College Football’s Most Exciting Teams
If you’re reading this, it’s too late. College football has started, with or without you, and it’s already been fun.
Week 1 gave us big-time performances, disappointing starts and crazy upsets. Week 2 was a little slower, but still provided some action exclusive to the sport of college football. It’s still early, but after the first two weeks, we already have an idea of who will be among the elite.
But who cares if you’re good and boring?
*Reference LSU and Notre Dame in the years they got stomped against ‘Bama in the championship*
We want excitement. Exciting teams make Johnny Manziel-type scrambles and miraculous throws, force big turnovers and don’t let off the gas.
That being said, here are college football’s four most exciting teams:
At noon during Week 1, Houston already provided the nation with what might be one of the best games of 2016. It had all the components of an instant classic: a big-time quarterback performance, an upset of a top-five team and a KICK SIX!
The Courgars toppling then-№3 Oklahoma legitimized the Group of Five school as a legit playoff contender.
After an impressive junior season, quarterback Greg Ward Jr. solidified his spot among the elite signal callers in the country with his performance against the Sooners. The senior threw for 321 yards and a pair of scores.
Getting past Oklahoma puts Houston in the driver’s seat of a College Football Playoff appearance. The only ranked opponent remaining on their schedule is Louisville — whom they square off against on Nov. 17.
Until then, the Cougars will likely light up inferior American Athletic conference competition. They almost ran the table in 2015, but stumbled against Connecticut without Ward Jr.
And what did the team do without Ward Jr. and starting running back Duke Catalon for Week 2’s game? Houston didn’t miss a beat, outrushing Lamar 381 to 89 in a 42–0 victory.
Exciting teams don’t mess around, regardless of the matchup. They ball, just like my dynasties and I in the old NCAA football video games.
Keep an eye on the Cougars. Their win over Oklahoma gives them a standout resumé, and there’s no telling what coach Tom Herman has up his sleeve in the upcoming weeks.
Wild man Jim Harbaugh. Iron man Jabril Peppers. A program that hosted Michael Jordan and Derek Jeter during the season opener.
Jumpman, Jumpman, Michigan’s up to somethin’. The Wolverines are back among college football’s elite. In a year where dominant programs of yesteryear are on the rise after experiencing periods of decline, Michigan is leading the charge.
They thrashed Hawaii, 63–3, in the season opener, the program’s third-largest margin of victory since World War II and its most dominant opener since 1905.
This past Saturday, Harbaugh’s regime again didn’t fool around, stomping UCF 51–14. The secondary allowed only 56 yards through the air. Meanwhile, the Wolverine passing game thrived. Effective and efficient quarterback play is a necessity for a title contender. During his first two tune-up games of the season, Wilson Speight looks the part. Against UCF and Hawaii, Speight racked up over 450 yards, seven touchdowns to only one interception.
Sure, it’s been against a severely jet-lagged Rainbow Warriors squad and a team that went 0–12 last season, but he’s “tossin’ dat thang”.
It’s impossible to make serious claims given the quality of the opponents, but Michigan isn’t fooling around and wants everyone to know they can compete at a high level.
The Wolverines’ play thus far is a statement. A statement revealing that the Wolverines are back and they’re hear to have a good time doing it, just as the King of Khaki designed.
Florida State Seminoles
In a high-profile season opener against Ole Miss in Orlando, the Noles came out flat on their face, trailing 28–13 at the half.
A motivational speech by none other than the squinting wonder — former FSU quarterback Jameis Winston — and a masterful performance from their current quarterback — who you might have heard of after Monday night — carried them back to an impressive victory.
In the third quarter, Florida State scored 23 unanswered points and thanks to three fourth-quarter field goals from another kicker with the last name Aguayo, the Noles closed out the Rebels in dominant fashion in the second half.
Jameis was all over the place in the broadcast of the game, but if you thought you caught a glimpse of him on the field, it’s probably because of redshirt freshman quarterback Deondre Francois.
In his first college start, after being little flustered in the first half, Francois looked incredibly poised throughout the second. Despite consistent pressure from the vaunted Ole Miss pass rush, Francois continued to stand tall in the pocket, delivering pinpoint throws.
In Winston’s college debut against Pittsburgh, he completed a masterful 25 of his 27 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns. He also added a touchdown on the ground.
Let the Famous Jameis comparisons flow.
Francois threw for 419 yards, two touchdowns and racked up 478 of the Noles’ 580 yards of offense. But something important to note, is the context of Francois’ performance.
The freshman led his team on a second-half comeback in a prime-time matchup against a SEC opponent. That is a lot of adversity for a young quarterback to face period, let alone in his debut.
In Week 2, Francois had another impressive game under center, throwing for 262 yards and three touchdowns. Cook missed out on a chance to pad his rushing yards numbers, but reached the end zone twice as the Noles beat Charleston Southern 52–8.
And what’s better than a player named Jesus Wilson, which will probably be the name of Russell Wilson’s first-born son, considering he has to compete with Future in baby-naming skills, running back a punt for a 89-yard score?
In the win over Ole Miss, Florida State and the rest of college football learned that quarterback play is no longer a question mark for the Seminoles. Led by Francois, alongside junior running back Dalvin Cook, the Noles will be a force to be reckoned with and might now have two legitimate candidates for the Heisman Trophy.
Alabama Crimson Tide
We thought the Tide didn’t deserve the №1 ranking. We thought they were in a “down year”, losing “too much talent.”
We were wrong.
The word that comes to mind when I think of the Crimson Tide team that was displayed in their season opener is revamped. After a slow start, Alabama kicked it in a gear that is exclusive to the Tide and throttled USC 52–6.
Once again, facing a season where they would start a brand new backfield, the Tide didn’t miss a beat.
True freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts might be the quarterback that Saban has been laboring to land. And sophomore running back Damien Harris seems to be the next heir to the throne of dominant Alabama running backs.
For Hurts, it was a small sample size, but he threw for 118 yards and two touchdowns on just six completions. A dual-threat, he also added 32 yards and two more scores on the ground.
Harris blew by the Trojan defense, rushing for 138 yards on nine carries. NINE. That’s about 15 yards a carry, folks. And like typical Bama, they are never without at least two options at the running back position, as Bo Scarbrough added 36 yards on the ground, scoring a touchdown on the goal line.
If you thought the Tide’s defense would suffer after losing four players to the draft and coordinator Kirby Smart to Georgia, we seem to be wrong about that too. The Trojans didn’t reach the end zone once and quarterback Max Browne had about 0.5 seconds to breath before an Alabama defender was in his face.
Surviving a rising team’s effort in the season opener would be considered a success. Acknowledging that team’s effort and then completely destroying them? That’s a statement.
Week 2 was essentially an open practice for the Tide, but Hurts looked sharp again and stud wide receiver Calvin Ridley bounced back from a non-existent Week 1 and caught nine passes for 129 yards with a touchdown.
Lord Saban and The Tide are here to stay. And like Phyllis said on the Finebaum Show this week, “THE DYNASTY WILL NEVER END!”
Oh, Alabama plays Ole Miss on Saturday? Freeze and the Rebs might be Saban’s only known Kryptonite, having upset them two years in a row.
Let’s see if Swag Kelly and the Rebs’ stout defensive front can once again be a scrap piece of tire in Alabama’s victory lap towards another championship. But with the Tide visiting Oxford, they have a huge opportunity to prove they are stronger than ever.