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Well, we’re through another week and unlike your undergarments (I hope), not much is changing in this space. Last week was one of those when someone went through the candy bag at Halloween and took out all of the Sour Patch Kids and Reese’s Cups and left you mostly with Boston Baked Beans and Circus Peanuts, which everyone, everywhere, pretty much hates.
Conference play begins in earnest this week with a glut of entertaining fare, so we’re about to see how much those out of conference games play into the opinions of teams or conferences they have no bearing on. College football is fun. It’s like arguing with a female … no matter how much you’ve improved, someone is always there to remind you of when things went sour and how that reflects on you now (and everyone else around you). Away we go.
1. SEC: The flip flopping of the SEC and Pac-12 figures to continue, but in the SEC as opposed to the Pac-12, the teams that looked like muck out of conference (Vanderbilt) continued to do so, and we got a chance to learn that one more team is potentially legit … which obviously was an SEC West team. The SEC East continues to be that one fry you get when you order your onion rings. Missouri’s loss to Indiana at home continues to look more vexing every other week, because every other week the Tigers look good.
Best win: Texas A&M over Arkansas. We know TAMU is good. We have questions about Arkansas, the kind that linger when you stink in 2013. The near-win by the Hogs further illustrates the depth in the conference, even if it only exists in one half. I’d take Arkansas to win the East. Seriously.
Worst loss: South Carolina to Missouri. You can’t lose conference games at home (see above), and you definitely can’t lose conference games at home twice in five weeks and expect to compete for the title.
2. Pac-12: The league slips for a few reasons, all of its own doing, which is nicer than having to actually think this thing through for me. Washington State wasn’t great out of the conference, and it went on the road and skinned previously unbeaten Utah. Then you have USC belting Oregon State, which was previously unbeaten because either the Beavers are good and we don’t know it, or because they’ve played no one. Well … the latter.
Best win: Cal over Colorado. It won’t look like much nationally, but Cal was terrible … terrible … last year en route to 1-11. The Bears have some games against power teams at home coming up, and they might really be in line to get one of those.
Worst loss: Utah to Washington State. The previously flaccid Cougars found a way to knock Utah off its high horse after going into Ann Arbor and winning the previous week, which at this point is mostly meaningless.
3. Big 12: The conference is pretty enough to go out with, but doesn’t dress particularly flashy. You won’t see a skirt too far above the knees. And the conversation will be okay, but it’s not making you challenge your views on life. Which is plenty good enough in college football right now. Literally nothing of note happened in the conference. Oklahoma State was supposed to beat Texas Tech. Everyone else was supposed to trounce their opponents. All of that happened.
Best win: Oklahoma State over Texas Tech. The other teams beat Kansas, SMU, Iowa State, and UTEP. They call that “default,” kids.
Worst loss: Iowa State to Baylor. Every now and then, Iowa State has these games where it plays inexplicably better than folks expect and almost get one. Um … this was not one of those.
4. B1G: I’m just gonna do it. Internet weirdos call these things “trolling,” but I don’t really know what all that newfangled kid-speak means, and I don’t live under a bridge. So nee-ner. The ACC just looks like Florida State and not much else. We know Clemson’s ceiling. Meanwhile, the B1G looks more okay by the week, with Maryland actually looking stout, Michigan State and Nebraska on a collision course, and Ohio State looks like that offense has figured it out and gotten hair on its chest.
Best win: Ohio State over Cincinnati. It looked like it might end up being a game, because it was into the second half, but OSU just took a pick axe to the shins of Cincy when it mattered and wow, the Buckeyes look improved on offense.
Worst loss: Michigan to Minnesota. Basically, I might just start calling this the “Michigan Game of the Week.” Odds are most weeks, it’ll just end up being Michigan.
5. ACC: The ACC is that group with the one really pretty girl and then you tolerate all of her mediocre looking friends just because you HAVE to get the one girl to the party. Florida State might be the best team in the nation again … I don’t know … but I do know that if the Seminoles keep going to the club and rubbing up on fire on the dance floor, eventually it’ll hurt. But until then, I won’t believe it until I see it. We thought Duke was good. The Blue Devils didn’t look it against Miami. We didn’t think Pitt was good anymore, but we figured the Panthers were better than Akron. Wrong. USC couldn’t win at Boston College … but Colorado State could. All in all, I guess keep inviting FSU and hope down the road a few of her friends get a makeover?
Best win: Miami over Duke. Miami needed that win, if only to keep pretend funny guys on Twitter from saying things like “Duke is favored at Miami. Bet Coach K has something up his sleeve,” or something to that effect … as if that’s funny.
Worst loss: Pitt to Akron. I’m not going to dig up the last time Akron went to a Power 5 conference’s place and won, but I know it wasn’t anytime recently. How Pitt always finds a way to be so mediocre is beyond my understanding.
The Perception 3 Top Games of the Week
1. Stanford at Notre Dame
2. LSU at Auburn
3. Ohio State at Maryland
(Reminder: These aren’t the “top 3 games in the nation” per se, just those that figure to carry certain “conference strength” arguments. So stop complaining I don’t have Alabama and Ole Miss on here. Rules, people. Without them, there is no society.)