It’s the usual October in the college fooball season.
It’s an unusual October, where most defenses seem to give up points as often as the leaves turn.
Alabama, one of the few teams that seems to play solid defense, is a solid favorite to win another BCS championship.
That’s the constant.
• Notre Dame is undefeated and relevant again. Sort of. Few think of the Irish as a national title contender right now, but it’s good for college football conversations (connecting old tradition to new traditions) that the Irish have awakened the echoes. It’s ironically an anamoly that Notre Dame is relevant again.
• Possibly the best feel-good story in college football is that Duke is 6-1 and bowl eligible. That’s Duke as in football.
• The Heisman Trophy race may go through Manhattan, Kan., where quarterback Collin Klein has now established himself as the man to beat.
• Aging and ageless Bill Snyder has established himself as one of the greatest coaches in college football history for what he has done at Kansas State, where historically, talent hasn’t fallen from trees.
Is there a great team in college football this year? Alabama is good, but probably not as good as last year. Oregon is rolling up awesome numbers (in only a half in most cases), but it’s difficult to gauge the overall power of the Ducks, because they haven’t played a difficult schedule.
We’re still seeing basketball-like scores every week. Two or three stops in a game can be decisive. The offenses, with their ability to spread the field with players with speed and athletic ability, are ahead of the defenses this side of Alabama. Part of that could be that with the modern offenses, the defenses can’t develop the hard-nosed, physical mentality necessary to play good defense. Practices have to be as much about finesse as physical.
The Southeastern Conference is again considered the strongest, but it is top-heavy with Alabama, Florida and LSU (which may produce one of the ugliest lines of wins in recent history) as the standard-bearers. Beyond those three, you wonder about the overall strength. But it’s still stronger than probably anybody else.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Big 10 may be the weakest it has ever been — lots of close games by decent to mediocre teams. The Pac-12, outside of Oregon, Oregon State and USC, is not far behind. The Big East is better (it had to be). Duke is one of the top teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Nuff said.
The Big 12 has some really, really good offenses and quarterbacks. Every game is like Arena football.
Some current projections have Alabama and Kansas State in the BCS title game.
Parity has arrived everywhere. It makes for exciting games with almost no dominant teams. It’s park the defense at the gate and go crazy with numbers.
In this year of college football, are West Virginia, Baylor and Texas, who can both score and give up a point a minute, the prototypical teams, or are they Alabama, LSU, Florida, and possibly Notre Dame?
It’ll be a wild ride during the last few weeks of the season and some crazy stuff in bowl games, where few matchups will be greater than any other.
College football is supposed to be fun and unpredictable.
You got it.
Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 505-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org