Off-weeks are always the most dangerous for college football, but especially so early in the season when rankings are more predictable than distinctions earned. Still, when you schedule an FCS school and pay them to play during homecoming or something, you better not lose.
Florida leaving one in Kentucky? It would have been a lot worse if the Wildcats hadn’t won two of the last four meetings (now three of five). Sleepwalking through Notre Dame Marshall only to be woken up by a pick-six in the fourth quarter when it was too late? Coming off the high of a rivalry with Ohio State is understandable, and as is the case for Gator head coach Bill Napier and Irish interim standout Marcus Freeman, this is their first year.
Those fan bases are going to wake up Sunday feeling like shit, but not desperate, wondering how they’ll get through the next dozen fall Saturdays, and even Saturdays in 2023.
For Texas A&M supporters and those still clinging to the hope that Scott Frost isn’t the worst Nebraska coach of the new century, the only point of waking up Sunday will be to see if AD makes a big splash against Appalachian. Whatever happened has fired the Neanderthals responsible. State and Georgia Southern.
We’ll start with the Agies, because stating that the Huskers gargle chunks is a cliché. Jimbo Fisher, who spent part of the offseason engaged in a public war of words with Nick Saban, somehow spoke to the media to get his team into the top 10. I don’t know how he does it, and I honestly think he doesn’t. Not sure how he did it, but it happened despite the team going 8-4 a season ago, including 4-4 in conference games.
G/O Media may get commission.
A&M starting quarterback Hans King did not break 100 yards passing, and the total offense was held to less than 200 yards by App State. Had it not been for David Achane’s 95-yard kickoff return after the Mountaineers went up 14-7 late in the third, the game would have been over midway through the fourth.
Fisher made his reputation by putting together explosive offenses that could also run the ball, and year after year they’ve had some quarterbacks whose only credential is that Fisher is their coach, and we don’t have to pretend. He may be a dark horse Heisman candidate.
I know King suffered a season-ending injury last year, and his fill-in Zach Calzada transferred to Auburn, but Calzada, King, Max Johnson – it doesn’t matter. If Jumbo’s expectations are competing in the SEC, his destiny will be diminished and take his QBs down with him.
As for Frost and Nebraska, they are now 5-22 in one-score games, and the latest embarrassment to the fans was a 45-42 loss to Georgia Southern. The Eagles amassed 642 yards of offense, and any nightmares created by Bill Callahan or Mike Riley are quickly moving from his level to a nightmare.
Georgia South quarterback Kyle Ventris threw for 409 yards. The Eagles scored 28 in the first half, and it would have been more had they not committed a procedure penalty for spiking the ball inside the Nebraska five. The running backs had holes to break through, the wide receivers had space to work with, and Ventris had plenty of time to get by with a winter hat and maybe a scarf in his pocket.
Like Fisher, offense was considered Frost’s calling card, and he’s not even calling the plays anymore. He’s only a titular head coach at this point, and every time the cameras cut to him staring at his feet I want to whip everything in my hand at the television.
Fox’s Big Noon Saturday leaves for Lincoln-Nebraska-Oklahoma next week, and this weekend literally can’t go by fast enough. Nebraska AD Trev Alberts may offer Urban Meyer a contract live on air. I know it’s futile to worry, but even more futile to sulk, and at least that’s not the reality for every school that disappointed on Saturday.
And now, a highlight of the college football slate that will hopefully make you smile.
Pitt wasn’t able to pull out an overtime win against Tennessee on Saturday, but that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to celebrate the rare instance when an obstacle was completely executed.
May I present you, Gavin Bartholomew:
I find that 99 percent of the time interruptions are for show, like an opportunistic bicycle kick. However, when used at the right time, it’s a surefire way to make a highlight reel, and you better believe someone will be sticking with Bartholomew well after playing it.