Questions for FSU and Alabama after opening week

Breaking down the ballots for the first regular-season AP Top 25 and wrapping up college football’s opening weekend.

REMAIN CALM! ALL IS WELL!

Overrated or over reactions?

Maybe it’s a bit of the former, but probably far more of the latter after the first weekend of the college football season, which is notorious for setting off way-too-early alarms.

No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Alabama held their spots in the AP Top 25 released on Tuesday, though both looked to be less than juggernauts in close victories against heavy underdogs on Saturday.

Florida State struggled to run the ball behind an offensive line with four returning starters and had a difficult time getting Oklahoma State off the field on third down. Still, Jameis Winston was mostly excellent and the Seminoles outgained the Cowboys 476-364. If anything, the 37-31 victory for Florida State in North Texas might tell us more about how good Oklahoma State is than it does about the Seminoles’ weaknesses.

Coach Jimbo Fisher said some inconsistent practices led to an inconsistent performance that he hopes helps to get his players’ attention.

”And until you lose a game some time like that and you get that bitter taste and understand, and I hope we learned that lesson now,” he said Tuesday.

Alabama got into a back-and-forth game against West Virginia before beating the Mountaineers 33-23 in Atlanta. The problems came mostly on the defensive side for Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide, which had problems with pass coverage.

But let’s take a step back: Alabama outgained West Virginia 538-393, and allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown. That troublesome Tide defense allowed one offensive touchdown – though dropped passes by WVU aided Alabama’s cause.

So, yes, it was definitely not the best efforts by two of the nation’s top teams, but clearly no reason to panic. Openers, especially those away from home, can be tricky as players adjust to new roles.

The Crimson Tide and Seminoles should be credited for at least playing teams that have the ability to pose a threat, but the two lost support from AP voters.

Florida State went from 57 first-place vote to 46. Alabama dropped 44 total points.

Ohio State also took on a challenging opener, and had a tough time shaking free from Navy in Baltimore. The Midshipmen’s triple-option offense and overall intensity is often vexing, even to the most talented opponent. Breaking in a new quarterback made the opener all the more challenging for the Buckeyes. J.T. Barrett had one terrible interception but went 12 for 15 for 226 yards and helped Ohio State pull away, 34-17.

”It was what I expected,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said about Braxton Miller’s replacement. ”He’s a very cool, collected guy. … I thought he handled himself very well.”

Still, the Buckeyes dropped from fifth to No. 8.

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