In today’s post, we look at a few odds and ends from the Mountain West and college football in general. While none are enough for their own post, all deserved to be covered in some facet.
Is parity good or bad for the conference?
According to the polls Tuesday evening, it’s a good thing!
Initially, this post was prepared to make the claim: “It’s great for the conference on an internal level, but it’s been a negative on the external or national level. They would prefer to have one strong team in a G5 conference rather than admit multiple teams in a conference can be good despite one beating the other.”
That all changed when the first CFP Poll had both Fresno State and San Diego State ranked!
It appears like the Mountain West is a pretty strong conference in 2021. Earlier in the year, it seemed as many as eight teams could be bowl eligible, and seven is still very likely.
Now, imagine if SDSU had beaten FSU, and then both teams won the rest of the year, including bowl games. The Bulldogs could beat up on another PAC-12 team in the LA, and hopefully, San Diego State will get a P5 matchup to win in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. One or both teams could end up with a ranking in the teens.
While that situation could still potentially occur in some form, it always looks a bit better when one goes undefeated, and right or wrong, it changes the whole narrative of the team and the conference.
Is this the year for a Group of 5 team in the College Football Playoff?
No, but it definitely should be.
Cincinnati is clearly one of the best four teams in college football at the time of this writing. And honestly, they aren’t four, and a case could be made for higher. The AP Poll has them at #2. Sure they have had some slow starts to games this year, but so has Oklahoma, and so does any team at some point. Cincy has a top 10 win over Notre Dame, so they aren’t just beating up on their weaker competition. They were a legit top 10 team last year and are only better this year. Those are all facts, but will the playoff committee see it the same way?
When the College Football Playoff was created, the writing on the wall was clear. A bowl game in the New Year’s 6 was reserved for the highest-ranking G5 team, the first time they ever had a guaranteed spot. However, it came with a tradeoff that was clear even though it wasn’t said out loud. The message was, “we will give you a seat at the table, but don’t get greedy,” basically meaning you can be in the NY6 but don’t think you’ll be in the actual playoff games.
While that has always been assumed, there haven’t been a ton of opportunities to test that theory. Undefeated UCF in 2017 with their claimed national championship was probably the first case. Last year’s wacky covid season was the best case, as the Bearcats never got higher than 8th, being jumped by P5 teams seemingly at every chance. Now, as many teams continue to lose and Cincinnati continues to win, where will they end up in the rankings if they remain undefeated?
The hope is that Cincy gets the recognition they deserve, but the fear is that the powers that be do whatever they can to leave them out.
Is firing a coach early the new trend?
Yes and no.
It pays to be one of the first teams to fire a coach. But no one wants to miss out. Would TCU have acted so quickly to part ways with Gary Patterson if Texas Tech hadn’t fired Matt Wells a few days before?
The Rolovich and Oregon-type situations will still happen, but they are rare. What won’t be rare is the mad dash to act quickly in fear of losing the game of coaching musical chairs. No team wants to miss out on their top target because another team beat them to the punch by firing their coach first.
The other change that is likely to stay is programs firing coaches quicker and quicker in their tenures. Well was about halfway in his third season.