Auburn and Notre Dame Win Marquee Week 1 Games, Controversy With Joe West Again
College football is back, and it is back with a bang. Unlike many sports, results are absolutely critical from Week 1 in NCAA football, and two teams that got the biggest wins on Saturday included the Auburn Tigers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Auburn, ranked #9 to begin the day, were set to face off against #6 Washington. While the playoff system typically does allow one loss, thus meaning neither team would be considered out of the chase with a loss, it was still a very important game. Auburn, never as consistent as Alabama but still a very big threat every few years, was able to outlast Washington to win 21-16. It took a late touchdown and some great defense at the end to hold off the Huskies, but in the end they had done the job and remain within a chance of getting to that crucial playoff.
Another team that played a huge game to open the season was Notre Dame. And they did so against one of their biggest rivals: the Wolverines of Michigan. There was no easing into matters for either team to start this season. The Irish set the tone early on, jumping out to a 14-0 lead about halfway through the first quarter. Michigan did fight back valiantly, but they never got all that close as Notre Dame kept them at arm’s length to win 24-17 in the end. Some still believe there is more to come from the Fighting Irish, and that could be a scary fact. Especially if Michigan shows strength in the remaining schedule. Elsewhere, Will Grier lit up Tennessee as his West Virginia team won big. Alabama rolled, of course, and Georgia also did. Perhaps the most relieved team is #10 Penn State, who had to go to overtime to see off Appalachian State 45-38.
Elsewhere, umpire Joe West was once again making controversy. This time, he seemed to be in the right, even if the rules have a bit of a gray area. The veteran ump has made many big calls and been at the heart of contention time and again in his career. On Saturday, the Phillies sent reliever Austin Davis to the mound with a cheat sheet. West saw the piece of paper and ultimately made the decision to take it away as he thought it met the criteria as a foreign substance. He later would admit it was in a gray area, but he felt it was warranted to just confiscate the material instead of throwing him out. Another interesting baseball happening. Not that it mattered, as the Cubs beat them 7-1 anyway, meaning the Atlanta Braves extended their NL East lead back to 3 games.
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