College Football 2008—The Season of Shocks
The college football season is near the halfway mark, and so far the drama has kept every fan, coach, player, and commentator on the edge of his or her seat.
There have been three teams ranked #1 since the season began. The Georgia Bulldogs dropped to #2 before ever losing a game, when the USC Trojans proved early on that they deserved the #1 ranking. It was not long, however, before the Trojans fell, losing to Oregon State and slipping in the rankings.
A powerful Alabama team, headed by former LSU National Championship winning coach Nick Saban, announced to the football world that the former SEC powerhouse Crimson Tide was back, easily beating #3 ranked Georgia. Opinions were voiced that Alabama was deserving of the #1 spot after the crushing defeat.
Oklahoma, undefeated through five games, held the top spot until they lost last week to the Texas Longhorns. Texas now holds the coveted #1 spot, but will face another major challenge this weekend when they host a Heisman contender, quarterback Chase Daniel, and the Missouri Tigers, currently ranked #11 and #12 in the AP and USA Today polls respectively.
Undefeated teams Penn State, Alabama, Boise State, Texas, Brigham Young*, Utah, Ball State, and Oklahoma State all hold rankings in the Top 25 on all polls and none are out of the running for a shot at the National Championship.
Sleeper teams have surprised us this season, entering the Top 25 and stunning the football world. Vanderbilt, typically one of the least powerful teams in the SEC, finds itself in a position to win the SEC East, currently holding a 5-1 record and a position in the Top 25. North Carolina, Ball State, and TCU are holding strong in the rankings as the surprise winners of the season.
The Heisman race continues to heat up with no clear frontrunner at this point. It is the ‘Year of the Quarterbacks’ in this race, with the likes of Texas’ Colt McCoy, Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel of Missouri, and Max Hall of BYU all putting up impressive numbers and leading their teams in winning seasons. Injuries and lackluster play have plagued several candidates chasing the Heisman. All eyes, however, are still on Georgia’s Knowshon Moreno, Beanie Wells of Ohio State, and reigning Heisman winner Tim Tebow of Florida. With the season only half over, the race for the trophy is far from finished.
After a 3-3 start to the season, Clemson finds itself with a new head coach, former assistant Dabo Swinney, who replaced fired/resigned head coach Tommy Bowden, who left Clemson after more than 9 years with the Tigers. Tennessee’s Phillip Fulmer, sitting on a losing record of 2-4, may be the ‘man on fire’ in the coaching hot seat at this point in the season. The Vols are ranked dead last in the SEC and have yet to win a conference game this season.
Approaching the second half of this season, one thing is clear. Nothing is clear. Who will win conference championships? Who will hold the Heisman at the end of the season? What will happen once the BCS rankings are announced on Sunday? Hang on to the edge of your seat to find out!
* Editor’s note: As this article was prepared for publication, the Brigham Young Cougars fell to TCU 32-7 on Thursday, October 16.