1: The National Anthem protests do not seem to be going away anytime soon. President Trump’s involvement has only driven the protests to new heights and the NFL players will not be bullied into stopping. Political protests are nothing new for sports but for now they are the new normal for the NFL.
2: The Steelers do not look like an elite team. I expected the Steelers to take a step back when Le'veon Bell left the team, but not before. Pittsburgh looks like an average team that might make the playoffs, not an elite team in the AFC. It could be argued, however, that currently Kansas City is the only team that looks elite in the entire league.
3: The rookie running back is the MVP of the league so far. Kareem Hunt, Dalvin Cook, Leonard Fournette, and Christian McCaffrey are each having a positive impact on their respective team's offensive success this year. With Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine also seeing ample playing time it appears NFL executives and coaches are back to looking for elite players at running back for the time being.
4: I would say that John Fox, Chuck Pagano, and Ben McAdoo are at the top of the list of Head Coaches most likely to get fired this year. Marvin Lewis is probably safe because Mike Brown won’t want to pay him the remainder of his contract. Pagano is going to be the next victim of Ryan Grigson’s disastrous run as General Manager, Fox will also leave so the new GM can pick his own guy, and McAdoo might just have to take the fall for an organization that doesn’t understand how to find a tackle.
1: This season could really test the playoff committee. Alabama looks like the only team that has a good chance at going undefeated which might leave as many as seven one loss teams competing for three playoff spots. The committee is not set up for that kind of decision making and will likely screw it up. Even if they don’t several teams will feel they got the shaft and start the calls for playoff expansion yet again.
2: At the start of the year the big story in college football was the amount of standout quarterbacks throughout the country. So far most of those quarterbacks appear to have taken a step backwards (Jake Browning, Josh Allen) or stalled out in their growth (Sam Darnold, Mason Rudolph.) While many would consider Josh Rosen to be the top prospect at the moment, no player has helped himself more while still flying under the radar than Luke Falk. His numbers are better and his tape is cleaner than his 2016 season. A big win against USC this week could push him into the Heisman discussion.
3: The Big 12 looks like a conference that is taking its last gasps. Certainly whenever the next round of realignment talks begin the Big 12 will be in trouble. The league has no clear vision on how to move forward and limited appeal to people outside its current footprint. It is possible that the SEC and Big Ten will go after ACC schools instead but even a neutered ACC will be strong enough to take what it needs from the Big 12.
And Another Thing
The FBI investigation of NCAA basketball is going to be cause a seismic shift in how NCAA programs do business. While it is currently focused on basketball programs it is only a matter of time before a dirty football program or booster gets caught and rolls over on the system in order to save themselves (see the mafia.) Any competitive major college program in a revenue sport is dirty. Any of them can have a RICO case brought against them should the authorities choose to do so. The major conferences and schools are going to have to do something and they will likely do it proactively, before people start getting caught.