It might seem like an eternity, but just four weeks ago college football season kicked off. For some schools, it would be a very long September, as they didn’t live up to expectations, but there are others that never want this month to end. Here’s a quick look at nine teams that can’t wait to turn the page, and a few others that wish this month would never end.
USC – The Trojans are sitting at 1-3, low-lighted by a 52-6 opening weekend blowout at the hands of Alabama, and a loss to Stanford. With an elite team, but a schedule that was considered to be the hardest in the nation before the season, things aren’t expected to get much easier. Like Notre Dame, who they’ll face later in the season, just about everything seem to be in disarray. Did you know Steve Sarkisian was the guy that held it all together?
OKLAHOMA – Before the season opened, the Sooners were looking to make a return trip to the College Football Playoff. Upset in the season opener by Houston, and beaten soundly by Ohio State, the Sooners will have a challenging October beginning with games against TCU and Texas. Their losses were to two outstanding teams, the Sooners could still finish 10-2.
LSU – Another team that was expected to compete for an appearance in the College Football Playoff. Instead, close losses to Wisconsin and Auburn led to the firing of Les Miles and Cam Cameron. But these Tigers have talent, they could still make it to the playoff. But it is a very, very difficult road, with absolutely no margin for error. When it’s all said and done, the coaching search committee recommends Les Miles for the job!
WASHINGTON STATE – These Cougars were returning an experienced team coming off of a nine-win season, and were picked to win the Pac-12 North by some. But an opening week loss to an FCS opponent, followed by a loss to Boise State leaves the Cougs at 1-2, with several tough games remaining. The second win against a FCS wouldn’t have counted anyway.
OLE MISS – A 2-2 record doesn’t sound so bad when you consider that you’ve played two of the best teams in the country, and a blowout home win over Georgia last week, has restored some of the love for the Rebels. But in the end, September is going to be remembered for what could have been, because of losses to Florida State and Alabama, that came after the Rebels had a huge lead in each game. October brings three Tigers teams, and the Razorbacks, and chances to avenge a few close losses from last year. Almost any other team would have lost those two games, these Rebels could still finish 10-2!
NORTHWESTERN – With high pre-season expectations and many starters back from last season’s 10-win team, it’s going to be a challenge for the Cats just to become bowl eligible. The 1-3 Wildcats lost home games to Western Michigan, Illinois State and Nebraska. The next five games include trips to Iowa and Ohio State and a home game against Wisconsin. Bu Fitzgerald has exceeded expectations again and again, they could do it again. This team will beat someone it’s not expected to.
ILLINOIS – The bold hiring of Lovie Smith brought a lot of excitement to Illinois fans. They kicked of the Smith era by soundly beating a FCS opponent opening weekend, but then the Illini lost to North Carolina and Western Michigan by 25 and 24 points. With a week-four bye, the Illini close out Lovie’s first month at 1-2, and they’ll be an underdog in nearly every other game. Lovie ain’t hard to find – the Fighting Illini have become a popular Homecoming date.
NOTRE DAME – The Irish were expected to contend for a spot in the College Football Playoff. Instead, they have three losses, just fired their defensive coordinator, and seem to be in complete disarray. Looking into the light, the Irish have a lot of talent, and face three of their toughest foes at home. Pray for health, redemption for the Irish is a year away.
BYU – The Cougars are sitting at 1-3, having lost three in a row by a total of seven points. But for BYU September is not over, they’ll face Toledo tonight. A loss could trap the Cougars in Provo this bowl season — they still have games against Boise State, Michigan State and Mississippi State. Provo looks like it could be the place for bowl season!
On the other hand, there are several teams that wish September would never end.
ARIZONA STATE – A 4-0 start looks like it could be the launching pad for a surprising season. The Devils are averaging nearly 50 points a game!
WISCONSIN – Few expected the Badgers to beat LSU or MSU, but the Badgers made it through November at 4-0, with two wins over Top 10 teams. Every game in October will come against a Top-25 ranked team.
TENNESSEE – The Volunteers didn’t always look good, but they found ways to win and got past a Florida hurdle that was more than a decade in the making. They open October with road trips to Georgia and Texas A&M, before hosting Alabama. It’s been great to be a Tennessee Vol.
TEXAS A&M – The Aggies have rolled 4-0 with wins over UCLA, Arkansas and Auburn. October gets a little tougher games against Tennessee and at Alabama. Kevin Sumlin is enjoying the job security he didn’t have in August.
WAKE FOREST – Following seven consecutive losing seasons, the Demon Decons have beaten the Green Wave, Blue Devils, Blue Hens enroute to a 4-0 start. They’ll see Seminoles in October along with the Orange and the Black Knights. This team could get to nine wins!
BAYLOR – No team had more off-field issues than the Bears, and I am impressed the players that remained have been able to keep it together. The players that stayed believe in what the University stands for, here’s to getting back to the mission. Playing for each other leads the Bears to enter November undefeated!
LOUISVILLE – The Cardinals, led by Lamar Jackson, have been the team that has electrified the college football world this September. October starts with a huge test, November has a trip to Houston. Can the Cards keep things rolling?