2020-10-07 12:26

I was on vacation at the Baltic Sea in Germany and during that time the college football world did change again.

The conferences, which did postpone/cancel their season in summer did now, after the start of the season by other conferences, announce they will play, soon.

The Big 10 did come out first and announce an 8-game schedule, starting 24th of October, of course under certain conditions regarding testing and positive ratings.

About a week later did the PAC-12 announce their return starting November 6 and they will play a 7-game schedule.

On the same day did the Mountain West announce their return, too. They will play starting 24th of October with an 8-game schedule.

And another day later did as last Conference the MAC announce their return for 4th of November with a 6-game-schedule.

So all conferences are back in the game, and they try to finish the season in the period of the regular season. No shift, so likely they try to get some bowl tickets and get into the regular rhythm again.

In addition, one team as Independent did announce their return, the UMass Minutemen will try to return, but as independent, they need non-conference games, which will be problematic, since most conferences did announce already their non-conference games or will play conference-only.
Maybe they will have a chance as gap filler if some teams have to cancel a game because of positive cases.

Out do remain to be UConn, Old Dominion and New Mexico State.

A small recap on additional canceled/postponed games:
Week 3 did see Charlotte - North Carolina, the substitute game Houston - Baylor, Florida Atlantic - Georgia Southern, BYU - Army and Central Arkansas - Arkansas State all not being played.
Week 4 did not have Notre Dame - Wake Forest, Georgia State - Charlotte, Tulsa - Arkansas State, South Florida - Florida Atlantic and North Texas - Houston playing.
Week 5 did not feature Rice - Marshall and Troy - South Alabama
And for Week 6 it's clear already that UAB - Rice will not happen.

Houston did not play in September at all thanks to canceled/postponed games.
They scheduled 4 games, including a substitution game which did not happen also.
If they are lucky, they will play on Thursday their 1st game.

Several players, which did decide to sit out the covid season did start or already finished the procedure to play again this season, some did announce to quit and concentrate on the draft.
Both are not many in numbers, still that’s only the stuff I get here in Europe, likely there are some more.
Quite challenging times for the coaches and players.

Now to the sport aspect of College Football ....

Week 3, 4 and 5 did saw some upsets and strange results.

Week 3:
Still most of the big conference did not play on that week, so mostly smaller colleges.

Ranked UCF did play Georgia Tech and we saw a great playing UCF team and the Yellow Jackets were beaten 49-21. Jackets are not in contender form, as it seems.
Miami and Louisville were ranked 17 and 18 at that time and did battle it out with Miami winning 47-34. Right now, the Hurricanes do look good, while Louisville does not look like they are in position to play for the big price.
Ranked Appalachian State did fall in a low scoring game against Marshall 17-7. A bit uncommon for me, but fine. No the Mountaineers are no longer ranked.
Independent school Liberty did win against Western Kentucky 30-24. Right now Liberty looks good as Indy team, unbeaten.

Week 4:
This week did feature the start of the SEC and lots of Big12 action, so we get more games and more upsets.

Kansas State did upset Oklahoma 38-35. This was more surprising, since KSU had lost their 1st game against Arkansas State from a weaker conference. Oklahoma was supposed to be a contender, now they do look like midfield at best. Everyone expect them to rebound, but we are still waiting.
Mississippi State won against reigning champion LSU 44-34. Mike Leachs new team did play good and LSU did not. Quite a start for LSU I guess.
Texas won their game against Texas Tech in OT 63-56. Honestly, this should be concerning for Longhorns fans, the Red Raiders did score almost at will and are not supposed to be contenders. Of course, this might change with every week, but traditionally Texas should play better.
Liberty won also against FIU, 36-34.
Iowa State did beat TCU 37-34. Also here it was surprising, since the Cyclones did lose against Sun Belt Louisiana before.
Tulane won against Southern Miss 66-24. Tulane might contend in their conference, for Southern Miss, who are under interims management, do already have a rough season. New coach will come for sure.

Week 5:
Under the shadow of the news for the upcoming return of the Big10 and PAC12 did last week feature again only the so far playing conferences.

Ranked Texas A&M did lose against highly ranked Alabama 24-52. Not sure how the Aggies fans do feel right now, but it was obvious the Jimbo Fisher Aggies were no match against the Nick Saban Crimson Tide. But he was hired to make the team to such a contender ... I doubt a coaching change this season, but the heat should get a bit hotter.
Auburn and Georgia were almost ranked on the same level before the game, but the Tigers lost 6-27. The Bulldogs do look strong, Auburn does right now not, but nothing which could not be adjusted.
A big upset was TCUs win against Texas 33-31. Not only was Texas highly ranked and TCU until that game a losing team, no, TCU did also sink Texas into the pit of the Big12, which was not the intention when they did get their new coach a few seasons ago.
Tulsa did beat ranked UCF 34-26. Big win for Tulsa, which do look quite strong right now. UCFs dreams of a possible playoff spot on a perfect season are now shattered.
Arkansas won against Mississippi State 21-14. Quite uncommon low scoring by a Mike Leach led team, so either Arkansas did play great defense or the Bulldogs had synch problems.
Iowa State did upset Oklahoma 37-30, which made the Sooners a mid-field to bottom team inside the conference. 1st win against Oklahoma for Iowa State at home since 1960!
North Carolina State won against ranked Pitt 30-29. I think both teams can play the role of spoiler teams this season but will not contend for the ACC crown.
SMU did beat ranked Memphis 30-27. Right now SMU looks like a contender, while Memphis might be a contender, but the jury is undecided yet.

For week 6 we have some great games coming up. Remember the returning conferences are only due end of October.

#6 Florida plays #21 Texas A&M on the road and if A&M wants to have a say inside their division they need to win this game. But Florida is more likely to win, showing great potential and contender quality so far.
#19 Virginia Tech plays #8 North Carolina on the road and does face a very crucial game. I thought UNC would lose last week, but they prevailed, which makes them automatically a candidate to challenge Clemson. I do not think they are on that level, but you never know. VT on the other hand might have a breakthrough win here for a great season to come.
#22 Texas vs Oklahoma on neutral site for the Red River Showdown ... Very strange this season. Texas looks beatable and so does Oklahoma. The line is -2 Oklahoma, but honestly, this can go either way. Always a special and intense game.
#14 Tennessee visits #3 Georgia. Played in Athens, this might become quite one-sided fast with Georgia clearly favored. Tennessee has potential and if they win this, the Vols community will go crazy.
#2 Alabama does travel to Ole Miss and will face their former OC, no HC of the Rebels. I don't think Ole Miss will have a chance here, but they did score some upsets against Alabama in the past, so you never know. Right now is Alabama the team to beat.
#7 Miami goes to #1 Clemson and this game will have a huge impact on the ACC. If Miami wins, Clemsons dominance gets scratches or more and the ACC is more open since several years, if Clemson wins, it shows you have to become MUCH better to stop the Tigers.

Overall this season still feels strange with the postponed games and the teams not playing.
As far as I know the bowl rules and which bowls will happen and how is still open, so stay tuned.

'Til next time

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