2016 College Football Season: Upsets, Blowouts & Rankings Effect

Wisconsin beat LSU

An interesting (and too spread out) opening weekend to the 2016 season in college football, with LSU stunned by unranked Wisconsin, Houston doing the game to Oklahoma, while USC suffered one of the worst losses in school history, by making the mistake and agreeing to meet Alabama on neutral ground. Obviously, rankings are going to shift due to some of these results, although it is just week 1.

First off, not everyone has played. Among ranked teams, Notre Dame still need to play against Texas, while the very interesting clash between #4 Florida State and #11 Ole Miss will happen a day later. For now, we’ll try to analyze from what we know.

The upset that made the most of noise was Wisconsin over #5 LSU. SEC teams are often criticized for not playing too far away from home, but the Tigers went to Green Bay and played against the Badgers while the Wisconsin weather was still fair. But the Tigers couldn’t get Leonard Fournette going to the point where he’s impossible to stop, and showed that once again their quarterback play is going to be very frustrating for fans. They won’t fall out of the rankings, but Wisconsin will certainly pop into them.

Alabama is the team LSU always compare themselves with. The Crimson Tide couldn’t have had a more different season opening, punishing USC with the Trojans worst opening game loss ever, the previous one (30-0) being in 1896. The game was played in Dallas, part of the season-opening classic, but it was all about Alabama, showing what its defense can do, and displaying how far USC are from becoming the kind of team they were until Pete Carroll left.

Houston beat Oklahoma

Oklahoma losing in Houston isn’t a surprise. The Cougars aren’t a power 5 conference team yet, but they are one of the favorites to join the Big 12 in their expansion plans. Tom Herman continues to build his reputation as the most sought after head coach in the nation, and while the ceiling for Houston isn’t very high while they play in the American conference, maybe a win over an Oklahoma team, assuming the Sooners bounce back, along with going undefeated in the conference, can make them do the unbelievable?

Off to the more expected. UCLA lost to unranked Texas A&M in Kyle Field, North Carolina couldn’t hold on to a lead against Georgia, with Nick Chubb making an impressive return after the annual injury to a Georgia #1 running back. The Aggies will get bounced into the top 25, as the Tar Heels will be dropped from it, and so will USC and probably UCLA, opening room for three teams: Texas A&M, Wisconsin and probably Miami, even if their win was against Florida A&M. They received the most votes in the preseason poll among teams not making the top 25.

Some winning teams will see themselves dropped, like Tennessee for struggling against Appalachian State, and Michigan State for struggling to handle an FCS team. Clemson won’t be punished for finding it difficult to win at Auburn, but both Ohio State and Michigan will get into the top 5 instead of LSU and Oklahoma, Houston will enter the top 10 (from #15), and a lot depends on how the Notre Dame, Florida State and Ole Miss angle plays out.

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