The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
Week 8 is in the books in college football, and this week we have welcomed back some new conferences in the 2020 season such as the Big Ten, Moutain West, and the MAC.
With all of these conferences starting back up and looking back on the conferences that have already started, I can honestly say not much has changed in the college football world.
We worried about sports results looking completely different given the circumstances this year, especially with college football. If you look at other sports like the MLB, NBA, and NFL, there wasn't as much worry or something that looks completely different such as a random team winning a championship. For example, I don't think there was speculation that the Lakers were not going to win the NBA Finals even with the bubble. In the MLB, even with the expanded playoffs, the teams that got passed each round were the teams we really expected in a regular, non-2020 season, to go to the League Championships and the World Series. Lastly in the NFL, except with maybe some injuries happening more often than usual depleting some teams, you expected the usual top teams to be where they are.
But in College Football, there was a lot of speculation that we wouldn't see the usual teams we do at the top. Considering all that has changed in college football such as an only conference schedule, conferences starting up later in the season, not playing the same amount of games as other teams, and a shortened camp. But through all the changes the sport has seen, things are pretty much the same. After 8 weeks, it's Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, and everybody else. Unless something catastrophic happens to these teams, we can pencil them in the playoff.
In the SEC it's Alabama and everyone else, as we expected. We knew LSU lost a ton of talent to the NFL and they would feel the effects of an inexperienced squad. Alabama passed the Georgia and Texas A&M test handily. And we all thought maybe this is the year for Georgia to take that step but still lost. The Bulldogs more than likely will have another shot at Alabama in the SEC Championship, if they beat Florida, but they need to fix a lot before then. Even with the loss to Jalen Waddle, this team can still run away with the conference. The only thing I am surprised at is how there is not a clear second-best team in the SEC. It is probably still Georgia or possibly A&M, but everyone else is beating each other up.
The ACC it's Clemson and everyone else. Going into the season we knew the ACC would improve quite a bit, and it has. Teams like Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Louisville are rebuilding and trying to get back to relevance. Teams like North Carolina and Miami were going to be better than average, and have national relevance. Even though these two teams are still far along behind Clemson, they are where we thought they would be. We also knew that Syracuse would be the worse team in the conference as well, but with Syracuse, we know they will always give Clemson a run for their money, which they sort of did for a while yesterday. And then you have the middle tier teams rebuilding an improving such as Wake Forest, NC State, Virginia Tech, Boston College, etc. Even with Notre Dame stopping by this year in the ACC, they might be the only team to give Clemson a run. And just like with the possibility of Alabama and Georgia playing again in the SEC Championship, we could see that with Clemson and Notre Dame in the ACC Championship.
After the Big 10's debut last night it's clearly Ohio State and everyone else. We thought Penn State would give them a run and possibly dethrone them in the east. But with an overtime loss to Indiana last night, and not enough season to make up for a loss like that, I personally just don't know. Indiana is a very much improved team and will do very well this year, which is what a lot of people thought. Penn State has one more shot to hopefully get back in running to dethrone the Buckeyes next week against well, the Buckeyes. Michigan and Wisconsin looked really good this weekend, as they usually do at the start of a season. Michigan was tested with a very well improving program in Minnesota. There was not a lot of hype or talk about Michigan going into this season, except if Harbaugh gets a pass if he doesn't beat Ohio State given the circumstances. Michigan could be very dangerous, but they have to keep doing what they're doing. The only thing that is surprising this year is Rutgers beating Michigan State. Or is it? Rutgers wasn't going to lose forever in the Big 10, and with a new coach and a better-talented squad, it wasn't a surprise that they beat a confused Michigan State. They lost Mark Dantino out of nowhere last year, and I think there are some dark times headed Michigan State's way. Lastly, Nebraska is right now is still trying to figure things out with Scott Frost. I wasn't expecting them to win, or even have a winning record. But we'll see, in my eyes, I think it would be huge if Nebraska ended up with a winning record when it's all said and done.
The Big XII is exactly what I thought and everyone else thought. Texas is not back, Oklahoma proved to be frauds as they have been for a while, and Oklahoma State is the dark horse. Oklahoma State is the last chance for the Big XII to make it into the CFP. They are still undefeated, but their wins are not that impressive. They still need to play Oklahoma and Texas, but even if they beat both of them, they're not as talented as Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State. If they make the CFP, they will get smacked by one of these teams and will prove once again the XII is the worse Power 5 Conference.
The Pac 12 still has not played yet and won't for another two weeks. Oregon right now their only shot getting in but I doubt we'll see the Pac 12 in it. Too many other teams are in their way, and simply not enough challenging games with only a 7-8 week schedule.
Mostly everything is the same in college football, and while we were anxious to see what would happen, it's still Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State.