College Football Preseason Storylines Revisited

Prior to the season we all have takes, we all say things and we make some predictions – Lord knows we are proven wrong throughout the season, but we all have our opinions and that’s the fun of writing, podcasting and really being a sports fan and talking with other fans.

Today I’ve picked out five storylines or takes that were either takes from one of our crew or a mainstream storyline that a lot of people were talking about before the college football season kicked off, and I am going to give a little bit of a sit-rep through 5 weeks of the season.

Let’s go…

Alabama are in transition – Wrong

So let’s kick this off with the big one, the one that we were talking about and I feel, a lot of people were talking about, the one we’ve all got badly, badly wrong.

Look, Alabama loses a boatload of talent to the NFL every year and people like us don’t usually panic as much as they did prior to this season. Why is that then?

It was a record setting draft class for the 2021 Crimson Tide with six first round players, including the Heisman Trophy winner and their starting QB, as well as several other key starters.

The previous iteration of the Alabama Crimson Tide also crushed all that lay before them, in a march to the National Championship – They beat everybody, posting a perfect record of 13-0, including five Top-25 teams and for the most part, blowing most teams out.

Anything would have been a step down, so I guess that’s what we all expected.

Raj and I were talking on this week’s podcast and musing over the question of whether there are actually just a whole load of average teams in the college football ranks this year… Which is entirely possible.

But still, this just feels ominous now regardless, it’s difficult to point and say that this team is in transition when they’re still blowing everyone out each week and will probably continue to do so.

Spencer Rattler is the best QB in the 2022 class – Wrong

Let’s dive right into another storyline that everybody was talking about prior to the season. Again, this is another storyline which feels like the vast majority of people are well and truly out on now, after all I think everybody’s Way Too Early Mock Draft had Spencer Rattler going #1 overall to the Houston Texans. Aside from me, I was not guilty – A reminder of mine here.

The vast majority of draft fans rated Rattler as the number 1 QB going into the season with Sam Howell the most popular second choice but fast forward a few weeks and neither of these guys are really separating themselves from the muddy puddle which is the 2022 QB class.

Photo Credit: Tulsa World

There are alarm bells going off which regards to Rattler’s decision making and in some quarters, his character – Some clips from his High Schools days are being dragged up on social media and I’m thinking ahead to Combine week when NFL staffs get to grill these prospects and I am wondering how Rattler’s personality will hold up.

This one isn’t a cut and dry as the storyline above and Alabama still being good, as mentioned the QB class does not look good at the moment, so there is still a chance for Rattler to catch fire in the Oklahoma offense, Oklahoma to win the Big XII, maybe get to the CFB Playoffs and for Rattler to have a great season from here on out, and really elevate himself above the rest of the pack.

But does that look likely at the moment? Absolutely not.

The transfer portal will have a big impact on roster building and be similar to “soccer” – Remains to be Seen

This one is something we considered a number of times in the off season and through five weeks of the season, I feel there is some truth in this one.

This situation is still something that is developing, and will be developing for another couple of years, until teams figure out how to gain a competitive advantage of the transfer portal and the new rules surrounding it. So this one might sit in the “Remains to be Seen” category for a little while yet.

There are some teams who are reaping the benefits early and their records show it. One such example is Kentucky – The Wildcats are 5-0 and are loving life at the moment.

Will Levis, their starting QB is having the season of his life, Wan’Dale Robinson is catching passes from him and Dare Rosenthal is blocking on the blindside, opposite Darian Kinnard. Kentucky also has a couple of starters on defense too who are having good seasons too and all this incoming talent has just added to what they already had in the likes of Kinnard, Chris Rodriguez Jr. and Josh Paschal (who our guy Keith was talking up in his week 5 scouting notes).

To add on to the entice and intrigue of the usage of the transfer portal, even Alabama are using it to add premium talent in Jameson Williams and Henry To’o To’o! If the teams at the top are able to exploit this, surely everyone will follow suit sooner or later?

Maybe, but this isn’t a done deal, there are also teams who have gone all out and are still languishing with a poor record.

The Big Ten is just Ohio State and the ACC is just Clemson – LOL 

So sometimes you get things so wrong it actually makes you question whether you know anything about what you’re talking about and whether you should hang your microphone up and retire your keyboard.

The only comfort that I can take in this one is that nobody really saw this one coming either – Back in August, as a team we put together our bold takes article for the coming season and every single one of us had Ohio State to win the Big Ten and when I wrote the question about the ACC and who would win that, I actually posed the question of who Clemson would beat in the championship game, rather than who would simply make it there.

They were the levels of certainty that we had as a group that these two conferences were almost a foregone conclusion even before a game had kicked off.

How wrong we were.

Although, this was not a bold take from anyone. Yet here we are, Ohio State lost to Oregon in week two, whereas Penn State and Iowa occupy the four and three spots in the AP Top-25 and by virtue of playing each other this weekend, one will cement their place in the top 4 with a win and move to 6-0, putting themselves in a strong position for the Big Ten crown and a CFB Playoff appearance.

Overall the Big Ten has four teams sitting at 5-0. 

Over in the ACC Clemson’s season is in shambles and they are 3-2, and have time to climb back to the top of the conference, there are teams that just look much better than the Tigers and let’s face it, Clemson is struggling to score points.

Sorry Clemson fans but you’re taking a year off this year and might not even make the Championship game this year considering how Wake Forest is performing.

This is an odd feeling for a college football fan and really makes the feat of Alabama and their perpetual success all the more impressive.

Photo Credit: Her Loyal Sons

Kedon Slovis stinks the place out and rules USC out of contention in the Pac-12, getting Clay Helton fired in the process – On the Money, Big Time

Finally, we are getting a storyline right and I feel like this one from Andy, which was actually in the Bold Takes section of the aforementioned preseason article, is a really impressive shout.

The warning signs were there with Kedon Slovis last season and his shaky form has continued well into this season now, and really there are rumblings in some corners of #DraftTwitter that he’s playing himself out of even being a draftable prospect at the point.

Clay Helton was also on a relatively warm seat prior to the season so it was never going to take a great deal to push him off and over the edge this year, especially given USC fans’ low opinion on their now ex-Head Coach.

However, this was still a bold take because a heck of a lot of people, myself included, still thought that USC had too talented of a roster to not overcome this and mount a challenge in the Pac-12.

The Trojans sit at 3-2 now with losses to Stanford and Oregon State on their season resume at the time of writing and what’s more, their next two games are against Utah and on the road to rivals Notre Dame. Could USC be four losses down by the end of the month? That’s a scary thought considering how they were thought of before the season.

USC also has games against Arizona State, UCLA and BYU before the season’s conclusion too… Could things get ugly?


Follow Lee on Twitter @Wakefield90

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