It’s about to get wild. What’s about to get wild, you ask? Everything about this college football season. We’re only a month in and the season has brought plenty of surprises. USC has lost, (ok not the most surprising thing) Oregon looks like an average football team, and Auburn fans would kill for their team to look average.
This whole thought was spawned by my recent viewing of the latest college football polls. Michigan State is number 2? How? Florida State is #11? Based on what? The fact that they won the title two years ago and went undefeated against a watered-down ACC in last year’s regular season? And then there was the real kicker of LSU. What has LSU done to deserve a Top 10 ranking? They’ve beaten Syracuse, the dumpster fire that is Auburn, and Mississippi State, who was picked by many to finish last in the SEC West and whose best win is by 8 points over said Auburn dumpster fire. I think that ranking has everything to do with Leonard Fournette more so than people actually thinking LSU is a really good football TEAM.
But bashing the pollsters is not what this is about, because then I looked at the entirety of the Top 25 and thought to myself, “I really can’t blame anyone for putting LSU in the Top 10.” The rest of the teams after that are uninspiring. Florida State and Clemson haven’t beaten anybody yet, Alabama lost at home and hasn’t looked great, A&M’s wins over Arizona State and Arkansas aren’t nearly as good as one would’ve imagined before the year started, USC already lost, and Northwestern? No thanks.
Even the teams in the Top 10 you find more questions than anything. Ohio State is as shaky a Number 1 as we’ve seen in a while. Michigan State’s best win is by 3 points over a team that just lost by 42 at home, and TCU is two weeks away from taking people from the stands to put out there on defense.
I can’t remember a time that there was this much uncertainty this early in the season. Every year for almost the last decade there has been a dominant number one team at this juncture (Alabama in ’10, ’12, ’13. LSU in ’11. Florida in ’09. USC in ’08) or really good teams almost everyone thought would make the playoff (Alabama and Oregon last year). You have to go back to 2007 to find this year’s level of uncertainty. At this same time that year, West Virginia, California, Rutgers, and Boston College were all ranked in the Top 12. 2007 finished as the year of complete insanity, with the #2 team changing every week near the end of the season and the likes of Missouri, Kansas, and West Virginia all controlling their own destiny at some point for a BCS spot.
Though this year may involve more “traditional powers” exchanging spots than that 2007 season did, my guess is we can expect similar chaos as the year goes on. And while all of this parity should make us appreciate having the four team playoff instead of a two-spot BCS Championship Game, you already know it will only fuel the fire for the many college football fans who long for a more numerous playoff structure.