With week one of the college football season in the books we now have gotten our first looks at the teams and some were more impressive than others.
Using ESPN.com’s Football Power Index (FPI), which looks at the strength of teams by measuring how many points better or worse they are compared to an average team, we can see which teams made the biggest improvements with their week one wins.
These are the five schools that had the biggest jump within (or into) the FPI top 25 (FPI points in parentheses):
Southern California (52-13 win over Fresno State)
Preseason FPI Rank: #9 (19.5)
FPI after Week 1: #5 (22.5)
Why they were so impressive: Between one player making up a story about saving his drowning nephew to another player quitting the team and calling new head coach Steve Sarkisian a racist, it was a rough week for the USC football team leading up to the opening week game. But a huge performance by Cody Kessler, throwing for 394 yards and four touchdowns, showed that he is a legit Heisman contender and the team cruised to an easy win.
Georgia (45-21 win over Clemson)
Preseason FPI Rank: #14 (17.7)
FPI after Week 1: #6 (22.0)
Why they were so impressive: After falling behind 21-14 in the first half, Todd Gurley became everybody’s favourite Heisman candidate with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. That started a run of 31 straight unanswered points for Georgia against a team ranked #13 in the preseason FPI.
Texas A&M (52-28 win over South Carolina)
Preseason FPI Rank: #16 (17.4)
FPI after Week 1: #8 (20.8)
Why they were so impressive: Texas A&M started year one of the post-Johnny Football era with a dominating win on the road against a team that was ranked #7 in the preseason FPI.
Arizona (58-13 win over UNLV)
Preseason FPI Rank: #33 (11.4)
FPI after Week 1: #19 (16.1)
Why they were so impressive: Arizona jumped into the top 20 of the FPI behind a 425-yard, four touchdown performance by quarterback Anu Solomon. Not bad for a freshman playing in his first collegiate game.
Pittsburgh (62-0 win over Delaware)
Preseason FPI Rank: #43 (7.5)
FPI after Week 1: #23 (13.9)
Why they were so impressive: 62-0 is 62-0 no matter who the opponent is and the win was good enough to jump Pittsburgh 20 spots and into the top 25.
The Biggest Losers
At the other end there were several teams with truly awful performances in week 1. Among teams that were in the top 25 of the FPI during the preseason, Clemson and South Carolina had the biggest falls. After losing to Georgia 45-21, Clemson went from #13 to #29. Meanwhile, South Carolina’s 52-28 loss to Texas A&M dropped them from #7 all the way to #21 in the FPI.
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