It’s the same story every year. We finish watching an incredible week one, look ahead to next weekend’s slate, and get incredibly disappointed. Week two always looks terrible on paper, but year after year it produces pure, unadulterated chaos. This year is no different. The Sun Belt was kicking ass and taking names, six games went to overtime, and we had our first coach firing of the year (and it wasn’t Auburn!). So much happened this week that I don’t have the space to write about all of it, but I wanted to hit the highlights with the usual ten categories. Before we get started, here’s a quick rundown of the categories.
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: Kansas vs. West Virginia
Are you sitting down? If not you probably should be. At least find something to hold on to before I say this:
Kansas is good at football.
More importantly, Kansas football is now very fun to watch. The upset win over Texas last year is looking less and less like an aberration and more like a sign of genuine progress. Lance Leipold is a wizard, and only three wins away from becoming the schools winningest coach since 2010. He has only coached 14 games. He’s already tied for the most conference wins in that same stretch. This game was back and forth the entire way, with WVU tying things up with only a few seconds left, before Kansas achieved the rare two score win in OT. This was a loaded category this weekend. Five other games went to overtime, Alabama and Texas came down to the wire, and Oregon State won on an insane last second play, etc. However, no game provided both quality and (relatively) high stakes as this one.
Most Important Game of the Week: Appalachian State vs. Texas A&M
$30 million. That is how much Texas A&M has paid Jimbo Fisher for four mediocre seasons of coaching. Here’s another number: $90 million. That is how much Texas A&M has to pay Jimbo Fisher over the course of the next decade no matter what. No matter how many times he goes 8-4, no matter how many times he wastes one of the most talented rosters in the country, no matter how many times he makes a 5-star quarterback look like a bum, Jimbo Fisher will be one of the highest paid coaches in the sport. Life isn’t fair.
Drunkest Game of the Week: Mississippi State vs. Arizona
Mike Leach playing a game on the West Coast that kicked off at 10 pm got as weird as you think it would. This play sums up the entire game better than any words could.
Head-Scratcher of the week: Virginia Tech vs. Boston College
Much like week one, there weren’t many head scratchers. Most games this early in the season either go as expected or are major upsets, and the head scratchers will grow as we find out more about these teams over the course of the year. Given our current context, this is a seriously troubling loss for Boston College. The Eagles were a team that most believed were on an upward trajectory. Head coach Jeff Hafley has made a bowl game every season and is doing a great job recruiting, bringing their talent level into the top half of the ACC. Solid QB Phil Jurkovec is back after an injury riddled 2021, and star receiver Zay Flowers allegedly turned down big-money offers from other schools to stay at BC, so everything was lined up for a breakout year. Obviously, that’s not happening. BC followed up a first-week loss to Rutgers by getting crushed by a conference rival with a first time head coach and coming off a loss to Old Dominion. The team’s leading rusher has a total of 40 yards this entire season. For context, that would rank 42nd in the SEC, behind nine quarterbacks, a wide receiver, and even a tight end. The Eagles will probably be underdogs in all but two of their remaining games this season, falling well below expectations and meaning this season is a disaster in the making.
Sickos Game of the Week: Iowa State vs. Iowa
¡EL ASSICO! Any other game taking the sicko spot would’ve been the biggest upset of the week. Iowa has won six straight in this series, and surely they wouldn’t have another historically bad offensive performance, right?
Oh my goodness they did it again. As they usually do, Iowa State did everything in their power to give this game away, turning the ball over 3 times and having 2 punts blocked, but Iowa’s offense is so unbelievably bad that it didn’t matter. The Hawkeyes shouldn’t legally be allowed to call what they’re doing football. They have fewer passing yards this year than both Army AND Navy. It looks like this will be yet another season where Iowa wastes a top-tier defense because of pure incompetence from their offensive coordinator. Surely head coach Kirk Ferentz will decide to make a change as soon as poss-
Oh, never mind. Once again, life isn’t fair.
Hype Killer of the Week: Kentucky vs. Florida
Congratulations to Florida on winning this year’s “Texas is back” award, given to the team each year that starts unranked, pulls a big upset, skyrockets in the polls, and immediately falls flat, named in honor of the team that started this new trend. In the same vein, congrats to Anthony Richardson on winning the Kenny Trill Week One Heisman Trophy. Both offenses in this game were atrocious, but Florida’s was unwatchable. Anthony Richardson showed all of us the reasons why Dan Mullen wouldn’t start him last season, looking completely lost for most of the game. Kentucky’s defense is great as usual, and Florida has become a complete enigma. They could finish anywhere from 2nd to 5th in the SEC East and I wouldn’t be shocked.
Seat-Warmer of the Week: Georgia Southern vs. Nebraska
Happy Scott Frost Day ya’ll.
Seat-Cooler of the Week: Louisville vs. UCF
What a difference a game makes. Scott Satterfield was firmly on the hot seat after Louisville was blown out by Syracuse last week, and most, myself included, expected him to be the next in line for the chopping block now that Frost got the boot. However, QB Malik Cunningham and UCF coach Gus Malzahn combined to help the Cards avoid an ugly loss. A win’s a win, but I think Malzahn can take the lion’s share of the credit for the result. As any Ole Miss fan knows, having John Rhys Plumlee throw the ball 34 times in a game is not a recipe for success.
Your Future Coach: Marshall vs. Notre Dame
Things could’ve gone very differently. Doc Holliday was a very successful coach, leading Marshall to heights they hadn’t seen since the late ‘90s and early 2000s when, fun fact, they had a first round NFL draft pick at QB for seven straight years, plus this other guy named Randy Moss. Describing his 2021 firing as unexpected would be an understatement. It’s even stranger that the firing appears to have been ordered by the governor of West Virginia, even though that’s never been confirmed. If all this sounds familiar, the details are pretty similar to the Ruffin McNeill fiasco, which I’ve written about previously. Fortunately for Marshall, Charles Huff is legit. He proved that this weekend when he went to South Bend and overwhelmed the Fighting Irish. The result wasn’t a fluke, Marshall was flat out the better team. The former Saban assistant has his signature win less than two years into his tenure, and don’t be surprised when his name pops up more and more this coaching cycle.
Dealer’s Choice: Eastern Kentucky vs. Bowling Green State
This game might’ve been the actual best game of the week, but I know that you don’t care about it. The alumni of those schools probably didn’t even care. But 7 overtimes is incredible no matter who is playing in the game. More important than that though, is the play EKU ran for the win in the 5th OT:
Yes, that is a hook-and-ladder to a 300 pound offensive lineman. I don’t care what team you root for or how many games you watch, that play is perfect. Absolutely perfect, no notes. College football is the best.
(Header photo courtesy of AL.com)