College Football Surprises

The good and the bad I didn’t see coming

USC 27-24 in double overtime. It was an ugly game for about 55 minutes. There was a wild end to the first half with a pick-six and a check-down turned Hail Mary and a crazy end to regulation with Texas going ahead only for Darnold to easily drive the Trojans down the field for the tying field goal. USC survived after stripping Texas at the goal line and it was just a magical game. Nostalgia, tradition, rough edges, dramatic moments–this game was everything we love good and bad about college football. And very few saw it coming.

Not many thought the 2006 Rose Bowl rematch would be close and surprises are what make the sport great. There are several this season. Not every surprise is a positive one, but they are what keep us tuning in on Saturdays.

Good Surprises:
We knew they would be good, but I don’t think we expected to see a team so close to–if not exceeding–the level of last year’s championship squad. The defense is dominant and if Kelly Bryant is as good as he looks┬áit could be trouble for everyone else.

You could see the Kansas State win coming, but the Commodores look like a threat in the SEC East, which didn’t seem like it’d be a storyline. The next three weeks will define the season, but there’s something happening in Music City.

The state of Oklahoma has 2 playoff contenders
The Sooners and Cowboys were in the preseason hype machine and both were expected to be good. Yet, Oklahoma dominating the Buckeyes in the Horseshoe and the Cowboys scorching the earth at every turn has escalated the expectations ahead of schedule. These teams may have to play twice and these two look far and away the class of the Big 12. That’s shocking, but both looking top-5 caliber is a bit of a stunner.

Wins over North Carolina and Ole Miss are not top-flight victories, but they are huge for the Golden Bears as Justin Wilcox gets his tenure started. Things may go off the rails in the next few weeks against USC, Oregon and Washington, but those now seem like tough games for the favorites, which is not what many saw coming.

Bad Surprises
On the other side of ‘The Big Game’ rivalry is a sputtering Stanford team. This team looked great against Rice (It was Rice, but still) and was a sexy pick to take down USC. Two weeks later they were trounced by the Trojans and upset by San Diego State. David Shaw will need to figure out the issues he has everywhere except Bryce Love.

Wolverine and Buckeyes offense
I didn’t expect Michigan to be the greatest show on turf, but Wilton Speight’s struggles have made the Wolverines borderline unwatchable. It’s not like the ground game has been better, they are leaning almost exclusively on Defense and special teams. The Buckeyes have been better, but were stagnant against Oklahoma and struggled to get going against Indiana. Both teams will need to show improvement to get to the playoff heights their fans expect.

They extended Mike Reilly, giving him as many extensions signed as they have wins this season. Tanner Lee has seven interceptions and the Cornhuskers just seem lost. Rutgers usually cures all ails, but if things get sideways with the Scarlet Knights, there will be a lot of anger on the plains.

Josh Allen
He was a top prospect on draft boards, but no one expected Wyoming to be a great team. Still, the way he has struggled to show really any positive signs against Iowa or Oregon seems like a red flag. It’s probably not fair to the kid and he will probably look a lot better down the stretch against bad competition, but they hype train has crashed for now.


Author: Josh Dulany

Founder/Editor of Scoring Plays. Providing articles, podcasts, picks and more on the world of sports.

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