If there is one word to describe the early stretches of the 2018 college football season, that’s it.
Yep, any uncertainty here, any weakness there, teams, players and coaches are gonna pay.
Can’t ever recall, well, frauds being found out so fast.
This week’s casualties included:
Big Ten Conference. Yo, it just ain’t that good. All that hullabaloo about overtaking the Southeastern Conference for “we’re the best in the country” chest-thumping last season was more than a tad premature. This past weekend’s seven-loss effort to nonconference competition — six of ’em against non-Power 5 teams — offered compelling evidence to that fact.
Wisconsin. Chief among the B1G’s disappointments on Saturday was Paul Chryst’s club. Frankly, the Badgers hadn’t looked so hot the first few weeks against a couple lightweights. Stepping up in class to face middleweight Brigham Young, No. 6 Wisconsin failed. Miserably. At home. It’s still hamstrung by Alex Hornibrook at QB, and, truth be told, the D isn’t as good as it usually is.
Boise State. Full disclosure — am pretty pleased about this development. The “noise” about the ever-overblown Broncos already had reached deafening annoyance, with talking heads across the country suggesting they had a shot at the College Football Playoff. Pardon my chuckle after the 44-21 dismantling Boise endured at Oklahoma State the first time it faced a legit squad.
Arizona State. One week after startling then-No. 15 Michigan State,16-13, in the desert, the Sun Devils saw the “Herm Edwards still can coach” tour run off the rails at San Diego State.
Southern Cal. Just in case you weren’t sure, the 22nd-ranked Trojans got their asses kicked a second week in a row on the road, this time at unranked Texas by a 37-14 score.
Hawaii. Was starting to wonder if we were getting shades of Colt Brennan in Cole McDonald with the Warriors’ strong, 3-0 start against decent competition. Then they visited Army.
JURY STILL OUT
Notre Dame. The Irish are 3-0 and looked bad in each game. At home, no less. May seem crazy, but they could lose at Wake Forest this Saturday, and will lose to Stanford and/or at Virginia Tech right after.
Indiana. Yeah, the Hoosiers are 3-0 and as the Big Ten Network’s Gerry DiNardo keeps saying, playing well. But against who? They host Sparty this coming Saturday night. Count on an “L.”
Auburn. The Tigers, for some reason, were a prohibitive favorite against LSU for Saturday’s SEC West title. Not sure why. They lost to LSU last year and now, again, this year.
LSU. Can’t honestly these Tigers are any better than the aforementioned Tigers, even with the last-second win at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Duke. Can’t take the basketball program or its relentlessly elitist fan base, but the Blue Devils may have something going on the gridiron this fall and, thankfully, we haven’t had that shoved down our throats. Nor will we any time soon. Still, three nice wins against Army, Northwestern and Baylor — all in convincing fashion.
Oklahoma. The “quietest” No. 5 team in the country in recent memory. Not for nothing, but Kyler Murray has way more athletic tools than departed Heisman winner Baker Mayfield … and less baggage. The Sooners may be a problem for expected CFP qualifiers Alabama, Georgia, Clemson and Ohio State.
ON THE HOT SEAT
Scott Frost. Sorry, use the outdated, blinders-wearing, pretzel logic all you like, but the guy made a mistake, a massive one, leaving Central Florida for his beloved Nebraska. The Huskers are so far below the Knights, even in CFP potential, it’s stunning. Even Nebraska Nation is letting him have it after an oh-2 start. At home, to boot.
Willie Taggart. Kinda thought he made a mistake leaving South Florida for Oregon last year. Have no doubt now, though, that he screwed up by departing Eugene for Tallahassee. Florida State is circling the drain at this point, and taking him with it. Fans already are pushing for a buyout.
Jeff Brohm. That buffer with being at supposedly less-pressure Purdue and positing a winning season in Year One there will only go so far. The Boilers already are 0-3 and staring down the gauntlet at the very possible winless season.
Temple demolished Maryland, 35-14. Nothing to gripe about there. Both lines looked good for the first time this season — against better talent than they faced in a pair of losses to open the season. The Owls got the rock to Ryquell Armstead (26 carries, 118 yards) and Philly area product Anthony Russo (Archbishop Wood) was impressive in his first start at QB.
Illinois lost to South Florida, 25-19, in what will be termed a heartbreaker, or morale victory, or some PC-twisted combo of the two. But not buying that here. The Bulls are what they were last season, and the Illini surrendered 600-plus yards to them once again, and this time blew a 12-point, 14-quarter lead. QB M.J. Rivers cannot feel pressure. At all. RB Mike Epstein is a talent. Get him the ball. More. A lot more. RB Reggie Corbin is a talent, too. Only he needs balance lessons. Immediately. Desperately. Never seen such a skilled player fall so easily before. Routinely.