield pass to Deon Cain for a 61-yard touchdown. On the third possession, Bryant guided the Tigers 54 yards in 10 plays, capped by an Adam Choice touchdown. In less than 12 minutes, Clemson owned a 21-0 lead, as the partially new-look offense -- there is still plenty of proven talent at receiver and on the offensive line -- did exactly what was expected against a team like Kent State.

Bryant played only one possession in the second half, leading an 89-yard touchdown drive, before ceding snaps to Cooper and Johnson. The fact that Johnson played in Week 1 showed that this quarterback battle isn't necessarily over. Replacing Watson in 2017 is impossible, but Clemson's fantastic recruiting has left the coaching staff with three enticing options. Bryant, a junior, was the leader in the quarterback race almost by default because of his experience, but on Saturday, at least, he proved himself worthy of being Watson's successor. He was loose and poised, successfully executing a carefully managed game plan and showing off confidence, running ability and some sharp passing.

Week 1 is never a time for definitive conclusions. That's especially true in a matchup as lopsided as Clemson-Kent State. Nevertheless, the first Saturday of the post-Watson era went off without a hitch for the Tigers, setting the stage for a golden opportunity next Saturday to prove that another playoff run is possible. 

This weekend provided a re-introduction to college football. Next Saturday, we'll really start learning about what's to come in 2017.

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Lessons Learned in Week 1

Injuries push true freshman QBs into key spots

Florida State and Georgia entered the season with two of the most acclaimed sophomore quarterbacks in the country. Now, they'll both turn to true freshmen to try to meet their high preseason expectations.

For Florida State, it's a permanent move this season. Deondre Francois, the most proven player on the offense, tore his patellar tendon in the fourth quarter of the Seminoles' 24-7 loss to Alabama. Like just about any other quarterback, Francois had a rough outing against the Crimson Tide, and James Blackman (No. 16 pro-style QB, according to the 247Sports composite rankings) will be forced into the lineup behind a still-developing line with a new-look receiving corps and new-look receiving corps. Florida State entered the season with playoff expectations, and it still has playoff talent -- especially on defense, where it played a terrific game against Alabama. But after hosting UL Monroe in Week 2, the Blackman-led Seminoles have to play the excellent defensive fronts of Miami and N.C. State. Later in the year, they face Louisville, Clemson and Florida. Running the table even with Francois was always going to be difficult. Blackman has long-term upside, but as a true freshman who was not expected to take meaningful snaps, he steps into a pressure-packed situation with the Noles already in a 0-1 hole, with a long list of stout defenses still to come.

Georgia, which is aiming to rise back to the top of the SEC East, doesn't know how long it will play its true freshman QB. Sophomore Jacob Eason, a five-stat recruit who started as a true freshman in 2016, sprained his knee early in the Bulldogs' 31-10 win over Appalachian State. His return date is unknown, but true freshman Jake Fromm, who received rave reviews during spring practice, completed 10 of 15 for 143 yards and a TD in relief on Saturday and will make his first start at Notre Dame next Saturday. Success from Fromm could potentially lead to an in-season quarterback battle.

The Seminoles and Bulldogs aren't alone in needing to turn to true freshman behind center. According to Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle, Texas A&M redshirt freshman QB Nick Starkel broke his ankle in Sunday's meltdown loss to UCLA. Starkel was replaced by true freshman Kellen Mond (No. 3 dual-threat), who rushed for 54 yards but completed just 3 of 17 passes for 27 yards as the Aggies blew a 34-point lead and lost 45-44. Mond -- assuming he holds onto the job over senior Jake Hubenak -- has a couple easier games before a brutal midseason stretch, starting with Arkansas on Sept. 23.

The NFL hasn't started yet, and we may have already watched the best Sunday night and Monday night football games of 2017

Week 1 Sunday has an intriguing void to fill in the television schedule, with the NFL not starting until the next Sunday. Last year, Notre Dame-Texas shifted to prime time on Sunday, and while the result proved a lot less meaningful than we thought -- the teams finished a combined 9-15 -- it was still one of the craziest games of the season, a 50-47 Longhorns win in double overtime over a Notre Dame squad that was ranked No. 10 at the time.

This year, two big games moved to prime time on Sunday: Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia at FedEx Field and Texas A&M at UCLA. It felt strange that both games were played at the same exact time, splitting the TV audience, but both delivered as thrillers. Virginia Tech's 31-24 win over the Mountaineers, featuring an impressive debut by redshirt freshman QB Josh Jackson, was terrific, although it ended up being overshadowed by what happened in Pasadena: the second-biggest comeback in college football history. The Bruins trailed 44-10 in the third quarter but scored five touchdowns in the final 19 minutes to win 45-44, led by a brilliant fourth quarter from quarterback Josh Rosen.

If Sunday night wasn't enough, Labor Day night offered a great game, too. Despite allowing 535 rushing yards on 85 attempts to Georgia Tech's option attack -- the Yellow Jackets held possession for 41:27 in regulation -- No. 25 Tennessee won 42-41, stuffing a two-point attempt in the second overtime period to win the game. The Vols get big games from RB John Kelly and WR Marquez Callaway, and they capitalized on Georgia Tech's two missed field goals and two fumbles to erase a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win.

With the national football spotlight opened for the college game to embrace on Sunday and Monday in Week 1, the sport delivered yet again. Sunday of Labor Day weekend is quickly becoming a great college football tradition, and pardon us while we eagerly anticipate the announcement of which game will fill that time slot in 2018.

Optimism about the Florida offense quickly disappeared

Year 3 was supposed to be the time for Jim McElwain to finally get his Florida offense moving. There's a long season left, but Saturday's game against Michigan's talented new-look defense made the Gators look exactly like they have every year since the Tim Tebow era ended in 2009. It's hard to imagine that suspended WR Antonio Callaway and RB Jordan Scarlett would have changed anything, either, had they played.

In June, we wrote about the massive divide between Florida's struggling offense and dominant defense. With options at quarterback and improved supporting talent, the offense was supposed to emerge as an explosive threat to help offset the significant attrition faced on defense. In a 33-17 loss to Michigan, the Gators' leading rusher, Mark Thompson, had 13 yards. QBs Malik Zaire and Feleipe Franks combined to complete 14 of 26 passes for 181 yards. The Gators had 192 total yards and nine first downs, and their two touchdowns came on defense.

Two years in a row, McElwain's Gators have backed into the SEC East title because they played terrific defense and nobody else was capable of taking the division from them. It will take a lot of luck to do the same in 2017, and even McElwain admits that there's a still a long way to go before Florida catches up with the nation's most powerful teams, which can't sit well with Gators fans:

Maryland makes a statement at Texas

The story of the afternoon in Austin on Saturday was Texas losing in Tom Herman's first game, which unfortunately looked like something straight out of the Charlie Strong era. Texas is one of the most high-profile and prestigious jobs in the sport, and Herman is one of the biggest rising stars as a coach. After three straight losing seasons, the Longhorns had high hopes for a swift turnaround … until they played a mistake-filled game and got run over by Maryland, 51-41.

But just because Texas' continued struggles were the biggest story doesn't mean that Maryland's impressive performance should be overlooked. Give credit to the Terrapins, who took advantage of Texas' miscues (and were responsible for forcing some of them) and showed improvement on the offensive line. QBs Tyrell Pigrome (who was injured and will miss the rest of the season) and freshman Kasim Hill combined to average 14.6 yards per pass attempt, and RB Ty Johnson ran for 132 yards. Maryland averaged 8.3 yards per play, its best mark against an FBS opponent since 2002. There's still a sizable gap between the top of the Big Ten East -- Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan -- and Maryland, but D.J. Durkin is recruiting well and clearly has the Terps on the upswing to make them a bit more competitive in the division after they were blown out by all three last year. It's hard to know what a win over Texas truly means right now, but Maryland didn't score a point in any of its first three meetings with the Longhorns (1959, 1960, 1978). Scoring 51 points in Austin can't be anything but a massive success, given the history of both programs.

Bama, Buckeyes still waiting for passing improvement

Alabama and Ohio State are a combined 41-5 with Jalen Hurts and J.T. Barrett, respectively, as their starting quarterbacks. Both Hurts and Barrett are effective runners. Both can spread the ball around to talented athletes. Both are highly decorated players -- Hurts won SEC offensive player of the year as a freshman; Barrett was fifth in the Heisman Trophy vote as a redshirt freshman -- at the center of the two most talented rosters in college football. The Crimson Tide and Buckeyes have won big with them, and they're capable of continuing to win big with them.

And yet we still don't know if either can consistently stretch the field as a passer.

Barrett shared Big Ten offensive player of the week honors by throwing for 304 yards and three TDs and rushing for 61 yards and a TD in a 49-21 win at Indiana in Kevin Wilson's first game as coordinator. While all of that looks great at first glance, the Buckeyes struggled in the first half, and Barrett -- and his wide receivers -- didn't stretch the field. Long touchdowns featured Parris Campbell and Johnnie Dixon doing most of the work after the catch, and the true star of the Ohio State offense was freshman tailback J.K. Dobbins. Barrett looked the same.

In Alabama's win over Florida State -- the first game with Brian Daboll as coordinator -- Hurts completed 10 of 18 passes for 96 yards and a TD, a 53-yard strike to Calvin Ridley. The big play was nice, but Ridley was the only wide receiver who caught a pass from Hurts, who has thrown for a total of 422 yards in his past four games. Just like the playoff, Alabama struggled on third down, converting only 3 of 16 attempts.

Ohio State faced a solid Indiana defense, and Alabama faced one of the most talented defenses in the country in Florida State. There's plenty of time to improve, and both teams are talented enough to get to the playoff even without significant improvement from the passing game, anyway. They've done it before. Nevertheless, it's a glaring, lingering flaw for both that makes them much more susceptible to slipping up. The biggest question of the offseason in both Columbus and Tuscaloosa is still the biggest question heading into Week 2.

LSU defense reminds us of its dominance

In Dave Aranda's first year as defensive coordinator, LSU lost a disappointing four games, but the defense didn't allow more than 18 points in any of those games. The Tigers finished 10th in yards per play allowed, once again one of the most talented and effective units in the country.

Like at Alabama and Ohio State, the story of the offseason was how the offense would change under a new coordinator after significant criticism. But while the offense under Matt Canada was effective in the 27-0 win over BYU -- the Tigers had 479 yards, led by a 122-yard effort on the ground by Derrius Guice -- the defense couldn't help but remind us that it's still the backbone of LSU football. Even without injured star pass rusher Arden Key, LSU shut out BYU, which finished with 97 total yards and six first downs. The Cougars didn't run their 30th offensive play until the fourth quarter and finished with -5 rushing yards (including three sacks). While BYU has unresolved problems on offense, LSU puts its overwhelming talent and excellent defensive coaching on full display yet again for one of the most impressive victories of Week 1.

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All-America Team of the Week

QB: Josh Rosen, UCLA. Rosen threw for 292 yards and four TDs in the fourth quarter and 491 yards overall to lead UCLA to the second-biggest comeback win ever vs. Texas A&M, in his first start after missing the second half of 2016 with a shoulder injury.

RB: Saquon Barkley, Penn State. After not touching the ball on Penn State's first drive, Barkley did typical Barkley things, rushing for 172 yards and two TDs on only 14 carries and catching three passes for 54 yards in a 52-0 win over Akron. He rightfully has a Heisman campaign website now, too.

RB: J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State. Returning starting RB Mike Weber missed the opening win at Indiana with a hamstring injury. Dobbins, a true freshman, shined in his place, running 29 times for 181 yards and catching two passes for 24 yards to look like Ohio State's best offensive weapon.

WR: A.J. Brown, Ole Miss. The standout sophomore appears ready to become a star in Ole Miss' new-look offense under coordinator Phil Longo, who has an Air Raid background. Brown caught eight passes for 233 yards and two TDs in a 47-27 win vs. South Alabama.

WR: Cam Phillips, Virginia Tech. By far the most experienced weapon in the Hokies' offense, Phillips predictably emerged as the go-to target for freshman QB Josh Jackson in the win over West Virginia, catching seven passes for 138 yards and a TD.

TE: Caleb Wilson, UCLA. The USC transfer had 220 receiving yards all of last season. In the comeback win over Texas A&M, he hauled in 15 catches for 207 yards as a favorite target of Rosen.

OL: Maryland. The Terrapins offensive line paved the way for 263 yards and four TDs on the ground with an average of 6.1 yards per attempt and allowed just two tackles for loss and one sack in the 51-41 win over Texas.

DL: Dante Sawyer, South Carolina. Two N.C. State lost fumbles led to two South Carolina touchdowns in the Gamecocks' seven-point win. Both were forced by Sawyer, who also had seven tackles and a sack.

DL: Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois. The Huskies came up just short of an upset of Boston College late Friday night, losing 23-20. Smith led the defensive charge with five tackles for loss.

DL: Daniel Wise, Kansas. Every Kansas win is worthy of praise, even against an FCS opponent like Southeast Missouri. Wise, the underrated standout tackle, started his season strong with five tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack.

LB: Stacy Thomas, Louisville. Thomas played a huge role in swinging Saturday's game vs. Purdue in Louisville's favor, as he intercepted David Blough and returned it 61 yards for a TD in the third quarter to give the Cards a 25-21 lead with their second TD in three minutes.

LB: Shaun Dion Hamilton, Alabama. In his first game back after tearing his ACL in the SEC title game, Hamilton racked up 3 ½ tackles for loss and was a key part of an Alabama defensive effort that held Florida State to 40 rushing yards.

LB: Josey Jewell, Iowa. The Hawkeyes defense emphatically put to rest Wyoming's upset hopes behind the arm of QB Josh Allen. Wyoming didn't even score a touchdown, and Jewell had 14 tackles and 2 ½ tackles for loss.

LB: Jermaine Carter, Maryland. The Terps' top defender shined in the win at Texas, finishing with seven tackles, two sacks and a pass breakup, leading a leading a defensive effort that held the Longhorns to 98 rushing yards.

DB: Malik Demby, New Mexico State. Losing by only six in a Power Five road game might be considered a moral victory for the Aggies, so let's give Demby credit for his 5 ½ tackles for loss at Arizona State as a pass rusher in a special "Money" package, according to the Las Cruces Sun-News.

DB: Isaiah Oliver, Colorado. The Buffaloes lost most of their defense, including their coordinator, but they held Colorado State to three points. Oliver broke up four passes, and standout Rams WR Michael Gallup had only 67 yards.

DB: Holton Hill, Texas. The Longhorns lost, but Hill pulled off the rare feat of returning an interception 31 yards for a TD and a blocked field goal 65 yards for a TD, all in the first half.

DB: Jaleel Wadood, UCLA. The Bruins' comeback was aided by the fact that Texas A&M QBs Nick Starkel and Kellen Mond completed 9 of 30 passes for 89 yards. Wadood had eight tackles, three pass breakups and a tackle for loss.

K/P: Quinn Nordin, Michigan. The redshirt freshman missed a 52-yarder and a 32-yarder in the fourth quarter, but he still made four field goals in Michigan's 33-17 win over Florida. They were from 25, 55, 30 and 50 yards, making him the only Michigan player ever to make two 50-yard field goals in one game.

AP: Deebo Samuel, South Carolina. Samuel might have won the game for the Gamecocks with the opening kickoff against N.C. State. He returned that 97 yards for a TD, and he also had TD catches of six and 39 yards.

LS: Jake Olson, USC. The best story of the week. Olson, who is blind, saw his first live game action, successfully snapping on USC's final extra point in a 49-31 win over Western Michigan.

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Report Card: Grading The Week In College Football

A+: UAB. It's an easy grade: After two seasons without a team, the Blazers successfully played a game of football, returning to the field for the first time since 2014. They routed Alabama A&M 38-7 in front of 45,212 fans at Legion Field.

A: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Penn State. Three of the nation's most explosive offenses played like they're expected to play against inferior opponents. Baker Mayfield completed 19 of 20 for 329 yards in one half of a 56-7 Oklahoma win over UTEP. Penn State averaged 8.8 yards per play in a 52-0 win over Akron. Oklahoma State had four completions of over 40 yards in a 59-24 win over Tulsa. They all put on a show.

A-: Notre Dame. After last year's 4-8 debacle, the Fighting Irish got off to a strong start under new offensive coordinator Chip Long. Brandon Wimbush was solid as a passer and rushed for 106 yards, in a game in which the Irish ran for 422 yards as a team against a retooled Temple defense under new coach Geoff Collins. Notre Dame won 49-16, a strong start before the Week 2 showdown with Georgia.

B+: South Carolina. So much for N.C. State's trendy sleeper status. The Wolfpack are still more than capable of pulling off an ACC upset to disrupt the conference title race and somebody's playoff hopes, but despite out-gaining South Carolina 504 to 246 and running 49 more plays, the Wolfpack are 0-1, falling 35-28 in Charlotte. With 31 rushing yards against the excellent N.C. State defensive line, it was a very Will Muschamp-ian win for South Carolina, one that featured the opening kick returned for a TD by Deebo Samuel, two fumble recoveries turned into TDs and a final stop at the 10-yard line. Prepare for new talk of South Carolina as a sleeper in the SEC East.

B: Colorado. The Buffaloes are far more experienced on offense than defense, but the defense picked up where it left off in 2016 anyway, holding Colorado State out of the end zone in a 17-3 win in which neither team scored in the second half. Colorado State beat another Pac-12 team, Oregon State, 58-27, on Aug. 26, and the Buffaloes lost nine of their top 13 tacklers from the defense that pushed them to a division title, but none of that mattered. They came up with three key turnovers and held the Rams under five yards per play despite allowing 309 passing yards.

B-: USC. Give credit to Western Michigan. After all, the Broncos went undefeated last regular season and hung with Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl, and P.J. Fleck did a nice job recruiting. But it wasn't a stellar opening for USC with its renewed high expectations, even though it did end up scoring 49 points. The passing game was sloppy for a while, and the game was tied in the middle of the fourth before the Trojans pulled away to win 49-31. Praise should, however, go to RB Ronald Jones II, who had 159 yards and three TDs on 18 carries.

C+: Washington. Rutgers may not be nearly as bad as it was last year, and at least Washington pulled away to win 30-14. Still, the Huskies trailed the Scarlet Knights much of the first half, with their only TD in the first two quarters coming on a Dante Pettis punt return. The offensive line struggled with Rutgers' defensive front, and although the Huskies averaged 6.8 yards per play, it wasn't the sharp and efficient offensive performance we saw much of last season.

C: Louisville. The good: Lamar Jackson played like a Heisman candidate again, completing 30 of 46 for 378 yards and two TDs and rushing for 107 yards. The bad: Louisville turned the ball over three times -- twice near the goal line -- and struggled to put Purdue away, even briefly trailing in the fourth quarter. Purdue could be significantly improved under Jeff Brohm, but Jackson was pressured, as usual, and he provided nearly all of Louisville's production.

C-: Nebraska. The Cornhuskers defense allowed 497 total yards and 5.6 yards per play to Arkansas State, which picked up 32 first downs and hung with Nebraska for the duration. After scoring a touchdown with 47 seconds left, the Red Wolves recovered an onside kick and got to the 11-yard line before the game ended with a 43-36 Nebraska win. New QB Tanner Lee (238 yards, two TDs) was solid in his debut and sophomore RB Tre Bryant (192 yards, one TD) had a big day, but the debut of a new-look defense under coordinator Bob Diaco wasn't particularly inspiring, with a trip to Oregon up next.

D+: Pittsburgh, South Florida and Oregon State. All three won, but nobody was happy afterward, as all three barely pulled off wins over FCS teams. Pitt needed overtime to beat Youngstown State 28-21. Oregon State barely edged Portland State 35-32, giving up 515 total yards. And South Florida had another sluggish start, limping to a 31-17 win over Stony Brook after trailing much of the third quarter. The Bulls' previously explosive offense averaged 4.2 yards per play.

D: North Carolina. It's hard to replace two productive quarterbacks in a row, and UNC had a difficult time in its first game after the Marquise Williams/Mitch Trubisky eras. Cal made a long road trip to Chapel Hill for a 9:20 a.m. PT kickoff with a new quarterback, Ross Bowers, and a new coach, Justin Wilcox, and it outplayed the Tar Heels in a 35-30 win. Tar Heels QBs Brandon Harris (an LSU transfer) and Chazz Surratt combined to hit 25 of 44 passes for 221 yards, a TD and two picks, and UNC trailed by 11 before scoring on the last play of the game.

D-: Wyoming. Prized NFL QB prospect Josh Allen threw five interceptions in his second start last year at Nebraska, his first-ever start against a Power Five team. In his second visit to a Power Five opponent on Saturday, Allen averaged just 4.3 yards per pass attempt, completing 23 of 40 for 174 yards with two interceptions. Wyoming was overmatched against a stingy Iowa defense, although the best summary of the Hawkeyes' 24-3 win came from Wyoming's whiffed punt:

F: Baylor, East Carolina, Georgia State and UNLV. Four FBS teams endured the dreaded Week 1 loss to an FCS school. All came with a special kind of embarrassment. Baylor was the only Power Five team to fall, giving up 585 total yards to Liberty in a 48-45 loss in coach Matt Rhule's debut. East Carolina was pounded by FCS power James Madison, 34-14. Georgia State celebrated its first game at the reconfigured old Turner Field, under new coach Shawn Elliott, by losing 17-10 to Tennessee State and former Florida QB Treon Harris. Finally, by the numbers the worst loss of the week was by UNLV, which lost 43-40 to Howard … a record-setting loss, given that the Rebels were a 45-point favorite. Howard did it behind ex-Virginia coach Mike London and quarterback Caylin Newton, the brother of Cam Newton.

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Week 2 Syllabus

1. Oklahoma at Ohio State. Ohio State's 45-24 win at Oklahoma last year proved to be a pivotal result in the playoff race, and this one is likely to have playoff implications, as well.

2. Auburn at Clemson. Two talented defenses will provide big tests for new QBs Jarrett Stidham and Kelly Bryant.

3. Stanford at USC. Stanford has won seven of its past nine games against USC, making the Cardinal a big hurdle for USC's championship hopes.

4. Georgia at Notre Dame. The only previous meeting resulted in Georgia's only national championship: a 17-10 win in the Sugar Bowl to end the 1980 season.

5. Pittsburgh at Penn State. Pitt won a 42-39 thriller last year, and the old rivals will meet at Beaver Stadium for the first time since 1999.

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Contact Matt at matt.brown5082@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @MattBrownCFB and Facebook.