Everybody in college football is taking it personally, even when there's nothing to be taken.
Not long after Ohio State's Chip Trayanum scored a touchdown to give the then-No. 6 Buckeyes a 17-14 win over then-No. 9 Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, millions of viewers across the country found themselves being yelled at by Ryan Day. During his postgame interview, Day went off on Lou Holtz.
I was caught off guard by all of it. I even wondered if Day had messed up and confused Marcus Freeman for Holtz, but he hadn't. It turned out Holtz had plenty to say about the Buckeyes during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show during the week. Holtz's comments were no doubt relayed to Ohio State players before the game, who took it personally, just like everybody is taking it personally.
After Washington State took care of Oregon State 38-35 in the Pac-2 Championship and improved to 4-0 on the season, Cougars coach Jake Dickert took time in his press conference to talk about ESPN's Lee Corso. Dickert took exception to Corso saying on "College Gameday" that the game was "the no one watches bowl." Dickert and Wazzu took it personally. It doesn't matter that Corso actually said it was the "no one wants us bowl."
After Colorado pulled off another surprising win over Nebraska earlier this season, Shedeur Sanders talked about how the Buffaloes had taken it personally when Nebraska coach Matt Rhule had disrespected his father, Deion Sanders, and the program. Most weren't aware of this disrespect, but Rhule had made innocuous comments on a podcast months earlier. A few days later, Colorado State coach Jay Norvell made the comments about taking off his hat and sunglasses, which Colorado then took personally. The Buffaloes even posted a social media video to let you know that they were taking it personally.
But the disrespect doesn't end there. It is happening all the time in college football to everybody. I'll never forget last year when, after winning their second-consecutive national title, multiple Georgia players brought up that nobody believed in them during postgame interviews and press conferences.
Yes, that's right. The Georgia team that had won 17 straight games (a streak that is now at 21) and found themselves favored by 20 points or more in nearly all of them had been convinced nobody believed in them.
Disrespect is an epidemic in college football, and coaches are doing everything they can to spread it through their locker rooms. It doesn't have to be real, either. Coaches will happily make it up.
"You saw the Brian Ferentz press conference video going around last week," one coach told me Sunday night regarding a deep fake video that had gone viral on social media following Iowa's 41-10 win over Western Michigan. "If that video was real, the quotes would've been all over social media from reporters. You'd have talked about them on your show. But that didn't stop a lot of people, including some of your colleagues, from thinking it was real.
"Our players are no different than anybody else. People will believe anything if they want to, and there is no greater motivating factor than telling somebody that they're being hated on by somebody. Nothing unites a locker room quicker."
Do you ever feel bad about lying to your players?
"Not about something like this, no. Not if it helps us achieve our goals, but most of the time, we don't have to lie about it. It's never hard to find somebody who picked us to lose. You picked against us this week."
I didn't pick against you this week. I not only picked you to win, I said you'd cover!
"That's not what our players heard."
Well, now, that's just disrespectful.
Decapitated Duck of the Week
I haven't even mentioned the pregame speech given by Oregon's Dan Lanning Saturday before the Ducks went out and steamrolled Colorado 42-6. Clearly, Lanning's plan for his players went a lot better than The Oregon Duck's plan to fire up the faithful at Autzen Stadium.
As for Oregon's win and what it means going forward, I don't think much will change. In fact, I know it won't.
I'm tired of The Deion Discourse already, and it's not even October. It is possible to admit that Colorado is already better than most expected it would be but that it still has a long way to go to reach the level of competing with the best teams in the country.
Catch of the Week
If we can return to Washington State's win over Oregon State, I'd like Jake Dickert to know I was watching. I've watched a lot of Washington State this season because the Cougars are a fun team, and QB Cameron Ward has taken a step forward this season to become one of the most exciting players in the league.
Ward also gets help from his teammates like Josh Kelly, who are capable of making incredible grabs like this one. I've watched this play no fewer than 100 times and have no idea how Kelly did this. I can see it, but the fact that a player could reach around a defender's body like that to make a one-handed catch while running is incomprehensible to me.
Changing of the Guard of the Week
I try my best not to read too far into any one result, particularly during the regular season, but it was hard not to wonder about the implications of Florida State's 31-24 overtime road win over Clemson. After getting off to a shaky start in the national spotlight against Duke on Labor Day, Clemson looked like its old self the last two weeks and came out of the gate playing spectacularly against the Seminoles.
Cade Klubnik was giving off The Guy vibes the Tigers had lacked at QB the last two seasons, and the defense was flying all over the field, keeping one of the most potent offenses in the country in check.
But it wasn't enough. After taking a 17-14 lead into the locker room at halftime, Clemson managed only seven more points and failed to put the game away. Clemson has lost two ACC games before October. It's the first time the Tigers have started 0-2 in ACC play since 2010. That was Dabo's second season, and the Tigers finished the season with a 6-7 record and a loss to South Florida in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
Sure, the dominant run that included two national titles started the following year, but it's hard to believe another run is coming. Not when Clemson has lost four of its last seven games dating back to last season, and not when Florida State looks like this Florida State.
I'm not going to proclaim the Tigers are done (though feel free to tell your team I have, Dabo), but the vibes aren't great at the moment.
Steamroller of the Week
You know, the Army spends billions of dollars a year on tanks (I'm sorry, I mean ground combat vehicles) so it only makes sense that they finally decided to put one at quarterback. This could be a better strategic advancement in the game of football than disrespect.
The Flying Way Below The Radar Team of the Week
What if I told you there was a team out there that had won its conference the last two years and was off to a 4-0 start to the season, including two wins over ranked teams without its starting QB? OK, so maybe I'm stretching the truth a bit. One of the teams it beat wasn't ranked at the time but is now, while the other was ranked before the game but fell out of the polls after the loss.
Ignore that little lie, just like the entire country seems to be ignoring Utah.
So many words have been spoken or written about the Pac-12 this season between Colorado, Oregon, Washington and USC, and nary a syllable about the Utes. Granted, it hasn't been the prettiest 4-0 start (Utah is averaging 19.3 points per game against FBS teams), but the Utes are going about their business the same way they always do: by being solid in every aspect and not beating themselves.
Maybe if they go on the road to beat Oregon State this week, somebody will notice, or maybe Lee Corso's right and nobody will see it.
I'm sure Kyle Whittingham won't mind the latter.
Caleb Williams Highlight of the Week
USC got a little more from Arizona State than it bargained for Saturday, but the Trojans finally pulled away in the fourth quarter to win 42-28 after this Caleb Williams touchdown pass to Brenden "Son of Jerry" Rice.
Whoopsy Daisy Rate Update of the Week
|QB||Lowest WDR||QB||Highest WDR|
1. Drew Allar
3. Shedeur Sanders
4. Quinn Ewers
7. Bo Nix
7. Devin Leary
8. Grant Wilson
9. Mikey Keene
9. Jalen Milroe
10. Ben Wooldridge
10. Ben Finley
Here's where things stand after Week 4 in the hottest advanced statistic in the game today. For the unfamiliar, Whoopsy Daisy Rate measures how often a QB commits a Whoopsy Daisy (an interception or fumble). Only two QB's remain Whoopsy Daisy-less, while last week's WDR King Anthony Colandrea falls after committing only two Whoopsy Daisys in Virginia's loss to NC State.
College Football Playoff Projection of the Week
- Ohio State
- Florida State
Until the next Monday After!