Georgia photo by Tony Walsh / Georgia outside linebacker Nolan Smith closes in on Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei during the Duke's Mayo Classic on Saturday night at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

This week's Associated Press college football poll will not be released until after the Labor Day evening matchup of Louisville and Ole Miss inside Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but it will look something like this:

1. Alabama

2. Georgia

3-25. Some good teams

In an era when more and more points are appearing on scoreboards, Alabama and Georgia have, at least for now, set themselves apart from the rest nationally through dominant defenses. The Miami Hurricanes averaged 34.3 points last season in Atlantic Coast Conference games, and they returned quarterback D'Eriq King and an offensive line with a whopping 190 career starts, yet they were no match for the Crimson Tide during Saturday afternoon's 44-13 bludgeoning in Atlanta.

Then came Saturday night, when Georgia's defense was so overwhelming in a 10-3 triumph over Clemson that the Bulldogs sacked quarterback DJ Uiagalelei seven times and held the running back trio of Kobe Pace, Will Shipley and Lyn-J Dixon to 24 rushing yards.

"I knew we would be pretty good, and we're pretty deep," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said afterward. "I'm proud of them. It just seems like we're more athletic up there than we've been in the past, and there is a lot of speed on that field. When we do plays against the scout team and (defensive lineman) Travon (Walker) and (outside linebacker) Adam (Anderson) are chasing plays down — they're fast, and they can run.

"(Defensive coordinator) Dan (Lanning) did a great job of calling the game, and the defensive staff did an incredible job with the game plan. The kids were into the game, and I think we frustrated them and confused them. We didn't do real well offensively either, but we did have some moments when we could run the ball. They struggled to do that."

When asked about his offense that produced 180 total yards and was outgained 121-2 on the ground, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said, "I was disappointed, but Georgia has a great front."

Alabama forced three turnovers and built a 41-3 lead midway through the third quarter before cruising to its victory that improved Nick Saban's record in season openers to 15-0 by the average score of 41-12. Miami joined a victim list that includes Clemson, Duke, Louisville, Michigan, Missouri, Southern California, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

The Tide's win did not come without cost, however, as Saban said fifth-year senior outside linebacker Christopher Allen suffered a "significant foot injury" that could render him out for the season.

"It really was a luxury to have him and Will (Anderson) on the edges as outside backers," Saban said. "We have confidence in Drew (Sanders), and we have a couple other young players, like Dallas Turner, who are going to get an opportunity to play now at that position as well."

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AP photo by John Bazemore / Miami quarterback D'Eriq King is sacked by Alabama's Will Anderson Jr. (31), Phidarian Mathis (48) and Malachi Moore during the second half of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Auburn had a successful opening to the Bryan Harsin era with a 60-10 dismantling of Akron, which fell to 1-18 under Tom Arth, the former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga coach.

There is the potential of veteran Southeastern Conference offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and veteran Tigers quarterback Bo Nix being a good match, and that was evidenced by Nix completing his first 11 passes and winding up 20-of-22. That 90.9% accuracy clip set a single-game program record with a minimum of 20 attempts.

Auburn racked up 621 yards and held Akron to 21 rushing yards in improving to 100-27-2 in season openers.

"It certainly was an experience," Harsin said.

Arkansas also won its 100th season opener but struggled to do so, rallying from a 17-7 deficit against Rice before breaking free for a 38-17 victory.

"We didn't play well at all," Razorbacks second-year coach Sam Pittman said.


LSU is now 5-6 since its 15-0 surge to the 2019 national championship, leading many to question whether 2019 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow is to Ed Orgeron what former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was to Gene Chizik. Newton won the 2010 Heisman and guided Auburn to that season's national crown, but Chizik was fired after a 3-9 collapse in 2012.

Orgeron's Tigers are nowhere near 3-9 territory after Saturday night's 38-27 loss at UCLA, but they're nowhere near Alabama and Georgia either.

Before Saturday's game, a UCLA fan saw Orgeron entering the Rose Bowl and shouted at him, with Orgeron responding, "Bring your ass on down in your little sissy blue shirt!" That alone should have earned Orgeron another year on his contract, but then his Tigers went out and rushed for 48 yards.

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AP photo by Mark Humphrey / Vanderbilt quarterback Mike Wright is sacked by East Tennessee State University linebacker Ja'Varius Harrison during the first half of Saturday night's game in Nashville.

Vanderbilt hoped to rebound from its first winless season in program history during Saturday night's hosting of East Tennessee State, but the Buccaneers did not comply and routed the Commodores 23-3 to spoil the debut of Clark Lea. The Commodores rushed for 85 yards and had 70 yards in penalties, and their 11 offensive possessions yielded six punts, three turnovers, a loss on downs and an early field goal.

There have been difficult Vanderbilt seasons through the years, but nobody has ever viewed the Commodores outside the top five in their own state — until now, that is.


Florida backup quarterback Anthony Richardson rushed seven times for 160 yards and a touchdown to highlight a 35-14 trouncing of Florida Atlantic, while Gators starting quarterback Emory Jones admitted, "I definitely have to play better." ... Kentucky's 45-10 blowout of Louisiana-Monroe was actually worse than the score indicated, as the Wildcats outgained the Warhawks 554-87 for their 12th consecutive nonconference win. ... A 34-24 downing of Central Michigan marked Missouri's 13th straight win against a Mid-American Conference program, a streak that began in 2002 against Urban Meyer's Bowling Green Falcons. ... Texas A&M won its ninth straight game dating to last season with a 41-10 pasting of Kent State, so only Alabama has a longer winning streak nationally. ... South Carolina opened the Shane Beamer era with a 46-0 blanking of Eastern Illinois, the program's first shutout since 2008. ... Mississippi State coach Mike Leach after a 35-34 escape of Louisiana Tech on what he told his team while trailing 34-14: "I basically said, 'We've tried every way known to man to lose. Just for fun, let's try something different.'"


Here's a final stat to ponder: Alabama is 16-1 with 15 straight wins in Atlanta under Saban, with the only loss coming to Florida's 2008 national championship team in the SEC title game, a contest the Tide led 20-17 entering the fourth quarter.

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.