Week 1 panic attacks
Oklahoma fans are checking the grease on the Sooner Schooner's axles.
Georgia fans are confirming that new mascot Russ actually is one of UGA's descendants.
Michigan fans are starting to think Greg Robinson (and not Mattison) is coaching the Wolverines' defense again.
And Stanford fans are wondering if Andrew Luck played all 22 positions on the field the past three seasons.
From coast to coast, fans of some of college football's ranked teams are being talked off the ledge after less-than-impressive openers.
In the opening week's appetizers, No. 9 South Carolina struggled at Vanderbilt on Thursday night, and No. 21 Stanford nearly lost to, ahem, San Jose State on Friday night.
Then No. 4 Oklahoma struggled to put away UTEP on the road on Saturday. No. 6 Georgia's heralded defense was bulled over by Buffalo in the first half, and No. 8 Michigan was steamrolled by No. 2 Alabama. No. 12 Wisconsin couldn't put away Northern Iowa until late in the fourth quarter, and No. 23 Florida got all it could handle from Bowling Green.
"You've got to touch a hot stove once," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema told reporters after the Badgers' 26-21 victory on Saturday. "Once you get burned, you're not going to do it again. And hopefully our guys learn, hey, you've got to put people away when we can."
The burning questions for fans and future opponents alike: How much did those teams actually reveal on the first weekend?
"The hard thing to tell [about Florida] is how much did they show, which was not a lot," said Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, whose Aggies face the Gators on Saturday in their first SEC game. "They were pretty vanilla on defense and played a lot of even fronts. I've known [Gators offensive coordinator] Brent Pease for a long time. I know he has much more than that."
But the panic meter is still heating up at the aforementioned schools. How much cause is there for concern? We examine each of these seven teams after Week 1, assigning yellow (low), orange (medium) and red (high) panic levels for each:
No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners
The bad: The Sooners didn't take a lead over the Miners until Michael Hunnicutt's 38-yard field goal made it 10-7 with 10:05 to go in the third quarter. OU eventually pulled away for a 24-7 victory in El Paso, Texas. The Sooners had a blocked punt returned for a touchdown and nearly had a blocked field goal returned for a score. Oklahoma's defense was porous against the run, allowing UTEP's Nathan Jeffery to rush for 177 yards on 21 carries.
The good: Oklahoma's secondary, which was its Achilles' heel last season, held up well in its first game under new defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. UTEP quarterback Nick Lamaison completed only 6 of 23 passes for 39 yards and was sacked twice.
Conversely, Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones was very effective in his first game with his revamped receiver corps. Jones completed 21 of 36 passes for 222 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Kenny Stills caught six passes for 121 yards with one touchdown. OU's running game looked better, too, with Damien Williams running for 104 yards and one touchdown and Dominique Whaley adding 54 yards.
Panic level: Yellow
Verdict: The Sooners get another warm-up against FCS foe Florida A&M at home on Saturday and then have a bye week before playing No. 22 Kansas State on Sept. 22 in Norman. OU's offensive line, which is playing without two projected starters, should only get better. The Sooners have to shore up the middle of their defense, though.
No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs
The bad: Georgia's heralded defense was pushed around by Buffalo's offensive line in the first half of the Bulldogs' 45-23 victory at Sanford Stadium. UGA was playing without five defensive starters -- four of whom were suspended and one injured. But Georgia's defensive front didn't get much pressure on the Bulls, and its offense seemed to get stuck in neutral after taking a 24-6 lead early in the second quarter. Quarterback Aaron Murray missed open receivers on a couple of passes that would have been touchdowns.
The good: One of Georgia's biggest concerns heading into the season was replacing leading rusher Isaiah Crowell, who was kicked off the team this summer after his arrest on gun charges. Freshman Todd Gurley alleviated those concerns with a spectacular debut, running for 100 yards with two touchdowns on eight carries and returning a kickoff 100 yards for another score. Freshman tailback Keith Marshall ran 10 times for 46 yards. After UGA was plagued by its lack of discipline the past couple of seasons, it didn't turn the ball over and had only five penalties for 22 yards against Buffalo.
Panic level: Orange
Verdict: Georgia's defense against Buffalo was pretty vanilla, but if suspended linebacker Alec Ogletree and safety Bacarri Rambo and injured cornerback Malcolm Mitchell aren't back for next week's SEC opener at Missouri, how will the Bulldogs slow down the Tigers' high-octane offense?
No. 8 Michigan Wolverines
The bad: Michigan's coaches were worried about their defense's ability to slow down Alabama's offense for months. Their fears were realized in an ugly 41-14 loss in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday night, as the Tide's vaunted offensive line pushed around the Wolverines, running for 232 yards. The Wolverines were too one-dimensional on offense without suspended tailback Fitzgerald Toussaint, and quarterback Denard Robinson threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.
The good: Robinson got out of Texas alive, and the Wolverines won't face another defense as menacing as Alabama's this season, except for maybe Michigan State's.
Panic level: Red
Verdict: The Wolverines undoubtedly started the season ranked too high and will struggle to match last season's success. They lost too much talent on the offensive and defensive lines and don't have enough depth in coach Brady Hoke's second season. They still might contend for a Big Ten Legends Division title, though.
No. 9 South Carolina Gamecocks
The bad: Quarterback Connor Shaw injured his right shoulder early in the Gamecocks' 17-13 victory at Vanderbilt on Thursday night and completed only 7 of 11 passes for 67 yards with one interception. Tailback Marcus Lattimore, who was coming back from a torn ACL suffered in October, had problems finding room to run behind a struggling offensive line. The Gamecocks' rebuilt secondary, which lost three starters, gave up too many big plays, and their offense turned the ball over on two of their first three plays from scrimmage.
The good: Lattimore looked pretty good in his first game back, running for 110 yards and two touchdowns. He seemed a little unsure of himself when trying to cut on his surgically repaired left knee, but he figures only to get stronger as the season goes on. Shaw didn't throw the ball particularly well, but he proved to be tough as nails when his team needed him most, running for 92 yards.
Panic level: Orange
Verdict: Spurrier joked in the spring that he would miss playing Georgia in Week 2 because the Bulldogs usually had a few players suspended. It's a good thing for South Carolina that the game was moved to October this year. Spurrier said Sunday that Shaw can barely raise his right arm and his availability for Saturday's home opener against East Carolina is in doubt.
No. 12 Wisconsin Badgers
The bad: The Badgers couldn't put away FCS foe Northern Iowa until defensive lineman Ethan Hemer batted down a pass in Wisconsin territory with 2:46 to play in a 26-21 victory. The Badgers nearly blew a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter after allowing two long touchdown passes. Panthers quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen passed for 265 yards with three touchdowns.
The good: Badgers tailback Montee Ball, who missed much of preseason camp after suffering a concussion when he was attacked near campus, ran for 120 yards with one touchdown on 32 carries. Quarterback Danny O'Brien, a Maryland transfer, completed 19 of 23 passes for 219 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Badgers didn't have a turnover and were penalized only twice.
Panic level: Yellow
The verdict: If Ohio State was eligible to win the Big Ten Leaders Division title, there might be more reason for concern. Wisconsin will be heavily favored in its next three games -- at Oregon State and home against Utah State and UTEP -- before playing at Nebraska on Sept. 29.
No. 21 Stanford Cardinal
The bad: Playing their first game without Luck, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, the Cardinal were tied at 17 heading into the fourth quarter of a 20-17 victory. In his first game as Luck's successor, Josh Nunes completed 16 of 26 passes for 125 yards with one touchdown.
The good: If the Cardinal aren't going to fall off the map without Luck, they're going to have to win by being a physical, blue-collar team. They have the tailback to do it, as Stepfan Taylor ran for 116 yards with one touchdown. Stanford's defense allowed only 72 rushing yards.
Panic level: Red
The verdict: The Cardinal just aren't the same team without Luck, which is probably a surprise to no one. Stanford has only two weeks to get a lot better before playing No. 1 USC at home on Sept. 15.
No. 23 Florida Gators
The bad: The Gators didn't put Bowling Green away for good until quarterback Jeff Driskel threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Frankie Hammond with 13:18 left in the fourth quarter of a 27-14 win at the Swamp. Florida threw for only 145 yards and was penalized 14 times for 106 yards. Its defense allowed 327 yards, including 226 passing.
The good: Second-year coach Will Muschamp wants the Gators to be a more physical team on offense, and tailback Mike Gillislee ran for a career-high 148 yards with two touchdowns on 24 carries.
Panic level: Orange
The verdict: Are the Gators ever going to be explosive on offense again? Muschamp and Pease rotated Driskel and sophomore Jacoby Brissett, with Driskel taking most of the snaps in the second half. Driskel was named the starter for Saturday's SEC opener at Texas A&M.
On The Mark: Precision Passers
1. Geno Smith, West Virginia
Geno Smith continued his sizzling play, completing 32 of 36 passes for 323 yards and four TDs in West Virginia's 69-34 win over Marshall. In his last two games, Smith has been responsible for 12 TDs (10 pass, two rush).
2. Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
Taylor Martinez saw instant returns on his work this summer at the Manning Camp and with QB guru Steve Calhoun. Martinez had a career-high 354 passing yards and five TDs in the Cornhuskers' 49-20 win over Southern Miss.
3. Matt Barkley, USC
Heisman Trophy front-runner Matt Barkley got his campaign off and running with 372 passing yards and four TDs in the Trojans' 49-10 dismantling of Hawaii. It was Barkley's sixth game with at least 300 yards and four TDs passing since the start of last season, two more than any other FBS player.
4. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse
In a heartbreaking 42-41 loss to Northwestern at the Carrier Dome, Ryan Nassib set school records for passing yards (470), attempts (65) and completions (44).
5. Braxton Miller, Ohio State
In his first start in Urban Myers' system, Braxton Miller showcased his skills in a 56-10 win over Miami (Ohio). Miller rushed for a game-high 161 yards, the most by a QB in school history, and had his second career 200-yard passing game.
-- ESPN Stats & Info
On The Mark: Ground-Gaining RBs
1. Le'Veon Bell,Michigan State
Le'Veon Bell dominated Boise State's defense with career highs in carries (44), rushing yards (210), catches (6) and receiving yards (55) in Michigan State's 17-13 win. Of his 210 rushing yards, 84 were after contact, and 52 of his 55 receiving yards came after the catch.
2. Andre Ellington , Clemson
Andre Ellington showed that his Tigers have the most bite. Ellington had career highs in carries (26) and rushing yards (231 yards) in Clemson's 26-19 win over Auburn. His 231 yards were the most Auburn has allowed in the past 10 seasons.
3. Johnathan Franklin , UCLA
Johnathan Franklin had 214 rushing yards on 15 attempts, including TD runs of 74 and 78 yards, in UCLA's 49-24 win over Rice. Franklin joins Ronnie Hillman as the only players to have at least two 70-yard TD runs during a game in the past four seasons.
4. Cody Getz, Air Force
Senior Cody Getz had a career-high 218 yards on 17 carries in Air Force's 49-21 win versus Idaho State. Getz is the first Air Force player to rush for more than 200 yards since Chad Hall in 2007. He entered the game with 286 career rushing yards.
5. T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
T.J. Yeldon's debut was a memorable one. He rushed for 111 yards on 11 carries in Alabama's 41-14 domination of Michigan. Yeldon is the first Alabama RB with 100 rushing yards in his first collegiate game.
-- ESPN Stats & Info
On The Mark: Big-Play WRs
1. Marqise Lee, USC
Marqise Lee stole the show from teammate Matt Barkley during USC's 49-10 rout of Hawaii. Lee had 10 receptions for 202 receiving yards and a 100-yard kickoff return. He was just the second FBS player since 2000 with 10 receptions, 150 yards, a receiving TD and a kickoff return TD in the same game.
2. Austin Franklin, New Mexico State
New Mexico State completed 14 passes in its 49-19 win over Sacramento State, eight of which were caught by Austin Franklin. Franklin finished with a career-high 236 receiving yards, including touchdown receptions of 84 and 53 yards.
3. Tavarres King, Georgia
Tavarres King's big-play ability was on display during Georgia's 45-23 win over Buffalo. King had six receptions for 117 yards, including a 63-yard TD. It was his sixth career catch of 50-plus yards, third most in the SEC since 2009.
4. Robert Herron , Wyoming
Robert Herron had five receptions for a career-high 173 yards in Wyoming's 37-17 loss to Texas. His two 20-plus-yard TD receptions (82, 22) matches the total allowed by the Longhorns all of last season.
5. Conner Vernon, Duke
Conner Vernon had his 10th career 100-yard receiving game in Duke's 46-26 win over Florida International. Vernon finished the game with 10 receptions for 180 yards, 1 yard shy of his career set in 2010 versus Wake Forest.
-- ESPN Stats & Info
RecruitingNation: Campus visits
On Saturday, defensive lineman Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga./Dooly County) was able to take advantage of a new SEC rule allowing conference schools to entertain prospective student athletes at neutral sites and watch two programs many feel could be the front-runners in his recruitment. The No. 11 prospect in the country, Adams was on hand at the Georgia Dome to see Clemson defeat Auburn 26-19.
"It was a great experience being back at the Georgia Dome," Adams said. "I had been once before in middle school to see the Falcons play the Panthers. Both schools had a lot of fans there. I hung out with a lot of Auburn recruits, including Reuben Foster [Auburn, Ala./Auburn] and Trey Johnson [Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett]. Since [Clemson and Auburn] both have new defensive coordinators, I was just watching to see how they would play."
After the game, Adams placed a call to each coaching staff.
"I talked to Coach [Mike] Pelton and Coach Troop [Trooper Taylor] at Auburn, and they were just telling me they cannot wait for me to get up to a home game. They said they hoped what happened tonight did not change my mind about them," Adams recalled. "I spoke to Coach [Dabo] Swinney and Coach [Robbie] Caldwell at Clemson. They said I could have had three sacks in that game and that they want me to come up for a game and bring my mom."
After making 157 tackles and 25 sacks over the last two years, Adams continued to torment opposing offenses in his first game of his senior season. The 6-foot-4, 311-pound lineman said he had 12 tackles and three sacks in a win over Macon County. He is not sure of what game he will attend next and has yet to set dates for his officials. At this time, LSU, Oregon and USC are the only programs Adams knows he will visit for sure. A signing day decision is still expected for the Under Armour All-American.
-- Kipp Adams, DawgNation
For more Week 1 recruiting visits, click here .
RecruitingNation: What we learned
Trent Richardson is gone, but the Alabama running game will not suffer as four tailbacks combined for 239 yards on 37 carries against No. 8 Michigan.
-- Alex Scarborough, TideNation
Florida's offense continues to be a work in progress, and it doesn't appear the Gators will be much better this season in the passing game regardless of which quarterback plays.
-- Michael DiRocco, GatorNation
Georgia's 45-23 win against Buffalo revealed that while the Bulldogs' depleted defense still was powerful enough to impose its will after Buffalo made things interesting, there is reason for serious concern against Missouri if Georgia's five missing defensive starters remain unavailable on Saturday.
-- David Ching, DawgNation
Despite all the hype around strong-armed quarterback Zach Mettenberger, this is still a Les Miles LSU football team that's going to run the football and punch opposing defenses in the mouth, as it showed with its 316 rushing yards against North Texas.
-- Gary Laney, GeauxTigerNation
Michigan has more questions than answers after one week, save one thing: The Wolverines are a long way from elite.
-- Michael Rothstein, WolverineNation
The defenses are going to get tougher, but Braxton Miller and the spread offense appear to be a perfect fit after the sophomore quarterback accounted for 368 yards in less than three quarters against Miami (Ohio).
-- Austin Ward, BuckeyeNation
After a disappointing offensive effort in a 24-7 win over UTEP, the Sooners still have work to do to match the scoring potential of fellow Big 12 title contenders West Virginia and Oklahoma State.
-- Jake Trotter, SoonerNation
Penn State's new coaching staff flip-flopped the team's past philosophy: The run-first offense, conservative defense became a pass-first offense, aggressive defense.
-- Josh Moyer, NittanyNation
Unfortunately for Kevin Sumlin and his staff, the Aggies weren't able to learn that much about themselves this weekend because they didn't play; their game against Louisiana Tech was postponed because of Hurricane Isaac. Now they must learn which players they can depend on in an important game: their first SEC tilt against Florida.
-- Sam Khan Jr., GigEmNation
If we learned one thing about Washington on Saturday it is that new defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox has the Huskies' defense pointed in the right direction, but consistency remains a question as the program tries to take a significant step forward in 2012.
-- Mason Kelley, HuskyNation