Irish, Bobcats, Huskers on rise

After Week 1 wins, which teams' win projections increased or fell the most?

Updated: September 4, 2012, 11:11 AM ET
By Brian Fremeau | Football Outsiders
George Atkinson IIIMatt Cashore/US PresswireGeorge Atkinson III and the Irish put together an impressive statistical performance in Week 1.

The Alabama Crimson Tide were far and away the most impressive team of college football's opening weekend. The Saturday night dismantling of the Michigan Wolverines in Cowboys Stadium was dominant throughout and in all three phases of the game: offense, defense and special teams. But did Alabama significantly improve its season outlook?

According to our drive-based FEI ratings, the 41-14 win over Michigan did boost Alabama's rating and created some distance between Alabama and the rest of the nation. But the Tide's season win projection was boosted only incrementally. Alabama is now expected to win an average of 10.4 total games against its regular-season schedule rather than the 10.3 wins projected at the beginning of the year. That slips the Crimson Tide ahead of the Oregon Ducks as the most likely team to go undefeated. But there are still a few SEC pitfalls for Alabama ahead.

A handful of other teams made statements of their own this past weekend, including a few that boosted their season win projections by at least a full game. We can't consider any of these teams as national contenders, but they've already set the stage for a more promising 2012 than originally forecast.

At the same time, other Week 1 victors actually saw their win projections decrease. We'll take a look at three teams in each category.

Promising starts

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Preseason win projection: 7.2
Updated win projection: 8.5

A lot of teams were expected to dominate their opening weekend opponent, but Notre Dame was one of the few to exceed expectations against an FBS opponent, offensively and defensively. The Irish posted the second-best total team performance of the weekend according to our Game Efficiency metric, a measure of maximizing possession efficiency on both sides of the ball.

Brian Fremeau

ESPN Insider
• Has been a contributor to ESPN Insider and ESPN The Magazine since 2009
• Creator of the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), a measure of college football team efficiency
• Contributor to Football Outsiders and his own site, bcftoys.com