Moving a little slow today (that’s what getting back at 1:30 in the morning will do for a soul), so I haven’t yet had the chance to dig into yesterday’s replays, but I will say that I’m very much not surprised at the media’s reaction to the day’s doings. And really, it’s kind of funny to watch the progression from the early season “it’s gonna be the same old, same old in the CFP” to the sudden embrace of chaos. Florida’s pressing of Alabama until the very end is the primary source of that, of course, but the struggles of programs like Clemson and Ohio State have fed into the latest narrative.
Read, for example, Dan Wolken’s take, which, ironically, is a defense of Alabama still being the king (which I admit I’m still buying into).
And yet, if you’re trying to create a scenario where somebody other than Alabama wins the College Football Playoff this year, the first few weeks of the season have not exactly given us a lot of options. If not Alabama, then who?
An Ohio State team with a verifiably bad defense that had another scare this week against Tulsa?
A Clemson team struggling to score touchdowns against everybody?
An Oklahoma team that couldn’t impose its will on Tulane and Nebraska?
Notoriously unreliable programs like Georgia and Oregon?
Every college football season, we reach a point where certain results seem so random that it’s impossible to make sense of where these teams stand and it’s easier to just throw your hands up and declare that everybody’s mediocre.
But this season, it’s actually happening! At least for the moment, even the good teams aren’t looking very good.
Over at The Athletic, Nicole Auerbach ($$) bumped Florida up to number four on her Top 10 list, despite the loss at home, because the Gators “went toe-to-toe with the program that sets the standard for the sport”.
I do think 2021 is shaping up as a season without a truly dominant team, unlike the two seasons that preceded it. I’m just not sure that’s enough to guarantee the uncertainty that the media is yearning for. We’ll see.