Much like everything else in today’s current climate, college football has already endured multiple postponements and cancellations. There have been a very small slate of games played but there’s enough to warrant a review.
BYU absolutely crushed a Navy team who had not been tackling in practices due to COVID concerns. I think while Navy in no way looked prepared to face an offensive line of that size, I don’t feel that was the most concerning aspect of the game. Navy had the luxury of do-everything quarterback Malcom Perry (Miami Dolphins) last year and it was easy to assume some regression on offense. This year’s offense currently doesn’t have any big play ability — which isn’t rare for a Service Academy — and will be hard pressed to make up even the smallest of deficits which was my concern heading into the season. Too early to “sell” the Midshipmen but the loss of Perry was glaring.
Miami gained over 300 yards rushing versus a ridiculously good UAB defense. D’Eriq King looked good running the ball but his passing lacked accuracy. The Blazers’ defense would rank around the 4th-best in the ACC and while the Hurricanes lack depth and experience on defense, if Manny Diaz can “coach up” the unit as well as Rhett Lashlee appears to have done with the offense, watch out!
UL-Lafayette was really slept on last week vs. Iowa State. I’d honestly take ULL or Appalachian State against more than 75% of Power 5 teams. They both fought and clawed to build their respective programs and are stacked with experience. ULL’s Billy Napier has potential to be a top 5 head coach. My biggest concern with Iowa State heading into the season was on full display. Matt Campbell was an offensive coordinator and top offensive mind at Toledo and in a year where he has an NFL quarterback, tight end, and all-conference running back, his pace is slower than ever. It feels very much like he can’t embrace any role other than being an underdog. Campbell is a great coach but I think we have seen ISU’s ceiling. I hope I’m wrong but until he embraces more tempo and what has the makings of a great offense, we’ll continue to see similar results.
It’s shocking to me that Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson isn’t reaping the benefits of a big paycheck as an offensive coordinator at an SEC school. The Red Wolves hung nearly 500 yards and 7.0 ypp in last week’s win at Kansas State. The Wildcats are going to need to play slow in order to keep a very young defense off of the field. They didn’t match up well ASU but also aren’t as bad as what folks are saying following the loss. This is simply a very young team struggling their first game of the season.
Charlotte lost in respectable fashion to Appalachian State despite giving up 300+ yards of rushing I was more troubled by something else I saw. In a one-possession game in the fourth quarter, head coach Will Healy played extremely slow, even taking a delay of game penalty. Healy is a bright offensive mind with major weapons and a very small and inexperienced defensive line. He wanted to limit APSU’s ability to run clock so much that he in turn ran it out on himself. I am pretty high on Healy and Charlotte but if he isn’t going to embrace trading points with better teams I may have to downgrade the 49ers.
No top-tier team impressed me less than Notre Dame. You have a senior quarterback in Ian Book, one of the most experienced offensive lines in the country, no playmakers and they refused to lean on the run. Nothing about the Irish gets me excited. I like Duke quarterback Chase Brice but do the Blue Devils have an offensive line or wide receivers? The verdict remains out but for as mediocre as his win-loss record is over his long career, David Cutcliffe has somehow always found a decent defensive line and remained respectable. My biggest concern is can he find points in a year where the d-line essentially starts over?
For a third straight season, Florida State laid an egg in its opener. I bought into first-year head coach Mike Norvell being the change to the offense needed. But quarterback James Blackmon has been hit too much throughout his career to be effective. It’s like he’s seeing ghosts out there. I’m not sure he can be FSU’s starter moving forward and and as great as Norvell was at Memphis for developing a quick paced, run-based offense, it’s clear that FSU’s unit has bought into losing. Florida State handles adversity as bad as any team I can recall. Hats off to Georgia Tech’s Geoff Collins. The Yellow Jackets are near the top of returning production and will soon get the type of athletes the program only dreamed of a few years ago. I do however worry about depth with this team during COVID. The talent level behind the starters has a lot to be desired.
Texas State is a program that simply doesn’t know how to win yet but you have to like how they are moving the football. Head coach Jake Spavital showed a complete lack of ability to score quickly last year even against bad defenses. Through two games (and two different quarterbacks!) the Bobcats have netted 72 points. There’s some athletes in the program and they seem to have a coach who will be able to utilize them.
There’s not enough I can say about Kansas. Les Miles called three timeouts instead of letting the clock run out and it cost me dearly. It’s clear Miles wants to instill a never-give-up attitude but with a next level offensive coordinator and NFL running back, why can’t this team find at least one competent quarterback? The Jayhawks played three last week and the end results were 189 yards passing and two interceptions in the loss to Coastal Carolina. Kansas is playing 2-star freshmen and sophomores on defense so why not do the same with an underclassman quarterback? Miles continues to drive me crazy. People call him a gambler but it’s clearly a lack of EV at this point.
A week removed from upsetting Southern Miss, South Alabama put a big scare into Tulane and did so without its starting quarterback who was injured in the second quarter. Anyone else regretting dropping the Golden Eagles so much after Week 0? I don’t see any flaws with USA besides a lack of run game but it’s becoming clear they’re legit.
The Sun Belt has been great for two years which hopefully bettors don’t notice. South Alabama and Texas State are up-and-coming. UL-Lafayette and Appalachian State are already established. And Coastal Carolina, who had a full spring practice camp, and Arkansas State, with two all-conference quarterbacks the last two seasons, can beat anyone in the conference under the right circumstance. I love when people take notice of some of these great small conference schools. I hope we’ll get some Mountain West action at some point. I think there are several teams who are equally capable.
Until next week, Eddie.