NCAAF Notebook: The Sun Devils are heating up
One of the greatest things about college football is the way it becomes a cultural phenomenon ingrained into your fall Saturdays regardless of the records of the teams you root for and against. It's what makes each week special and allows us to look beyond the dominant blue bloods at the top and find intrigue and drama all the way down to this week’s upcoming matchup between Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Let’s take a spin around the country and pick up the top stories of the week in this edition of our NCAAF Notebook.
Alabama and Georgia are in a dog fight at the top
Speaking of blue bloods, this year’s championship story is being boldly written by the two teams at the top: Georgia and Alabama. These SEC powerhouses have vastly overpowered the competition on the recruiting trail in recent years, and the build-up of those stockpiles of talent is now playing out in front of our eyes.
While neither team needed to remind us of their dominance, they each did so in Week 5 victories over No. 8 Arkansas and No. 12 Ole Miss. They are both +125 to win the title, with none of the lower teams even in single digits. This is a two-horse race at the top and will remain that way until we get to the SEC Championship in Atlanta.
NCAAF Championship 2021/2022
Sun, December 5 2021, 10:55 AM
Alabama Crimson Tide
Ohio State Buckeyes
Penn State Nittany Lions
The Sun Devils are heating up
The Arizona State Sun Devils looked impressive against the UCLA Bruins last weekend, pulling off a 42-23 victory over their Pac-12 South rivals. The Sun Devils were unranked entering the matchup because of their loss to BYU, but they're now in the driver’s seat for a spot in the conference championship game.
Arizona State still has a long way to go before earning a spot in the College Football Playoff, but the Sun Devils have a good defense and a dynamic quarterback in Jayden Daniels. Regardless of their eventual postseason outlook, this is a fun team to watch and well worth staying up late for.
Orgeron’s Seat is Red-Hot
It is hard to believe how quickly the mighty have fallen, but just a year and a half removed from fielding one of the best college football teams of all time, the LSU Tigers might be considering parting ways with head coach Ed Orgeron.
The 2019 Tigers ran through college football behind a bevy of now-professionals, including Joe Burrow, and had offensive wizard Joe Brady calling the plays. Brady is now with the Panthers, Burrow is with the Bengals, and a dozen other elite talents are scattered through the NFL.
The aftermath has left the cupboard too bare to overcome SEC competition on a consistent level, and LSU faithful are wondering if Orgeron’s 2019 success was despite him, not because of him. In Week 5, the Tigers blew a large home lead against the Auburn Tigers and left the faithful dismayed and disappointed.
LSU is still 3-2 overall, but with a very difficult SEC West schedule on tap, wins will be hard to come by. For a fanbase that has recently tasted tremendous success, consecutive losing seasons will be hard to stomach.
The Bearcats are Knocking
Cincinnati is going to do their very best to throw a wrench at the Playoff Committee this year and force them to make a challenging decision.
After overcoming a raucous environment in a victory at Indiana, the Bearcats were asked to defeat Notre Dame, another top-10 ranked and undefeated team. Cincinnati dispatched the Irish fairly easily, and will now continue their march toward an undefeated season through AAC conference play.
The Bearcats' schedule is relatively easy, and the question that will be asked is if a non-Power 5 undefeated team deserves a spot in the Final Four in light of the struggles that Power 5 teams have had so far in 2021. Cincinnati’s weekly results and corresponding spot in the polls will be perhaps the most intriguing thing to watch in the second half of the year.
College Football Games of the Week
Every single week now presents a slate of games that gets your juices flowing. The best game this week is No. 3 Iowa vs. No. 4 Penn State, an afternoon showdown that obviously has massive implications and should look like the kind of hard-nosed Big Ten football that past generations have fallen in love with.
Sat, October 9 2021, 8:00 PM
Georgia vs. Auburn in the same time slot will steal SEC fans’ attention, while the Michigan vs. Nebraska primetime game looks to have all the makings of an entertaining nightcap as Nebraska gets healthier and Michigan must prove it's worthy of a Top-10 ranking.
Sat, October 9 2021, 11:30 PM
And all of that action follows Oklahoma vs. Texas, a game that has added intrigue this year following the tandem’s mutual decision to leave the Big 12 together for greener and more financially rewarding pastures in the SEC.
Sat, October 9 2021, 4:00 PM
Get your popcorn ready, and enjoy another fantastic week in college football.