I always espouse the virtues of looking past the top 5 teams, and that’s never been more true than this season. Outside of that hegemony, it’s feeling a whole lot like 2007, which many consider to be the most exciting season ever. So let’s not waste any time and dive right in.
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: TCU vs. Kansas
Variety is the spice of life, and college football is no different. College Gameday’s first trip to Kansas was a joy to watch, and the game lived up to those lofty expectations, eventually. The first half was a complete snooze fest and seemed destined to get even worse when Kansas’ star QB Jalon Daniels stayed in the locker room with an injury. However, none of us were counting on Jason’s Mean Bean Machine coming in and taking over the game. The backup quarterback put on a show, scoring four TDs as the game turned into the shootout we all expected it to be. Unfortunately, he was outdone by TCU’s breakout star wide receiver Quentin Johnston, who had one of the most dominant performances I’ve ever seen and has skyrocketed up NFL draft boards. The second half of this game was incredibly fun, and another perfect example of why you should branch out and enjoy all that the sport has to offer.
Most Important Game of the Week: UCLA vs. Utah
UCLA might actually be good. This is the second week in a row that the Bruins have upset a stop 15 team. More importantly, they’ve upset two completely different types of teams. Washington is a high-flying pass happy offense, whereas Utah just wants to beat you up for four quarters. UCLA handled both of them relatively easily, thanks in part to the play of quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The media talking heads spent the whole offseason discussing who would be this year’s Kenny Pickett, aka the senior quarterback who makes the leap from mediocre to superstar, and it’s safe to say DTR has claimed that title. If UCLA can keep pull off one more big win in their next games at Oregon, they’ll set up their November matchup with USC to be one of the biggest games of the season.
Drunkest Game of the Week: Purdue vs. Maryland
Purdue is putting up a real fight to be this year’s chaos team. Purdue turned the ball over every single possession in the third quarter, stalled the entire second half, and then scored 14 points in the final four minutes. They also gave up a ridiculously awful TD drive at the very end of the game, letting Maryland score in 37 seconds. They easily tied the game up with a two-point conversion, expect not really. The refs decided to throw a flag because Maryland had a lineman a few yards downfield, even though that happens on pretty much every play nowadays. Also, that somehow wasn’t the worst call of the day. Purdue got the stop on the retry, recovered the onside kick, and finally came out on the right side of a drunk game.
Head-Scratcher of the Week: Texas State vs. Appalachian State
What the hell? I mean seriously, what the hell? I would bet a significant amount of money that we will look back at the end of the year and this will be the most shocking result. App State hasn’t been amazing, but a win on the road against Texas A&M isn’t nothing. This is a solid football team at the very worst. Texas State, on the other hand, is a zombie program. Jake Spavital is 12-30 in his four plus years at the school, and seven of those wins are against an FCS team and bottom-dwellers FIU, Louisiana Monroe, and Arkansas State. They started this year by getting blown out by Nevada, who is a complete husk of a team. I still don’t know how the Bobcats won this game, and I don’t think I ever will.
Sickos Game of the Week: Illinois vs. Iowa
I promise I try to switch things up. Part of the reason I started writing these recaps is because I was so tired of the major media outlets only talking about the same handful of teams over and over. Despite how hard I try, some teams are just too consistent. Even though we’re only halfway done, I have crowned Iowa the official Sickos Team of the Year. I don’t have to post their advanced box score because it’s almost identical to the multiple ones I’ve posted already. Iowa’s offense is disgusting, OC Brian Ferentz might be the most hated person in the state, and their most efficient play is a punt. That is not a joke.
Iowa would genuinely prefer to play the entire game on defense, and the crazy thing is they might actually score more points that way! I can’t say much more about Iowa. They’re the Sickos Team of the Year and claim this category as their own until something changes.
Hype Killer of the Week: Arizona State vs. Washington
The wheels in Seattle fell off fast. Losing to UCLA is understandable, especially now that they picked up a win over Utah. Washington is in the first year of a new head coach, so nobody expects them to go undefeated or anything, but this is lower than they ever should have been. Arizona State is a dumpster fire, with an interim coach being left to pick up after Herm Edwards’ disastrous tenure. Expectations may have gotten a little too high after a fast start, but Washington needs to right the ship fast in order to keep this season on the rails.
Seat-Warmer of the Week: Navy vs. Tulsa
Tulsa is a team that’s probably not on your radar, but don’t be surprised if the job opens soon. Head coach Philip Montgomery has been coasting off the success of one great season back in 2016, and a bit of a resurgence in 2020 which, for the millionth time, should not count. One of the strangest quirks of his tenure is that he apparently refuses to prepare to defend the triple-option. Given that Tulsa plays in the same division as Navy, this is an odd approach. Taking out the 2020 game, Montgomery is 0-7 against the service academy, allowing an average of 39 points per game. Tulsa allowed them to score a whopping 53 points in this loss. Oddly enough, 53 is the exact number of points Navy has scored in the rest of the season combined. To make matters worse, Montgomery is wasting a very talented QB in Davis Brin, which is typically all you need to be successful in the G5. Don’t be surprised if the Golden Hurricane decide that things have gotten stale and make a change sooner rather than later.
Seat-Cooler of the Week: Georgia State vs. Georgia Southern
I told you before the season that Georgia State would be a good team dragged down by an unmanageable schedule, and their losses to the directional Carolinas reflect that. However, the loss to Charlotte was shocking. I would be shocked if Charlotte wins more than two games the entire season. It’s a credit to the job Shawn Elliot has done that a near-winless first few months might be considered unacceptable at Georgia State. Thankfully the Panthers are on a winning streak that should get the season back on track. Picking up a win over your biggest rival never hurts your job security either.
Your Future Coach: San José State vs. UNLV
I know I just got done talking about how the 2020 season doesn’t count, but there’s a little more nuance to it. You should disregard any 2020 results if they are an outlier, but not if they’re part of a trend. It’s looking like the latter is the case for Brent Brennan and San Jose State. The Spartans had an undefeated regular season in 2020, winning their first conference championship in the last 30 years. They took a step back last year, but the Mountain West was unusually tough, and they’ve bounced right back this season. Their only loss was by one score on the road at Auburn, and it looks like they’ll be favored in every game the rest of the way. It’s nearly impossible to build a consistent winner in the Bay Area, especially when you don’t have the money or academic pull of Stanford, but Brennan appears to be doing just that. He’s a West Coast lifer, so don’t be surprised when you hear his name as PAC 12 jobs start opening up.
Dealer’s Choice of the Week: Alabama vs. Texas A&M
This was supposed to be the game of the year. Both teams started the year ranking in the top six and were expected to be competing for the SEC West crown. Things got turned up to 11 when Jimbo Fisher decided to go scorched earth on Saban in an impromptu May press conference. As usual though, Texas A&M didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. Even if the stakes and hype weren’t the same, this ended up being a great game. Alabama continues to look beatable, especially without Bryce Young, and Jimbo Fisher ran a genuinely good offense for 59 minutes and 57 seconds. Unfortunately for him, those last three seconds were what really mattered.
Doesn’t matter to Jimbo, though. Those checks still cash.
(Header Photo Courtesy of SI.com)