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Beyond The Empire Week 1: Examining The National College Football Landscape

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

SEC: #1 Alabama absolutely terrifying; rest of conference weak

The Alabama Crimson Tide completely annihilated USC 52-6, giving the Trojans their biggest loss in fifty years. Nick Saban had nothing but bad things to say about his team's performance because he is an android built to destroy college football. After getting behind 3-0 early, the Tide began to click in all phases, humiliating USC with a wide-open touchdown to ArDarius Stewart followed by a pick-six to take a 17-3 halftime lead. They outgained the Trojans 456-194. Onlookers were horrified by the massive amounts of blood.

Elsewhere, Texas A&M upset #16 UCLA in overtime and #18 Georgia knocked off #22 North Carolina behind 222 yards from Nick Chubb. Auburn, despite rotating three quarterbacks and drawing boos from the crowd, came one Hail Mary away from upsetting #2 Clemson and lost 19-13.

The rest of the conference didn't do very well at all. Florida looked unimpressive, pulling away from a bad UMass team in the fourth quarter. Tennessee, ranked in the top 10 for some reason, pulled off an overtime win against Appalachian State through sheer luck. Arkansas needed a late 4th down conversion to score the go-ahead touchdown against Louisiana Tech and Missouri got spanked by West Virginia in a faceoff of fanbases who at the very least know where they could purchase methamphetamines. And we all know what happened to LSU...

South Carolina edged Vanderbilt in a 13-10 game that humiliated both teams, but three SEC teams went above and beyond to stage some of the biggest collapses in recent memory.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs blew a 17-0 lead at home against South Alabama and lost 21-20 when they missed a last-second field goal. Not to be outdone, the Kentucky Wildcats got out to a 35-10 lead against Southern Miss and proceeded to allow 34 unanswered points to lose 44-35. Holy SHIT.

But the SEC Choke/Dicktrip Of The Week goes to the Ole Miss Rebels, who dunked all over #4 Florida State in the first half of the Monday night game to the tune of a 28-6 halftime lead, only to allow 36 unanswered points, with 30 of them coming in the third quarter. It's almost inconceivable how much they fell apart as soon as halftime ended. They were outscored 45-6 in the second half after shutting out the Seminoles in the first. Kentucky wanted the honors, but Ole Miss would not be denied.

So, to sum up, that's one great win, two good wins, a quality loss, a total meltdown against a top-5 team and varying degrees of bad. 7-7 overall. ESS EE SEE!

ACC: Clemson and Florida State survive; many winners.

The ACC produced many winners this week, notably #2 Clemson and #4 Florida State but also the #19 Louisville Cardinals, blowing out the hapless Charlotte 49ers behind eight touchdowns from Lamar Jackson.

The rest of the conference did well too, with Miami, NC State, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Pitt, and Duke cruising to easy FCS wins. Lowly Wake Forest even got itself a win over Tulane. Georgia Tech and Boston College played a conference game with the Yellow Jackets winning on a late field goal.

North Carolina lost as mentioned above, but there's no competition for ACC Choke/Dicktrip Of The Week: Virginia Cavaliers. In Bronco Mendenhall's debut, they were dominated by the FCS Richmond Spiders 37-20. Not a good look, Hoos.

Big 12: Oklahoma Down, Texas Up

The unranked Texas Longhorns put on a show at home Sunday night, defeating #10 Notre Dame in overtime 50-47 in one of the most entertaining games of the weekend. This was far and away the biggest win for the Big 12 conference, which also saw Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor cruise against FCS opponents and West Virginia deliver the aforementioned spanking to Missouri. TCU survived a scare from FCS South Dakota State, who put up 41 points on the Horned Frogs. Kansas rushed the field after defeating FCS Rhode Island, their first win since 2014.

On the flipside, Iowa State lost to Northern Iowa as former Illini quarterback Aaron Bailey was just too much for the Cyclones, who went down 25-20. However, the Big 12 Choke/Dicktrip Of The Week was perpetrated by the #3 Oklahoma Sooners, who were thoroughly outplayed by the #15 Houston Cougars. No disrespect to Houston, which is a very well-coached team with some of the most talent of any non-P5 team in history, but Oklahoma was a national semifinalist last year and returned many of its offensive skill position players. Opening the season ranked number 3 with Ohio State on the schedule gave the Sooners a definite path to the playoffs, but Big Game Bob Stoops' squad was thoroughly outcoached, outmaneuvered and outhustled. They were dominated in the trenches and committed a number of back-breaking penalties. Oklahoma is reeling with Ohio State coming to town, while Houston's 33-23 victory served notice that they might be a real playoff-buster if they run the table from here on out.

PAC-12: Power in the North

#8 Stanford opened up with an unremarkable win against Kansas State, while Oregon pulled away from a plucky UC Davis squad that put up 28 points. #14 Washington dominated Rutgers wire-to-wire and Colorado laid a surprisingly competent whooping on Colorado State.

Meanwhile, in the South, USC was hanged, drawn and quartered by Alabama, while UCLA took a loss against Texas A&M and Arizona was defeated by BYU in a low-scoring affair. Arizona State and Utah cruised against their FCS opponents and Cal defeated Hawaii last week. Nevertheless, it seems that the best teams in the PAC-12 are in the North.

Not all is peachy up there, however, as Oregon State lost one of the worst football games ever played against Minnesota, and the Washington State Cougars committed the PAC-12 Choke/Dicktrip Of The Week, losing a shootout to FCS Eastern Washington to claim their second straight season losing to an FCS squad after the Portland State loss early last year. You know, Mike Leach, playing defense doesn't hurt every now and then.


Idaho and UConn won their FCS games by three points. They won games! Goodness gracious!

MAC newcomers Buffalo were defeated by FCS Albany. More surprisingly in the MAC, perennial power Northern Illinois lost 40-34 to a Wyoming team coming off a 2-10 season. Is Craig Bohl turning things around?

Matt Rhule's Temple Owls, coming off a highly successful 2015, lost 28-13 against Army in one of the more surprising mid-major results.