Saturday Football: Saturday highlights/oddities, best uniforms and B1G vote?
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Good morning and happy Monday (especially if you’re a Sun Belt fan)! There was Power 5 football on Saturday, with several ACC and Big 12 teams taking the field for the first time in 2020. The SEC won’t start up until Sept. 26, but there’s another weekend of Power 5 action coming up this Saturday.
In today’s newsletter, we’ll recap some of the highlights and oddities from the weekend, take a look at some cool uniforms and discuss some more drama (yes, again) in the Big Ten. Let’s get started!
SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS AND ODDITIES
Saturday was full of amazing plays and strange occurrences. What were the best moments of the week?
Saturday saw the ACC and Big 12 have several teams return to play. It also saw a few games postponed due to COVID-19. However, football was played, and at certain times, it was very clear many squads didn’t have much time to prepare this offseason.
It was a weekend full of strange occurrences and upsets. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the best of the best (and worst of the worst) from Saturday’s action:
- First, we have to start with the awful, horrible day the Big 12 had. The conference had three games against Sun Belt teams … and went 0-3. Louisiana got things started by upsetting No. 23 Iowa State. That was an emotional win for coach Billy Napier, who lost a member of his staff to a heart attack this offseason. Then, Arkansas State upset Kansas State, leading to this hilarious tweet from @RedditCFB. Finally, Coastal Carolina beat Kansas for the second year in a row, routing the Jayhawks 38-23. The Chanticleers also debuted the best turnover prop. Let’s just say fans were ready to have some fun at the Big 12’s expense after its 0-3 day against the Sun Belt.
- Next, we have to take a trip to Tallahassee and discuss Florida State. The start to the Mike Norvell era did not go as planned, to say the least. On a stormy day with a weather delay, the Seminoles blew a double-digit lead and lost 16-13 to Georgia Tech. There was a limited-capacity crowd on hand for the game, but there were still plenty of sad fans. Oh, and the game also featured this penalty on the entire FSU offensive line.
- What else happened during a sloppy weekend of action? Well, we had this botched punt that was returned 0 yards for a touchdown (yes, really). A Texas player up and quit during the third quarter of a 59-3 victory. Oh, and Florida’s stadium (often referred to as The Swamp) briefly was on fire. It wasn’t a structural fire and no one got hurt. It did lead to everyone making the same joke on Twitter, though.
In this crazy year that has been 2020, though, it’s nice to know there was one constant — college kickers were historically bad on Saturday. So, if your kicker missed a big attempt, you weren’t alone. What will next weekend bring? In a season like this, we’re going to be prepared for literally anything.
- NFL football began on Thursday and continued on Sunday. Some of the best players in the league come from the SEC. Saturday Down South’s Adam Spencer ranked the 25 best NFL players from the SEC. If the Big Ten is more your speed, Saturday Tradition’s Dustin Schutte ranked the top 25 NFL players from the B1G.
- Tom Brady and Drew Brees went head-to-head on Sunday. Brady’s Buccaneers lost to Brees’s Saints. This isn’t the first time these two NFL legends have squared off in a big game. Saturday Tradition’s Dustin Schutte took a look back at the time they played each other while at their respective B1G schools (Michigan for Brady, Purdue for Brees).
- Six ranked teams were in action on Saturday, with mixed results. What should we take away from how those ranked teams performed? Saturday Down South’s Connor O’Gara wrote about one thing he learned about each of those teams on Saturday.
- There are a number of questions about the Playoff this season. Between the Big Ten and Pac-12 potentially (possibly, maybe?) returning to action this fall to other conferences currently kicking off their seasons, no one knows what this year’s field of four teams will look like. ESPN’s Heather Dinich answered a few questions about this year’s Playoff based on what we know now.
NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN THE BIG TEN
New information has Big Ten presidents listening to return-to-competition plans. Is there still hope for a fall season?
On. Off. Then on again. Then definitely off again. Probably. Maybe. Actually, can we talk about this later?
That pretty much sums up life in the Big Ten since it decided to postpone the football season on Aug. 11. However, there’s growing optimism that the conference will be returning to competition, and potentially doing so sometime in October. Weekend reports from ESPN’s Heather Dinich and The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman informed us that new medical advancements and improved testing measures has sparked a conversation about a return-to-competition plan with a fall start date.
As much grief as we’ve given the Big Ten over the last month, commissioner Kevin Warren and the 14 presidents and chancellors deserve some credit for their willingness to reconsider a fall season. When Warren penned a letter to the Big Ten community on Aug. 19 saying the decision “will not be revisited,” the potential for a fall season had essentially been written off.
- How did we get back to potentially having a fall season? You can’t really pin this on any one event. President Donald Trump reaching out to Warren played a role. Pressure applied by eight Nebraska players filing lawsuits and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost stating that Ohio State would have cause to sue the Big Ten and the 11 universities for postponing the season without explanation were factors. Calls to reconsider from Ryan Day, James Franklin, Jim Harbaugh and others were undoubtedly heard, as well.
- It feels like there’s more momentum than ever to reinstate the season. The Big Ten’s Council of Presidents/Chancellors met with the conference’s medical subcommittee on Sunday, listening to new health advice and protocols that would ensure a safe return to football. According to Yahoo’s Pete Thamel, those conversations went really well. Even though a re-vote didn’t take place on Sunday night, there’s some serious optimism that the Big Ten could bring back the football season in the coming days.
- The biggest question is still the potential start date. Implementing a football season had always been a priority for the Big Ten, whether that meant a start date in late-autumn, winter or spring. So it’s not too surprising that the conference is working on creating a return-to-competition plan. But what’s the timeline presidents and chancellors are looking at right now? Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says it could be as early as Oct. 17, meaning the Big Ten would be in contention for the College Football Playoff.
- But could teams be ready to compete in a month? This has been another interesting topic of conversation. With the loss of spring football and a limited number of padded practices, would players really be prepared to play eight-plus games with a month of training? Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez says the Badgers need just three weeks. Nebraska head coach Scott Frost mentioned a similar timeline. Harbaugh was a little more ambitious, saying Michigan would be ready in two weeks. A practice timeline will be a consideration in the decision-making process, but coaches in the Big Ten think it can be done.
For a month now, players, coaches and fans have been sitting on pins and needles, crossing all their fingers and toes in hopes the Big Ten would reconsider. Knowing that Warren and the 14 presidents and chancellors are revisiting the decision feels like a small victory to everyone pushing for fall football. A vote is expected to come sometime in the next few days. By the end of the week, there could be seven Power 5 conferences hitting the field this fall.
JUST FOR FUN
For today’s quiz, let’s see how much you know about coaches at the FBS level. We’ll give you five coaches of FBS teams that are playing this fall and you tell us which programs they run. Ready? Here we go:
- Jamey Chadwell
- Matt Viator
- Jeff Monken
- Seth Littrell
- Jeff Hafley
Scroll down to see the answers to today’s quiz.
Some schools brought out their best looks for their season openers. Who had the best uniforms of the weekend?
A number of teams brought out their best looks as they got the 2020 season started on Saturday. From classic looks to fresh new combinations, there was plenty to check out all day. And, with more teams getting ready to kick off next weekend, we’re sure the great looks will continue.
But, who had the best and most interesting looks of the weekend? Let’s take a look at some highlights in this section:
- Notre Dame is in the ACC for the 2020 season amid the pandemic. That means the field in South Bend had ACC logos on it when the Irish hosted Duke on Saturday. Also present? Helmet decals featuring the ACC logo and ACC patches on their jerseys.
- There was seemingly some controversy over Charlotte’s jerseys. According to the ESPN broadcast, the 49ers’ jerseys didn’t have sufficient contrast between the color of the numbers and the white jerseys. Check it out for yourself here. No penalty was enforced, though, as the broadcast revealed that the uniforms arrived late the night before and players’ moms stayed up late sewing names on the backs. Crazy.
- One team that didn’t have to worry about number contrast was Syracuse. As you can see in the photo above, that orange No. 34 really stands out. No mistaking that on the clean white jersey. Also, can we just say how much we love North Carolina’s argyle pants and argyle helmet stripe? Those Carolina blue jerseys are also pretty slick.
- We talked in an earlier section about Kansas losing at home. Well, the Jayhawks probably didn’t deserve to win, since they couldn’t even spell their starting quarterback’s name right on the back of his jersey. Only slightly less embarrassing than losing to Coastal Carolina for the second year in a row.
Next weekend, a handful of additional teams will make their debuts. Then, on Sept. 26, the SEC is back. There should be some great uniform combinations coming up, so check back in next Monday to find out who wore it best.
Here are the answers to today’s FBS coaching quiz. The teams led by each of the coaches named above are:
- Jamey Chadwell (Coastal Carolina)
- Matt Viator (Louisiana-Monroe)
- Jeff Monken (Army)
- Seth Littrell (North Texas)
- Jeff Hafley (Boston College)
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“He just would get into the quarterbacks. I’d see him in the hallway and I’d just go the other way. He just scared the crap out of me.”
– FOX analyst Matt Leinart (a former USC QB) discussed on Saturday how scared he was of LSU coach Ed Orgeron when they overlapped with the Trojans. FOX analyst and former USC RB Reggie Bush shared that sentiment, too. There were some fun moments in this exchange.
TWEET OF THE DAY
One week into the season and we already have a strong candidate for “Name of the Year.” It’s Storm Duck, a talented defensive back for the North Carolina Tar Heels.