Blogs, Sports

College Football Week 1 Recap

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. Continue reading

Blogs, Sports

Ranking Every Potential FCS Upset

Everyone likes to complain about cupcake games. They’re boring, predictable, and feel like filler in an otherwise thrilling season. Except when they aren’t. Outside of the condensed 2020 season, at least three FCS teams have pulled a major upset every year since 2009. Appalachian State’s win over Michigan in 2007 is remembered as one of the greatest college football moments of all time. We know these upsets will happen, but how do we predict them? There’s no perfect way, but our best chance is by using analytics. Enter SP+, the brainchild of college football Svengali Bill Connelly, it’s assigns each team a number that represents by how many points they’d beat the average team. Comparing these ratings between FBS and FCS is obviously not perfect, the scale is relative after all, but it’s the best way to compare quality without watching every Gardner-Webb game from last season. So with that explanation out of the way, let’s dive in and rank the likelihood of every FCS upset this season, with the SP+ margin in parentheses next to each game. Continue reading

Blogs, Sports

6 College Football Teams Defined by Their 2022 Schedule

In my last post, I talked about a few teams that will surprise everyone this upcoming season. I briefly mentioned that a lot of different factors contribute to how Vegas sets their win total projections each year. One of the most important is the team’s schedule. Believe it or not, the scoreboard does lie to you. As fans, we’re very familiar with teams being overrated because they played an easy schedule, but the inverse is also true. Plenty of good teams are beaten down by a brutal stretch of games, ending up seeming much worse than they really are. Just ask any SEC West or Big Ten East fan. Without further ado, let’s look at a few teams that fall on each side of this coin. Continue reading

Blogs, Sports

6 College Football Teams That Will Surprise You This Season

After a long summer of controversy, debates over NCAA governance, and conference realignment chaos, talking season is over. Media days have all wrapped up and, just like that, college football… is back. Almost. The actual season is still a few weeks away, but it’s close enough that we can finally talk about actual football again. A great example: those wizards in the desert have released their preseason win totals for 2022. Vegas is better at predicting these things than everyone, but they still aren’t perfect. Let’s start previewing the upcoming season by looking at some schools that will be better than you expect, and a few that will be worse. Continue reading

Blogs, Sports

A Newcomer’s Guide to Sportswashing

To use an incredibly cliché phrase: sportswashing is having a moment right now. That term went from obscure political jargon to mainstream issue in just a couple of years. The practice of using sports to improve your country’s reputation and distract from any awful things your regime has done is nothing new, but it’s certainly en vogue. Still, sportswashing might not be a phrase you’ve come across before, especially if you don’t follow international soccer. Now that the practice is working its way up to the global stage, it’s worth taking a look at the issue John Oliver style: what sportswashing is, where it comes from, and why it’s booming right now. Continue reading

Blogs, Sports

2022 College Football QB Tiers

It’s undeniable that football is a quarterback driven sport. No matter how good other the other players might be, the QB is the star of the show. College football is no different. 18 of the Heisman Trophy winners this century have been quarterbacks. Hell, Jonathan Taylor had one of the greatest college running back careers ever and he never even got an invite to the ceremony. On top of all that, 2022 is looking like it might be the year of the QB. There are a ton of interesting signal-callers to watch this Fall, and for a wide variety of reasons. Certainly too many to talk about individually. So, I decided to split them up into tiers and ended up categorizing all 131 starting FBS QBs using each team’s presumptive starter heading into the season (shout out to Ourlads). Let’s look at each tier, starting with the cream of the crop. You’re welcome for saving the true Sicko content until the end, although I personally can’t imagine not wanting a deep dive into Kent State’s Collin Schlee. To each their own. Continue reading

Blogs, Sports

Should You Trust The Process?

No league is associated with tanking more than the NBA. The art of purposefully throwing terrible teams onto the court in order to get a better draft pick and, in theory, a better player. On January 5th, 2015, Philadelphia 76ers guard Tony Wroten gave this philosophy a name when he said three fateful words: “Trust the Process”. It’s been both a meme and a rallying cry, but is it true? Should you really trust the process? Is tanking worth it? I looked back at the last decade of drafts in order to find out. Continue reading

Blogs, Sports

Ranking the 2022 Coaching Hires the Smart Way

The greater college football landscape has finally accepted the notion that grading coaching hires right when they happen is pointless. Too many outside factors determine if a coach succeeds or not to make a judgment on whether it was a good decision right away. Plenty of hires over the last decade offer proof that letter grades are meaningless. Brett Bielema, Kliff Kingsbury, Charlie Strong, and Willie Taggart were all considered “A” hires, and all left their school with a losing record. Tom Herman and Dan Mullen were two of the biggest slam-dunk hires in recent memory. Neither are currently working for a college football team. Likewise, nobody thought much of it when PJ Fleck went to Western Michigan, Jeff Traylor went to UTSA, Jeff Brohm went to Western Kentucky, or when Jamey Chadwell took over at Coastal Carolina. All four ended up winning conference championships. The new buzzword in college coaching circles is “alignment,” meaning when a coach and university administration are on the same page. So instead of trying to predict which hires will work and which won’t, I decided to rank the hires based on how much sense they make for the school. I split them into tiers because that seems to be the most accurate way of categorizing them, and ranked them all because, hey, it’s the offseason, I need content, and people love lists. So, let’s rank how much sense each 2022 college football coach hire makes. Continue reading

Blogs, Sports

Why Ole Miss Can’t Find a Quarterback

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Lane Kiffin? Okay, it’s probably some of his off-field antics or Twitter trolling. But what’s the second thing you think of? It should be explosive offenses led by dynamic quarterbacks. Both of his offenses at Ole Miss have finished in the top 25 nationally, and Matt Corral developed into a Heisman candidate and likely first-round pick in the NFL draft. He’s the man who revolutionized the offense at Alabama, extending Saban’s stranglehold on the sport into another decade. If all this is true, then why can’t Ole Miss find a new quarterback? It’s been well-documented that the Rebels have missed out on a large number of transfer targets this offseason, and Luke Altmyer remains the only true high school prospect Lane has signed at the position, and even he has some question marks both after his recruiting process and his performance in the Sugar Bowl. The problem isn’t Ole Miss or Lane’s personality, it’s his system. Continue reading

Blogs, Sports

2021 College Football Season Recap

Another college football season has come to an end. Georgia broke their curse, getting revenge against Alabama and winning their well-deserved national championship. Despite an ending that seemed inevitable from the outset, this was one of the most fun seasons in recent memory. In true college football fashion, every single week brought drama, surprises, and chaos. It’s worth taking a look back at all the highs and lows of the 2021 season, and the easiest way to do that is through the ten categories I’ve been using to recap each individual week. Before we dive in, here’s a quick summary of the criteria for each of those categories: Continue reading