Wednesday, September 7, 2022

College Football Week 1 Thoughts

By Kevin Beane

* Several times a year, I find a reason to bring up the point that, at least in college football and men's college basketball, we get more parity every year — in this information age, the winning ways to develop players and recruits are more and more widely known, and they all want playing time, so they will go where they get playing time.

This is great for the sport and great for the fan who doesn't want to see the same 3-4 teams at the top every year.

This year, however, I am horrified that we may be moving other way on this. In Week 0 and the Thursday of Week 1, favorites covered at a 14-7 clip. They also all won outright, except for Nebraska.

By this time last year, six FCS schools had defeated FBS foes. This year, only two have (William & Mary over Charlotte, and Delaware over Navy).

Finally, does anyone really think anyone's going to catch up to Georgia, Alabama, and Ohio State? (Actually, I do: more on that later.) The former two were so comprehensive in victory, as was the latter in the second half against perhaps the toughest opponent the three faced.

Another thing I've written about many times in this space is how upsets are my lifeblood, and they somehow seem ... less possible this year. Sure, South Dakota State almost knocking off Iowa was fun (as any game featuring two safeties would be), but we were lacking in close calls besides that.

It gets worse! Hawaii looks absolutely terrible this year, having gotten trucked by Vanderbilt and Western Kentucky so far. Hawaii's home games, which typically start at midnight Eastern, are celebrated as a token of college football hardcore fandom for mainlanders — we watch their games when everyone else has gone to bed; we won't be sated even after 12 hours of football. We need them to be competitive. Otherwise, we look just as ridiculous as we are, watching them bleary-eyed lose 56-0 every other week.

All of that said, I still believe that Ohio State, Georgia, and/or Alabama will lose a game they have absolutely no business losing. This is not based on anything analytical. It's simply that it will take more than two weeks of non-upsets for my faith in the Gods of Chaos to be shaken. I implore you to keep the faith, as well.

* I'm not the first to say it, but the ACC so far has been absolutely bonkers. Mostly in bad ways, but also some good.

In case you missed it, Virginia Tech, Boston College, North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Florida State all led in the fourth quarter. All but Virginia Tech led by at least two scores in the second half. Virginia Tech and Boston College lost, and North Carolina, NC State, and FSU all barrrrely pulled out their victories because of unforced errors by their opponents.

FSU blocked an extra point to deny overtime to LSU. East Carolina missed a 41-yard field goal to allow NC State to hang on. But that's nothing compared to what happened in the Appalachian State/North Carolina game.

Appalachian State scored 40 points in the fourth quarter. That's right, 40. But they missed two 2-point conversions down the stretch and lost by 2. The Tarheels scored 22 points in the last frame in their own right. This is the first time an FBS team has scored 40 points in a quarter and lost. In the rest, the 40-point scorer won in a blowout against an inferior team. It'll be interesting to see what App State does for an encore — they head to College Station to take on Texas A&M next.

* I've only placed bets on one Week 2 game so far. It's important to remember, especially early in the season, that what happened Week 1 hardly guarantees what's going to happen in Week 2. "Team X beat team Y, team Y beat team Z, so team X is definitely going to thump team Z" is flawed in many ways.

And yet, that's pretty much what I'm doing here, shame on me. If Iowa beats South Dakota State by 4, I think they will probably beat Iowa State by less than that, or lose, and yet the line is Hawkeyes -3.5 at this writing. I took the Cyclones, and the under (41.5), and here once again I just pretty much flat-out based the under bet on how that Iowa/SDSU game went. We'll see!

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