PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – SEPTEMBER 8
By Leo Haggerty
IT’S FOOTBALL MAYBE
The NCAA unveiled its opening of college football over the Labor Day weekend. Overall, it was a less-than-stellar start to the collegiate pigskin season.
Of the nine contest that were played, only one of them you could even consider competitive. That was the tilt between Southern Methodist and Texas State that was won by SMU by a 31-24 count.
Looking at the other eight games, only two were within 10 points. The University of Texas-El Paso beat visiting Stephen F. Austin 24-14 and host the University of Alabama-Birmingham bested Central Arkansas 45-35.
The other six were all double-digit wins and four were of the blowout varieties. That last was a 55-3 dismantling of homestanding Navy by Brigham Young. Certainly, that’s not what the NCAA and the television networks wanted to say the least.
Honestly, the good news is that none of the nine contest would be considered “marquee” matchups. It was just two teams getting together in empty stadiums to play. No national ramifications to the winner or the loser at all. Just a game.
The bad news is that you only get one chance to make a first impression. To that regard, the opening weekend of NCAA football was an epic fail.
Why do I say that? That’s because the large majority of the tilts were unwatchable.
It was bad football because of the circumstances. The pandemic has forced coaches to cut corners so they could have enough players to actually field a team. It has forced players to go through a regimentation that they did not sign up for when they came to their specific institution of higher learning.
Some teams were just flat-out not prepared to play and that was reflected by the score. It was obvious by their performance that they needed more time to get into football shape both physically as well as mentally.
The sad thing is that the person who will shoulder the blame for these lopsided losses is the head coach. Let’s hope that one outing doesn’t cost any of them their job because that just wouldn’t be fair.
It wasn’t what we, as fans, were used to seeing. I guess that’s what pandemic college football could look like so we may have to get used to it.