Sure, opening weekend this season was something to behold.
But this past weekend of college football? It might have been the best we've seen in recent years.
'THE ROCK' CHECKS IN ON VMI
Virginia Military Institute is 9-3 in its last 12 games, the defending Southern Conference champions and coming off a historic spring season that culminated with a trip to the FCS Playoffs.
But Friday night, on the road before Saturday's game at Cornell, the Keydets' coaches weren't taking anything for granted.
Enter 'The Rock' into the team's standard meeting. Check out the video below, shared with FootballScoop by the Keydets:
While it obviously was not Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, it was Keydets offensive line coach Jack Abercrombie.
And perhaps his message resonated. VMI mashed out a 31-21 win to set up this weekend's SoCon showdown with Wofford.
ACROSS THE LANDSCAPE
Consider: Cincinnati and Indiana played an incredibly entertaining game, one that kept alive the Bearcats' increasingly real College Football Playoffs conversation and a contest that absolutely was a tale of two halves.
Alabama looked like Alabama. For a quarter. Then the Crimson Tide, at Florida, looked all kinds of disjointed. And they could not run the football – and likewise could not stop the Gators' run.
After years of unquestioned upper-tier teams, is this the year college football has not overarching dominant force?
It's a question worth asking. There's almost a full month now of video on all teams; flaws, strengths, weaknesses.
Clemson and Georgia have elite defenses; neither can say that about its offense, though both units are teeming with potential.
Alabama and Ohio State have all kinds of talent. While the Tide are undefeated, the Buckeyes are not – and Ryan Day is navigating his most difficult in-season task with a disjointed defensive staff that no longer features Kerry Coombs, the extremely well-paid defensive coordinator, actually calling the plays.
James Franklin, he of undeniable interest to USC for its head coaching vacancy, has his Penn State Nittany Lions ranked No. 6 nationally and coming off a win against Auburn before a refreshing, capacity crowd of 109,958 inside Beaver Stadium.
Even without Zac Wilson, BYU is legit. What Kalani Sitake is doing for the Cougars' program deserves all kinds of national attention.
So, too, does this defensive play from BYU running back Tyler Allgeier:
Heck, the PAC-12 needs to get into a bidding war with the Big 12 Conference in an effort to give Oregon some company atop the league. The Cougars merely own a 3-0 record already this season against the conference; they've got wins against Arizona, Utah and Arizona State to open their season.
Both Utah and Arizona State were ranked at the time of their losses to BYU.
Meanwhile, the Football Championship Subdivision continues to show the divide between the 64-scholarship division and the 85-scholarship Football Bowls Subdivision is perhaps at its narrowest point in recent memory.
As noted last week, there are some FCS teams that are extremely veteran – Jacksonville State has 19 redshirt-juniors and seniors – and rosters have expanded scholarship numbers – due to the COVID-19 pandemic – for those programs that have chosen to expand and retain older players.
Northern Arizona, which trailed 13-0 at Arizona, rallied for an 21-19 triumph – the Lumberjacks' first win against their in-state brethren in 89 years.
The win, the eighth for an FCS team against an FBS team already this season, also denied the Wildcats and new coach Jedd Fisch their first win of the season. It also was the third win for an FCS squad against a Power 5 foe; Montana toppled then-ranked Washington and ETSU won at Vanderbilt.
Alabama outlasted Florida, 31-29, after it had built a 21-3 lead early. Needless to say, that did not sit well with Nick Saban.
“We weren’t very aggressive,” Saban said of a Tide defense that was gashed for 244 rushing yards by the Gators. “WE didn’t get off the field on third down, especially in the second half. We had opportunities to get off the field on third down and did not do it.”
“We wanted to drag them into the deep water. Where we live. With the strain and the struggle and the pressure.” – Michigan State coach Mel Tucker, after his Spartans overwhelmed host Miami and improved to 3-0 on the season with Nebraska visiting East Lansing, Michigan, this weekend.
“We have recruited at a high level over the past two seasons. You know, that's what we're trying to do is trying to stack big-time recruiting classes on top of one another. This is a temporary situation we're in right now, and these guys can be the answer. A lot of great recruits (at Saturday's game) saw a great atmosphere outside our stadium. These guys can come be the solution. Come help this football program take that next step. I think that's exactly what the message would be.” – Miami coach Manny Diaz, asked how his Hurricanes' home loss to the Spartans could impact the program's recruiting. Diaz's Miami squad is just 1-2 on the young season and has double-digit losses to Alabama and Michigan State.
“Lot of fun. Obviously I think we could have done some things to help us out a little bit more and not done some things to make it such a heart attack there. Made a lot of people nervous, we've just got to find a way to not make so many mistakes.” – BYU coach Kalani Sitake after his team held off Arizona State, 27-17, late Saturday night.