Who’s good this year?
We’ve settled into the middle-early doldrum of the college season. Early conference and big non-conference games have resided, early strawmen revealed and October is in the pipe. But it’s left more questions than answers.
Sure, we’ve dismissed LSU and Texas A&M as the yearly pretenders that they are, but what do you even make of Alabama? They are still a terrifying team in all aspects, but their inability to resolve the quarterback room, combined with poor play for their chosen stooge Jalen Milroe has put the Crimson Tide on notice. Losing to Texas should be one hell of a wakeup; the question is whether Alabama will ever be challenged that way again in the SEC West. They’ve been given chances to rebound before.
But the Tide felt broken in a way I hadn’t really seen before. I know I say this about what was a very thrilling game, but you could feel the frustration coming from Saban, the stink and stench of a man who has been eyeing this problem for months and cannot hide his misery knowing he can’t pave this over so easily.
Meanwhile, Michigan is pounding its way through mook after mook before they find any worthy opponents, same with Georgia. The top still feels like the top. But it’s the next set that brings questions.
The AP rankings, now fake and useless and dumb anyway, put Texas and Florida State in the top five, with USC to round things out. Texas is away on Longhorn Network business (good luck if you can watch the game), USC is on a bye while Florida State gets to chomp on a Boston College squad enmeshed in misery. The Eagles opened up the season with a loss to Northern Illinois, and I doubt they’ll push the Seminoles much of much.
Ohio State fell out of the top five, no fault of their own. Like Alabama, there’s too many questions surrounding the team and they’ve looked unsteady in first half action against their slate thus far. They lack the ballyhooed “style points” and big wins, and I don’t think Western Kentucky will count as the latter neither. It’s a holding pattern until Notre Dame next week.
This week is relatively quiet compared to the first couple of weeks. Nothing pops out among the ranked games, but it is refreshing to think about the Backyard Brawl: Pitt and West Virginia squaring off again in a truly classic rivalry, and it’s never not proven entertaining (don’t fact check me).
In the midst of horrifying allegations at Michigan State, a familiar face returns. Mark Dantonio is expected to be on the sidelines for the Spartans, and they’ll need all the energy they can muster against a top ten Washington squad. What happens on the field rarely determines anything about a crisis of this sort, but we never really stop this circus anyway.
Enjoy yourselves, chavales.
No. 14 LSU at Mississippi State — ESPN
No. 7 Penn State at Illinois — FOX
No. 3 Florida State at Boston College — ABC
No. 15 Kansas State at Missouri — SEC Network
Georgia Southern at Wisconsin — Big Ten Network
North Dakota at Boise State — FS1
3:30 p.m. ET
Central Michigan at No. 9 Notre Dame (2:30 p.m.) — Peacock
South Carolina at No. 1 Georgia — CBS
No. 10 Alabama at South Florida — ABC
San Diego State at No. 16 Oregon State — FS1
No. 19 Oklahoma at Tulsa — ESPN2
Western Michigan at No. 25 Iowa — Big Ten Network
Northwestern at No. 21 Duke — ACC Network
No. 8 Washington at Michigan State (5 p.m.) — Peacock
7:30 p.m. ET
Bowling Green at No. 2 Michigan — Big Ten Network
BYU at Arkansas — ESPN2
Syracuse at Purdue — NBC
Pitt at West Virginia — ABC
Wyoming at No. 4 Texas (8 p.m.) — Longhorn Network
Hawai’i at No. 13 Oregon (8 p.m.) — Pac-12 Network
TCU at Houston (8 p.m.) — FOX
Pac-12 After Dark
Colorado State at No. 18 Colorado (10 p.m.) — ESPN
Fresno State at Arizona State (10:30 p.m.) — FS1