The Craziness That Is College Football
Oh my, what a year. The blowouts, the upsets, the suspense. But I guess that’s every college football season. The unpredictability and excitement that comes with college football are riveting.
I love Saturdays and if you’re reading this, I know you do too. Through the head smacking, the jumping out of your chair, a college football season is a roller coaster ride. After 9 weeks we take a look at the biggest headlines from the 2018 college football season.
Nick Saban’s Greatest Team
After winning his 4th title with Alabama in 10 years, Nick Saban is undoubtedly the greatest coach of all time. For all the dominant teams he has coached, this is by far his best team. With the emergence of Heisman favorite Tua Tagovaiola, this team is in a class of its own. A terrifying passing attack, mauling offensive line, game-breaking receivers, elite run game, and a nasty defense, this is a team with no weaknesses. ‘Bama is always at the forefront of the standings, but this year’s team is downright scary.
Trevor Lawerence Is A Stud
After running a silly 2 QB system for the first few games of the season, Clemson came to their senses and gave talented true Freshman Trevor Lawerence the full time starting job. Lawerence has fit the bill, throwing for an A1 18:3 TD to INT ratio. Sophomore RB Trevor Etienne has quietly emerged as one of the best RBs in the country. An epic offense combined with a stifling defense has Clemson as one of the most dangerous teams in the nation. After annihilating Lousiville 77–16, there may be no team with a better chance at dethroning Alabama than the Tigers.
Ian Book Is The Answer…Apparently
Notre Dame began the season strong going 3–0, but starting QB Brandon Wimbush threw for a paltry 1:4 TD to INT ratio during those 3 games. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly decided to insert Junior Ian Book as the starter and the results have been terrific. Book has thrown at a 74.5% completion rate, 8.54 Y/A, and a 15:4 TD to INT ratio. After squeezing by in those first three wins, Notre Dame has looked like a genuinely elite team with Book under center. Notre Dame has scored 38.3 PPG with Book at the helm, a huge step up from the 22.7 PPG Notre Dame was putting up with Wimbush. With a serious offense and a tantalizing defense, this a Notre Dame squad that is no longer flying under the radar.
Shea Patterson Is Making Michigan Great Again
After dropping the first game of the season to the aforementioned Notre Dame, Michigan seemed to have the same quarterback woes from last year. But with Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson taking over, this offense has looked better each week. With a fantastic run game and suffocating defense, the Wolverines were looking for that signal caller to complete this team. Michigan is one of the hottest teams right now, after a 42–7 manhandling of Penn State, this a team nobody wants to face.
Keep Barking, Bulldogs
A very impressive Georgia squad looked like the one team in the nation that could rival Alabama in the early part of the season. Led by sophomore QB Jake Fromm, a team with one of the best offensive lines in the country and an equally strong defense, the Bulldogs looked like a lock for the college football playoffs. After being ranked #2 or #3 for the first 7 weeks, a disappointing 36–16 loss to LSU in week 7 seemed to diminish any hope of the Bulldogs making the playoffs. But after two key wins against top 10 teams Kentucky and Florida, Georgia is pushing hard for that #4 spot.
Why Would Kyle Murray Ever Play Baseball?
After Heisman winner Baker Mayfield left for the NFL, Kyle Murray was set to lead a very talented Oklahoma offense. Mayfield was a star, but Murray may just be better. Murray has been electric this season, throwing for 31 TDs and rushing for 7 more TDs. He is one of the best dual-threat QBs. At 8–1, with one loss coming against a very good Texas squad, Oklahoma is slated at #6 in the latest college football rankings. Kyle Murray is a fantastic QB, but NFL fans are disappointed that he has chosen to pursue a career in the MLB after this season.
One Loss Too Many
It’s been quite a ride for LSU. They have their quality wins, #5 Georgia, Miami, and #24 Auburn, but losing to #15 Florida and getting trashed by #1 Alabama last week has LSU sitting at #7 this week. Joe Burrows has emerged as a quality starting QB for this team, but it’s this defense that has really propelled LSU. LSU is one of the most talented teams in the country, but with the top 3 teams in the country going undefeated so far and LSU being left out of the SEC title game will make it extremely tough for them to make the CFP.
Gardner Minshew For Heisman?
Raise your hand if you had Washington State penciled to be #8 seed this deep into the season. After Luke Falk graduated, this Washington State program has close to 0 expectations, not even being ranked to begin the season. Eastern Carolina transfer QB Gardner Minshew has stepped in and played at an exceptional level. Minshew has thrown a spectacular 27:7 TD to INT ratio while leading college football with 3517 passing yards. With Washington State at 8–1, Minshew is making his case for the Heisman.
What Does Undefeated Mean To You?
You probably don’t care, but UCF is holding steady at 8–0. Undefeated in the American Athletic Conference really doesn’t raise any eyebrows. McKenzie Milton is a top level QB, but UCF’s resume doesn’t have enough to bolster them to the playoffs. The Knights will likely go undefeated and make a New Year’s 6 Bowl, but it’s harder to see them going any farther than that.
Kentucky Is More Than Basketball
This year Kentucky has been ranked in the AP Poll for the first time since 2007. Mark Stoops has gotten this team to play a little better each of the 5 years he has been in coaching. But in his 6th season, the Wildcats have taken an even bigger step forward, jumping to 7–2, good for the #11 seed. The real engine of this team has been RB Benny Snell, one of the most underrated backs in college football. In just 9 games, Snell has run for 1008 yards and 10 TDs in the tough SEC, quietly supplanting himself as one of the best running backs in the nation. With a smothering defense on the other side, this Kentucky team is legit, but with 2 losses, it’s hard to see a college football playoff appearance for them.
What The Orange!
College football fans were taken by surprise when Syracuse started the season 4–0, but losses to Clemson and Pittsburg were a major letdown for the Orange. Syracuse went on to win their next three games after that, now firmly sitting at 7–3 as the #13 seed. With star QB Eric Dungy leading a lethal and versatile offense that includes hometown hero RB Dontae Strickland (who leads the Syracuse RB’s in TDs), the Orange have quietly been one of the big surprises of the 2018 season.
They Won’t Be Badgering Anyone This Year
After going 13–1 last year, this was a Wisconsin team that came in with high expectations. After being ranked as the #4 team in the preseason AP Poll, the Badgers have crumbled as the season went on. QB Alex Hornbrook has not played well, this defense isn’t as good, the only constant has been RB Jonathan Taylor who leads college football with 1363 rushing yards. The Badgers have plummeted to 6–3, dropping from the top 25 altogether. From 4th best to irrelevant, it’s a sad year for the Badgers whose season is most definitely over.
The “U” Is Finished
When LSU beat down Miami in the week 1 everyone knew something was wrong, but nobody thought it would be this bad. Miami comes into week 11 losing 3 straight, holding at 5–4 in the midst of a very disappointing season. Star QB Malik Rozier has not been the same this season. The Hurricanes continue to alternate between Rozier and freshman N’Kosi Perry, neither option working out well. It’s been a mess for Miami, a season to forget for one of the most historically dominant teams in college football.
Rondale Moore Is Up Next
After losing their first 3 games by 9 points, Purdue responded by winning 5 of their next 6 games. That included big upsets against #17 Boston College, #10 Ohio State, and #21 Iowa. At 5–4 Purdue may not look like an elite team, but this they are a lot better than their record insists. The driving force of this dangerous Purdue offense is freshman WR Rondale Moore. At 5’9” 174 lbs, Moore came in 282nd on ESPN’s Top 300. Nobody knew his name, but he has proven them wrong. Moore is one of the most underrated receivers in college football, he is perhaps the most electrifying player in college football. Moore runs a 4.33 40 yard dash, he’s a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Moore is currently 3rd in all-purpose yards in college football. Moore is the 2nd coming of former WVU star Tavon Austin. If you don’t Rondale Moore yet, get familiar.
So The College Football Playoffs?
In the end, college football fans want to know who will make the college football playoffs. This late into the season, these 9 teams are the only ones with a chance of making the playoffs.
There’s a variety of scenarios for this to play it out. The teams in the top 3 essentially control their own destiny. ‘Bama, Clemson, and Notre Dame are currently undefeated if they stay that way there’s nothing the committee can do to knock them out of the playoffs.
After that it gets interesting. Even if Michigan goes undefeated and wins a Big 10 title if Georgia wins an SEC title against almighty Alabama, it will put a ton of pressure on the committee to determine who the better team is.
For Oklahoma, Washington State, West Virginia, and Ohio State to even be considered to get in, they will need to win out, win their respective division titles, and they need help from the teams ranked above them. At least one loss from either Michigan, Notre Dame, Clemson, and/or Georgia would shake everything up.
It’s been an exciting season so far, but we’re in line for an even better finish as the regular season comes to a close. While ‘Bama, Clemson, and Notre Dame have looked immortal, anything can happen in college football, upsets are always looming. I’ll be glued to my TV on Saturday, what will you be doing?