1. SEC! SEC! SEC! I’m not sure much explanation is needed here. Only one SEC team lost, and that team is only “possed to be SEC” anyway. And sure, there were a lot of FCS “opponents” trotted out onto the killing field. But there were also some SunBelt and C-USA teams that got walloped (Florida 61- New Mexico State 13, Tennessee 59- Bowling Green 30).
Then there were games against real life, living, breathing Power-5 schools. And the SEC teams won those too. South Carolina, in what is looked at as a rebuilding season, casually beat rival North Carolina despite the Ramblin’ Gambler Steve Spurrier rolling the dice and losing late in the game, which could have allowed the Tarheels to log a win by converting a two-point try if they drove for a Touchdown, or tie the game if they scored and settled for a point-after. Sixth ranked Auburn was a little sloppy against Louisville, and played in spurts, but won anyway. Texas A&M spanked fifteenth ranked Arizona State 38-17. The Aggies scored more points in the fourth quarter (21) than the Sun Devils did the entire game. The Ags have SEC strength and conditioning. Then there’s that thing Alabama did to Wisconsin. Let’s do some re-contexting, yeah? Last year TCU finished third in the rankings and Arizona finished twentieth. Had TCU beat Arizona 35-17 during the season, it would have been a substantial resume builder and the Horned Frogs probably would have made the playoff (likely at the expense of the eventual National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes). Instead, Alabama is looked at as an underachiever because Wisconsin is just a second tier Big-10 team that they played on a neutral site.
2. Big-12?…? In all fairness, the conference went 8-2. But Kansas lost to an FCS school and Texas was nationally embarrassed by Notre Dame (they only scored a field goal, and the games leading passer and top TWO rushers and receivers were all Golden Domers.) The conference’s current Golden Boy, TCU, beat middling Minnesota by less than one possession. Fourth ranked Baylor took SMU to the woodshed 56-21, but it was 28-21 at half-time. Oklahoma State beat a MAC school by eleven. Texas Tech beat an FCS school 59-45 with a defensive performance that made Mike Leach throw up a little. The conference’s best win is either Oklahoma nixing the Zips 41-3 or Kansas State popping FCS powerhouse South Dakota 34-0. But back to Kansas “barely” losing to an FCS school for just a second. They’re the little guy in the conference on a football scale, right? That’s allowed. Here’s the thing, at one point the Jayhawks were down 31-7. It’s going to be a long season for a once proud conference.
3. Yup. Ohio State is real. There’s no reason to make them play the “gauntlet” of their Big-10 schedule. Virginia Tech is not the biggest test, but it’s a game that Ohio State lost last season and it nearly cost them a slot in the playoff. There could have/ should have been a mental stigma for the defending champs. But the Buckeyes didn’t win the game, they avenged themselves with Cardale Jones playing the part of Captain America, Ezekiel Elliot as the Hulk, and Braxton Miller as Quicksilver. That said, they were down 14-17 at half-time. Moral of the story? Ohio State is not unbeatable. But they sure don’t look like they’re going to lose.
4. Baker Mayfield is a real Quarterback. As a Freshman in 2013, he put up 2,315 yards as a part-timer. And that was impressive. But Texas Tech happened, and the Big-12 happened, and Kliff Kingsbury happened and all of a sudden Baker is the starting quarterback at Oklahoma as a Junior in 2015. All he did on Saturday was go 23 of 33 with 388 yards for 3 TDs and no picks. Sure, it was against Akron, but hey, Kansas would love to have a Quarterback do that in a week of practice. Mayfield is 6’2, 214. So he’s not an NFL prototype. But with a couple years to bully the Big-12 he’ll be able to put quite a bit on tape (especially considering ten players caught a pass for the Sooners in week 1.)
5. Tiquan Lang exists. He’s a 5-7, 170 lb Junior Safety at Marshal. He wears number 21. Oh, and he had a decent game as the Thundering Heard stomped out Big-10’er Purdue 41-31. Tiquan racked up 17 combined tackles and picked off two passes. He took one back 30 yards for a Touchdown. The other pick? He took it back 55 yards for the score. Yeah, Tiquan Lang scored more Touchdowns than Stanford versus Northwestern. He caught two more touchdowns than the Kansas City Chiefs WR corps during the 2014 NFL season. And in such, he exists. Tiquan picks therefore he am.
Adrian Fort is a writer from Kansas City. He has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a Masters degree in creative writing. Follow him on twitter @adriananyway
ALSO BY ADRIAN FORT: