And just like that we’re in week two. What I love about college football is that truly every game matters. It’s the second week of the season and a number of teams have already been eliminated from playoff contention, while even more need to have a nearly perfect season the rest of the way in order to keep their hopes alive.
Don’t bother trying to convince me that every bowl game is important and a team should be proud of getting to one. Absolutely not. 36 bowl games were played last year (not including the playoffs). That means 72 teams (plus the top four) make it to a bowl game. There are 132 teams in college in the FBS. I’ll save you the time of doing the math: over half of Division 1 football teams make it a post-season bowl game. Play a disappointing 6-6 season… get rewarded with a bowl game. If there are 64 schools in the Power 5 conference, then there is enough space for every one of them to be in a bowl game, with enough room for a Notre Dame, a Boise State, and anyone else who scrap together a .500 season.
It’s fair to think this is an irrelevant point. I know that not every Power 5 team is good enough to get into a bowl game. I also know they bring in a lot of extra revenue for schools and for the sponsors (looking at you, Raycom Media) and I’m all for more football over less, But outside of the New Year’s Six, and even those are less relevant with the new playoff format, most bowl games are not an exciting end to the season. A Sun-Belt vs. MAC match-up? That’s only good for allowing me to make the most ever references to the Camellia Bowl in one paragraph (2. There were 2 references).
But all of that nonsensical rant brings me back to my original point: every game matters. If you want a shot a relevancy at the end of the year you need to win your games, win your games well, and have the teams you beat lose only to you. Like I said, nearly perfect.
Schools like Stanford are already on the ropes. Coming into the season ranked 21, they lost their first game to Northwestern and still have to play Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, ND and on the road at USC. They luck out in that four of those games are home, but it is not unreasonable that they will lose at least one of them. But a two-loss PAC12 team is unlikely to make the playoffs and as we enter week 2, the Cardinal already can’t afford any more mistakes.
The road is even tougher for teams outside of the Power 5. #20 Boise State has no option but to go undefeated if it wants consideration for a coveted playoff spot. And that’s not out of the question. On the road at BYU is an interesting matchup this week. It’s a mystery as to how the Cougars will enter the week after their hail mary victory at Nebraska and the loss of starting QB Taysom Hill. The Broncos won a close one at home last week, but their defense did their job and I expect them to win in Utah.
Top 4 action this week is pretty underwhelming. Ohio State is at home against Hawaii, Alabama is home against Middle Tennessee State, TCU hosts Stephen F.Austin, and Baylor plays a walk over against Lamar. All four will win, so don’t expect a top four shake-up, but both TCU and Baylor need better wins than they had last week.
The Horned Frogs need a better defensive performance this weekend and can’t be caught napping like they were on a few drives at Minnesota. Boykin should continue his Heisman campaign with a solid performance. Meanwhile, the Bears are looking for a better win. Before you get all concerned about my math skills, let me say I know 56 is more than 21. I know that 56 is more than double 21. But I also know that Baylor was held off the scoreboard in the second quarter and finished the first half only up 7. I’m not going to argue that they didn’t look great. They did. But a team expected to be a playoff contender could have had a more complete game, especially since they won 45-0 last year and SMU went an astounding 1-11. Maybe it’s an irrelevant point, but if you’re expecting to go through this article without at least one (or two…) then you came to the wrong place.