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

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You can find a list of the rules and logic behind these new pieces here with the “teams that hurt themselves” column, because splashing out the negativity is always easier first. There’s no reason to go through it again (shamefully forcing a click on the other column is much more ethical).

The only difference with the “helped themselves” portion is that simply winning doesn’t mean you’ve helped yourself. You can win and hurt yourself, to be frank.

For example: If you’re in the playoff hunt and need a pass interference call plus a missed field goal to beat Indiana, spare the “my team beat so-and-so like a rug in a storage facility that hasn’t been open since 1975 and you hate them” stuff. You won, but your team’s reputation suffered.

Disclaimer: We don’t really know squat about the teams after one week, so pretty much all of this is hyperbole on this side of the ledger versus the more concrete “losers” side of it.

5. Northwestern

Granted, it’s one hell of a long shot, and if you went to bed with visions of Steve Schnur dancing in your head, I’d either not be able to blame you or think you’re irreparably damaged in the head depending on your affiliation. However, someone in the Big Ten West will win the division and play a powerhouse team from the East for the title. Let’s just say Northwestern has one loss and wins the Big Ten and I tell you what … they’ll be burning Scrabble boards in celebration at a possible playoff berth.

4. Brigham Young

It looked like the Cougars would end up with as many points as Joseph Smith had wives (not being crass, it’s just a surprising statistic that might make someone look it up and learn more; continuing education, yo…), but into the wind with no time left, BYU won on an impossible catch in the end zone. BYU would need to win every game to get in, and things don’t get any easier having to play Boise State next week sans Taysom Hill, but you can’t get to the beach if you don’t go that first mile. Of course, unless you live on the beach… in which case, we all can’t stand your good fortune.

3. Boise State

If I may be serious here for a moment in spite of not wanting to be … if you think Chris Petersen’s return wasn’t a groundswell of emotion around that place, you probably are cool with walking into a steakhouse and seeing your ex with some other guy. Thus, making you odd. Go waaaaay back to Blink 182’s “Dammit” for how the rest of us would react. Now that I’ve lost everyone with my elderly-ness, Boise’s got to win them all, and Washington was one of them. BYU, a surprising 1-0, would be an impressive skin to put on the cabin wall next time out. It doesn’t help that the other most visible team in their conference, Utah State, looked sketchy at best against an FCS opponent.

2. Notre Dame

There are one fewer deadly sins than Texas had first downs this past Saturday against Notre Dame. A lot of it depends on the fortunes of Texas as the Horns meander through the Big 12, but ND gave them the red backside up and down the field. Texas had all of 163 yards. The team will be significantly better than that going forward, God love them. The Irish are in a weird spot because it’s hard to guess how they’ll be compared — if they have, say, two losses — to other teams in Power 5 conferences. A thrashing against a team that should at least be in the middle to top half of a P-5 conference can’t hurt.

1. Texas A&M

When you go from unranked to flogging a top-15 team, that’s how you go on and make a list like this. TAMU was on beer muscles all game. The Aggies were just flat stronger, faster, and more ornery all darn game against the Sun Devils. If we’re judging things on what we currently KNOW versus some amalgam of “what we know, what we assume, what the team’s name is, what team/conference you like, if your wife just wants you to vote and get off the computer so whoever pops up first, etc.,” then TAMU has to be in your top five. Maybe top two. Editor’s Note: That’s a step up from being unranked, allegedly, though Jeffrey Kessler could convince me otherwise. – B.D.