College football is finally back. We can all agree that this offseason was terrible in every way. College football is a sport that is always “on the verge of collapse” right until it kicks off, but this summer felt different. The headlines were dominated by issues of governance, conference realignment, spats over NIL, and a host of other boring, non-football related issues. Week 0 was a nice appetizer, but it didn’t feel like a true beginning. Finally, despite the best efforts of those in charge, we can just talk about football. Nobody can watch every game, and most people will only watch a handful each Saturday, but I’m not most people. I want to do something productive with the unhealthy amount of football I watch, so each week I’m going to give you a thorough recap of everything important that happened, no matter how small the game. We’ll look at the week that was through ten categories, and here’s a quick summary of each.

Game of the Week: The game that was the most fun to watch that week. Importance could be a factor, but it isn’t necessary to qualify.

Most Important Game of the Week: The game that had the biggest impact on the playoff race or the college football landscape as a whole.

Drunkest Game of the Week: The game that scrambled your brain just watching. A drunk game is full of chaos, but not the good kind. As the name implies, it’s a game where it wouldn’t be a shock to find out everyone involved chugged a fifth of Admiral Nelson’s beforehand.

Head-Scratcher of the Week: The result that makes less and less sense the more you look at it. This is a celebration of the random, outlier games that we look back on later in the year in awe.

Sickos Game of the Week: The game that you enjoy for all of the wrong reasons. The train wreck that you can’t look away from. This is the game that makes you shake your head and say “Only in college football.”

Hype Killer of the Week: The game where one bandwagon comes to a screeching halt. The game where a team that looked like a future college football darling crashed back down to Earth.

Seat-Warmer of the Week: The game that pushed a coach’s job security into the danger zone because coach search season never ends. It’s usually about the coach of the losing team, but that’s not always the case.

Seat-Cooler of the Week: The opposite of the seat-warmer, this is the game that will let the winning coach sleep a little more soundly at night. At least for now.

Your Future Coach: A new category where I look at a game involving an up-and-coming G5 coach that probably won’t be sticking around very long. If your team is ever in the Seat Warmer section, this one is for you.

Dealer’s Choice of the Week: The game that I just feel like talking about. It could be because it was especially fun, or stupid, or just because I want to make fun of a team I don’t like. It’s more of a catch-all category than anything.

All caught up? Good, let’s go.

Game of the Week: North Carolina vs. Appalachian State

I locked this pick in the second this 63-61 shootout ended. This was one of the best games of football I have ever seen. By best I mean most exciting because my word that was some of the worst defense and coaching I have ever seen. Plenty of times the box score of a game lies to you, leaving out important details or context. That’s not the case here. App State scored 40 points in the fourth quarter and LOST. Alabama averaged 40 points per game last year. It’s one of the most absurd stats I’ve ever seen, and only the second most insane stat from this game. It’s behind the fact that both teams combined to score 26 points in the final four minutes. No words do this game justice, just go watch the highlights.

Most Important Game of the Week: Ohio State vs. Notre Dame

Without any major upsets, this ends up being the most important game by default. Ohio State fell behind early, but came back and won ugly against a fellow top 5 team. Even though the offense looked infinitely worse than we all expected, the fact that OSU won on the back of their running game and defense should scare the rest of the country.

Drunkest Game of the Week: Florida State vs. LSU

Fittingly, the game taking place right off Bourbon Street was the drunkest of the weekend. The first three quarters were normal, low-quality football. But just like everything else in New Orleans, stuff went off the rails as the night went on. The chaos started with just over two minutes left in the game when LSU, trailing by 7, forced a Florida State punt. The LSU return man fumbled it, his second of the game, giving the Noles a prime chance to ice the game. Obviously, you know that’s not what happened. Florida State ran a pitch play on the 1 yard line, which they fumbled, giving LSU one final chance to go 99 yards and tie the game. Because of some, let’s call it “previous experience,” Florida State dropped everyone deep and played prevent the entire drive. LSU drove the entire length of the field and had one untimed down to score because, um, well the rule says… look I don’t know why, and I guarantee you the refs gave it to them because they didn’t know what else to do either. Of course, they scored, only needing one simple extra point to tie and send the game to overtime. As the great philosopher Rasheed Wallace once said: “Ball don’t lie.”

Head-Scratcher of the Week: Indiana vs. Illinois

This week went pretty much as expected, so this is a weak pick for the head-scratcher. Illinois should’ve won this game if not for a few atrocious officiating mistakes and a near perfect final drive for Indiana. Neither of these teams will end the year with any kind of national relevance, but it was slim pickings this week so it’ll have to do.

Sickos Game of the Week: Iowa vs. South Dakota State

Wow. Just wow. One of, if not the worst excuses for a game of football I have ever seen. It was the anti UNC vs. App State. You may look at the score and think “Okay, 7-3 is pretty bad, but there’ve been worse games.” That scoreboard is lying to you, because neither team scored a touchdown. Iowa scored what has been christened a touchdown Iowa-style, which is a field goal and two, yes two, safeties. The sponsored drive of the game was a punt. Just look at how the advanced offensive metrics related to the rest of the nation.

This game blew past “so bad it’s good” status and went straight to the “the kind of historic disaster I have to watch live” zone. It was truly special in it’s own, terrible way.

Hype Killer of the Week: Florida vs. Utah

The PAC-12 is dead. In the span of a few hours, the conference’s only two teams that both looked like they could make the playoff and aren’t leaving in a few years lost on the road to SEC competition. Unlike Oregon, Utah put up a fight and had a good chance to win the game. Unlike Utah, they weren’t playing a ten-ton train going 500 miles per hour. Florida looks great out of the gate, and QB Anthony Richardson looks like That Dude, but Utah had to win this game to have any hope of making the playoff and ending the conference’s six year drought. Long live the PAC-12.

Seat-Warmer of the Week: Oregon State vs. Boise State

We are going to start a dialogue. Oregon State is a good football team, but Boise State is used to winning these games. This loss is proof that the days of beating teams like Virginia Tech, Oregon, and Georgia are long gone. Last year, Boise went 7-5 in Andy Avalos’ first season as head coach. It was their worst year since 1998, and only the 5th time this millennium that they won fewer than 10 games. It certainly seems like Boise State is no longer the Boise State we knew. Maybe that’s ok! Building a football juggernaut is hard. Building a juggernaut in a state that has produced a total of five four-star recruits in the past decade is nearly impossible. Boise State has to decide what the new standard is, but history has shown us that things don’t end well for these transitional coaches. Just ask Bo Pelini or Frank Solich.

Seat-Cooler of the Week: Syracuse vs. Louisville

This game was a lock for either of the hot seat related categories, with both coaches entering the year on thin ice. Syracuse came out on top of this week one Anxiety Bowl, so Dino Babers takes the seat-cooler spot. The Orange haven’t even made a bowl game since giving Babers a mega-extension after the miraculous 10 win 2018 season, and all the rumors around the coaching world were that his job was only saved by a ridiculous buyout. He brought in veteran OC Robert Anae to fix the offense, and it already looks like a home run. They blew the doors off Louisville, making the future look much brighter for the ‘Cuse and sending Louisville coach Scott Satterfield into Scott Frost territory.

You Future Coach: BYU vs. South Florida

Another week category after week 1, I want to take this opportunity to point out just how good BYU coach Kalani Sitake has been. He’s put up back-to-back 10 win seasons, with the last minute trip to Myrtle Beach being his only loss in 2020. What’s even more impressive is that the prevailing thought before each of those years is that the team had lost way too much talent to be any good. Sitake finds a way to reload every offseason in a way that shouldn’t be possible for a non-blue blood. Having your quarterback get drafted second overall and your incredible offensive coordinator leave for another job would break most teams. All BYU did after that was come out and beat 5 PAC-12 teams including the champion Utah. If the BYU alum ever wants to leave Provo, he’ll have his pick of high-level jobs.

Dealer’s Choice: Pitt vs. West Virginia

The backyard brawl was the perfect way to usher in the real start of the college football season. Not only because it was an intense, back and forth affair, but because it showcased what is being left behind in the sport. It was the return of a heated rivalry that was destroyed by conference realignment between two historically middling teams who have recently had moments of brilliance, but are currently in a precarious position, both on the outside looking in of the Big 10 and SEC dominated future. This game delivered on everything that makes college football great. You could sense the passion and the genuine hatred between the two sides, even if the quality of football wasn’t the best. It had the highest attendance in the history of Pittsburgh. Not the University of Pittsburgh, the city of Pittsburgh. More than any game played by one of the most famous and successful franchises in the entire NFL. That’s the power of college football, and it’s a power that we can’t afford to lose.

(Header photo courtesy of The AP)

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