College football fans are well-known for overreacting to their teams’ season openers. Each Labor Day weekend game has the potential to spark talk of a program’s return to relevance or panic about the lost season ahead. The excitement of Week 1’s marquee matchups only adds to the risk that we all let our guard down enough to become prisoners of the moment.
In 2016, Joe Tessitore infamously claimed, “Texas is back, folks!” following the Longhorns’ 50–47 overtime win over preseason No. 10 Notre Dame, as Charlie Strong appeared primed for a breakthrough in his third year in Austin. The Longhorns proceeded to lose seven games, including a loss to Kansas that ultimately doomed Strong’s Texas tenure.
Some season openers offer real hints at the season’s biggest stories ahead, but let Tessitore’s call serve as a constant reminder: Each Week 1 brings with it a healthy supply of red herrings, and 2018 was no different. Here’s a look at the most misleading Week 1 results from last September that should serve as cautionary tales for next fall’s most anticipated games.