Last week, I read an article about things that best describe extroverted-introverts like me and it perfectly fits the theme of my weekend. After 9 weeks of the #2 most stressful “adulting” activity (moving), my brain is about to explode from over-stimulation. I am, thus, taking a “me” day to prepare myself for the finals months of this decade. Attention turns to the wonderful world of college football and an abundance of my go-to escape from the world: writing. Here are a few pre Week 6 thoughts for my own enjoyment and also for that of fellow college football diehards.
My post from the pre-season about the teams most likely to end the four year-running Clemson-Alabama stranglehold on the national championship has proven prophetic to date, but of course championships aren’t won in September. Ohio State, with Justin Fields at the helm looking like another Kyler Murray in the making, looks as impressive to me against Blownout Tech as Alabama does against Cupcake State; Georgia has the best win if Notre Dame ends up being as good as I think they might be as the autumn wears on, but watch out for LSU; Joe Burrow has given the Bajou Bengals their best offense of the decade with a slew of impressive receivers, and they look scary, but forgive me if I’m not buying it until they play a team with a better defense; Oklahoma’s (nee Alabama’s) Jalen Hurts has torched my rather humbling assessment of him giving the Sooners 80% of the Mayfield-Murray standard, and has actually exceeded their statistics – Hurts probably would win my “September Heisman,” and that offense combined with an improving defense under a new coordinator (Alex Grinch) is going to be tough to beat; there again, prove it to me against a legit opponent.
My College Football Play-off Foursome heading into this week is 1 Alabama, 2 Ohio State, 3 Georgia, and 4 Clemson. I have a hunch that we’re heading for the kind of controversy at season’s end that will yield an 8-team playoff sooner than TV contracts suggest.
The Most Interesting Games of Week (and thoughts)
Michigan hosts Iowa needing to right its ship quickly before a once promising season is lost to what might’ve beens. I was very much in “prove it to me” mode with the Wolverines going into 2019, and they just seem stagnant as a program. Now, Iowa comes to town undefeated and hopeful of competing with a wild-card national title contender in Wisconsin for Big Ten West supremacy. Can they match the statement win made by the Badgers against Michigan and join the conversation of barely dark-horses? Harbaugh tends to win games like this when expectations have tempered and there seems like much less to lose; so I’m going with Michigan, but I’m rooting for the Hawkeyes (I’m a quiet fan of the upper-midwest trio of Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin – would like to visit all three for games next decade). Hopeful that my kids will enjoy “touring.”
Oregon vs. Cal lost its luster when the Bears lost both the game and their starting quarterback, and the Ducks are hot, blowing people out to re-establish themselves as fringe contenders. That said, give Cal a week to prepare for a new QB and hope their stout defense can form an iron wall around the end zone. Feels like a likely Oregon rout to me, nevertheless.
Ohio State vs. Michigan State shouldn’t really be close, but this is the first “prove it” game for Justin Fields and the Buckeye offense. Having watched the MSU vs. Arizona State game a few weeks back (a 10-7 slugfest…and eyesore), I struggle to see the Spartans move the ball enough to allow Michigan State’s very good defense some rest, so even if Fields has trouble early against his first real competition of the season, he should get no shortage of chances to find his groove as the game advances considering the maze-and-blue-like style of poor offense thus far employed by Sparty in 2019 and Ohio State’s own nasty D. OSU rolls.
Notre Dame should be hoping for little more than quality reps for the back-ups and no more injuries to starters against Bowling Green, but I think this is the warm-up to the Fighting Irish proving they’ve got another special season in them. ND fought like crazy and nearly knocked off the ‘Dawgs two weeks ago…much was made of Georgia’s key injuries, but the Irish showed how good they were with back-ups across the offensive skill positions. Oddly, the Irish could run the table, be more complete than last year’s Playoff team, and actually get left out of the Top 4, but I’d enjoy seeing Notre Dame put the pressure on the selection committee’s openness to a narrative change.
Auburn at Florida is the game of the day. I want to see how Bo Nix handles the hostile Swamp. Trevor Lawrence obviously reminded a year ago that a great defense and some skill players can turn a true freshman quarterback into a legend, but – again here’s that word again – you gotta prove it on stages like Saturday’s. The Gators have a heck of a defense too and this could be a bowling shoe ugly game, but Auburn – which feels like the odd team out with LSU streaking and ‘Bama ascending as per usual to the top of the rankings – could legitimize its name in a more serious conversation with its SEC West peers, particularly if they emerge convincingly victorious. For whatever reason, I feel like a Florida win says less about the Gators SEC contendership and more about the pretender status of the Tigers. The narrative being so much about Auburn, I’m picking them to win on the road.
Any thoughts feel free to share. I enjoy a good sports chat.