As I pick through the smoldering remains of my predictions, now is as good a time as any to remind our readers (both of you) that one of the fun things about college football is its inherent unpredictability. Teams are all over the place, on fire one week, down in the dumps the next. Consistency is the Holy Grail of the college football coach, and one they rarely attain for long.
Oregon’s rout has caused many observers to argue that they were always overrated. This is a classic logical fallacy.
Teams are not static entities, and attempts to reduce them to a collection of numbers to be wantonly compared inevitably results in humiliating failure.
Consider just last year. As a result of both their cupcake games and their total rout at Notre Dame, the Skunk Bears under Dead Man Walking Hoke had a remarkable 100 percent efficiency in the red zone, putting them among the elite teams in the country.
Of course this was the result of pounding chumps and losing to champs: Against patsies, the Wolverines could score at will; against decent teams, they never even reached the red zone.
In the case of Oregon, the loss to Michigan State clearly stung. Their electric quarterback went into the game with a sore throwing hand it three sacks only made it worse.
What is more, Oregon getting routed is hardly unique – it happened last year at Arizona.
As things stand, Utah is the now the Team of the Hour and will doubtless begin a steady climb in the polls.
The Spartans have lost a little of their luster, but this is to be expected. I find debates over whether they deserve to be ranked 2nd irrelevant – no one deserves a ranking four weeks into a 12-game season. At this point it is a combination of reputation and expectations.
SPARTAN CASUALTIES CONTINUE: MSU’s vaunted offensive line is getting dinged up, which is not a good thing. Nor are the losses in the secondary. On the plus side, this team has far more depth than its predecessors.
The Chips gave a tough fight as was expected – as far as the Central Michigan faithful are concerned, this is a rivalry game, complete with t-shirts (I saw several on and around campus).
When you make a t-shirt, you have yourself a rivalry, even if one side ignores it.
Upset-minded and close to home, the Chippewas brought everything to the game and the Spartans were conversely tired and a little sore. Play calling was conservative and as a result, the game lasted far too long. It should have been over by the early third quarter at the latest. At least this time the Spartans finished strong.
MEANWHILE, HARBAUGH MANIA BLOOMS: Well, the Skunk Bears surprised on the upside didn’t they? Who saw BYU’s collapse coming?
While the trolls are now out in force (having gone into hiding after the lost season opener), the fact remains that the Wolverines are still a great unknown. They demolished the Cougars 31-0 but despite keeping the starting quarterback in the game, were scoreless after the second quarter. Their starting running back may have been injured as well.
This leaves the Shouting Harbaughs 3-1 and once again part of the top 25 since technically they beat a ranked team at home.
I fully expected them to be 2-2 by this point, but there is a lot of football left. The question I have is whether St. Harbaugh will continue on an upward trajectory or whether road games and the grind of the season will stunt the team on its way to a national title.