We’ve played one-third of the season, and the sport has taught us one cold lesson: nothing is guaranteed in college football.
After a couple wacky weeks of upsets, this Saturday revealed that every top 25 team truly is only as good as their last game.
When the dust settled, there were 15 ranked teams involved in games settled by 8 points or less.
ALABAMA IS COMING TOGETHER JUST IN TIME. MAYBE.
The Crimson Tide was always going to win the game against Vanderbilt. Something Alabama fans have been waiting to exhale about all September is the cohesiveness of this team.
We saw leadership emerge in Alabama’s receiving corps with Ja’Corey Brooks’ impressive numbers. The offensive line gelled to an extent and there were fewer penalties overall, with the Tide pulling six flags for 55 yards. Still, the defense held Vanderbilt to 129 total yards.
Is it enough? We’ll see when Alabama begins the meat of its conference schedule next week against Arkansas in Fayetteville.
BRYAN HARSIN REALLY WANTS TO GET FIRED
Bryan Harsin has been in trouble ever since he set his suitcase down. His job security has been a top story line from day one and now it looks like he’s actively trying to get fired.
Auburn tried to lose on every play Saturday. Missouri was having none of it.
For Missouri, it was the missed field goals. The penalties on special teams. The heartbreaking fumble at the end of overtime. The “Show Me State” Tigers had every chance to win this game and blew it.
Ultimately Auburn emerged in Pyhrric victory, 17-14. Of course, it didn’t feel like a win.
An inability to move the ball, inconsistent involvement of Tank Bigsby, and a quarterback room headquartered in “Nowheresville” all spell trouble for the Auburn Tigers in the weeks ahead.
The team clearly hasn’t given up, though. That’s a good thing for Hugh Freeze, Deion Sanders, or whoever coaches Auburn next year.
WEEK FOUR LOSERS
Sixth-ranked Oklahoma’s defeat to Kansas State was the highest-profile loss this weekend.
Miami gave up big play after big play to lose to MTSU at home. Texas dropped to Texas Tech in Lubbock, making Alabama’s struggle win against the Longhorns look even less impressive.
And poor Arkansas. Poor, poor Arkansas. The plucky Razorbacks dropped a heartbreaker to Jimbo Fischer’s latest clown show by less than a field goal.
Things won’t get easier for Arkansas, but the program is moving in the right direction.
WEEK FOUR WINNERS
Tennessee is back. Josh Heupel is the right guy at the right time in Knoxville. They have a stable coaching staff for the first time in nearly 20 years.
Can they beat Alabama and Georgia? Probably not. But that’s why we play the games.
The Volunteers beat Florida for the second time in 18 years, joining a litany of teams who emerged victorious in one-score games.
No. 4 Michigan rallied to beat unranked Maryland, 34-27. It took overtime for No. 5 Clemson to put #21 Wake Forest away, 51-45.
No. 7 USC inched past Oregon State by a field goal. No. 8 Kentucky held on against Northern Illinois by eight.
Mentioned above, 60% of ranked teams were involved in games decided by 8 points or less.
It’s a sure sign we shouldn’t be ranking teams until October.
It also shows that nothing is guaranteed in college football.
SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO
What’s next? Week five brings us more SEC matchups where anything can happen. No. 7 Kentucky visits No. 14 Mississippi, Arkansas hosts No. 2 Alabama and LSU will try to win on the road against Auburn.
No. 1 Georgia is scheduled to absolutely steamroll Missouri at 6:30 p.m. CT.
Outside of the conference, we’ve got No. 4 Michigan and Iowa in a dumb Big Ten contest that won’t matter because Ohio State will win the conference. No. 10 North Carolina State will visit No. 5 Clemson.
West Virginia could put a stake in the heart of Texas’ season. Southern Cal will try to keep an improbable 2022 campaign going against Arizona State.
Oklahoma State and Baylor play in what will probably be a preview of something called the Big 12 Conference championship game. Never heard of it either.