After the opening weekend of the 2014 college football season, Texas A&M looked like the best team in the country.
Quarterback Kenny Hill was being called "Kenny Trill," and some suggested his name would be etched on the Heisman Trophy after he passed for 511 yards and three touchdowns in a 52-28 rout at No. 9 South Carolina on the season's opening night.
Of course, beating South Carolina didn't end up meaning much last season, and Hill didn't win the Heisman. In fact, he ended up losing the starting job and transferred to TCU. After starting 5-0, the Aggies dropped five of their last seven games and finished the season unranked.
Moral of the story: Don't jump to conclusions after one game.
So what do we make of the opening week of the 2015 season?
During a weekend in which few of the preseason favorites looked dominant -- at least those that were playing Power 5 competition -- Texas A&M impressed once again.
With new coordinator John Chavis' defense wreaking havoc, the Aggies pulled away from Arizona State in a 38-17 victory in Houston. Defensive ends Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall combined for 6 ½ sacks, and freshman Christian Kirk scored on a 79-yard punt return and 66-yard catch-and-run.
For starters, at least, the Aggies were downright impressive.
"If you learn anything, you learn from last year," Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. "It doesn't mean much of anything. I will say this: Somebody knew something. We weren't ranked, but we were favored. Somebody was right, and somebody was wrong."
Preseason prognosticators also appear to be right about a couple of other teams. No. 3 Alabama waited until the 11th hour to name FSU transfer Jake Coker its starting quarterback, and then it rolled past No. 20 Wisconsin 35-17 in Arlington, Texas. Who would be the Tide's quarterback was the storyline everyone talked about during the summer and preseason camp, but their running game and defense are what might make them a playoff contender again.
Tailback Derrick Henry ran for 147 yards with three touchdowns, and Alabama's defense held the Badgers to only 40 rushing yards, their lowest total since gaining 19 against Michigan State in 2012. "I think the big thing about a first game is, OK, here's where we are," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "Here's the things we did well. Here's the things we need to improve on to get up to a standard."
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has to feel better about where his team is at than Texas' Charlie Strong. The No. 11 Fighting Irish held the Longhorns to 163 yards of offense and only eight first downs in a 38-3 victory at Notre Dame Stadium. It matched the second-worst season-opening loss in Texas history.
Dating to last season, the Longhorns have been outscored 117-20 in their past three games.
"We have to get better," Strong said. "We have to improve. We're just a better football team than what we showed. We have to believe it, and our players have to believe it. Because we can't go out and not execute."
The Longhorns weren't alone in their frustration. Try being a Nebraska, Penn State or Stanford fan today.
The Cornhuskers looked as if they had BYU beat in their first game under new coach Mike Riley, but then the Cougars completed a 42-yard Hail Mary touchdown from Tanner Mangum to Mitch Mathews as time expired for a 33-28 victory at Memorial Stadium. There were seven Nebraska defenders in the end zone for the final play, but none of them stepped in front of Mathews.
"I had to come down with it," Mathews said. "I had to come down with it for my guys. [You] see them look at you, and you know you have to catch the ball and win the game."
Penn State's second season-opener under coach James Franklin was nearly as deflating. Temple sacked Nittany Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg 10 times in a 27-10 victory in Philadelphia, its first win in the series in 74 years. Penn State scored on its first two possessions but then managed only 21 yards on 32 plays from there.
"I thought they dominated up front on each side of the ball," Franklin said. "Obviously, the sacks are an issue. We've got a lot of work to do. It's obvious to everybody."
No. 21 Stanford, which was considered a sleeper in the Pac-12, lost 16-6 at unranked Northwestern on Saturday. The Cardinal managed only 240 yards of offense and scored their fewest points since 2007.
"The bottom line for us is that we have to be efficient on first down," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "We can't have penalties. We can't have dropped passes. We can't have missed blocks."
Even teams that won revealed plenty of blemishes. No. 7 Oregon surrendered 549 yards of offense in a 61-42 victory over FCS foe Eastern Washington. No. 6 Auburn gave up 24 points in the second half of a 31-24 win over Louisville; Tigers quarterback Jeremy Johnson threw three interceptions.
Those so-so performances came on the heels of closer-than-expected victories by No. 2 TCU on Thursday night and No. 5 Michigan State on Friday night.
"For our team, we're going to have to win some games on the road," TCU coach Gary Patterson said on ESPN's College GameDay on Saturday. "You just try to get a win. For me, it was about finding a way to win. A lot of people lose first games, and we don't want to do that."
The good news for TCU and the rest of the country: The College Football Playoff selection committee won't choose four teams for another three months.
Four teams in the playoff after Week 1
2. Alabama: Florida State transfer Jake Coker won the Tide's quarterback sweepstakes, but does it really matter who starts with that running game and defense? The Crimson Tide pushed around Wisconsin in a 35-17 win in Arlington, Texas.
3. Baylor: The Bears looked a little shaky in the first half at SMU on Friday night, but then they tossed a 28-0 shutout in the second half of a 56-21 victory. It was the 12th time in the past three seasons Baylor scored at least 50 points in a game. The Bears might score 100 against FCS foe Lamar next week.
4. Notre Dame: Sure, Texas' offense is once again woefully inept. But give Notre Dame's defense credit for the way it played in a 38-3 rout, and quarterback Malik Zaire sure looked good without Everett Golson lurking over his shoulder.
Next four in contention
1. TCU: The Horned Frogs don't have to apologize for winning a close game at Minnesota, but they certainly weren't firing on all cylinders in Thursday night's 23-17 victory. Quarterback Trevone Boykin completed 26 of 42 passes for 246 yards with one touchdown and ran for 92 yards with one score, but he also missed too many open receivers.
2. Auburn: The Tigers held off Louisville in a 31-24 victory in Atlanta on Saturday, but they'll carry a few concerns back to the Plains. Quarterback Jeremy Johnson threw three interceptions, and new coordinator Will Muschamp's defense had a sloppy performance after halftime.
3.Oregon: The Ducks' offense looked as explosive as ever with Vernon Adams Jr. at quarterback, but their defense once again had coach Mark Helfrich scratching his head after a 61-42 win over FCS foe Eastern Washington. The Ducks piled up 731 yards of offense, but the Eagles had 549 yards (438 passing) of their own.
4. Texas A&M: After what transpired last season, it's hard to get too excited about the Aggies. Then again, Texas A&M was pretty darn impressive in a 38-17 upset of No. 15 Arizona State on Saturday night. Under new defensive coordinator John Chavis, the Aggies held the Sun Devils to only 291 yards of offense.
1. Derrick Henry, Alabama: After splitting carries with T.J. Yeldon last season, Henry looks more than ready to be the Tide's featured back. He ran 13 times for 147 yards with three touchdowns against Wisconsin.
2. Nick Chubb, Georgia: Chubb had a relatively light load in Georgia's 51-14 rout of Louisiana-Monroe. He still managed to gain 120 yards on 16 carries with two touchdowns, his ninth consecutive game with at least 100 yards dating back to last season.
3. Cody Kessler, USC: The Trojans breezed past Arkansas State, 55-6, with Kessler passing for 236 yards and four touchdowns in limited action.
4. Malik Zaire, Notre Dame: Zaire completed 19 of 22 passes for 313 yards with three touchdowns against Texas on Saturday night. It was the second-highest completion rate (86.6 percent) by a Notre Dame quarterback; Steve Beuerlein completed 10 of 11 passes (90.9 percent) against Colorado in 1984.
QB debuts -- ranked
1. Josh Rosen, UCLA: The freshman lived up to the hype and then some in his debut. Rosen completed 28 of 35 passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns in the Bruins' win over Virginia.
2. Vernon Adams Jr., Oregon: After arriving at Oregon only a couple of weeks ago, Adams completed 19 of 25 passes for 246 yards with two touchdowns and ran for 94 yards on 14 carries in his FBS debut.
3. Everett Golson, Florida State: The former Notre Dame quarterback passed for 302 yards on 19-of-25 passing in FSU's win over Texas State, hitting four different receivers for touchdowns.
4. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma: The former Texas Tech quarterback looked pretty good in OU's new fast-tempo offense, completing 23 of 33 passes for 388 yards with three touchdowns in a 41-3 rout of Akron.
Photo caption contest
Tweets of the night
1. What Southern Miss thinks of those cowbells
2. Putting Wazzu's loss in perspective
3. Jordan Spieth speaks for Longhorns fans everywhere
Texas' offense looking about as useful as my last 4 rounds....— Jordan Spieth (@JordanSpieth) September 6, 2015
4. Send Hackenberg help
You call what the Penn State OL is doing to Christian Hackenberg as malpractice. I call it preparing him for the Bills— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) September 5, 2015
1. Boston College's Bobby Swigert, a sixth-year senior who has endured 11 knee surgeries, caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Darius Wade in the second quarter of the Eagles' 24-3 win over FCS opponent Maine.
2. Georgia's interim mascot, Que, found a dry spot during an hour-long lightning delay in the No. 9 Bulldogs' weather-shortened 51-14 win over Louisiana-Monroe.
4. Alabama running back Kenyan Drake, who broke his leg against Ole Miss last season, returned to action and ran for a 43-yard touchdown in the Crimson Tide's win over Wisconsin.
1. The signature moment of the opening weekend was BYU backup quarterback Tanner Mangum's 42-yard touchdown to Mitch Matthews on a Hail Mary pass on the final play of the Cougars' 33-28 win at Nebraska.
3. When Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche scores, it's not really fair to call it a "fat-guy" touchdown. The 296-pound junior is mostly muscle, which was evident on his 31-yard touchdown on a swing pass in the No. 17 Rebels' 76-3 blowout of FCS opponent Tennessee-Martin.
4. Maryland's William Likely set a Big Ten record with 233 yards on eight punt returns, including this nifty return he nearly took the distance in the Terrapins' 50-21 victory over FCS foe Richmond. Likely broke the Big Ten record set by 1939 Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick.
1. Penn State surrendered 10 sacks in its loss to Temple -- and one of them came against a two-man rush from the Owls.
2. There are helmet-to-helmet collisions, and then there are late helmet-to-helmet collisions. Southeast Missouri State linebacker Kendall Donnerson was ejected for a pretty nasty hit on Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk in a 34-3 loss to the Tigers.
3. And then there was this nasty cheap shot on Adams by one of his former teammates at Eastern Washington, which knocked him out of the Ducks' 61-42 victory over the Eagles.
4. When Georgia tuba players fall, they don't stay down; they get right back up.
Quotes of the night
1. "I had to come down with it. I had to come down with it for my guys. Sometime you have to do what you have to do, and that's catch the rock and win the game. I didn't know I scored right away because I was under a pile of people." - BYU receiver Mitch Matthews on his game-winning touchdown catch as time expired in the Cougars' win at Nebraska.
2. "That's Chosen Rosen right there. We weren't surprised. He does that stuff in practice all the time." -- UCLA receiver Eldridge Massington on freshman quarterback Josh Rosen, who threw for 351 yards with three touchdowns in the No. 13 Bruins' 34-16 win over Virginia.
3. "I'm not going to come in here and be defensive and make excuses. We've got to get it done." - Penn State coach James Franklin, after the Nittany Lions fell to Temple for the first time in 74 years.
4. "Obviously, unbelievably disappointing right now. That was a very tough locker room to look into for my first day as head football coach in Division I football." - Kansas coach David Beaty, after the Jayhawks fell to FCS foe South Dakota State 41-38 in his debut.
Stats that matter
1. 74: Years since Temple defeated Penn State before Saturday's 27-10 victory in Philadelphia. The Owls' last win in the series came on Oct. 18, 1941, two months before the United States entered World War II.
2. 29: Consecutive season-openers won by Nebraska before Saturday's 33-28 loss to BYU. The streak, dating back to 1985, was the longest in the country.
3. 31: Portland State, a 31-point underdog, stunned Washington State 24-17 in a driving rainstorm in Pullman, Washington. It was the Vikings' first victory over a Pac-12 opponent in 15 tries.
4. 20: Years since Northwestern opened the season with a victory over a ranked opponent before upsetting No. 21 Stanford 16-6. The Wildcats opened the 1995 season with a 17-15 upset of No. 9 Notre Dame en route to playing in the Rose Bowl.