Buckle up, college football fanatics. There are more upsets to come. If the first two weeks of the 2014 season have taught us anything, it’s that there’s no clear-cut No. 1.
And with the implementation of the College Football Playoff, early indications are the sport has some of the best parity it’s had in recent years. The Southeastern Conference appears to be just as much of a gauntlet as ever.
Heading into this week, Georgia appeared to be the team to go through before its defense was exposed at South Carolina. Speaking of the Gamecocks, they looked as if they were done for after their home loss to Texas A&M, then they come back Saturday and looked every bit like the contender they were expected to be.
Then there’s Alabama, Auburn, and the aforementioned Aggies, all of which could be put in any order. Every week in the SEC is going to be a roller coaster, while fans reap all the benefits. Just look at the most recent poll -- five SEC teams in the top 10.
Every week a contender in the conference is going to be backed against the wall and might even fall from grace. It's a lot to ask for these SEC teams to go through their conference slate unscathed. Viewers are advised to hold on for the ride.
Then there’s the Pac-12. Oregon seems to have solidified itself as the favorite, at least at this writing. Meanwhile there’s the trio of UCLA, USC and Stanford –- teams that haven’t found their footing but will certainly be in the mix come November.
The Bruins are a perfect 3-0, but they had to grind out each of them, especially the previous two weeks at Texas and against Memphis. Then there’s Brent Hunley’s elbow injury, the severity of which is anyone’s guess.
The Trojans were fresh off a signature win at Stanford only to follow it up with a loss at Boston College the following week.
This season has already brought about a few upsets, but with conference play starting up, the games are only going to get better and more difficult to predict.
This year’s front-runner looks like it could change from week to week, and those trying to make determinations about teams on a pad of paper should do so in pencil. There’s likely already a few eraser marks on that pad anyway.
-- Stephen Sellner, NCAA.com
Conference play represents the time of the season that most college football fans have been waiting for ... some teams have achieved relevancy for the first time this season.
This past weekend’s bevy of upsets will not be indicative of the remainder of the season and the four occupants of the College Football Playoff will come from the current top-seven ranked teams.
Allow me to explain my definition of an "upset." It's when an unranked team defeats a ranked team or when a ranked team beats a team of a higher ranking. The Tennessees and the Texas Techs of the college football world will continue to be looking up at the glass ceiling, and there will be very few teams that break through.
Upsets are inevitable, but top 10 heartbreaks, like BC taking down USC, will be very few and far between. The Big Boys with the “difficult” conference schedules have plenty of cushion in between the games they play against other ranked teams.
So expect these powerhouse teams to be on their toes in games that are potential upsets. Let’s start with the top-ranked Seminoles. Their big test in the conference is already upon us, and after they play Clemson the rest of the Noles' schedule should be a walk in the park.
If Florida State gets by the Tigers, it should not lose a game in the conference. It’s understandable that teams are always jacked up to upset a conference rival (see: the entire 2007 season), but this doesn’t seem to be that year, especially in this ACC and this season’s Pac-12.
Oregon will skip its way through the next nine weeks. UCLA was given a scare in each of its first three games, so Stanford represents the Ducks' one true test within the conference.
It’s not that the Pac-12 isn’t a power conference, but all these good teams cannot compete with Oregon.
The SEC and Big 12 will be the other two conferences represented in the inaugural playoff. Unfortunately, the Big Ten has been exposed as that one conference in the big five that will be on the outside looking in.
It's only Sept. 15 and I can already tell you that the SEC will be represented by Alabama, Auburn or Texas A&M and Oklahoma or Baylor will occupy that final playoff slot.
-- Gerard Gilberto, NCAA.com
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