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College Football is a Beautiful Mess, Pt. 6

Kiffer Creveling
University of Utah football head coach Kyle Whittingham congratulates University of Washington football head coach Chris Petersen on their victory following an NCAA Football game at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

As schools across the country hit the midway point in their semesters, it is an opportune time to take a look back at the insane college football season that we have all experienced. Sit back, grab that bucket of wings and allow me to regale a tale of woe, adventure and one-handed catches.

Not Much Movement in the Top 4

The top four teams in the country as of week six played some pretty conventional football. Alabama blew out Arkansas, 65-31 — no shock there. Georgia, Ohio State and Clemson all handled their opponents of the week as well. Most likely, the four teams will not move spots. However, the true shootout of the week happened to most other ranked teams outside of that group.

AP Rankings didn’t matter for a lot of underdogs

Aside from the top four, the world of college football, for lack of a better word, exploded. No. 5 LSU dropped a match to No. 22 Florida, and if you tell me you knew that was going to happen, I’d say you were a liar. No. 7 Oklahoma also lost to the now-surging No. 19 Texas Longhorns, who are on a mission to lay waste to the remainder of their schedule and end in the top 10. I wouldn’t have them making the playoffs, at least not this year. Oh, and No. 9 Auburn lost to an unranked Mississippi State, in case you needed more to freak out about. No. 13 Kansas lost to, you guessed it, unranked Texas A&M, ending their perfect season. Utah upset No. 14 Stanford in Palo Alto, with four Cardinal turnovers to add a dash of crazy to the Pac-12 weekend. No. 19 Michigan State got kicked down a hole — get it, because they’re Spartans — by an unranked Northwestern, and No. 25 Oklahoma State saw their run up the AP rankings end with a loss to unranked Iowa State.

The Pac-12 North is Wide Open

With Stanford losing to Utah in convincing fashion and USC’s fall from grace, the Pac-12 is anyone’s game. Washington has looked relatively weak on the year despite being undefeated in the Pac-12, a phenomenon that should come back around to bite the Huskies should they remain on the wrong side of mediocre. Their next few games see them against Oregon, Stanford and undefeated Colorado. In my opinion, if they want to remain in contention for the Pac-12, or the CFB Playoffs, they need to run the table. Those three games will prove crucial. Stanford, after losing to Utah, fell out of the Top 25. That matchup with Washington will be a game-of-the-year candidate just based on what both teams need to prove to the country. Oregon is also making some noise as well, and it’ll be interesting to see where they land when the dust settles. Do the Ducks reclaim their throne atop the Pac-12?

The Pac-12 South is the most interesting division in College Football

In the South, it’s a mess. USC, the early season favorite, currently sits third behind Arizona and Colorado. Colorado will come back down to Earth eventually, that I don’t doubt. Utah, sitting just behind USC, plays Arizona this Friday. A Utah win, coupled with a USC loss, will leapfrog Utah into second place behind the still-undefeated Buffaloes, because of USC’s conference loss to Stanford in week two. Utah will then play USC next week, which remains a must-win for Utah if they hope to take the division, despite different circumstances than those I had in mind in my preseason prediction. If, and that’s a big if, Utah can take their next two games, and Colorado drops their next two, Utah very quickly jumps from fourth to first in the South. It’s too close to call, and honestly, it’s anyone’s to take. Well, except UCLA.

UCLA Hasn’t been this bad since the 40’s

With last week’s loss to Washington, the Bruins fell to 0-5 for the first time since 1943.  I’m not even mad at that, I’m relatively impressed. Chip Kelly came into his new role as the Bruins’ play-caller with a whole lot of hype surrounding him, and there were whispers that UCLA might be a dark-horse favorite to take the Pac-12 South. Those voices are no more, and in a resounding way. I will leave this topic with one of the saddest sports-related things I’ve ever read, from ESPN analyst Kyle Bonagura: “The Rose Bowl is half empty for a 4:30 p.m. kickoff against a top-10 team. All the buzz that arrived with UCLA’s hiring of Chip Kelly is gone — and in a crowded market the Bruins are fading into irrelevancy.”

I hope every week is this crazy, because man, sports are all the more awesome when they’re unpredictable.

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