This season has been so strange. A roller coaster of emotions that looked awesome after 2 weeks...then stumbled and looked okay, and then crashed and burned, and now looks okay again.
To use Jeff's favorite phrase, "I don't give 2 duck farts about FCS games".
Was the first half sloppy? Yes. I was following the score on my phone while at the UA game in Tucson. Dinner at Guadalajara Grill was better than watching that mess.
But in the end did we stop playing with our food and double them up on points and yards? Also yes.
If your complaint is that we "gave up the most points we ever have to an FCS team" and let it bother you, I don't know what to tell you. 20% of their yards came on a single play that accounted for a fourth of their scoring. That's what we in the biz call "an outlier".
The fact is, FCS games are boring unless it's watching a school you don't care about get knocked off by the ultimate underdog. They're a glorified second bye week and if you thought the game was boring - I'm not sure why you'd expect anything different because it's the same song and dance every year.
I also saw one fan mad that Kalani post game talked about it like it was a major game or the same as any game. Strange. What else is he supposed to do - say "they suck and I expect to drop a fifty burger on them?". That would be rather unprofessional if he did.
Way back in August I wrote about some predictions on totals. Let's recap and see where we stand.
Arizona o2.5 - Free money was free money. Jayden de Laura can ball and was worth 3 wins. They're at 4 and a favorite over ASU this Friday. I put 3 units on this one and it's saving the profitability of the whole thing here.
Tulane o6.5 - They were my team to watch last year and flopped, but returned most and then kicked it up this year. They are 9-2 with a loss to UCF and a headscratching loss vs Southern Miss. They play Cincy this week and the winner will hosts the AAC championship game. The loser will probably be in a 3 way tie with Houston and UCF. Depending on how the tie ends up it may come down to the CFP rankings determining who plays.
Cincy o9 - They're 9-2 right now with narrow losses to Arkansas week 1 and UCF a couple weeks ago. They have a tough Tulane matchup and may be without QB1. But at worst it's a push, so it's a good bet.
Utah State o6.5 - They started out bad, but turned it around and are sitting at 6-5 right now. They play on the road in Boise this week, and an upset would hit the over. A 4 point loss to SJSU cost this one.
Clemson u10.5 - Somehow they've rumbled to 10-1 but nobody really buys the hype. Their offense is still pedestrian though DJ U has played better of late. After absolutely dump trucking Tennessee last weekend, maybe this is the year the Gamecocks end the streak and knock off the Tigers. Like USU it would require an upset but it is still on the table.
Baylor o7.5 - So close, yet so far. The Bears at 6-5 with a tough road game vs Texas to end the season. They were seconds away from ending TCU's CFP dream and lost a shootout vs a very meh WVU team 43-40. Also barely eeked out a win vs OU and took the Cougs to 2OT in Provo. This is a great example of how narrow the margins are on a lot of CFB wins. Marking this as an okay because they were good enough to do it, but lost close games they should've won.
Charlotte o4.5 - They were bad, bad. Got smoked by an FCS team. Finished 3-9 and fired their coach and hired a hedge fund manager to try to right the ship.
Houston o8.5 - The Coogs have been one of the biggest disappointments this season. They are 7-4 so this will not hit and after being a favorite to win the league and go to the NY6 they've had major flubs. This one goes under bad because the wins have been close wins and some of the losses have been brutal. Just a very mediocre team in a below average league that should be better given all the talent they returned.
Week 1 Overreactions
After the first week of the season I made some bold predictions that looked like they may be ridiculous at the time but I'm here to eat some crow (and maybe gloat a bit too)
Lincoln Riley as good as advertised THIS year
Check. They still have no defense, but the offense is near unstoppable. They're a 2 point conversion stop away from undefeated and are still in the CFP hunt.
Florida will just be okay
6.5 and lost at home to Vandy. Check.
Arizona will go bowling and have a big PAC upset
Somehow the Wildcats managed to knock off UCLA which took the Bruins out of the CFP discussion, created chaos scenarios for P12 CCG berths. So the last half was right.
As for bowling - they are at 4 wins right now and favored to beat the Sun Devils to make it to 5-7. So close, but so far. Maybe they luck out and get a bid at 5-7? I haven't checked to see how many extra bids there will be with lack of 6-6 teams. They gave up 49 to a BAD Cal team earlier this year and lost by 11 after forgetting how to play offense last Saturday vs Wazzu. C'mon guys.
Houston and UTSA Featured 2 Conference Champs
UTSA has a bid int he CUSA title game. Houston technically isn't out yet - the winner of Tulane Cincy will host the title game. If Houston loses to Tulsa they're out as UCF would have the head to head tiebreaker in 2 way tie over the loser of Tulane/Cincy since the Knights beat both schools.
In the event of a 3 way tie with UCF/Houston and Tulane or Cincy then it would come down to CFP ranking. If none of the 3 are ranked, then an average computer ranking would be used.
So yeah, Houston is done. The CFP ain't ranking a 7-4 Houston team over both UCF and Cincy and Tulane.
Brian Kelly will Coach <= 30 games at LSU
This was peak overreaction. LSU fans are psycho, so maybe it happens, but the ship was righted quickly. I don't think Kelly will succeed there long term because of cultural differences and him not being a southerner, but for now, he probably makes it to the midway point of 2024 which would be game 30.
Dabo Magic is Gone
Jury still out on this. The offense has struggled and there's no real X's and O's coach in the building to fix it. The bigger story this year is that the Saban magic may be gone too - the transfer portal has changed things and the culture in Tuscaloosa is harder to maintain when guys are coming in and out quickly vs staying for 3-4 years.
Stetson Bennet Will Be a Heisman Finalist
Outside of Caleb Williams and CJ Stroud the Heisman race has been very ho hum this year. Bennet is 7th in ESPN's QBR and has been a great game manager, but 4 games without a TD pass make the case less compelling. He's good, but not great.