Taylor McHargue: Ranking the college football region after week 1: How did your team fare?

Taylor McHargue: Ranking the college football region after week 1: How did your team fare?

  1. Texas A&M – You don’t often complain about a 31-point margin of victory, but Saturday’s win over Sam Houston State left Aggie fans with more questions than answers about the ceiling for this team. Haynes King’s two interceptions and the offense totaling just 110 yards on the ground were both underwhelming as the Bearkats front four spent much of the day in A&M’s backfield. The defensive side of the ball played up to expectations pitching a shut out, but should be tested this week against an Appalachian State offense that put up 61 points and 649 total yards against North Carolina. The question for week two is how much, if any, do we see of Max Johnson if the offense struggles again with King?  
  1. Baylor – Baylor dominated Albany in all three phases just as they were expected to. Blake Shapen was sharp in his limited action as the offense totaled close to 600 yards with no turnovers. This week presents a legitimate challenge as the Bears head to Provo to face #25 BYU in Baylor’s most difficult out of conference game by far. If Baylor comes away with a victory, the way-too-early potential playoff discussions will begin in Waco. 
  1. Houston – The Cougars opener against UTSA lived up to the hype and then some. The three-overtime thriller capped by Clayton Tune’s diving two-point conversion ended one of the most entertaining games of the opening weekend. It also provided Houston the confidence it needed before heading to Lubbock this weekend to face Texas Tech. Houston’s in conference schedule is one of the more favorable in the AAC, and if the Cougars can get past Tech on Saturday with a win this has the potential to be another special year for Dana Holgorsen and the Cougars. 
  1. Texas – Similar to the Aggies, even in a lopsided victory, the Longhorns performance left a lot to be desired. Texas was just 5 of 13 on third down and amassed less than 400 yards of total offense. All eyes are now focused on the marquee game of the week in college football as Alabama comes to town along with College Gameday, Fox Big Noon Kickoff, and every major media network in the country. Texas is a three-score underdog and based on their week one showing that may not be enough. There will need to be a major step forward in offensive line and quarterback play if Texas hopes to keep up against Bryce Young and Alabama’s offense. The Crimson Tide are going to score. A lot. If Texas has any chance to win this game, it will be in shootout fashion. 
  1. SMU – Because Twitter lives forever it’s important to point out when you were wrong, and I could not have been more wrong in my prediction that UNT upsets the Ponies in week one. SMU started fast and never let up in a throttling of the Mean Green at Apogee Stadium in Rhett Lashlee’s head coaching debut. Tanner Mordecai was close to perfect throwing for 432 yards and 4 TD’s, and the SMU defense produced 3 turnovers. The Ponies won’t be tested in week 2 against Lamar, but with games at Maryland, home to TCU, and at UCF we will find out quickly if this SMU team is for real. 
  1. LSU – During the Tigers opener against Florida State I compared the game to Notre Dame vs Texas in 2016. Very entertaining game with two major brands, and a victory will feel like a huge step forward for either team. Those 2016 Notre Dame and Texas teams finished a combined 9-15, and this year’s Florida State and LSU teams may be headed for similar results. LSU has holes to fill in virtually every position group with the exception of the receiver room, and Jayden Daniels was less than convincing in his debut at QB for the Tigers. Barring a major turnaround across the board, I think this LSU team is likely near the bottom of the SEC west by year’s end. 
  1. Texas Tech– Joey McGuire’s debut in Lubbock was a lopsided 63-10 win over Murray State, but it cost the Red Raiders their quarterback Tyler Shough. Shough, who broke his collarbone and missed 10 games in 2021, injured the same shoulder late in the 1st quarter Saturday and did not return. The bright spot for Tech fans is that Donovan Smith was near perfect in relief of Shough. The Red Raiders host Houston this weekend in a game that would provide enormous momentum with a win before hitting the road to face #13 NC State. 
  1. TCU – Through two quarters in Boulder not much was going right on offense for TCU, but the Horned Frogs rallied with 31 second half points in a rout of Colorado. The concern moving forward is how to improve QB play, as the TCU offense totaled just 138 yards through the air between Chandler Morris and Max Duggan. Morris is out this week with a sprained knee so expect to see Duggan and Sam Jackson against Tarleton State. TCU needs to find answers on offense in a hurry before Big 12 play begins.  
  1.  UTSA – Even in a 37-35 triple overtime defeat, the Roadrunners proved that 2021 was not just a flash in the pan. The Roadrunners outgained Houston by nearly 100 yards of total offense and held Houston QB Clayton Tune to just 206 yards in the air. The difficult non-conference continues for UTSA as they head to West Point, followed by a trip to Austin against the Longhorns. Regardless of how the non-conference shakes out for the Roadrunners, this looks to be the clear favorite to win CUSA after their week one performance. 
  1. Tulane – Willie Fritz’s squad got off to a strong start to begin the 2022 campaign and bounce back from their disappointing 2021. Tulane’s rushing attack nearly eclipsed the Minutemen’s total offense for the game as the Green Wave allowed just 217 yards of total offense. QB Michael Pratt was not asked to do much as the Tulane offense remained in first gear for most of the game, relying mostly on running backs Tyjae Spears and Iverson Celestine. The Green Wave have one more tune up against Alcorn State before heading to the Little Apple to face Kansas State in week 3. 
  1. North Texas – The Mean Green’s convincing win over UTEP in week zero gave me the confidence to tell the world that they could upset SMU at home. Instead, SMU did just about whatever they wanted on offense in route to a 48-10 win over North Texas. Austin Aune regressed with two interceptions, and the Mean Greene defense was touched up for 576 total yards. UNT hosts Texas Southern this week in what should be a boost in momentum before heading on the road for back-to-back contests against UNLV and Memphis. 
  1. UTEP – The Miners showed legitimate fight against Oklahoma in a game that they were just simply outmatched. QB Gavin Hardison threw for nearly 250 yards, and the UTEP defense held Sooners QB Dillon Gabriel to just 233 yards through the air. The Miners have key winnable games coming up against New Mexico State and New Mexico. For UTEP’s back-to-back bowl hopes to remain alive, a win in one of the next two weeks would go a long way to accomplishing that goal. 
  1. Rice – The Owls scored on their first possession of the game against USC, and not much went their way after that. Poor QB plagued Rice yet again as Wiley Green and TJ McMahon totaled 4 interceptions, 3 of which were returned for touchdowns by the Trojans. The lone light spot on the schedule for the first half of the season is this week as Rice hosts McNeese State. A win in week two is critical before playing host to ULL, followed by the Bayou Bucket against #24 Houston. 

14. Texas State – After Nevada struggled to a week zero win over New Mexico State there was legitimate hope that Texas State could go on the road and upset the Wolfpack in their opener. 4 turnovers and -12 rushing yards later, that was not to be. Transfer QB Layne Hatcher was the lone bright spot for the Bobcats accounting for nearly all of their offensive production for the game passing for nearly 300 yards. Texas State hosts FIU this week who nearly lost to FCS Bryant in their opener, so a bounce back win in week two is likely.

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