One of college football’s greatest strengths is its unpredictability. Even now, in an era where only a handful of elite shows capture nearly all of the attention, there are surprises around every corner. While we all have a strong sense of how most seasons will end before they begin, the journey in between takes us to all the places we never expected. This is why it would be easy to dismiss the idea that parity could return to the sport in September, but it did.
After a strange weekend of matches without any disturbance, I still feel the 2021 season maybe one of the prophecies foretold – one that will bring real drama, intrigue and surprise to College football Playoff race:
Over the weekend we saw 1st place Alabama fight against number 11 Florida, only won two. For some reason, the number 3 Oklahoma decided to be the first good team in recent memory to fight Nebraska. No. 6 Clemson continue to look flawed as always in a strange – and weather delaying – win Georgia Tech. Then the number 9 Ohio State, reacting to its loss to Oregon by joining the one point game with Tulsa at home in the fourth quarter.
The four shows that have dominated the sport’s CFP era – they were responsible for 20 of the 28 playoff berths in their first seven seasons – have never looked more vulnerable in all that time. Their struggles have led to a national narrative that the 2021 season could mark the first time since the first Collegiate Soccer Tournament in 2014, where the four-team field did not include at least three of the number of these programs. Of course, we’ll ignore the fact that if the season were to end now, the pitch would still be Alabama, Oklahoma and the two teams that made it to the knockout stages earlier in the season. Georgia and Oregon because that’s not the point. College football’s race for the national championship has become so hopelessly predictable that even the idea of Georgia and Oregon entering the title race has a “Cinderella” feel to it. .
Then the strangest thing happened: it came true. Even when I wrote those words, I’m not sure I believed them. While predictability is one of the sport’s strengths, the playoffs’ greatest strength is making me feel skeptical about the whole process we’ve designed for ourselves. Damn, it’s so ingrained in my psyche that I’m still a bit concerned that the selection committee will pick an Ohio State that loses two to one undefeated Cincinnati, be it intentional or just out of habit. But I will worry about that next week. For now, I just want to enjoy some fresh faces around here.
Not only did we enjoy a memorable weekend with games over Thanksgiving, but the results rocked the sport’s landscape. Oklahoma, Clemson and Ohio State have won 14 of the 28 playoff berths in their first seven seasons. At least one person has been to the knockouts each season, with at least two in each repeat but the first and all three in 2019. Now, it would be a shock of a lifetime to see any of them. they achieved it this season.
None of the three can even compete for a conference title this weekend. Ohio State missed the Big Ten Championship Game for the first time since 2016. Clemson’s streak of six consecutive ACC titles has come to an end. The last time Oklahoma didn’t appear in a Big 12 Championship Game was 2009 – there were no conference title games between 2011 and 2016 – meaning a streak of five consecutive appearances and six championship runs. The conference is coming to an end.
Then there’s Alabama. The Crimson Tide won the SEC West and will face Georgia in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday, but I haven’t seen an Alabama team look so vulnerable. The same team that struggled to get to Florida in September still has problems. While their lone loss has come Texas A&M, Tide beat only one LSU the team fired its coach with a score of 20-14. Similarly, they cannot place Arkansas went and only escaped in the penalty shootout 42-35. It’s an incredibly stressful game that it put Nick Saban into full rant mode. Then came the Iron Bowl. That rivalry has a tendency to get weird, so no one should judge Alabama too harshly for its performance… but maybe we should? I mean, mighty Alabama needs four times to get through 6-5 Auburn team on its backup midfield.
Maybe the fans were right, Nick.
Let’s say everything goes as expected this weekend with all the lovers winning their games (ha!). In that case, the playoffs will include four of the following five teams: Georgia, Michigan, Cincinnati, Oklahoma State and Notre Dame. Of those five games, Notre Dame had the most appearances with two, but was least likely to make it through. Georgia has one appearance, while the other three will make their first playoff trip. Cincinnati will be the first Group of Five ever selected.
And it’s not a fantasy. That is the most likely outcome. For at least this one season, parity has come to college football.
Ironic reaction of the week
The incredible weekend didn’t end on Saturday night. Surprises and turmoil continued Sunday as Lincoln Riley surprise the world by leaving Oklahoma for USC. During his post-match press conference following Oklahoma’s 37-33 loss to Oklahoma State, Riley was asked specifically about rumors he would be leaving LSU. He flatly rejected them by saying that he would not be the next coach at LSU.
He doesn’t lie. However, the denial probably made Oklahoma fans mildly concerned that he was leaving for LSU to relax a bit, meaning they were literally stunned when the USC news broke less than 24 hours later. . As you’d expect, not only were fans surprised, but also many who didn’t quite understand.
In fact, according to several people I spoke with, not only the fans were taken by surprise, but also a lot of people in the school’s management and athletic department. It feels like there’s a fire on the show now because not only did Riley leave for USC, but he’s also brought along some of the top aides. The news also caused a chain reaction about Oklahoma’s pledge to announce the closure of schools, many of them located in Southern California.
This led to a lot of speculation from Oklahoma fans that this was Riley’s plan and that he had been secretly working on it with USC for weeks. Now, I don’t believe that’s true. The more likely scenario is that Riley is courted by LSU and USC and decides to head west instead of east without a big conspiracy behind it.
But let’s pretend for a moment that this is purely some Machiavellian scheme of Riley’s to go to USC and burn Oklahoma in the process. Can you imagine someone standing behind the scenes doing such a thing, never letting anyone know, only to suddenly announce the decision and leave behind those they deem to be interested? Who would do such a thing!?
Question of the week
Perhaps the biggest unresolved storyline about Lincoln Riley leaving Oklahoma for USC involves his pets. The Riley family has two dogs named Boomer and Sooner. Will Riley be forced to change his name to Fight and On? And is that fair to the dogs?
Invisible team of the week
I love snow soccer with a fiery passion, it’s ironic that fire melts snow. However, as much as I like to see the state of Michigan and Penn State watching it on the snow-covered grass of Spartan Stadium, it was a tough scene. Penn State put on the best camouflage I’ve ever seen. And while Michigan State is a lot easier to spot, Sparta is green and white, meaning they blend in with the grass a bit.
Worst coaching decision of the week
Auburn lost to Alabama 24-22 in four innings on Saturday. It was the Tigers’ fourth loss in a row after starting the season 6-2, and it included a Bryan Harsin mistake I’ve seen too many coaches make over the years. .
When the game came to injury time, Auburn won a coin toss and did what it should have done: chose to defend first. Alabama scored a goal to take a seven-point lead, but the Tigers responded with a touchdown of their own. But that’s when Harsin made a fatal mistake.
Harsin decided to kick extra points and was forced to play a second overtime instead of trying to win. On the one hand, I can understand the thought process. Auburn’s defense has been outstanding all day and is playing at home. But while those are true, the reality is that Alabama is a much better team. When you’re playing against a better team, you’re not prolonging the game because you’re just increasing the better team’s odds of winning. Think of it like rolling a pair of dice, but instead of numbers, the four sides of the dice have your opponent’s symbol and the two sides have your symbol. The more often you scroll them, the more you’ll see your opponent’s logo appear.
That’s what Harsin did, and while the first few reels appear Auburn, it’s just delaying the inevitable. Had Harsin gone two at the end of first extra time, it might have failed, and Alabama could have won anyway. However, it was Auburn’s best chance to undo Alabama’s turbulent and destructive season, and Harsin gave the chance.
Best coaching decision of the week
It happened in January when Jim Harbaugh agreed to a contract extension at Michigan, cut his salary in half, replaced it with a performance bonus, and dramatically reduced his buyout. It was an interesting decision at the time and beneficial for both parties. Not many coaches are willing to take such drastic pay cuts to keep their jobs when they know they’re in the hot seat, but not all coaches are in the same position as Harbaugh.
Harbaugh’s relationship with Michigan was lifelong, and getting the job done he set out to be was more important to him than money. On Saturday, he was rewarded with his first win over Ohio State as a coach, as the Wolverines dominated the Buckeyes from start to finish in a 42-27 win.
It’s not the kind of decision I’d expect most coaches to make – I don’t think it should either – but it’s a decision I admire. I’m sure Nebraska fans hope they get the same results from Scott Frost’s similar contract restructuring.
Thoughtful question of the week
If you argue that this is the season a defensive player should win the Heisman Trophy because no attacking player separates himself from the group and then list many defensive players deserving of the award, you Is there a similar argument that this is the year an offensive player should beat Heisman because no defensive player has separated himself from the group?
Convert two points for the week
Does your turn-to-left screen tackle the offensive innovation of the new decade? Only time will tell, but Kansas seems to be starting a trend here. It wasn’t enough for the Jayhawks to beat West Virginia, but it’s great to watch.
Catch of the week
Washington worked 40-13 by Washington state during the Apple Cup, but don’t let that distract you from this one-handed Huskies wide receiver Rome Odunze. I mean, it was just a spectacular catch. Not only did Odunze roll the ball with one hand, but he turned in the opposite direction of where the rest of his body was taking him, surrounded by two defenders and trying to survive contact with the ground. .
Colleges Live Qualifiers Schedule for the Week
Until next Monday After!
https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/the-monday-after-the-prophecy-of-chaos-in-the-college-football-playoff-has-finally-been-fulfilled/ Following Monday: The Prophecy of Chaos in the College Rugby Round has finally been fulfilled