BARNEStorming: Thoughts Around the College Football World
Suffice it to say, this will go down as one of the strangest seasons in college football history. Some teams will try to play 12 games, others ten, some eight, some seven and a few will only take the field when they can.
Perhaps the controversies of the past coming out of the Playoff Committee are going to be known as the good old days. Good luck to those folks comparing teams that will not play the same number of games. Good luck evaluating the SEC’s season of fratricide to the Pac-12 playing seven games against, well, not a lot of good teams out there.
But we had a good schedule of games this past weekend and although we did not learn a great deal, we did learn a few things.
TAKING SOCIAL DISTANCING A LITTLE TOO FAR:
Due to state guidelines in Mississippi, Ole Miss was only allowed a tad over 16,000 fans into Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday. An announced crowd of 13,926 made it to the game to make social distancing a bit easier.
Guess who else practiced social distancing in Oxford? Florida tight end Kyle Pitts. The Gators’ emerging star always seemed to keep the Ole Miss secondary the required six feet away as he grabbed eight passes for 170 yards. Exactly half of his catches went for touchdowns, two of them he snagged while being double covered.
Florida quarterback Kyle Trask obviously has a favorite target, but he has other weapons as he threw for six touchdowns in the game and 416 yards.
HOW GOOD IS BYU?
For those fans who stayed up late Saturday and into Sunday morning, they were able to see Brigham Young beat Troy 48-7. The Cougars began the season a couple of weeks ago by routing Navy in Annapolis.
After two games, BYU has outscored its opponents 103-10. The Cougars are also averaging 622 yards of total offense a game.
This is the team that could throw a monkey wrench into the already baffling 2020 season.
The rest of the way, the Cougars play Louisiana Tech, Texas-San Antonio, Houston, Texas State, Western Kentucky and North Alabama. Only one of those games – Houston on Oct. 10 – is away from LaVell Edwards Stadium.
What happens if BYU goes undefeated while dominating each game?
BACK TO REALITY:
The Sun Belt Conference was the talk of college football a week ago. Three league teams pulled off wins over Big 12 opponents in one day. Arkansas State beat Kansas State, who then upset Oklahoma, Coastal Carolina beat Kansas for the second straight year and Louisiana whipped a ranked-Iowa State team.
Saturday, the Sun Belt went 1-4 in out-of-conference games. Appalachian State had the lone win, 52-21 over Campbell.
Only three teams, have a winning record right now. CCU is 3-0, Louisiana is 2-0 and Ap State is 2-1.
SPEAKING OF THE CAMELS:
Campbell lost to Appalachian State Saturday to fall to 0-3. The Camels also have lost to Georgia Southern and Coastal Carolina.
But the worst part of this 2020 season is Campbell only has one more game on its schedule.
That’s right, the Camels were forced to scramble to put together a schedule and they could only find four games. When the FCS decided not to play in the fall, Campbell told the Big South Conference to hold its beer and played anyway. The Camels are one of only nine FCS playing a brief fall schedule.
It would be nice for Campbell to earn one win this year, but the last shot is at Wake Forest Saturday.
PRIMETIME IN JACKSON:
Deion Sanders was named the head coach at Jackson State last week. He is an NFL Hall-of-Famer after a great pro career. In college, he was a star at Florida State – at least on the field.
As a senior, he stopped attending class at FSU during the fall semester, but still played in the Sugar Bowl in January. In Florida, the state legislature passed the “Deion Sanders Rule,” stating no player at a state university could play in a bowl game if he did not complete the previous semester.
Sanders eventually returned to school, earning a degree from Talladega (Ala.) College.
With no college coaching experience, it is unclear how Sanders will fare at JSU.
But one thing is certain, it will be entertaining.
SPEAKING OF THE NOLES:
Wow, how the mighty have fallen on hard times.
Florida State sure could use a few players like Deion Sanders these days. The Seminoles are 0-2 on the young season, but Saturday was a low point for the program.
Intrastate rival Miami embarrassed FSU 52-10 at Hard Rock Stadium.
To add to the misery, new coach Mike Norvell didn’t even make the trip as he stayed back in Tallahassee due to COVID-19 concerns. This week, FSU hosts Jacksonville (Ala.) State and the Noles better win this one. After this week, the next three games are Notre Dame, North Carolina and Louisville with Clemson still down the road.
From 1987-2000, Florida State had 14 consecutive seasons of finishing in the top 5 of the final AP Poll. In 2020, the Noles might not be one of the top five teams in the state of Florida. Florida, Miami and UCF are all certainly better than the Seminoles this season and the jury is still out on USF, FAU and FIU.
And, although Division II cancelled its season, the defending national champion is West Florida from Pensacola.
For a wrap-up of how the SEC fared in the season-opening weekend, click here.