<
>

College Football Playoff lessons to remember for Kickoff Week

Tempted to toss the loser of the Florida State-Ole Miss game out of the College Football Playoff? Ready to crown Bama national champs after a win over USC (8 p.m. ET, ABC)?

Throw some cold water on those hot takes.

History reminds us Week 1 is a mirage; that come late November, all of these winners (and losers) will look completely different. After reviewing the first week of each of the past two seasons in the CFP, here are five reminders to help keep perspective in spite of so many games of such magnitude:

Don't overreact to a Texas A&M win

In each of the past two seasons, the Aggies have wowed us -- for a skinny minute -- in Week 1. Remember 2014? "Kenny Trill?" A&M hammered No. 9 South Carolina 52-28 -- in Columbia! There was only one problem: The Gamecocks weren't even close to being a top-10 team and finished unranked, deflating what appeared to be a statement win. Last year, A&M beat No. 15 Arizona State 38-17. No matter. It was irrelevant after the Aggies finished the regular season with four losses and quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray transferred. Don't be surprised if Texas A&M wins on Saturday against No. 16 UCLA. Be surprised if it amounts to something.

Get your "body clocks" ready

Even former CFP committee chair Jeff Long can joke about this phrase, which became associated with Stanford's shocking 16-6 loss to Northwestern last year in a game which kicked off at 11 a.m. local time. "I think we would not be doing our due diligence if we didn't recognize that that team was playing at 9:00 a.m. Pacific," Long said on Nov. 10 when asked if Stanford's "body clocks" were really a factor. So get ready: Somebody is going to lose unexpectedly again, and when they do -- remember, it's not over. Stanford went on to lose to Oregon too and was still in contention for the top four.

Withhold judgment on Oklahoma

In 2014, the Sooners were ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press preseason poll and finished the season unranked by the selection committee. Last year, Oklahoma was No. 19 in the preseason poll -- and finished in the CFP semifinals at No. 4. The Sooners' fate will not be determined by Saturday's result against Houston (12 p.m. ET, ABC). Oklahoma could go on to run the table, beat a top-ranked Ohio State along the way and earn a spot in the CFP just as it did last year in spite of a loss to Texas. A win is the first step in a long road to getting back to a semifinal.

An LSU win over Wisconsin can be quickly forgotten

In 2014, LSU beat No. 14-ranked Wisconsin 28-24 -- and then lost at home to an unranked Mississippi State team three weeks later. It was only the beginning of the Tigers' unraveling that year, as they went on to lose to Auburn, Alabama and Arkansas that 8-5 season. So it goes in the SEC West. If LSU can win in Lambeau Field on Saturday (3:30 p.m ET, ABC), the Tigers will obviously pad their résumé with a quality nonconference win, but it will only matter if they're relevant in the SEC race this time around.

Alabama is the lone preseason favorite with staying power

The only consistent team from start to finish in the playoff era has been the Tide, which has been ranked in the top four in each of the past two AP preseason polls and managed to finish in the top four of the committee's rankings both years. No. 1 Alabama is again a CFP front-runner heading into Saturday's game against USC. Until proven otherwise, expect the Tide to remain relevant through the SEC schedule.