By Ryan Decker
The fourth week of the College Football season begins Thursday with a matchup of undefeated teams.
Friday’s game also features a ranked team that has yet to lose this season.
On the other end of the spectrum in that game is the University of Southern California, which has already come out on the losing side twice in the three games its played.
A 1-2 record for a team that was ranked No. 20 in the nation to begin the year isn’t exactly what the Trojan fans expected heading into 2016.
Trojan fans aren’t alone in being disappointed in the performance of their team thus far.
Amongst the Power-5 conferences, there are 17 teams that currently have a 1-2 or worse record. Add Notre Dame and BYU from the group of independent teams, and 31 teams from other conferences that are in similar situations.
In total that means there are 50 sets of fans that are disappointed to say the least. Some are more upset than others.
Of those 50 teams that have a losing record, four of those teams – Oklahoma (3), Notre Dame (10), Ole Miss (11), and USC (20) – were ranked to begin the year. As you can see, three of those teams were inside the Top 15, and Oklahoma and Notre Dame had legitimate chances to be in the College Football Playoff at season’s end.
As I wrote on Monday, though, with the two losses there is no longer a shot at making it into the playoffs. (Link)
However, just because your team is out of the playoff race, it doesn’t mean the season is over.
It’s not time to panic, and hit the giant red “dooms day” button, and burn everything and anything in your home that has your favorite team’s logo on it.
It’s Week 4. Let’s be realistic about this.
In the cases of Oklahoma, Ole Miss and Notre Dame, you’re sadly the product of doing what the fans, the media, and the CFP committee has asked teams to do: play good teams.
The Sooners ran into Houston and Ohio State. Ole Miss played Florida State and Alabama Weeks 1 and 3. The Fighting Irish’s schedule thus far has consisted of games against Texas and Michigan State.
They did everything we asked. You know, except for win.
Again, though, it doesn’t mean the season’s over.
Notre Dame has a favorable schedule moving forward.
Oklahoma is in what appears to be a rather weak Big 12 Conference, meaning there is certainly time to right the ship in Norman.
Despite having three more games against currently ranked opponents, you can make the argument that the toughest part of the Rebels’ schedule is behind them.
All of this should somewhat be taken with a grain of salt.
The disclaimer here being that some teams are 1-2, 0-2 or 0-3 for a reason. To those fans I say there’s always next year, or maybe start looking ahead to basketball season.
To the some 30 teams that I haven’t addressed yet, wait it out, your team’s time will come this year.
Some schools such as Duke, Temple and UCF have had recent success, which should say to its fans, We’ll be okay. We’re just off to a bad start is all. This is our week to turn it around.
Other schools like Auburn, BYU, Mississippi St., and Missouri that are used to success have a little more pressure to turn things around. Not to mention that three of the four aforementioned teams are in the SEC, the most highly analytical and critical conference in the nation.
Still, Auburn has played two very tough opponents and has looked okay doing so. Missouri has improved each week since a disappointing showing in Morgantown to begin the season. BYU has played a trio of close games decide by two, one, and three points in that order.
BYU fans especially have to be saying to themselves, We’re a combined one touchdown away from being 3-0.
That’s college football, though.
The goal for every FBS program should be to qualify for a bowl game. That means winning half your games throughout the course of the regular season.
There’s still a lot of time to get those wins.
This season isn’t over yet. For some teams, the turn around beings this weekend.
NCAA Football has been chaotic already this season. It is every year, but this year seems to already have an extra dose of chaos stirred in.
So, for the fans of the 50 teams that aren’t off to a great start, just remember, it’s always more fun to play the role of spoiler at the end of the season instead of being the team whose hopes and dreams are being spoiled.