There is this theory about preseason college football polls: That while they might be good for creating dialogue and definitely profitable for those magazines that release their own Top 25 rankings in August (and sometimes July), they unfairly create a perception of which teams are best in a given year.
Exhibit A: Saturday’s results.
There hasn’t been this significant and wild a first weekend in October for college football in, well, forever. In a season when the first major college playoff will be held, six games on Saturday matched ranked opponents.
And, to the delight of those who protest any rankings before the month of ghosts and goblins arrives, all hell broke loose.
It didn’t in the high school game being shown on ESPNews, where UNLV was mauled 33-10 by another prep team in San Jose State, where former college head coach Dan Hawkins as a game analyst said he, “Really likes what the Rebels have going on under Bobby Hauck.”
UNLV trailed 33-7 at the time.
Hawkins later said he had seen crazy things happen and, “the winning coach lives in paranoia and thinks that, all of a sudden, a team could score 72 points in 30 seconds.”
UNLV couldn’t score 72 in 30 years. Not this offense.
But in games involving actual college teams, specifically those Six Massive Matchups, the on-field action was epic.
So, too, was ESPN studio analyst Lou Holtz when referring to the nation’s leading rusher as Ameer Muhammad, meaning Holtz can’t spell and must think the Cornhuskers are handing off to either a famous Malaysian film director or the guy who was cleared in the murder of the Notorious B.I.G.
Ameer Abdullah, meanwhile, was held to 45 yards in a loss to Michigan State.
Six games, 12 ranked teams, more drama than a teenage love spat.
The losers were No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 14 Stanford, No. 15 Louisiana State and No. 19 Nebraska.
The winners were No. 5 Auburn, No. 9 Notre Dame, No. 10 Michigan State, No. 11 Mississippi, No. 12 Mississippi State and No. 25 Texas Christian.
That doesn’t include No. 2 Oregon losing on Thursday, No. 18 Brigham Young falling on Friday, No. 16 Southern California and No. 17 Wisconsin on Saturday.
UCLA, ranked eighth, also trailed Utah 17-7 late in the third quarter.
If that score held up, it would mean five of the Top 10 teams fell this week. Even four is a telling number.
TCU was unranked to begin the season and beat Oklahoma, again proving Gary Patterson is one of the country’s best and most underrated coaches; Arizona still isn’t ranked and took down Oregon this week.
More than anything, the wild and crazy results suggest that while a four-team playoff is a good first step, it likely won’t settle much of anything come January.
I’m not even sure how voters decide on where to place teams in the coming week’s polls.
Some thoughts on the Massive Six from Saturday:
The Big Winner: Our 20th state.
The most historic day for college football in Mississippi began with Katy Perry teasing Lee Corso with a corn dog and ended with wins by Mississippi over Alabama and Mississippi State over Texas A&M.
If you didn’t believe Dak Prescott was a serious Heisman Trophy candidate before now, the Mississippi State quarterback proved all doubters wrong by accounting for five touchdowns.
Both teams are 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Southeastern Conference’s West Division.
Best part: Nick Saban isn’t.
I can only imagine the how insane the parties were in Starkville and Oxford on Saturday night. One video actually showed Perry chugging booze and diving off bars and at a local stop filled with Ole Miss fans.
Hotty Toddy is right.
The Big Loser(s): LSU and Texas A&M.
Frauds, both of them.
I guess that season-opening win against South Carolina wasn’t all that impressive for the Aggies, given the Gamecocks also lost to Missouri, which lost to Indiana, which lost to Bowling Green, which allowed 68 points and 644 yards rushing to Wisconsin.
LSU was blasted by Auburn 41-7 Saturday, meaning the Tigers have far more serious issues than just youth.
What Now? Beautiful chaos.
The only thing certain after such a thrilling and crazed day is that nothing is certain. The 13-member selection committee that will decide which four teams qualify for the playoffs releases its first rankings Oct. 28.
Can you imagine the outcry from whichever teams are ranked No. 5 and 6 and maybe even 7 that day?
There will be more people than just Katy Perry diving off bars across the country.
Should be animated.
Much like on Saturday.
And we didn’t even get to the part where Holtz called Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, “Matt Urban,” and Hawkins said Hauck is, “A good man,” for the 100th time.
Tell you what — UNLV needs a lot more than that right now. High school team.
Tell you more — those six games Saturday were something.
That’s the beauty of college sports. That sort of drama over 12 hours.
Man, and I really wanted to get to that last-play Hail Mary that allowed Arizona State to shock Southern California …
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4618. He can be heard from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on “Gridlock,” ESPN 1100 and 98.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter: @edgraney.