One more look at the week that was in college football
1. Alabama-The Tide looked like it was headed out to sea in the first half at Ole Miss, but in the end Bama did what Bama generally does, win, if not comfortably. Tough win on the road, in tough conference gives Bama extra credit.
2. Ohio State---Since Ohio State almost never loses in the Big Ten and since Urban Meyer is the best college football coach this side of Nick Saban and since this win was in Norman and since Ohio State looked more than ready for prime time, the Buckeyes get the bump to just below penthouse level.
3. Michigan--Everyone is entitled to one win in which the phrase "they were lucky to win.''' is used. Colorado deserved to win in the Big House on Saturday. It didn't. Michigan tried to give the game away. It didn't. That cost the Wolverines our No. 1 vote, but they are still playing The Victors in Ann Arbor.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
4. Louisville--Shame on us. We saw Louisville take apart Syracuse a week ago and said to ourselves, "These guys are pretty good.'' But then we floated that theory to our brethren and we were asked, "Who have they beaten?'' It will be different this week against Florida State. We bought the Seminoles hype and history. Shame on us. It was different. Until proven otherwise, Louisville is very, very, very good and will get our respect.
1. Louisville--Here's a story that few people know about Louisville. A few years ago when the Cardinals were part of the crumbling Big East football conference and looking for a more secure base, they were very much interested in joining the Big 12.
But so was West Virginia. Former Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas, who was then working as a consultant for the Big 12, worked out a deal with the Mountaineers, which came as a surprise to some members of the Big 12 and to Louisville, which quickly said Yes to an ACC spot.
The Cardinals began as an ACC power in basketball and under the second go around for Bobby Petrino--who is a very good Xs and Os guy--have moved into the upper tier of the ACC in football. Saturday's 63-20 romp past FSU was not a fluke.
The Cards still have challenges--a game at Clemson on October 1st and a game at Houston on November 17th. Plus a possible ACC title game challenge in December.
But for now, they are in the discussion as the best team in college football.
2. North Dakota State--It is officially called an "upset''. After all, beating No. 13 Iowa--in Iowa City--as the Bison did on Saturday, deserves recognition. But here's the issue.
The next time the Bison lose to an FBS opponent will be the upset. That hasn't happened since 2010, in their one-game a year sampling of FBS teams.
The Bison don't lose very much against anyone. The have won five consecutive FCS national championships. They sent their QB Carson Wentz to the NFL, where he debuted last week with a win as the starting QB of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The only question that should be asked is why would any FBS athletic director schedule the Bison. Unless you want to be another footnote in FCS/FBS history, it is a lose, lose situation.
FBS schools are getting wise. There is "no victim'' on their schedule in 2017 and 2018 and 2019 are still in flux. But Oregon agreed to play North Dakota State in 2020 and also pay North Dakota State a "guarantee'' amount of $650,000 for showing up in Eugene.
3. Traditional Bottom Feeders: Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Army, who had a combined record of 8-28 last season are a combined 9-0 after three weeks. Maryland, which finished 3-9 last season, has already matched its win total under new head coach D.J. Durkin.
1. The Big 12--It's not even October and the Big 12 is basically done as far as a contender for a Final Four spot. TCU has lost, Texas has lost, Oklahoma has lost twice. Iowa State has not lost at all. Kansas is hapless as usual. And Baylor has no depth, no quality non-conference opponents. Someone like West Virginia could come roaring from out of the pack, but since the rest of the Big 12 is already damaged, there will be no "quality'' wins in the eyes of the selection committee. Add the fiasco that the Big 12 expansion has become and it looks like a grim football season for the Big 12.
2. Notre Dame, Oklahoma and USC--A blue blood collection of football programs right? The No. 2, No. 8 and No. 13 all time winningest programs in college football history in terms of victories. In winning percentage they are No. 2, No. 5 and No. 12. Combined they have won 22 national championships. After three weeks of the season, the three schools have a combined record of : 3-6.
3. Florida State--It wasn't just the 63-20 loss to Louisville, the worst in school history. It wasn't the horrible first half against Ole Miss in the regular season opener, which was capped by a remarkable second half. It wasn't the injuries which have nicked and bruised them. It wasn't the stupid penalties and mental mistakes, which suggested that they weren't ready for prime time. It was all of these things which have tarnished the Seminoles. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said much of the blame should be laid on him and his staff. He's right. FSU hasn't been ready to come out of the gates in two of their three games. They got away with it against Ole Miss. They didn't against Louisville. ""You don't play with fire and let teams get ahead of you,'' said Fisher. Consider the Seminoles singed.
Did You Know
That California beat Texas 50-43 on Saturday night/Sunday morning (in the East). It was a wild game, filled with touchdowns and controversy, but it started at 10:30 Eastern time and ended when most of the country was asleep. Why does this matter? The Pac-12 needs publicity to promote its teams and its players. Yet, it has made a television deal with the devil, starting many games which have national relevance in Prime time Pacific coast time. The results are slowly filtered out over the next few days and don't make highlight shows until Sunday or Monday. So let's not hear any whining from Pac-12 nation about lack of respect. Let more people see what you are selling and you will get respect and recognition.
That three weeks into the regular season, only two Power 5 conference teams, Virginia and Iowa State are winless.
That Nebraska is 3-0 and a year after a string of close losses dropped them to 5-7, the Huskers are now winning close games, with Saturday's 35-32 win over Oregon being the latest example. Next up for the Huskers are Northwestern, Illinois, Indiana and Purdue, which could put them at 7-0 going into a game at Wisconsin on Oct. 29.
Rice's traditionally iconic band showed its colors in a game against Baylor on Thursday night. As part of the halftime show, the band spelled out Title IX, a reference to Baylor's sexual assault Title IX violations. On Saturday, the school issued an apology.
It's way too early for serious Heisman chatter, but Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey piled up 260 all purpose yards in a 27-10 win over USC, Louisville QB Lamar Jackson continued his early push with four rushiing TDs and a passing TD in Louisville's romp past FSU and Clemson QB DeShaun Watson was the catalyst in a 59-0 rout of South Carolina State in a game which was shortened to 12 minute quarters in the second half.
South Florida is 3-0 after a 45-20 rout of Syracuse and the Bulls are also 5-0 in games at the Carrier Dome and host FSU next week in what is a Watch Out game for both teams.
Play it Forward
Games of interest next week
1. Florida at Tennessee--An old fashioned SEC East battle. The winner stays alive in Final Four conversation, the loser drops out (for now).
2. Clemson at Georgia Tech--Nothing special at the start of the season. But both both teams are 3-0. Clemson's start was expected, Georgia Tech's was not. Could still be a rout, but with Clemson you never know.
3. Wisconsin at Michigan State--Neither team is regarded as a serious Big Ten contender, but this Big Ten East (Michigan State) vs. West battle will give the winner a big boost, especially Wisconsin which will have wins over LSU and Michigan State and begins a three game stretch of games against the Spartans, Wolverines and Buckeyes. Ouch.
In My Opinion
It has been a pet peeve of a Jersey Guy that the obsession with pre-season rankings is wrong. College football is not the National Football League. Last year's success can not be projected into this season even if a team has "17 starters'' coming back.
Things change. These are still mostly teenagers. Stuff happens. Freshman arrive on campus who could be game and season changers.
But we at TMGCollegesports.com in a shameless display of trying to sell our product (we were, after all, a start-up operation which didn't exist on July 4th). Pre-season rankings (a.k.a. Rankman) were part of the promotion package. In full disclosure mode, Rankman had Notre Dame ranked No.1. A Jersey guy is still alive with Michigan and The Gould Standard went with chalk and Alabama.
But we digress. Pre-season rankings are unfair to the "have nots'' who are not given respect in August. We give you Louisville as an example who wasn't in any of our Pre-season Top 16 rankings. We give you Oklahoma and Notre Dame and USC, who were in most of ours (A Jersey Guy didn't like the Trojans, but he did bite on Oklahoma and ND).
This will never happen, of course, but a Jersey guy thinks that the THIRD weekend of the college football season is the proper time for the FIRST rankings of the season.
Teams have had a few games to work out the kinks, to see who can play, and who can get settled into a season which goes up and down each week. It is better and it is more fair, allowing teams to come out of the pack.
It is entirely possible that either Louisville or Houston or perhaps even both could be a Final Four team in January.
Oh, a few of the pre-season chalk teams will be there, of course, but it will be easier for teams to state their case. And that is one of the strengths of the committee system college football is now using. The first selection committee rankings do not come out for another month.
There will be arguments about who is worthy, but there will be enough body of work from THIS season to make an intelligent judgment.[/membership]