College Football Cavalcade: 4th Best Team In Playoff Race, Big Ten Kicks Off

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

College Football Cavalcade: 4th Best Team In Playoff Race, Big Ten Kicks Off

College Football Cavalcade

College Football Cavalcade: 4th Best Team In Playoff Race, Big Ten Kicks Off


Five Cavalcade of Whimsy footballey opinions and, like, other stuff

1. Why isn’t there any defense?

There is, but it doesn’t seem like it against the better passing games. And why? There are a whole slew of reasons to blame 2020 for the lack of tackling and defensive ingenuity, but the offenses were blowing up over the previous years, too.

How about this for a theory thrown at me this week?

Players have finally been coached up well on the targeting call.

It took a few years, but now defensive players have grown up without the kill shots that used to be such a big part of the game.

Defensive backs are still flying around, but if they’re just a half-tick slower because they want to don’t want to get flagged and ejected, and receivers are able to run without quite as much fear as they did even five years ago, and the quarterbacks are more accurate now after they’ve gone through the tutoring camps, and college football is about throwing to open targets anyway …

We get a whole lot more offensive fun.

2. It helps to have Kyler Murray instead of Ben DiNucci …

So, is it possible that you just can’t win at Texas Tech, or did Kliff Kingsbury just get with the right NFL team at the right time?

I’m the first to admit that I didn’t think the falling-up in job status would work, but Kingsbury sure is coaching the stuff out of that Cardinal team that’s a near-lock to make the playoffs.

So I’ll ask the same question I’ve been asking over the last few years …

If Kingsbury can do that with the Arizona Cardinals, how is Lincoln Riley not the Dallas Cowboys head coach yesterday?

3. It helps to have Dan Marino …

There was some thought back in 1983 among NFL scouting types that Dan Marino was going to the worst team possible for his skills and style when he was drafted by the Miami Dolphins.

Head coach Don Shula became a legend with teams built on a strong running game, a tough defense, and a caretaker quarterback who came through when needed. But as Chris Berman said about the pick at the time, “It’s Don Shula; it’s going to be okay.”

And Miami adapted into – for the time – one of the highest-flying fun shows in the history of the NFL.

You don’t think Nick Saban can adapt and adjust his coaching style and philosophy?

Alabama fans, your team is putting up a bajillion points on the board with an unstoppable force of an attack, and some of you are upset that your D isn’t the brick wall it was ten years ago?

So he thinks offense is more important than defense now. It’s Nick Saban. It’s going to be okay.

With that …

4. It’s Alabama. It’s going to be okay.

With a few exceptions, almost any top 25-caliber team’s starting 22 can hang with or beat anyone else’s starting 22 on the right day. The difference is usually in the depth through a long game and definitely through the course of a season.

For the elite of the elite, your backups are starters just about anywhere else. That sounds a bit cliché, but when your bench is loaded with Johnny Five-Stars, it’s true.

Alabama lost Tua Tagovailoa, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, and Jedrick Wills off of its 2019 offense. I don’t care who you are, losing four of the top 15 to the NFL Draft from one side of the ball is a problem.

Against Tennessee, the Tide lost sure-thing top 15 pick Jaylen Waddle on the opening kickoff, and John Metchie stepped up with 151 receiving yards, Slade Bolden caught nine passes for 94 yards, and the Tide passing attack threw for 417.

Trust The Process.

5. Everyone deserves to have a little bit of fun.

It suuuuuuuuucks to lose a college football game. Times that by a gajillion when your guys lose to a team they should’ve whacked by a bazillion.

However, be happy for Rutgers fans. They’ve had absolutely nothing to cheer for over the last several years, and now they’re right there with Ohio State and Michigan on top of the Big Ten East standings.

Be happy for Arkansas. The Auburn thing stunk, and the team is taking baby steps forward, but like many assumed about Rutgers, no one would’ve been shocked if the team went winless and lost every game by double-digits.

It’s a good thing that UTEP has a few wins, and the Sun Belt matters, and San Jose State kicked off the year with a win over Air Force, and Kansas …

Pray for Kansas.

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