College Football Pick’em
Buy Low, Sell High
Talking the business of sports
The expanded College Football Playoff cannot get here fast enough for Keith Gill. You don’t know Gill yet, but at this rate, you will. The Sun Belt commissioner just enjoyed one of the best days in his conference’s history. Appalachian State, Georgia Southern and Marshall each upset traditional powers in Week 2.
For the first time in the AP Top 25 era dating back to 1936, Notre Dame, Texas A&M and Nebraska all lost at home on the same Saturday. Sun Belt teams were responsible for all three upsets. Some perspective: App State (nine), Georgia Southern (nine) and Marshall (26) have been FBS teams for a total of 44 years. The teams they beat have been playing major-college football a combined 359 years.
Some more perspective: In as little as two years, such upsets are going to mean more. Gill is one of the FBS commissioners working on the logistics of a 12-team playoff. Whenever it is instituted, Sun Belt upsets could mean CFP inclusion.
As modeled, the top six-ranked conference champions will make up half the bracket. The other six spots will go to at-large teams. Fast backward to this week’s Power Rankings. App State debuts at No. 18 after winning at Texas A&M 17-14. At this time, the Mountaineers (1-1) are the top-ranked Group of Five team, meaning they would be in line for a New Year’s Six bowl. But if the expanded playoff debuts as soon as 2024, that No. 17 ranking would put App State in contention for a playoff berth.
A conference can dream, can’t it? There’s a reason the Sun Belt has been among the leagues that expanded. The more teams under the tent (14 beginning this season), the more chances for a playoff berth.
The upsets fit into an early-season college football angle: parity. Not totally. Utah just hung 73 on something called Southern Utah. Alabama surrendered the top spot in the Power Rankings after struggling mightily to beat Texas. If the Crimson Tide look vulnerable, what to make of the rest of the season? The Longhorns went from becoming a possible playoff contender to becoming a question mark. Quarterback Quinn Ewers is out 4-6 weeks with a sprained SC joint. Backup quarterback Hudson Card’s availability may be in question, too, as he limped around for most of the game after replacing Ewers.
Georgia Southern’s win was so significant that Nebraska acted by firing Scott Frost after the third game of his fifth season. Clay Helton — remember him? — just made his presence known in both Statesboro, Georgia, and Lincoln, Nebraska. The circle of coaching life followed him. Helton was the first FBS coach fired last season almost a year to the day (Sept. 14, 2021) at USC. He was the final nail in the coffin that was Frost losing his job on Saturday.
It’s a cruel, cruel world right now … unless you’re in the Sun Belt.
Out: Notre Dame, Houston, Wisconsin, Texas
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College Football Power Rankings: Georgia leaps Alabama for No. 1 as Sun Belt boosts its resume – CBS Sports