When I fell in love with college football, a few things became apparent from the onset. Chaos flows freely, the college environment is unmatched and certain teams are simply better than others year after year.
Not terribly long ago, Miami and Texas were at the top of the mountain. They were those teams. They were what others aspired to be.
Things change, of course. Coaches move on, and programs evolve or devolve. But certain schools are simply equipped with more resources and tend to stay better for a prolonged period of time.
On Saturday, Miami lost to Middle Tennessee State as a 25.5-point favorite. The Hurricanes didn’t just lose; they allowed 45 points while giving up pass plays of 98, 89, 71 and 69 yards. Oof.
New coach Mario Cristobal benched his starting QB, and a team that I liked a great deal heading into the year lost at home by 14 points. There are bad losses, and then there is whatever this was.
As for Texas, well, the Longhorns lost to Texas Tech, a team they shouldn’t lose to. Yes, the Red Raiders dramatically improved, and the line was only 7. But this was the eighth time Texas has lost in the last 11 games.
Sure, the team is without starting QB Quinn Ewers. Sure, it did deliver a heck of a game against Alabama a few weeks ago. But … eight losses in 11 games. It doesn’t matter who is coaching the program; this simply doesn’t happen.
It’s hard to put a finger on how programs with such history and advantages have fallen so far. It doesn’t happen quickly; it takes many years for this transformation to occur. Well, except for Boise State. After being blown out by UTEP on Friday night, that collapse is happening a lot faster.
All is not lost for Miami or Texas. Better days are ahead. The resources haven’t just dried up. But what became clear on Saturday, as both teams suffered unique collapses, is that things are simply not what they used to be.
The Buffet: The Five Best Games of the Weekend
1. No. 10 NC State at No. 5 Clemson (-7, 46)
We circled this particular game many months ago, and it’s plenty interesting now. For Clemson, Saturday’s win over Wake Forest featured a mix of good and bad. The good was the offense, which finally shined. Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei played his best game of the season at a time when the Tigers were desperate. The defense, however, really struggled, especially the pass defense. Whether NC State can take advantage is another story entirely. The Wolfpack failed to cover the 38-point spread against UConn, although not by much. If NC State is to pull off the upset on the road, it needs QB Devin Leary to be brilliant. This total speaks to the kind of game we might get, which could be the opposite of Clemson’s game in Week 4.
2. No. 2 Alabama (-15.5, 61.5) at No. 20 Arkansas
This will certainly be a test for Alabama, and it’s the first of a handful on the horizon. After coming back against Texas, Nick Saban’s team demolished both UL Monroe and Vanderbilt, as expected. In fact, Alabama has covered three spreads of 40 or more points this year. But Arkansas can play, and this road trip certainly has teeth. The Hogs let one slip away against Texas A&M on Saturday, and one can’t help but wonder if the mistakes that ultimately brought them down will linger. Either way, I expect QB K.J. Jefferson to push a secondary that has struggled at times this year. Alabama is the better overall team, although I’m a little wary after seeing how Texas was able to pinpoint holes. We’ll see if Arkansas can do the same.