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College Football ’18: Times might not be a changin’

It’s good to have college football back.

There really is nothing better about Saturday afternoons in late summer and fall than the pageantry of college football. Sure, off-field issues continue to cloud the game, but the same can be said for the NFL and college basketball, two other sports that generate the same type of annual excitement.

It was a busy first full weekend of the season with matchups that looked intriguing, at least on paper, and had its moments. Washington-Auburn, Texas-Maryland and perhaps Michigan-Notre Dame down the stretch, gave Week 1 some credibility from an entertainment standpoint.

One thing seems certain, however: nothing’s changed the fact that the College Football Playoff probably won’t look any different than it has in recent years.

Haven’t we seen this before?

It seems Alabama has finally settled on a quarterback, and to no real surprise, Tua Tagovailoa is the man and will be after the Crimson Tide rolled Louisville. So, top-ranked Alabama doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Neither does Clemson, though its quarterback situation will be fun to watch this season. The Tigers, right now amid this way too small sample size, appear worthy of challenging the reigning national champion Tide for the crown this year.

college football
Photo by sicemdawgs.com

Sure, Georgia should again have something to say about that. Auburn might, as well, making the SEC likely to get two into the four-team playoff — as was the case last season.

Ohio State, meanwhile, can win regardless of who is coaching in Columbus and Oklahoma with the versatile Kyler Murray, appears poised to keep its name in the ring based on what we saw over the weekend.

Yes, while it’s great to have college football back, nothing has really changed. There might be some parity when it comes to positioning in the major conferences, but barring injuries or more off-field trouble, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma and maybe Auburn appear to be the cream of the crop again this season – making 2018 Saturdays fun for fans, but in the end, delivering the same playoff look we’ve seen in the past.

Who can change that?

We’re always looking for that next new thing. Or maybe something old that’s new again.

Is this the year Wisconsin, led by star rusher Jonathan Taylor and another dominant defense, can win the Big Ten championship and earn a spot in the College Football Playoff? It would be good to see, if for anything else, just to spice things up.

college football
Photo by redandblack.com

LSU’s victory over Miami was impressive, but how much of that has to do with the Hurricanes being an overrated bunch. We’ll see, but the Tigers are worth keeping an eye on. Also, does Virginia Tech have the defense to be a consistent threat all season? Or like Miami, Florida State isn’t as good as the polls thought early on.

The Pac-12 lost four games over the weekend, including league favorite Washington. Though its contest with Auburn was entertaining, it was not enough to believe at the moment that the Huskies will be one of the four best teams standing in early December. Stanford beat San Diego State, but needed to come alive in the second half and did so despite Bryce Love being shutout down.

Is it too early to think something special is happening at Oregon? Probably.

And we always have to keep an eye on Notre Dame, but it wasn’t all that impressive against what seems to be an overrated Michigan group.

Let’s hope one of these teams, or perhaps a darkhorse, will give us hope that this year’s College Football Playoff will actually look significantly different from before.

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