College football is a fun mess. Let's sort it out.
Editor’s note: College football is nothing without its fans, and its fans are nothing without their passion. In an attempt to capture that unique intensity and overreaction, we’ve asked sports editor and The South enthusiast Bremen Keasey to give us a weekly breakdown of college football happenings around the country like only a true fan could.
Last week we titled this little thing I write “What We Learned" from week one. We probably still learned some important stuff in week two, but really, I'm just going to write about the craziness that happened this week. I think what we learned along the way is college football — always crazy.
Mond-ay Morning Quarterback
Officially, the word Monday comes from the Old English 'M?nandæg,' which means, "day of the moon." But really, it was named in anticipation of the breakout star of week two: Kellen Mond.
The sophomore quarterback for the Texas A&M Aggies almost led a dramatic upset against the No. 2 Clemson Tigers. With the Aggies down big at the half, Mond was electric in the fourth quarter. He threw for 430 yards while escaping the terrifying pressure of Clemson’s monstrous defensive line, which limited A&M’s running game to 2.2 yards per carry, so the pressure to perform was all on Mond.
Boy, did the kid deliver. He was fearless in escaping pressure, and every pass was a roller coaster. There were many throws that made me scream, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!” before the pass was complete and the Aggies had a touchdown. Mond’s electrifying performance was most reminiscent of former A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. And while the Aggies couldn’t complete the comeback, falling 28-26 after a missed two-point conversion and a controversial call on a previous drive that negated a touchdown, it seems like Jimbo Fisher has a quarterback who is going to terrify a lot of coaches and teams in the SEC West.
Mond is must-see TV going forward. He’s my new Baker Mayfield (DON’T MAKE HIM ANGRY. YOU WON’T LIKE HIM WHEN HE’S ANGRY).
What the heck is happening in Florida?
The Sunshine State. A humid, buggy swampland that is home to incredible football. Or at least it’s supposed to be.
Florida and Florida State, two of the three traditional blue-bloods of Florida (is Miami back?), have had “interesting” starts to the season — if we wanna put it kindly.
Florida State, who got killed 17-3 at home by the Virginia Tech Hokies, had the chance to bounce back with a cupcake game when it invited FCS Sanford to Tallahassee, Florida. Instead, the Seminoles gave their fans a heart attack by going down 13-0 to start the game, and the full performance was less than awe-inspiring.
Despite the ‘Noles eventually pulling away to win 36-26, it was a slog to watch for FSU that did not inspire confidence.
Not to be outdone by their in-state rivals, the Florida Gators took state school football in the Sunshine State to a new low when they lost at home to Kentucky, 27-16. This is a Kentucky program the Gators hadn’t lost to in 31 years. 31 years! Drake is 31 years old. Josh from Drake and Josh is 31 years old. This streak seemed nearly unbreakable, and yet, the Wildcats finally did it at "The Swamp."
Let’s put that in even more context. Top Gun is 31 years old. Dirty Dancing is 31 years old. Joshua Tree by U2 is 31 years old. Your dad’s taste in movies and music isn’t even as old as Florida’s just-snapped winning streak.
It might be time to remind y’all that the reigning national champs UCF Knights are currently the best team in Florida. Word to McKenzie Milton.
Excellence in Punting
Two games happened this past weekend that weren't exactly for the faint of heart.
Most football fans really like high scoring games. Who doesn’t love to sit on the couch and flip over to a Big 12 shootout that ends 52-45 with Gus Johnson blowing a gasket on live television? Iowa State vs. Iowa and USC vs. Stanford were, shall we say… not that.
Iowa State vs. Iowa a.k.a. “El Assico” — as the oft-ugly rivalry has been dubbed by some corners of the internet — ended 13-3. It was 6-3 in the fourth quarter. Now, this rivalry game has been known for its low-scoring, slog-it-out games since the dawn of time. The first-ever game between the two schools actually ended 2-0, which was the second-lowest final score possible in football. They often end in prime number games that cause math itself to get a headache.
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz is a very conservative football coach. Like other conservative coaches, he likes to punt. And boy, were there plenty of chances for punts.
Iowa and Iowa State combined for 13 punts. Thirteen. Thirteen!!! Fifty-six percent of the drives in the game ended with the punter trotting out onto the field and kicking the ball very high in the air. The Cyclones had twice as many punting yards (293) as total yards of offense (118). Even Iowa’s quarterback got to punt!
USC vs. Stanford, which would not normally be put in the same sentence as “El Assico,” was somehow even uglier. The game, which ended 17-3 in favor of the Cardinal, included 14 punts with one stretch in the second half where eight straight drives ended in punts. Eight. Straight. Drives.
Now before you check the box score and correct me, I know the offensive statistics in this game don’t look quite so bad. Both teams had over 300 yards and Stanford had a lot of big plays. But Stanford punter Jake Bailey might’ve been the MVP with 351 punting yards —which was higher than both teams’ total yards on offense – and a long punt of 66.
These won’t be the last stinkers college football brings us this season. So let’s remember that punters are people too and learn to love the punting talent on display.
Scott Frost Day (take two) is ruined
Nebraska fans were so happy that head coach Scott Frost returned to his alma mater they declared his first game “Scott Frost Day,” and the Omaha World-Herald published a special-edition paper celebrating his return before he had even coached a single game.
Scott Frost Day (take one) was originally scheduled last week against Akron but was canceled due to bad storms. So Nebraska audibled Scott Frost Day to their next game against old-school rival Colorado, and everyone in Lincoln was ready to celebrate their new era with favorite son Frost.
Take two will likely end up on the cutting room floor as well. The Buffaloes ruined the party by winning 33-28, scoring a touchdown in the last minute with a game-winning deep bomb and dive by (All-name team watch list) wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr.
To make matters worse, Nebraska’s only scholarship quarterback, freshman Adrian Martinez, was injured during the game.
At least they’ve got the coach they wanted.
“Stop it! They’re already dead!” of the week
The No. 17 Boise State Broncos welcomed the Connecticut Huskies to Boise and proceeded to humiliate them so severely that I assume anyone from Idaho is no longer welcome in the state of Connecticut.
The final score of 62-7 was so shocking and scary that it was given an NC-17 rating by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Boise State put up 818 yards of offense, including 400 rushing yards. The Broncos were up 41-0 at halftime. I’d say more, but I think even this brief recap is enough to make this page not safe for children.
Stop it, they’re already dead, Boise State.
Subscribe to The Daily Cardinal Newsletter