THE STATE OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL

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Texas head coach Tom Herman

Landry Valadez, Staff Writer

As we all know, college football has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. From no fans allowed to attend games in some places to players being out due to testing positive or being a close contact, this season has been anything but ordinary. With the rest of 2020 being such an unusual year, it only fits that the college football season has in some ways been disrupted, just as everything else.

 

To start the season, the Big 10 and Pac-12 were not even playing. Only three of the five conferences had begun season play. However, on October 24th, the Big 10 returned to college football. And now, as of November 6th, the PAC-12 has also returned to the college football stage. Speaking of the Big 12 being one of the three to start playing initially, the conference has been surprisingly bad with no clear best team. Just when it had seemed that Oklahoma was out of the picture for the Big 12 championship, they defeated Oklahoma State in the Bedlam Game 41-13. It now appears that the Sooners may have a shot at the Big 12 title once again.

 

Another aspect of college football that has been unusual is Penn State. They started the season ranked number 8 in the nation, but as of November 21st, they are 0-5. It is the program’s worst start in its entire history, which started in the 1880s. Georgia has also been a surprisingly underperforming team. They started the season with the expectation that they would be a serious championship contender, but instead, they have underachieved. They are currently sitting at number 13 in the nation. Most believe that they were held back by poor QB choice. Texas is another team that has underachieved. Even though this has been a theme throughout the years with the Longhorns, Texas fans truly believed that they could contend for a national title with an improved defensive staff.

 

There is another trend that college football fans have noticed as the 2020 season has progressed. Teams that usually are mediocre or not good have had very successful seasons. One of these Power 5 programs that have shined is the Indiana Hoosiers. They exploded onto the national stage when they defeated Penn State, then ranked number 8, in the season opener. They then played relatively mediocre teams, so many people believed that they were overrated. However, the Hoosiers proved that they could be a potential playoff team after nearly beating Ohio State, losing 42-35 in a close matchup. Indiana had a large deficit during that game. Still, they fought and fought to nearly complete what would have been one of the greatest comebacks ever. There have also been some obscure and unknown teams that have climbed up the rankings, most notably Coastal Carolina and Cincinnati. The Preseason Coaches Poll had Coastal Carolina projected to finish last in the Sunbelt conference. Instead, they have become the biggest Cinderella story of the season.

 

College football has been unpredictable this year, but players, coaches, and NCAA officials have all worked around the clock to make this season feel as normal as possible. Maybe the only thing this season that does not feel unusual is the fact that the Kansas Jayhawks are by far still the worst team in Power 5 college football.