College Football First Month Recap
Douglas Whitson ’16
It’s been a pretty wild month of college football so far, but then again when is college football not wild. There’s already been upsets, hail mary’s, and suspensions. So, yes, college football has had everything we had hoped for within the first month of play, and the good news is that conference play, a.k.a. the nitty, gritty games that make us sports fans deranged, are just now starting. We have got a preview of how tough the SEC West will be this year (as if it weren’t already) with unranked Mississippi State’s upset over a top ten team in LSU. Michigan, a usual Big Ten powerhouse, was absolutely clobbered at home, losing 26-10 to Utah. This year in college football is destined to be great.
The nation’s top team and national title favorite, Florida State escaped a close game at home versus Clemson this weekend. They’re lucky, extremely lucky. Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston was suspended for the game and they still somehow came up with the victory against a dangerous Clemson team. Florida State’s other big game on their pathetically weak schedule is against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Even if they do lose that game they still have a fairly decent chance of participating in college football’s first ever four-team playoff. The other top five teams, Oregon, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Auburn have had decent starts to their seasons as well despite being tested by Washington State, West Virginia, and Kansas State, respectively. Ohio State would be up there somewhere if not for the devastating injury to Braxton Miller, but unfortunately injuries happen and hinder some teams from playing at their best. There’s been some surprisingly good teams this year as well. East Carolina snuck themselves into the top 25 and BYU has played fantastically behind their dual-threat quarterback in Taysom Hill, especially in the rout against Charlie Strong’s struggling Texas Longhorns.
So after the first month, which conference has played the best? As usual, it’s the SEC. Four teams from the SEC are ranked in the top ten with four more in the top 25. The SEC West may be different this year. Usually it’s dominated by Alabama, LSU, and sometimes Auburn. Well guess what. LSU lost to a newly-ranked Mississippi State team and Alabama’s Blake Sims has yet to prove himself against a quality opponent. Maybe it’s Texas A&M or Ole Miss’ time to shine. Though the chances of either of those two teams actually winning the SEC West are low, they’re higher than they have been in previous years even when Johnny Manziel was leading the Aggies. The Pac-12 should be just as competitive as it has the past few years with Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC, and Arizona State all in the top 25 this year. What’s up with the Big Ten? Penn State and Nebraska are leading the conference over Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. Of course, when these teams clash throughout the course of the year the standings will be very subject to change. Perhaps the best part about the past month of college football happened this past weekend when Arizona scored 36 points in the fourth quarter to come back and beat Cal. If that’s not already impressive enough, Arizona won the game on a hail mary as time expired.
College football brings an element to sports that the NFL doesn’t have, and that’s mistakes. Sure, players in the NFL make mistakes but not as often as these college guys do. The thing is that the amount of mistakes these players make are what make college football so exciting and heart wrenching to watch. There’s a whole list of reasons why people all around the nation have loved the first month of college football, and it has only given us a taste of what we can expect from the rest of the season.