The College Football Season is over a third of the way done, with five weeks having been played. There have been some teams that have exceeded expectations, some that have disappointed, and others that have just simply met expectations. At this point in the season we think we know a lot about all of these teams, but there are specific teams that I will be monitoring the most the rest of the season.
All in alphabetical order
The Eagles came into the season with some sleeper love, and after a 3-0 start they were flying high. They quickly came back down to earth during a trip to West Lafayette Indiana, where Purdue absolutely destroyed Boston College. The Eagles came back and won a shootout with Temple a week later, giving some hope that they will contend for a second place finish in the ACC Atlantic. This Boston College team also has tons of talent; Anthony Brown and AJ Dillon both make explosive plays consistently. Defensively, Boston College has tons of talent, as Zach Allen and Lukas Denis are likely day two NFL draft selections, and Wyatt Ray already has 5.5 sacks this season, already a career high.
The Bearcats came in with low expectations, but after a 5-0 start many are talking about this Cincinnati team. I got to see just how resilient this squad is, watching my school, Ohio University, blow a huge lead in the second half. I’m still not sure if Cincinnati is any good, because their best win so far is either Ohio or UCLA. The amazing thing is that for the next month, I still might have no idea if Cincinnati is any good. The reason? Their schedule. The Bearcats somehow play Tulane, Temple, SMU, and Navy in each their next four games. I could easily see Cincinatti being 9-0 entering a huge showdown with South Florida and then a week later they take on UCF. If Cincy can keep up this positive momentum, they could make the AAC East race more than just a Florida battle.
Cole Mcdonald has been awesome for the Rainbow Warriors all season, and he shined on the national stage in week 0 against Colorado State. Hawaii is 5-1 and their only loss is by a touchdown in a game that they played at six in the morning for their body clocks. Obviously, Hawaii has gotten some love, being a team that casual fans would like to root for because who wouldn’t want to root for Hawaii? If Hawaii is legit, they could compete for a Mountain West championship game appearance. Hawaii has gotten off to a nice start towards that goal, being the only two win team in the conference thus far.
Liberty came into the FCS blazing, scoring 52 points on Old Dominion and torching the Monarchs. After that, Liberty got crushed by two of my favorite teams this year, Army and North Texas. Liberty just smoked New Mexico, going up 42-10 at half before winning 52-43. The Flames now play New Mexico State, and if they can get the victory in that matchup, it would go a long way towards a potential bowl appearance.
Are we sure Michigan State is even good this year? Utah State is a good G5 team, but needing a final drive to win that one at home in unacceptable. Combine that with a road loss to Arizona State and a slow start at home against Central Michigan, and the Spartans have looked terrible outside the Big 10 this year. Many pegged the Spartans as the fourth elite team in the Big 10 East, however they haven’t been close to the level that Ohio State or Penn State have played. Brian Lewerke has his believers, but he hasn’t made enough strides for me to believe he will lead the Spartans to any upset in conference play. If Michigan State can figure things out offensively, they could scare the top dogs in the conference. If not, they will struggle to remain in the top 25.
Nebraska / UCLA
I put these two teams in the same category because they are very similar. Both of these teams are storied programs in the first year of a new head coach with a huge rebuild ahead of them. Neither team has won a game this year, and UCLA won’t likely be favored in a single game the rest of the season. These two teams should consider it year zero for their coaches. They each came in with depleted rosters and need time to find a QB to run their system. While the wins might not be there this season, progress needs to be shown throughout conference play so each fan base can get excited about the 2019 season and beyond.
Justin Herbert is the best draft eligible QB in my opinion, and he’s incredible to watch. This season there are no shortages in very talented passers, but Herbert is one of the best. If it wasn’t for a couple costly fumbles against Stanford, the Ducks would still be unbeaten and firmly in the playoff race. However with that loss some have cooled their love for the Ducks, but I still believe this is one of the best teams in the PAC 12 and shouldn’t be afraid of anyone left on their schedule. With Herbert slinging the rock, there is no reason Oregon cannot finish with double digit wins.
When Ohio State came into Texas to battle with the Horned Frogs, TCU stood strong for most of the night. In fact, when they were in the process of returning a kickoff for a touchdown I thought they were going to win the game. Of course, the play gets called back correctly and TCU goes on to lose, but there was no reason to believe TCU wouldn’t be competing for a Big 12 championship this season. However Shawn Robinson, Darius Anderson, and co have been held to 33 points in two conference games. That simply won’t cut it when the Horned Frogs take on Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, or West Virginia. Will TCU figure their offense out or will they continue to struggle and underwhelm for the rest of the season?
The Aggies are 3-2, but considering their two losses are against the top ranked team and the fourth ranked team, Jimbo Fisher should be pleased with how the Aggies have started the season. Texas A&M still has many chances for signature wins, and that starts this weekend when unbeaten and top 15 ranked Kentucky rolls into College Station. Beating the Wildcats will be a huge momentum boost and could spring the Aggies toward an eight or nine win season.