Week 4 College Football Takeaways - And Another Thing
Conference Strength Revisited - OK, well, we’re back to where we usually are in Conference rankings with the SEC looking like the cream of the crop. The ACC has Clemson and a bunch of mediocrity. The Pac 12 has a lot of good but maybe no great teams. The Big 12 has Oklahoma and Texas and a bunch of goodish teams. The Big Ten and SEC remain the class of college football. Each boasts five undefeated teams. Unlike the SEC only one or two of the Big Ten teams are actual contenders though, so I’ll give the SEC the advantage here.
Surprise, Surprise, Surprise - Wake Forest, SMU and Minnesota are all among the undefeated teams and each looks like they are capable of continuing their winning streaks in the coming weeks. SMU has games against Memphis, Navy, and Temple, all of which will be tough but winnable games. Minnesota plays Iowa, Wisconsin, and Penn State but should win their remaining games to finish around nine wins.Wake Forest has Clemson and a bunch of mediocre ACC teams but also look like they have a nine win floor at this point in time.
Contenders/Pretenders - The top eight teams in the country, in no particular order, are Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. Penn State remains undefeated and capable of joining this elite group as the season progresses. Auburn has three games remaining within this group while Oklahoma has the easiest path to the playoffs. Wisconsin looks like the least likely to make the playoffs, and are the only one of these teams that I would say have no chance at a national championship. Oklahoma and Clemson are the safest bets to get there but I haven’t seen enough from either team yet to suggest they could win back to back games against elite competition. Georgia has a tough schedule but probably will enter the SEC Championship Game with no more than one loss, they look like a good bet to make it. Auburn has the best resume so far, and their schedule gets much more difficult starting this week, so it’s tough to predict that they will make the playoffs. The same can be said for LSU. That leaves Ohio State and Alabama. Both have been extremely impressive but mostly untested. I wonder if either will be able to win out in their conferences this season. For now I would say that Wisconsin is the only pretender in this group.
Heisman Hopefuls - Tua Tagalovia and Joe Burrow continue to put up huge numbers down south as does Justin Fields in Columbus, but unless things change Jalen Hurts is probably going to win the Heisman. It is worth noting that Oklahoma plays in the Big 12 but that didn’t matter for Kyler Murray or Baker Mayfield so it probably won’t matter for Hurts.
And Another Thing - How tone deaf can Mark Emmert be? On the heels of the California legislature unanimously passing a bill that will allow amateur athletes to make money from their own likenesses Emmert called the issue “the single biggest issue” in his tenure as head of the NCAA. the Jerry Sandusky and Larry Nassar scandals. Or the recent FBI investigations into major college basketball programs. Definitely don’t mention that those same violations could likely be found at every major college football and basketball program if the FBI decided to look closely. The thing is Emmert was being honest. He honestly believes that paying college athletes is a bigger threat to the NCAA than protecting female athletes (and children) from sexual assault and massive corruption. That’s the NCAA’s perspective in a nut shell. Their continued existence depends on not paying players. That’s the best argument I can think of as to why players need to be compensated for their likenesses.