- Bill Connelly is a staff writer for ESPN.com.
Week 1 of the 2021 college football season was, as expected, a lot to take in. UCLA bullied LSU. Tulane nearly unleashed a late comeback against Oklahoma “at home” in Norman. Georgia-Clemson and Penn State-Wisconsin played defensive slugfests straight out of 2011 (or 1961). FCS’ Big Sky Conference scored three wins over FBS teams and nearly made it four. Alabama destroyed Miami.
(OK, I got carried away there. That last one made plenty of sense.)
The days after Week 1 are prime, Grade-A opportunities for overreaction. We spend eight offseason months thinking we’ll see one thing, after all, and then we potentially see something completely different. But even if we didn’t get conclusive answers to our offseason questions, we still got some pretty interesting partial answers to which we can react or overreact. Let’s talk about what we might have learned.
Are Chip Kelly’s UCLA Bruins for real?
UCLA 38, LSU 27
Despite a string of tight defeats, UCLA improved significantly last season, from 79th in SP+ to 46th. Combined with one of the highest returning production percentages in the country and blue-chip transfers, like running back Zach Charbonnet (Michigan) and linebacker Ale Kaho (Alabama), it should have been clear that UCLA had a chance at another huge step forward in 2021.
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