The just completed college football weekend certainly left us with a lot to unpack. From fantastic finishes to dominant performances to colossal meltdowns, the Week 6 slate had a little of everything. With so much happening, overreactions are inevitable.
For the uninitiated, the headlines you see here are not our opinions. They are overreactions, some of which were actually expressed by football watchers on social media or professional publications, while others are just thoughts that might have occurred to passionate followers of a particular team or conference. Our aim is to highlight some of these snap judgments and hopefully provide some perspective.
Before we begin, let’s state up front that you will not see anything about the Miami finish in this space. Anything you might have thought or read about that is definitely not an overreaction. With that out of the way, we’ll start with the Red River aftermath.
Texas is back – to mediocrity
There’s plenty of angst among Longhorns’ faithful. Admittedly, it isn’t just that they saw their team lose to a despised rival in dramatic fashion, but also because they saw some of the strange mishaps that have plagued the brief Steve Sarkisian era.
The season is far from over for Texas, however, as long as the team is able to regroup. For one thing, a rematch with Oklahoma is a strong possibility given the rest of the Big 12 looks quite ordinary. Furthermore, the Longhorns’ signature win at Alabama has continued to gain value. The Longhorns’ margin for error is gone, but all the team’s goals are still attainable.
The big question is whether − as has happened in recent years − Texas allows this one defeat to snowball into further disappointments or it changes course and uses the loss as motivation.
Louisville is this year’s TCU
With a newly hired coach, a rapidly retooled roster and a whole lot of good fortune in close games, TCU came seemingly from out of nowhere in 2022 to crash the College Football Playoff party. The season in Louisville is unfolding in remarkably similar fashion in 2023, and now with their most impressive win in hand against Notre Dame, the Cardinals are no longer flying under the radar.
Sure, their fans can dream. All fans can until meeting a dose of reality – as Maryland and Kentucky did this week. But could Louisville actually pull it off?
One should never get too far over one’s skis – these are overreactions after all – but it’s not out of the question. In the new world of the division-less ACC, the Cardinals just have to finish in the top two to play for the championship, and the rest of their league schedule With no Florida State or North Carolina is at least manageable. Yes, there’s a home date with Duke in a couple of weeks as well as a November road trip to Miami, and the season-ending non-conference bout with in-state rival Kentucky is another potential obstacle. It’s a long shot, but we were saying the same thing about the Horned Frogs a year ago.
No. 3 Ohio State should be No. 3 in the Big Ten
Perhaps no fan base is harder to please than the Buckeye faithful, some of whom were ready to declare their team non-contenders following the narrow escape at Notre Dame, as well as during Saturday’s lackluster first half against Maryland. Don’t try to deny it; we saw your tweets – er – posts. Of course the ultimate causes for concern are the looming showdowns with Michigan and Penn State, neither of which has felt much in the way of stress through the first month of the season.
The counterargument is that Ohio State’s early challenges could serve the team well in the second half of the campaign. First-year starting quarterback Kyle McCord clearly figured some things out – like getting the ball to Marvin Harrison Jr. as often as possible is a good plan.
It remains to be seen whether the glass half full or half empty interpretation of the Buckeyes’ situation is the correct one, but dismissing them from the championship picture at this early stage is certainly not warranted.