College football kicks off with a bang

Chris Olave 2021 Ohio State vs Minnesota

It was quite a weekend for college football, as many of us who love the game saw the crowds return and bring back the magic of the game. Yes, we still have issues with this top-heavy sport with Alabama and a few other dominant teams, but the traditions, crowds and games themselves make this an irresistible sport. No, NIL won’t ruin it. It will just continue to evolve, and likely in a better way.

As for the games this weekend, Ohio State and Minnesota kicked things off on Thursday night, as the Gophers came out to play and made things interesting for the first half. The Gophers have a monster offensive like in front of star running back Mo Ibrahim, and the Buckeyes have a young defense that clearly needs some more time to gel.

Meanwhile, C.J. Stroud was making his first start at quarterback and struggled in the first half. He had trouble throwing accurately on the run and couldn’t consistently get the ball to Ohio State’s talented receivers. That changed in the second half as Ryan Day schemed the receivers open and Stroud hit them in stride. The Buckeyes showed how Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson and the rest of the Buckeye receivers will torch opponents all season. And they have running backs as well, as Miyan Williams and true freshman TreVeyon Henderson both scored on long touchdowns.

Sadly, Mo Ibrahim is out for the season. Still, Minnesota should do some damage this season in the Big Ten. Meanwhile, some Oregon fans were getting excited as they watched Ohio State struggle in the first half, but that was before Oregon struggled to beat Fresno State on Saturday. Ohio State is a two-touchdown favorite heading into next weeks home game against Oregon, which seems about right. If Oregon’s star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux can’t play next week, you might want to lay the points.

Saturday gave us so many great moments as we saw the fans flood back into stadiums, rocking to “Enter Sandman” and “Jump Around.” We had some great games and some fun upsets, but Alabama still destroyed Miami as expected. With all these games, we have to be careful not to read too much into one performance, but we’ve seen this movie before with Alabama. Right now it’s hard to imagine any team other than Ohio State or Georgia giving them a real game. We’ll see . . .

As for Georgia, they picked up a huge win against Clemson, but we saw the same strengths and weaknesses we’ve seen before. They have dudes on defense, but that goes with a mediocre offense led by an average QB. I wonder if Kirby Smart has what it takes to beat Alabama . . . he’ll likely get another shot this year.

As for Clemson, D.J. Uiagalelei looked back. Forget the hype; this kid just didn’t look like a good quarterback. Again, it’s only one game and the Georgia defense chewed up the Clemson offensive line, but many of those sacks were on him. And he just wasn’t accurate throwing the football. Dabo Swinney has recruited studs at quarterback for years but this one seems different. I don’t see Clemson as one of the elite teams this year.

Oklahoma was another disappointment as their hyped “improved” defense looked like a mess. Are they a real contender this year?

It should be a great year, particularly if someone can figure out how to beat Bama . . .

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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