A few months from now, the 2018 regular season will be over and coaches will be fired. Their replacements will then be hired, and people like myself will begin the process of grading those hires. People like you will race to your computers to find out what grade the latest coaching hire is going to get.
And then, roughly nine months later, we’ll all look like idiots.
Let’s go back in time to the end of the 2017 season, shall we? That’s when schools like UCLA made the splashy hire in bringing in Chip Kelly. Florida got rid of Jim McElwain and decided to hire Dan Mullen. Nebraska brought Scott Frost home. Florida State lured Willie Taggart away from Oregon. Arizona replaced Rich Rodriguez with Kevin Sumlin.
For the most part, these hires were well-received. Then there was the one hire that was almost universally panned by the media, fans and sports universe in general.
Arizona State hired Herm Edwards, a man who hadn’t been on a sideline coaching a real game in a decade and hadn’t been on the college level in nearly 30 years.
was a bunch of corporate speak and promises of a “New Leadership Model,” featuring a “general manager structure” for the Sun Devils program with Edwards being “a head coach who serves as a CEO.” Simply put, it left many college football “experts” laughing and scratching their heads.
It was a ridiculous plan and one destined to blow up in Arizona State’s face.
Two weeks into the 2018 season, Herm Edwards sits at 2-0 after knocking off a Michigan State team that was ranked No. 15 in the AP Top 25 and considered by many to be a legitimate Big Ten title contender. Meanwhile, Kelly, Mullen, Frost, Taggart and Sumlin have gone a combined 2-7 with the two wins coming against Samford (Florida State) and Charleston Southern (Florida). That means Edwards already has a top 25 win under his belt while those other five new hires have yet to beat an FBS opponent of any standing.
Now, none of this is to say the Edwards hire was a success. It’s two games into the first year, and there are a lot of games left to play in 2018. Arizona State — which just debuted in the top 25 this week — must go on the road against San Diego State, Washington and Colorado in three of its next four games. After that stretch, it’s Stanford, at USC and Utah in consecutive weeks. A 2-0 start is the best start possible, but it’s not a guarantee of success.
What it is is another reminder of how this sport, even when so much of it seems like a predetermined outcome (Alabama), finds new ways to surprise you every week. Edwards may not prove to be the best coaching hire of the 2018 season, but his hire has proven to be the best story of it to this point.
In fact, I’d give him an “A” so far.
Team of the Week
It is going to take some time for Boise State to clean the carcass of UConn out of that blue carpet. The Broncos demolished the Huskies over the weekend, beating them 62-7, but the final score doesn’t do it justice. Boise State finished the game with 818 yards of offense while limiting UConn to 193 yards. I’m not a football scientist, but I believe you will win roughly 100 percent of the time when you outgain your opponent by 625 yards during a game.
And it was a well-balanced effort at that! Boise had 418 yards passing and 400 yards rushing while holding on to the ball for nearly 40 minutes. Through two games, the Broncos have outscored their opponents 118-27 and look like the best team in the Group of Five so far.
Quote of the Week
I mentioned Kelly when discussing Edwards, and even though he’s 0-2 at UCLA, he’s still worth a good quote. Here’s what he had to say about Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray after UCLA’s 49-21 loss to the Sooners.
“The only person I’m disappointed in is [Oakland Athletics GM] Billy Beane. I wish he would have given [Murray] more money. Maybe he wouldn’t have come back [to school],” Kelly said.
Murray was the first round pick of the Athletics in the 2018 MLB Draft, and he received a $4.66 million signing bonus. The Athletics were fine with allowing him to return to Oklahoma for one more season of football. Though that doesn’t mean they aren’t nervous about it.
Bad Beat of the Week
My heart goes out to anybody who may have had FAU (-7.5) against Air Force over the weekend. With under a minute to go in the game, FAU had a 33-20 lead and lined up to punt, but things went horribly wrong for Owls backers. Air Force blocked the punt and returned it for a touchdown — a touchdown that was ultimately meaningless as far as the game result was concerned but certainly wasn’t meaningless to anyone who had bet FAU.
Random Ranking of the Week
This week, I’m ranking the most heartbreaking Chicago Bears losses against the Green Bay Packers. No reason!
- 2010 NFC Championship Game
- 2013 Regular Season Finale (NFC North championship)
- 2018 Week 1
- 1989 The Majkowski Game
- 2009 Rodgers to Jennings
All rankings are final! Also, don’t you think it’s time for Aaron Rodgers to retire? Enjoy all that money, Aaron!
Postgame Celebration of the Week
AP Voter of the Week
This week’s AP Voter of the Week is the Detroit Free Press‘ Chris Solari. Chris covers Michigan State for the paper, and his overall ballot isn’t as ridiculous as most of the ballots that end up being featured here. Sure, he has Clemson at No. 1 after it barely escaped College Station, but it’s defensible. He’s also higher on Michigan State than he should be, ranking a team that struggled to beat Utah State at home and lost to Arizona State at No. 17.
But what caught my attention was who Solari put at No. 25 on his ballot: Florida State. Solari is the only voter in the AP Top 25 who put the Seminoles on a ballot this week, and I would love to know why. Was it the 24-3 loss at home to Virginia Tech on Labor Day, or the thrilling comeback against Samford that convinced you to put the Noles on your ballot, Chris? Maybe it was Florida State’s 8-7 record since the start of last season?
Stat of the Week
Since the start of the 2017 season, Eastern Michigan has as many wins against Big Ten opponents — after beating Purdue on Saturday — as Maryland, Indiana and Minnesota with two each. Illinois doesn’t have any Big Ten wins in that time span.
Perception Poll of the Week
Following Texas Aamp;M’s close loss to Clemson on Saturday night, I polled Twitter to ask it what it thinks of the Aggies after they nearly beat the Tigers. Just how good can this Texas AM team be in 2018?
Like last week, I agree with the majority for the most part. At its best, I believe this AM team can finish in the top three of the SEC West with Auburn, LSU and Mississippi State being its main competition for those spots. That being said, as impressive a performance as it was, I’m still inclined to believe the Aggies finish in fourth place or lower.
I don’t say that because I don’t believe this Aggies team is good. I say it because the Aggies have to play Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi State, and Auburn on the road this season. And those last three games I listed come one after the other. Maybe they’ll use this close loss as a springboard to a special season, but I think a 4-4 finish in the SEC is the most likely scenario.
Tweet of the Week
Congratulations to Kansas on ending the longest road losing streak in FBS history at 46 games on Saturday. I hope you celebrated safely.
College Football Playoff Projection of the Week
- Ohio State
Until the next Monday After!