The unassuming weeks are always the most dangerous for college football, but especially so early in the season when the rankings are more guesses than earned distinctions. Still though, when you schedule an FCS school and pay them to come play non-conference patsy during homecoming or whatever else, you better not lose.
Florida dropping one to Kentucky? It’d be a lot worse if the Wildcats hadn’t won two of the past four meetings (now three of five). Notre Dame sleepwalking through Marshall only to be shaken awake by a pick six in the fourth quarter when it was too late? It’s understandable coming off of the high of competing with Ohio State, and as is the case with Gator head coach Bill Napier and Irish interim-turned-leading-man Marcus Freeman, it’s their first year.
Those fan bases are going to wake up Sunday feeling like shit, but not flat out despondent, wondering how the hell they’re going to spend the next dozen fall Saturdays, and even Saturdays in 2023.
For Texas A&M supporters and those still clinging to hope that Scott Frost isn’t the worst Nebraska coach of the new century, the only point in waking up Sunday is to see if the AD has sacked the neanderthals responsible for whatever the hell happened against Appalachian State and Georgia Southern.
We’ll start with the Aggies, because pointing out that the Huskers gargle chunks is a cliche. Jimbo Fisher, who spent part of the offseason in a public war of words with Nick Saban, somehow also talked the media into ranking his team in the top 10. I don’t know how he did it, and I honestly think he doesn’t know how he did, but it happened despite the team going 8-4 a season ago, including 4-4 in conference games.
A&M starting quarterback Haynes King didn’t break 100 yards passing, and the offense as a whole was held under 200 yards by App State. Had it not been for David Achane’s 95-yard kickoff return after the Mountaineers went up 14-7 late in the third, this game would’ve been over midway through the fourth.
Fisher earned his reputation by putting together explosive offenses that could also run the ball, and year after year they have some quarterback whose sole credentials are that Fisher is his coach, and we have to pretend that he’s a dark horse Heisman candidate.
I know King suffered a season-ending injury last year, and his fill-in Zach Calzada transferred to Auburn, but Calzada, King, Max Johnson — it doesn’t make a difference. If the expectations for Jimbo are competing in the SEC, he’s destined to fall short and drag his QBs down with him.
As far as Frost and Nebraska are concerned, he’s now 5-22 in one-score games, and the latest shame he’s foisted upon the fanbase was a 45-42 loss to Georgia Southern. The Eagles amassed 642 yards of offense, and any nightmares concocted by Bill Callahan or Mike Riley are rapidly going from It-level scary to fond memories.
Georgia Southern quarterback Kyle Vantrease threw for 409 yards. The Eagles scored 28 in the first half, and it would’ve been more had they not committed a procedure penalty while spiking the ball inside the Nebraska five. Running backs had holes to sprint through, wide receivers had space to work with, and Vantrease had enough time in the pocket to knit a winter hat and maybe a scarf to go with it.
Like Fisher, offense was supposed to be Frost’s calling card, and he’s not even calling plays anymore. He’s a head coach by title only at this point, and every time the cameras cut to him staring at his feet I want to whip whatever’s in my hand at the television.
Fox’s Big Noon Saturday is headed to Lincoln next week for Nebraska-Oklahoma, and that weekend literally can not elapse quick enough. Nebraska AD Trev Alberts might offer Urban Meyer a contract during live on air. I know it sucks to get upset, but it sucks to suck even more, and at least that’s not the reality for every school that finished Saturday disappointed.
And now, a highlight from the college football slate that hopefully will make you smile
Pitt wasn’t able to pull out the overtime win against Tennessee on Saturday, but that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to celebrate the rare instance when a hurdle was executed perfectly.
May I present to you, Gavin Bartholomew:
I feel like 99 percent of the time hurdles are strictly for show, kind of like an opportunistic bicycle kick. However, when used at the precise moment, it’s a guaranteed way to make a highlight reel, and you better believe that one will be sticking with Bartholomew well after he’s done playing.