By Simon Carroll

Think the NFL can’t be topped? Think again. Si gives you five reasons why you should have been watching college football this weekend…

1. Dry Your Eyes - Upsets Galore

Five From Si Week 1

Five or six years ago, when athletic directors are scheduling 2019 non-conference games, looking for an ideal tune-up for divisional play, I’m sure Georgia State or Wyoming sounded ideal. Well there’s no such thing as a free lunch, or indeed a free win, in college football. The Tennessee Volunteers, 6 times National Champions, were stunned at home by Georgia State, a program that didn’t exist ten years ago. Missouri, on the back of serious sanctions, got turned over by Wyoming, a school famous for producing Bills QB Josh Allen and little else. And Purdue, a Big Ten team stacked with playmakers, were humbled by Nevada. This was just week one…

And for all those teams who avoided close embarrassments – don’t think you got away with it. I’m talking to you Iowa State, West Virginia, Army, Arkansas & Minnesota. They’re all well and truly on the radar after squeaking out wins against lesser opposition. Each week someone’s run at the playoffs is put in jeopardy when they look past their immediate opponent. Who will it be in week 2?

2. Stupid Scorelines

Five From Si Week 1

Okay. So it doesn’t matter how bad The Miami Dolphins intend to be this year – in the NFL you’re only going to get beat by so much. Once a month or so you might see a team lay a fifty burger on someone, but the margin of victory is more likely to be thirty points or so. Never do you see a pro team STEAMROLLER another one, just brutally murder them way past the point of submission.

Well let me introduce to you college football, where manners mean zip. In the first and last weeks of the season you often see non-conference games between FBS powerhouses and lower stature or even division 2 teams. This is prime opportunity for an absolute walloping, and there were plenty of them in week 1. Not sure if Howard is a football team or just one person, but Maryland crucified them 79-0. Not to be outdone, fellow Big Ten heavyweight Penn State stuck 79 on Idaho, although the Vandals did avoid the shutout with a TD in the final quarter. And UCF, trying their best to impersonate a playoff football team, slapped Florida A&M 62-0. No sympathy. No apology. Just pure, delicious humiliation.

3. Battleships

As the Atlanta Falcons endeavoured to end their 12 game preseason losing streak against the Jacksonville Jaguars, their two social media teams embarked upon a game of twitter battleships to pass the time before kickoff:

A game is one thing, but boats sinking in real life is taking it to the next level. It’s already impressive enough that The Tennessee Volunteers stadium – Neyland Stadium – holds more than 100,000 people and borders the Tennessee river. As if that wasn’t enough, it has A DOCK FOR BOATS TO MOOR UP AND TAILGATE FROM. Well it didn’t go so well for one seafaring party whose boat set on fire, capsized and sank hours before kickoff. Luckily all four people – and most importantly their pet dog – abandoned ship and survived. But not a good day all round for Vol Nation. Don’t drink and sail folks.

4. Holy War - Holy S**t!

Thursday night saw an impressive slate of games to get week 1 underway. If you were hardcore and stayed up until 3:30am UK time, you will have witnessed one of the best contests of the night. BYU & Utah don’t like each other. Whilst in-state sporting rivalry is the main reason for the animosity, the two schools’ religious leanings allow the game to be known as ‘The Holy War’. On Thursday, the weather was going to play a factor with thunderstorms predicted. Check out this apocalyptic shot of the stadium just before kickoff:

The game was a belter, with Utah winning their 9th Holy War in a row 30-12 after a very tight first half. The storms held out until ten minutes from the end, delaying the contest for almost an hour. An act of God? Maybe not. But it did mean I got to bead about 6:10am. The things I do for this game…

5. Sleeping On The Job?

Liberty Head Coach Hugh Freeze isn’t averse to a spot of drama. Made famous for coaching offensive tackle Michael Oher at high school (a story turned into best-selling book and movie ‘The Blindside’), Freeze parlayed his time in the spotlight into a head coaching job at Ole Miss. In a Hollywood sized fall from grace he was ran out of Oxford after the deeply religous and pious Freeze was found to have booked escorts from his office phone.

The redemption tour begins at Liberty, a small division 2 school in Virginia. In his first game as head coach there, Freeze took The Flames to Syracuse on Saturday. Against much superior opposition they predictably lost 24-0, but it wasn’t the shutout that made the headlines. Freeze recently had back surgery after complications with a herniated disc over the summer. He was due to be bed-ridden for 4 weeks, but college football waits for nobody. In an act of genius Freeze had his hospital bed installed in the coaches booth up in the stands. There he relayed messages to the sideline:

The cynics amongst us (of which I am definitely one) would suggest this is nothing more than a publicity stunt from one of college football’s most narcissistic coaches of the last decade. After all, it really did not have an effect on proceedings. But it is great television however you slice it. Matt LaFleur and your crutches eat your heart out – you just don’t see that dedication on Sundays.

Simon Carroll


previously the founder of nfl draft uk, simon has been covering college football and the nfl draft since 2009. based in manchester, simon is also co-creator & weekly guest of the collapsing pocket podcast.