The Monday After: Drink in all the CFB you can, but beware the overreactions –

College football returned to our lives this weekend, and it gave us just about everything we could have hoped for in just its first few days. There were close games between great teams, miraculous comebacks, ridiculous highlights, and — given the point spread — the biggest upset in college football history.

It’s very easy to get excited about everything that you saw this weekend, but even as I was taking it all in, there was one thing I had to keep reminding myself. One thought in the back of my mind, popping up from time to time just to spoil the fun, and even though I didn’t want to listen to it, I knew it was right. It’s something I have to tell myself every year at this time.

Don’t take anything you saw on opening weekend too seriously.

It sounds like such a simple idea in theory, but yet it’s so hard to do. I think of somebody who has been lost, wandering in a desert for days and is severely dehydrated. They’re rescued and given water, and their first inclination is to chug that water as quickly as possible. They don’t realize how dangerous drinking too much too quickly can be, as it leads to a condition known as hyponatremia, which in extremely severe cases can result in death.

Now, nobody’s going to die from putting too much stock into what they saw this weekend, but it could result in some thoughts and opinions you’ll wish you never shared aloud.

You see, as fun as the first weekend is, and as excited as you are to have college football back in your life, you just don’t want to take any of it too seriously. Just look back to last season.

Alabama Crimson Tide
Southern California Trojans
by 46 points, and the immediate reaction was USC made the wrong choice by making Clay Helton its permanent head coach. The Trojans wound up going 10-3 and winning the Rose Bowl.

Oklahoma Sooners
lost to
Houston Cougars
33-23, and it looked like Houston would be the team competing for a College Football Playoff spot. Instead, the Cougars went 9-4 while Oklahoma recovered from a slow start to go undefeated in the Big 12, beat
Auburn Tigers
in the Sugar Bowl, and finish the season 11-2.

Texas Longhorns
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
played an absolute thriller, with the Longhorns winning 50-47, allowing us all to proclaim that “TEXAS IS BACK,” while also saying both teams seemed poised to have good seasons.

That’s just last season. If you go back to any previous year and look at results that happened in the first week, you’ll see things you won’t believe. The reason for this is that, unlike the NFL, there is no preseason in college football. Your first game is one that matters, and I don’t care how good any particular team is, or is supposed to be, weird things can happen in your first game of the season. It’s rare that a team steps onto the field for the first time already firing on all cylinders, and it leads to some wonky results at times.

That reality is what helps make the first week of the season so exciting, but it’s also the biggest reason why we should enjoy it for all it’s worth, just as long as we remember it isn’t worth that much in the long run.

On to this week’s superlatives.

Questionable Coaching Strategy of the Week

Not much went right for
Florida Gators
in its 33-17 loss to
Michigan Wolverines
on Saturday. The Gators couldn’t get much of anything going on offense, as they finished with 192 total yards and only 11 rushing yards as a team. The two touchdowns Florida scored both came courtesy of its defense.

Still, even if I’m not sure there was anything Jim McElwain could have done to improve his team’s chances during the game, he made a decision that had me scratching my head a bit.

In the third quarter, with the Gators trailing 23-17, quarterback
Feleipe Franks
took off running and fumbled. Michigan recovered, but wasn’t able to do much with the turnover and had to settle for a field goal to take a 26-17 lead. On Florida’s next possession, 
Malik Zaire
checked in at quarterback, and it wasn’t a huge surprise. Franks had just turned the ball over, and McElwain had been saying for weeks we were likely to see Florida use multiple quarterbacks.

What confused me, though, was McElwain sticking with Zaire the rest of the game. It wasn’t as if he lit a fire under the offense, as the Gators managed only 74 yards in six possessions with Zaire on the field. Zaire went 9-of-17 passing for 106 yards and just couldn’t get the offense going.

While Franks didn’t have a great game, he wasn’t horrible either. With Florida being down multiple scores entering the fourth quarter, I would have gone back to Franks because I would think his arm gave Florida a better chance of coming back in the game.

To be clear, I don’t think Florida wins either way, but it just felt like McElwain wasn’t putting his team in the best position to do it.

Photo of the Week

This is USC long-snapper
Jake Olson
leading the USC band following the Trojans 49-31 victory over Western Michigan. For those of you who are not yet aware of Olson’s story, he’s blind and has been since he was 12. He’s also been around the USC program since then, but after joining the team, he hadn’t had a chance to snap in a game until Saturday when Clay Helton put him in for the team’s final extra point attempt.

The snap was perfect, the kick was good, and it was awful misty where I was watching it happen. Just a great moment for everyone involved. Photo via USA Today Sports Images.


Turnover Chain of the Week

Oh now that is a thing of beauty, and just so perfectly Miami football. If you don’t know, the Canes have started a new tradition this year. The last player to force a turnover on defense gets to wear the Turnover Chain on the sideline, and oh my god do I want one of those. I would wear it to the store when out getting milk and I would wear it to cookouts. Hell, I would wear it to weddings.

I would wear it everywhere.

Hottest Seat of the Week

Welcome, Kevin Sumlin. You already entered the season on one of the hottest seats in the country, and then your team went and blew a 44-10 lead that it had with less than 20 minutes to play in a game.

You’ve already got one regent going on social media talking about how badly he wants to fire you.

It’s not a good start!

The Ultimate Warrior of the Week

This is Central Connecticut State linebacker Seth Manzanares, and he is perfect in every way.

Random Ranking of the Week

Let’s rank the best Game of Thrones characters.

1. Arya Stark
2. The Dragons
3. Bronn
4. Tyrion Lannister
5. Ser Davos

All rankings are final!

Sad Fan of the Week

There are a lot of great things about being human. However, it has its downsides. For instance, as far as we know, we are the only species on this planet aware of its mortality.

It’s a feeling similar to watching your team play against Alabama.

Subtle Social Media Shade of the Week

If you’re like me, you stayed up until the wee hours of the morning on Friday night waiting for
Navy Midshipmen
Florida Atlantic Owls
to finish their game. It had been delayed multiple times by lightning, and after a few delays, Navy’s official Twitter account hit us with this.

Navy was up by three touchdowns during the final lightning delay, and that last sentence made it seem like they were all for moving on and going home, but Lane Kiffin and FAU weren’t having it.

The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman picked up on it as well and asked Navy to send him a sign if it were the case.

And Navy sent that sign.

Now, it was an annoying move by Lane Kiffin and the Owls if you’re Navy. I do not doubt that. Hell, I was annoyed too. I wanted the game to end so I could go to bed. But if
UCLA Bruins
showed us anything on Sunday night it was that games aren’t over until they’re over, so even if it seemed impossible that FAU could come back to beat Navy, it wasn’t.

College Football Playoff Projection of the Week

1. Alabama
Clemson Tigers

Ohio State Buckeyes

4. Oklahoma

Until the next Monday After!


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