Alabama football fans are so ready for the ‘real’ season to begin. In preparation, let’s consider what was learned in CFB Week 3.
After three weeks (plus one game) of ‘other’ college football, Alabama football fans are raring to go. No doubt the players and the coaching staff share considerable anticipation. The SEC will make a dramatic entry into the 2020 season on Sept. 26. The college football world will be watching.
Before then, let’s consider how much and how little we have learned from the games already played. Any review should also include the games that were not played. In weeks one through three, 11 games were postponed or canceled. On the plus side, 49 games were played. Proportionately, that means under 20 percent of scheduled games could not be played.
Hopefully, nearly all of the 11 games fans missed will be played later in the season. A concern is even at less than 20 percent attrition, the calendar will not have enough open dates. Adjustments can still be made. The SEC looks smart for delaying until late September.
Another question is, have we seen in the early games, any inconsistent performance that might be explained by the unusual offseason. Some of the teams have looked to be below an early, regular-season standard. Navy and Florida State have been the most glaring. Even some predicted top teams have been unimpressive. Oklahoma State and its loaded offense only managed 16 points against a Tulsa team that was 4-9, last season. The Cowboys ran up 40 points on the Golden Hurricane in the third game of last season.
How bad can FSU be this season? An opening loss to Georgia Tech was disappointing to Noles fans. With UCF trouncing Georgia Tech on Saturday, FSU’s opening loss looks worse. Now new FSU head coach, Mike Norvell is in COVID quarantine and will miss the Noles next game against Miami. a few weeks back what would happen to Alabama football, if Nick Saban was similarly sidelined.
A few teams appear to be at or ahead of this point last September. BYU might be one of those, but so far the Cougars have only been able to play one game. Notre Dame, head coach, Brian Kelly has praised his Fighting Irish team. At 2-0, Kelly’s team will receive its customary poll-ranking boost. The buzz out of South Bend is Kelly has his best team since 2012. Alabama football fans will enjoy a chuckle if 2012 is Kelly’s Notre Dame standard. The two Irish wins over Duke and a hapless USF team do not mean much.
Luke Fickell had this to say about his 2-0, Cincinnati team,
"I think I may have over-evaluated not having spring and not having fans. Our kids, I don’t think they were impacted by it at all. I was making a bigger deal of it than they did."
A battle of undefeated ACC teams highlighted Saturday night. It was at least a somewhat entertaining offensive show with more than 1,000 yards of offense. Maimi beat Louisville and history suggests college football is better when the Canes are good. Against a weak Louisville defense, it was hard to tell how good Miami will be. In fairness to Louisville, the Miami defense also did little to impress. Neither team appears a threat to Notre Dame and Clemson.
Week three was too soon for any program to learn is how much more COVID will change the 2020 season. Missouri will be without several players against the Tide. So far, Alabama football COVID management has gone well.
How good teams are or are not will become clear over the next couple of weeks. A ragged start to the season is far better than no start at all.