The marquee matchup between No. 11 Michigan and No. 17 Florida was a great college football game to open the first full week of play. The game featured pick-sixes, great performances from young players, and more. But one thing is definitely for sure — if Michigan or Florida has College Football Playoff aspirations, they each have some work to do, especially on offense.
While Michigan left the field with a 33-17 win and now has a nice resume-builder early in the season, neither team looks ready to be in anyone's College Football Playoff discussion.
Let's start with the good — both of these defenses have the chance to be really, really good, and you saw it in the form of three combined defensive touchdowns. Michigan has some absolute studs in defensive linemen Maurice Hurst and Rashan Gary and corner Lavert Hill. Florida, too, showed off with those two first-half pick sixes. If those defenses continue to progress and the young players continue getting better, the defense alone could drag these teams far.
Some more good-ish news — Florida was playing without some important contributors who were suspended for the contest (some are on indefinite suspension). The Gators had 10 total players suspended, including top returning running back Jordan Scarlett and No. 1 wide receiver Antonio Calloway.
Michigan was playing its first game since losing 17 starters to graduation and the NFL Draft a year ago. You expect some growing pains.
But the bad news, and what could end up crippling these teams long term, is the poor quarterback play.
Michigan's starting quarterback — Wilton Speight — threw two first-half pick sixes. His first quarter touchdown pass came on a defensive breakdown. He did throw a beauty late to Nick Eubanks, but his inconsistency was a major detriment to the offense. He's one of the five returning starters for Michigan, someone the Wolverines need to be able to count on.
Both teams made changes at QB. Michigan tried out former Houston transfer John O'Korn late in the first half. He attempted one pass — and hit Tarik Black on a pretty sideline throw. But he was sacked multiple times and didn't look comfortable.
Florida, too, made a change, handing the reins over to former Notre Dame QB Malik Zaire. He was also anything but consistent, but he did seem more comfortable in the pocket, something you'd hope consider his previous experience. That didn't stop him from getting sacked a bunch of times.
At the end of the day the lines didn't look good. Speight finished 11 of 25 (44 percent) for 181 yards, one touchdown and 2 interceptions. Korn was 1 for 1 for 37 yards. Franks and Zaire combined to throw for just 181 total yards and complete 53.8 percent of their passes. Franks went 5 of 9 for 75 yards and Zaire finished 9 of 17 for 106 yards. He was sacked and fumbled in the endzone late in the game, leading to a Michigan score.
Some of the poor showing from the QBs was thanks to strong defensive play. But a lot of it was flat out bad quarterback play.
Both teams have some really nice pieces on offense. Michigan true freshmen receivers Tarik Black and Donovan Peoples-Jones are oozing with talent. Wolverines back Ty Isaac went over 100 yards with a high average against a really good defensive front seven. Florida was obviously missing some very important players — the aforementioned Scarlett and Calloway.
No one would be surprised if either of these teams played their way into CFP contention. But the quarterbacks will need to step up for that to happen.