By Alan Brads
I hate spiders.
People say they support healthy ecosystems and help eliminate pests, I say who cares? They’re gross, I hate them and I’m sticking to that. But when I recently saw a spider web in my apartment bathroom I chuckled because it, like most things, reminded me of football.
The beauty of the college football playoff system is that the 14-week schedule is now a tangled web. A week 1 game on a Sunday night tugs at the strands connecting 20 other teams’ seasons. That’s why 9.1 million people watched Florida St. pile drive LSU on Sunday night.
To fans of 14 current and 4 future Big Ten teams, an LSU loss is a rare opportunity to degrade the SEC. For Texas or North Carolina fans, its a potential to climb into the playoff over a 2nd SEC team, and for Notre Dame fans, watching Brian Kelly faceplant in front of a national audience is just plain funny.
But it means something to everyone, and that’s what makes college football so fun.
Most Saturday matchups in week 1 weren’t worth three and a half hours of your time, especially given the shortened play time and snap count due to clock-related rule changes. The good games came on Sunday Night, with FSU’s aforementioned walloping of LSU, and Monday night, when Duke knocked off an undisciplined Clemson, though Spectrum users missed the latter, and will continue to miss ESPN games as Disney and Spectrum battle for dollars.
I expect even fewer fireworks this Saturday, with a wealth of FBS-FCS crossover games, but here at Cedars we (or at least I) believe all football is good football, so I’m breaking it down. If you didn’t catch last week’s column, here’s how this works: I give three storylines to follow throughout the week (and year) of college football, then I break down three must-watch games for the weekend. Let’s dive in.
#3- Transfer Portal making massive on-field impact
With actual football to break down, I’d hoped the transfer portal talk would quickly die down. But how can you watch last week’s games and not discuss how quickly transfers can change programs? WR Keon Coleman set sail out of East Lansing and made port in Tallahassee at Florida State over the offseason. He made a splash in his debut, finding the endzone three times against LSU. Quarterback Bo Nix flew north to Oregon two summers ago, and now has the Ducks ranked 13th in the nation after they dropped 81 points on Portland State. And of course, you knew it was coming, Coach Prime turned the Colorado program on its head almost exclusively through the transfer portal. And speaking of the Buffs:
#2- Is Primetime Mania a firework or forest fire?
Did you watch Colorado knock off TCU as three score underdogs? If not, the 45-42 final score doesn’t tell the whole story. The Buffaloes looked electric. Shedeur Sanders played like a first round draft pick, throwing for over 500 yards and 4 TDs. Travis Hunter channeled his coach, Deion Sanders, playing well over 100 snaps at WR and CB. There’s much more to say about CU’s fiery performance, but the big question that needs answered is whether it was a week 1 firework, exciting, explosive but short-lived, or a forest fire that’s blazing hot, and hard to put out.
#1- Perfect Pac-12 Faces Stout Slate
Colorado stole the show last weekend, but the PAC-12, though living on numbered days, showed out, and stands at a perfect 13-0. Perfection won’t last forever, especially once USC and Stanford kick off the conference matchups this Saturday at 10:30 PM, but it’s worth keeping an eye on the following games to see how the Pac-12 stacks up against the conferences that will soon swallow it:
#12 Utah @ Baylor
Nebraska @ #22 Colorado
Tulsa @ #8 Washington
#13 Oregon @ Texas Tech
#19 Wisconsin @ Washington State
UCLA @ San Diego State
Week 2 is the Pac-12’s chance to put the world on notice in its final season.
Even in a potentially uninspiring weekend of football, there are at least three games worth scheduling your Saturday around.
#3- #20 Ole Miss @ #24 Tulane
We can all be honest, none of us circled this game on the calendar. But in an overwhelmingly yawn-inducing weekend, this game has classic written all over it. Tulane finished 2022 hotter than a pot of boiling water. The College Football Playoff makes bowl games forgettable, but did you forget that just 8 months ago Tulane knocked off USC 46-45 in the Cotton Bowl? The Green Wave fan base hasn’t been this invested since denim-on-denim was in fashion. Vegas likes Tulane as just single-score underdogs in front of their home crowd against Ole Miss from the big bad SEC. Non-SEC opponents already manhandled SOuth Carolina, LSU and Florida, so the Rebels better not take it easy in New Orleans.
#2- Nebraska @ #22 Colorado
A few fun facts: Colorado won only 2 of their last 14 games. They haven’t won a non-conference game in over 1,000 days. Their last 6 win season came in 2016. The cheapest ticket pair of tickets for this game will run you up $700. Wait what? The Deion Sanders effect is real. It’s an old-school Big 12 rivalry (between a Pac-12 and a Big Ten team, isn’t CFB fun?) and it is must-see TV. Matt Rhule seeks his first win and Deion Sanders tries to keep the hype train on the tracks. Big Noon kickoff is headed to Boulder, and unless you’re forking over $350 to go to the game, you better head to your TV to catch it.
#1- #11Texas @ #3 Alabama
I don’t need to sell this game to you. Is Texas back? Is Alabama’s dynasty over? Can Texas thrive in the SEC? The final score may not give us the answer to all of those questions … but it might. I can’t think of a boring outcome for this game. I’ll be celebrating my lovely wife’s 20th birthday during the showdown, so if you don’t plan to tune in, change your plans and watch in my honor. Whether it’s Horns down or the Tide get rolled, the college football spider web will be quivering
Alan Brads is a senior journalism student and sports editor for Cedars. He enjoys playing the drums, speaking Spanish and watching Buckeye football like his life depends on it.
Cover photo by Logan Howard