Hill had the game of his A&M career, and it came without any money pinches or off-field drama. In his first career start, Hill completed 44 of 60 passes for 511 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. If you're keeping count, that surpasses Manziel's single-game passing record. In fact, it's better than Manziel's total preseason numbers with the Cleveland Browns (30-of-59 for 296 yards, two touchdowns, one fumble).
And while we're at it, maybe it's time to give Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin some retroactive credit for his offensive expertise. Manziel was an extraordinary college player, but the Sumlin Effect became more obvious as Hill picked apart the Gamecocks.
In: Georgia's Todd Gurley (and third-teamer Nick Chubb), Bama's T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry, Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah, A&M's Hill, Les Miles' sense of timing (his fake punt call flipped the momentum against Wisconsin), Charlie Strong's Texas debut, James Franklin's Penn State debut, player suspensions (too many to list), Youth. Tennessee played 21 true freshmen in the win against Utah State, Alabama field goal kicking (where was that in the 2013 Iron Bowl?), USC's resiliency, karma streaks (dating back to last mid-September, Baylor's McLane Stadium, Penn State's Christian Hackenberg, retribution (Nebraska gained 784 yards in the 55-7 win against Florida Atlantic -- the same FAU that pressured Carl Pelini, brother of Cornhuskers coach Bo Pelini, to resign last year), more retribution (Michigan 52, Appalachian State 14), LSU (with the win against Bucky, the Tigers now have 46 consecutive victories against non-conference opponents), North Dakota State (another win over an FBS program, this time Iowa State), Florida Atlantic's savings account ($1 million guarantee for playing Nebraska, $1 million guarantee for playing Bama this week), welcome backs (Notre Dame's Everett Golson and Auburn's Nick Marshall), and hellos (Ohio State's J.T. Barrett), rain outs (Idaho-Florida) and rain delays (Auburn-Arkansas).
Out: Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon (only four carries in the second half -- huh?), Wisconsin's CFP chances (Final Four teams don't blow 24-7 third-quarter leads, do they?), an on-field shimmy by Wisconsin kicker Rafael Gaglianone (please don't do that anymore), the preseason hysteria (guilty) surrounding LSU freshman running back Leonard Fournette (eight carries for 18 yards vs. Wisconsin), face-punching (hello, Syracuse's Terrel Hunt), Navy's "Summer Whites" helmets (they look a little like California Highway Patrol motorcycle helmets), the debut of Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason (37-7 loser to Temple), "Anchor Down" Vandy jerseys, and preseason predictions.
There are lovely moments in college football that remind you of the strength of character required to survive the game. Exhibit A-Z: Penn State place-kicker Sam Ficken.
In 2012, Ficken missed four of five field goals, including the last-second, potential game-winner, and had an extra-point attempt blocked in a 17-16 loss at Virginia. He was immediately bombarded by an onslaught of knucklehead social media hatred. A lesser player would have walked away from Penn State and the game.
Ficken persevered. And Saturday, in faraway Dublin, Ficken's 36-yard field goal as time expired gave Penn State a 26-24 victory against UCF.