Last week we learned that the bad programs of old are the bad programs of today. That and this season is now officially on odd results steroids as massive variance for bettors is underway in extreme fashion.
Weekday action got underway where the AAC showcased Temple head coach Rod Carey sneaking to 4-1. The Owls look as unimpressive as any of Carey’s Northern Illinois teams but not before contending or winning a conference title.
Friday night we saw UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel look every bit of a freshman as he struggled on the road and turned the ball over twice in the red zone. The Knights insist on running a QB read option but if the QB can’t run why keep it in place? Mackenzie Milton can’t rehab soon enough.
Memphis improved to 5-0 and 5-0 against the spread as it handled UL-Monroe with ease. SMU is also perfect on the year and ranked first time since the 1980’s after coming from 21 down to clip Tulsa in overtime. The Sonny Dykes era is shocking to many including me as I feel any other coach would embrace this experienced defense. Dykes however got himself into a shootout and was perhaps fortunate to win.
Virginia Tech went from being done and losing by nearly 50 at home to beating Miami on the road six days later. They also gave up 565 yards to a freshman quarterback. A win is a win but Justin Fuentes looks suspect no matter what the outcome.
Pittsburgh is apparently the best underdog in the country. Whether it’s Penn State or Duke, it’s clear the Panthers will take you to the wire and they have no desire to run the ball even when ahead. A high wire act if there ever was one.
Steve Addazio’s run at Boston College was interesting. During his great years he was a 7-win ceiling coach and now in his semi-rebuilding years, it seems like a mirage. A defensive-minded coach losing to a Year 1 upstart, 41-39?
TCU has lost its identity. A team that was built on defense and special teams has found itself in an offensively injury-plagued situation and a defense that is surrendering big play after big play. This was supposed to be Gary Patterson’s big year where he returned to doubt-digit wins and contended in the Big 12. It’s looking more and more like the 7-win ceiling of the past few seasons.
The Big Ten is one big defensive-driven conference like never before. Iowa, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin are all ball control and three yards and a cloud of dust. Minnesota, Maryland and Purdue (pre-injury) were all supposed to bring a bit of change but only Ohio State looks as if it can crush you on both sides of the ball.
Conference-USA was a high flying, big points conference just five years ago. Marshall and Louisiana Tech would regularly put up 60 points a game. My how times have changed. UAB put together a blue print that showed you can win 10 games in the this league and do so with defense not offense.
The MAC is currently a boiling pot of mediocrity. Toledo is your leader and Ohio, who was the favorite to win the conference, has looked as average as any team in the nation. The two worst teams in the nation lie here in Akron and Bowling Green but they might not be as far behind as some would imagine compared to some of the mid-rebuilds taking place.
The PAC-12 is so far down that Washington, who was one of the few remaining hopefuls for a top 25 team, got manhandled by Stanford’s all-frosh offensive line.
The Sun Belt is officially the “Fun Belt” in 2019. Every team must have gotten a memo that said you need to start every fourth quarter with at least 50 points combined. South Alabama missed said memo but otherwise the high scoring games are plentiful and all the new coaches in the conference are ex-offensive coordinators. Not by coincidence, I feel.
Until next week, Eddie.