COLUMN: College football is one wild ride

first_imgA month into the college football season, and as always, it is predictably unpredictable. Since USC had a bye this week, it offered the perfect opportunity to check in on the rest of the college football landscape.In what was an exciting and eventful day, Saturday’s games made it pretty clear that the race to the college football playoff is a wide open affair.Though USC certainly has a long way to go, it’s comforting to know that if they can somehow play up to their immense potential they have not been eliminated from contention, not by a longshot.The Pac-12 was in flux on Saturday with another top-10 team getting knocked off, this time the UCLA Bruins by the Sun Devils. This is the same Arizona State team that the Trojans dismantled last week in Tempe. While it would be easy to use the associative law to conclude USC is superior to UCLA, the Arizona State team that came out this weekend was wildly different than the one the Trojans faced.This underscores the unpredictability of college football and especially the Pac-12. With so many talented teams, it’s hard to even take a quarter off. Keeping a group of college athletes motivated for an entire season with zero lapses is almost impossible, and that’s why it will be pretty difficult for any team in the Pac-12 to make it through undefeated or even with one loss.It’s only the beginning of October and the only two undefeated teams in the Pac-12 are Cal and Utah. No one could have seen that coming just a few weeks ago.The balance and top to bottom strength of the Pac-12 should be a respectable fact among the punditry of college football, but the bias toward the SEC is still apparent.A few weeks ago a highly ranked USC team lost to Stanford and everyone was calling the Pac-12 weak and undeserving of the hype. Though I would agree that USC as a team was a bit overrated, that same analysis seemingly did not apply to Ole Miss on Saturday. After the rebels were trounced by then 25th-ranked Florida, commentator after commentator said this spoke to the immense depth of the SEC.I can’t reconcile how USC’s close loss to Stanford makes the Pac-12 weak, but when No. 3 Ole Miss gets routed by Florida, the SEC is strong. This bias will seemingly last forever, no matter how many top 25 teams the  Pac- 12 has.The only real issue will arise come playoff time, if a one-or-two loss SEC team gets in over a team from the Pac-12 with a similar body of work.Hopefully that issue does not hurt USC, but it very well could victimize a Pac-12 team as the squads beat each other up week in and week out.In terms of the SEC though, Alabama is still king. After coming into each game favored for 73 straight matchups, the Crimson Tide were an underdog against Georgia.Nick Saban showed the country that Alabama should never be an underdog as they absolutely manhandled the Bulldogs, winning 38-10.With the exception of the Crimson Tide and the one man LSU wrecking ball, otherwise known as Leonard Fournette, the SEC is not that much more impressive than the Pac-12, nor is any other conference.Both the Big 12 and the Big 10 have some talented teams, but it appears that USC will have to face one of the toughest schedules of any top team nationally throughout the duration of the season.The Trojans admittedly have a lot to figure out at this point in the season, but if they can, there is no reason to think that they are out of contention.Hopefully this bye week reminded the team that the college football season is a wild ride, and no one knows what will happen next.If the Trojans can get past what seems like a trap game against the Huskies, they will enter the meat of their schedule ready to make a statement to the world. Or they won’t, and it will be clear that all of the preseason hype was unwarranted.Either way, it should be an interesting ride as they face off against three straight ranked opponents after the Huskies.Outside of Troy, the season will continue to have twists and turns galore, which makes every Saturday in the fall extremely enjoyable.Jake Davidson is a junior majoring in accounting. His column, “Davidson’s Direction,” runs Mondays.last_img

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