College Football Research


by Big Al

The busiest weekend of the year so far has come, and it brought a whole lot of upheaval. Two top-ten teams were upended by a couple of unranked teams. And a few other teams had their wings singed.

The big surprise of the year is that, after a shortened offseason, it's the offenses that are way ahead of the defenses. In days of yore, it was defenses that held the early edge and the offenses caught up later. It seems that defending modern offenses requires more teamwork that the offenses require to execute their gameplans. I'm not sure what that tells us, but it's an interesting piece of news.

Anyway, enough of that. On to the games.

Kansas State 38 - Oklahoma 35

There are some thing I would like to say, but I make it a point not to speak ill of individuals: these are college kids, they don't need to be called out by some part-time writer.

With that said, Oklahoma's complete collapse was like watching film of a car wreck. You know there's nothing you can do to stop it, and part of you wished it wouldn't, but another part of you was enjoying the sheer horror of it and you couldn't turn away.

Meanwhile, Kansas State must be congratulated for their grit. They never quit. Then, when they started finding their advantages, they pressed them and took full advantage. And they did it against a team that really wanted revenge for losing to them last year. Good job, Wildcats!

Texas 63 - Texas Tech 56

And speaking of collapses, Texas Tech put together a memorable one of their own. Again, you watched it and you couldn't turn away. When Texas pulled within seven late, it gave you a funny feeling. When Texas Tech blew their chance at the onside kick, it looked bad for the Red Raiders. When Texas scored to make it even, you knew they had all the momentum. But when Texas Tech put together the worst clock management of the year so far (including the worst-advised timeout I've ever seen in my life), I didn't need to see the rest. Which was fortunate, because I needed to leave the house anyway.

Texas's defense is clearly lacking. But that was the first time I've really seen Sam Ehlinger look like a top quarterback. He's had his moments before, but this time he really looked like the complete package.

If Ehlinger can stay healthy, the Longhorns might just be the team to beat in the Big XII.

Mississippi State 44 - LSU 34

I hadn't expected Mike Leach to make a splash quite like that, or make it so soon. But here we are, with Mississippi State upending the defending national champions on their opening weekend.

ESPN made the point that LSU lost 19 of the 22 starters from last year's national championship team to graduation, the NFL, or opting out due to COVID. So it shouldn't be that much of a shock. All the same, that was a crazy way to start the year.

Miami 52 - Florida State 10

Meanwhile, Florida State is living up to my expectations. Gonna be a long year in Tallahassee. Truth be told, I'm thinking that Mike Norvell is pretty well doomed anyway. He likely lost the locker room when he said he had individual conversations with each of the players following the killing of George Floyd. He didn't, the players went on strike, and his regime was off to a terrible start before he'd even played a game. I'm not real hopeful.

Miami was good. Not great, but good. They have talent, but they need work and polish.

UCF 51 - East Carolina 28

The one team that's really looked like a playoff team so far this year is UCF. They have been fast, powerful, and fun to watch. They need help to make it, but Oklahoma was happy to oblige. Cincinnati is also giving them a hand. However, let's not get too excited, it's still just September. And we all know who September is for...

Cincinnati 24 - Army 10

On the topic of Cincinnati, they are not going to be a pushover. They even seem use the often-overlooked skill known as "defense". If they can keep that up, that makes November 21 a big day.

Tennessee 31 - South Carolina 27

I picked Tennessee to take an upset this weekend. Beating South Carolina by 4 isn't exactly reassuring. But an in-conference road win in the SEC on opening weekened is nothing to be embarassed about. I'm not going to pick them against Alabama or anything, but they should enjoy the win all the same.

Pittsburgh 23 - Louisville 20

And Pitt is suddenly a team to really pay attention to in the ACC. And Louisville is not. Which makes October 17 a date to pay attention to.

Florida 51 - Ole Miss 35

And Florida's offense is suddenly humming! But their defense, which carried them the last few years, is not. Gonna be a bumpy ride in the SEC East.


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