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Playoff Picture: Week 1

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We take a weekly look at what happened in college football and how it will affect the race for the College Football Playoff.

NCAA Football: Georgia at Clemson
Georgia won a defensive battle against Clemson to put an excellent notch on its Playoff belt in Week One.
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

BIGGEST WINNERS:

Georgia - It wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing victory of all time, but the Bulldogs came out on top in the opening week’s top-5 showdown and grabbed a massive victory for future Playoff prospects. There are difficult games left on the schedule, but Georgia may have passed its toughest test of the regular season.

Penn State - Another team that didn’t exactly paint a masterpiece, the Nittany Lions outlasted Wisconsin and picked up a solid road conference win. Last season was a rough one for Penn State, but this win should help build confidence for a potential bounce-back campaign.

Iowa - What was supposed to be one the premier games of the weekend turned into a laugher as the Hawkeyes stifled Michael Penix Jr. and Indiana in a 34-6 romp. Iowa now has a massive early-season rivalry matchup with top-10 rival Iowa State, and the winner could vault itself into the early Playoff discussion.

BIGGEST LOSERS:

The ACC - In addition to Clemson’s disappointing outing, the ACC’s other two ranked teams also had games to forget. North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell threw three interceptions in a 17-10 loss to Virginia Tech, and Miami was overmatched from the get-go in a blowout loss to Alabama. There is still time for the conference to return to respectability, but the opening weekend was a step in the wrong direction.

Wisconsin - The Badgers had every opportunity to take down Penn State at home in front of an amped-up crowd, but it was not meant to be. Wisconsin’s schedule will allow opportunities for them to creep back into the Playoff discussion, but this loss puts them on the outside looking in for now.

Washington - We don’t think anyone was harboring any legitimate Playoff hopes for the Huskies this season, but dropping a game to an FCS foe as a ranked team is never a good look. You hate to say Washington’s season ended on the first day, but a loss to Montana is going to be difficult to recover from.

LSU - In a similar vein, LSU is/was a long-shot bet for the four-team field coming off a 3-7 season, but the Tigers losing in fairly decisive fashion at UCLA to open the season pushed them even further out of the picture. This program seems unable to regain its footing since winning a national title just two seasons ago.

GAMES TO WATCH:

No. 12 Oregon @ No. 3 Ohio State - Noon
No. 5 Texas A&M @ Colorado - 3:30 p.m.
No. 10 Iowa @ No. 9 Iowa State - 4:30 p.m.
No. 15 Texas @ Arkansas - 7 p.m.
No. 21 Utah @ BYU - 10:15 p.m.