5 teams which hurt themselves in the playoff race: Week 1

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There’s no real good way to introduce a column people have never seen on the site you write for, one that will become a weekly thing as long as the hate mail doesn’t get too hard and the Martians don’t come down and tell us to shut it down, so basically: it’s never too early to talk about this playoff thing.

College football is such that the one thing that makes it REALLY not suck is that you feel like every weekend you’re watching something that can end someone’s goals in a heartbeat. It’s why you can count me out in the interest section if it goes to 8 or 16 teams for the most part. Then, it’s just (insert whatever other major sport you want).

As it stands, literally, there are teams that had title dreams (reasonable ones) that are gone after the first weekend. Hence the piece being legit. As for a few ground rules …

1. I’m probably ambivalent to your team, so it’s not personal if it appears on the list. In fact, I guarantee that I am ambivalent.

2. If you disagree, that’s awesome. Just be nice about it. Or send money and I’ll fix the column.

Those are the only rules.

5. Penn State

This sort of depends on what your ceiling was for the Nittany Lions (Christian Hackenberg just got sacked while I wrote this sentence, bless his heart), but in the Big Ten’s most talented division, if you’re good and make noise, you’d be in prime position (sacked again). That offensive line was horrific against Temple and shockingly not improved. Talent aside, you cannot survive a loss to Temple and get in. Ixnay (sacked again).

4. Nebraska

You could sell a decent shot for the Huskers, playing in the Big Ten’s weaker division, with Michigan State at home, no Ohio State or Michigan on the schedule, and see them lose only one game all season. The problem is, at home to BYU probably wasn’t where that loss could be afforded, especially to BYU’s backup quarterback even though it was on a Hail Emma Smith (Joseph’s first wife — you get religious ed here at TSS too). They’d need to run the table, because judging by the national flogging the Big Ten took from just about everyone with a pulse, you’re not getting in with two losses in that conference.

3. Stanford

The Battle of Future CEOs That Will Buy the Company We Work at and Eventually Lay Us All Off went to the Midwest. We’ll see how the Pac-12 shapes up, but it probably doesn’t matter. Northwestern was bound to be improved, but you can’t score only six against the Wildcats, ugly morning time slot or not. It was shocking to see Stanford that inept on the offensive side of the ball. The Cardinal had nearly 100 more punting yards than total yards, and that typically doesn’t lead you to good places. Could be a rough year on the farm.

2. Wisconsin

The double-edged sword of playing tough out of conference games is that in the playoff format, you probably have a larger margin for error since by simple math, more teams are in the playoff. The rub is that you need to be competitive, however, and Wisconsin simply wasn’t. The Badgers … yes, WISCONSIN … averaged under two yards per carry whilst Alabama’s Derrick Henry had 11.3 per carry. Even if Wisconsin goes onto a successful season, the Badgers might not be able to overcome the fact that “they got drawn and quartered by Alabama,” no matter how good Alabama ends up being.

1. Arizona State

The Sun Devils had national respect coming into this game, ranked in the top 15 in some polls. They had offensive and defensive skill returning out the Wazzu, and their quarterback got enough experience last year as a backup to suggest he could pick up where they left off. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard Ray Scott’s “Those Jeans,” but the game basically is the first verse when ole Ray is trying to hit on a girl and someone else comes up and just walks right through him and takes the dame. Playoff-wise, ASU can’t survive that one. Also, you should be listening to Ray Scott. The man’s a legend.