The expanded College Football Playoff cannot get here fast enough for Keith Gill. You don't know Gill yet, but at this rate, you will. The Sun Belt commissioner just enjoyed one of the best days in his conference's history. Appalachian State, Georgia Southern and Marshall each upset traditional powers in Week 2.
For the first time in the AP Top 25 era dating back to 1936, Notre Dame, Texas A&M and Nebraska all lost at home on the same Saturday. Sun Belt teams were responsible for all three upsets. Some perspective: App State (nine), Georgia Southern (nine) and Marshall (26) have been FBS teams for a total of 44 years. The teams they beat have been playing major-college football a combined 359 years.
Some more perspective: In as little as two years, such upsets are going to mean more. Gill is one of the FBS commissioners working on the logistics of a 12-team playoff. Whenever it is instituted, Sun Belt upsets could mean CFP inclusion.
As modeled, the top six-ranked conference champions will make up half the bracket. The other six spots will go to at-large teams. Fast backward to this week's Power Rankings. App State debuts at No. 18 after. At this time, the Mountaineers (1-1) are the top-ranked Group of Five team, meaning they would be in line for a New Year's Six bowl. But if the expanded playoff debuts as soon as 2024, that No. 17 ranking would put App State in contention for a playoff berth.
A conference can dream, can't it? There's a reason the Sun Belt has been among the leagues that expanded. The more teams under the tent (14 beginning this season), the more chances for a playoff berth.
The upsets fit into an early-season college football angle: parity. Not totally. Utah just hung 73 on something called Southern Utah. Alabama surrendered the top spot in the Power Rankings afterto beat Texas. If the Crimson Tide look vulnerable, what to make of the rest of the season? The Longhorns went from becoming a possible playoff contender to becoming a question mark. with a sprained SC joint. Backup quarterback Hudson Card's availability may be in question, too, as he limped around for most of the game after replacing Ewers.
Georgia Southern's win was so significant that Nebraska acted byafter the third game of his fifth season. Clay Helton -- remember him? -- just made his presence known in both Statesboro, Georgia, and Lincoln, Nebraska. The circle of coaching life followed him. Helton was the first FBS coach fired last season almost a year to the day (Sept. 14, 2021) at USC. He was the final nail in the coffin that was Frost losing his job on Saturday.
It's a cruel, cruel world right now ... unless you're in the Sun Belt.
|We now have to speak openly of the Bulldogs repeating. Neither Jimbo Fisher nor his alma mater (Samford) did well Saturday. Bulldog on Bulldog crime ended in a skunking. Georgia has given up three points this season. Don't be surprised. It's Kirby Smart's defense.||1||13-0|
|The Crimson Tide held on to the win -- but not the top ranking -- by a point at Texas. Or if you prefer, by Bryce Young bouncing a pass off a Texas defender. Or by ducking a sure sack on the game-winning drive. Young may have saved Alabama's season.||1||10-2|
|The C.J. Stroud Heisman Trophy campaign officially launched with four touchdown passes against Arkansas State. Marvin Harrison (184 yards receiving) caught three of them.||--||11-1|
|J.J. McCarthy was named the permanent starter after going 11 of 12 against Hawaii. Two questions: When does Cade McNamara's apartment lease expire, and will the team to which he transfers pick the early exit fee?||1||12-0|
|Through two games, the Trojans have been as advertised -- fourth nationally in scoring, stifling on defense (tied for third in sacks). The Great Experiment with Lincoln Riley and his Beach House Renovation of USC looks playoff worthy after a trouncing of Stanford.||6||11-2|
|The Sooners have allowed just 16 points, the fewest through their first two games of a season since 2013. Are you surprised with Brent Venables running the ship?||4||6-6|
|This week's Texas A&M contest was going to be the game of the week. Miami sort of sleep-walked through Southern Miss. TAMU never woke up against App State. Check Ticketmaster. Good tickets should be available in the house that Johnny (Manziel) Once Filled.||1||5-7|
|You want the third-best team in the SEC? You got it in the Wildcats. The Heisman contender formally known as Anthony Richardson was ground into The Swamp turf Saturday night.||14||7-5|
|The Cowboys struggled putting away Central Michigan. No issues with Arizona State. Xazavian Valladay went over 4,000 all-purpose yards in his career.||--||7-5|
|They're called Southern Utah. I don't know where they're located. Somewhere in Utah, I'll bet. Anyway, Utah somehow rebounded from the Florida loss to beat the Thunderbirds, 73-7. Moving on.||3||10-3|
|In a late-night thriller, the Cougars used double OT to beat their first top 10 team at home in 32 years (Baylor). Jaren Hall entered the national conversation (261 yards passing, one TD catch) despite missing his top two receivers. In this preview of a future Big 12 title game, we say, "Yes, more please."||9||7-5|
|The Tigers are 37-0 against FCS opponents after beating Furman for the 32nd straight time. The win marked the 35th straight at home. Another snoozer this week against Louisiana Tech.||--||11-2|
|Missed kick. Missed opportunities. Missed reading the rulebook (14 penalties). Missed playoff run? The Bears wilted in two overtimes at BYU.||7||6-6|
|The presence of Texas Tech's Donovan Smith vs. NC State's Devin Leary on the same field this week portends a shootout. They have combined for 11 touchdown passes.||2||8-4|
|Only a visit from Missouri State's Bobby Petrino this week could distract for what is happening in Fayetteville. A complete team of Razorbacks is forming after a trouncing of South Carolina. There were five rushing TDs, six sacks and nine TFLs.||2||6-6|
|The quarterback intrigue continues. Jaxson Dart and Luke Altmyer both played against Central Arkansas. However, Altmyer was injured. With Georgia Tech and Tulsa next, the QB battle could last the month.||2||8-4|
|The largest shutout win for the Spartans since 1957 (52-0 over Akron) has to mean something. Transfers Jalen Berger (Wisconsin) and Jarek Broussard (Colorado) are expected to replace Kenneth Walker III's production once Big Ten play starts.||2||5-7|
|The Mountaineers went from scoring 61 at home and losing to holding top-10 Texas A&M to 186 total yards while holding the ball for more than 40 minutes. The downside: No Power Five team will ever, ever schedule it again. Kidding. Sort of.||NR||6-6|
|Fair or not, the walls are closing in a bit on Jimbo Fisher. In his first 50 games at Texas A&M, he is 36-14. Kevin Sumlin was 35-15. Draw your own conclusions. Manziel did, tweeting, "I've got two years of eligibility left, right?"||15||5-7|
|The Volunteers knocked out Pittsburgh's Kedon Slovis, then knocked out the Panthers in overtime. Hendon Hooker threw his 56th career touchdown pass to Cedric Tillman to win it.||5||10-2|
|Lots of question marks now that QB Kedon Slovis is hurt and RB Rodney Hammond Jr. missed the game with an injury. A trip to Western Michigan will be a test.||8||8-4|
|The Gators went from physically matching up with Utah to being pushed around by Kentucky. Being pushed around in the SEC is not good. Richardson needs a rebuild after missing on 21 of 35 passes and throwing an inexcusable pick six (nearly two).||8||6-6|
|America's most entertaining team has scored 144 points and won by two and seven points against FBS competition. They also suddenly have one of the nation's best wins -- against App State. With Notre Dame and Virginia Tech next at home, the Tar Heels could be 5-0 headed to Miami on Oct. 8.||NR||9-4|
|Smith threw 58 times but beat Houston with his legs. His 9-yard scoring run in the second overtime was the difference. The Red Raiders beat a ranked nonconference opponent for the first time since 1989.||NR||7-5|
|Concentrate on the Notre Dame angle if you must: Marcus Freeman is 0-2 this season and the first Fighting Irish coach to ever start 0-3. But Saturday reminded us why we love the game so much. Upsets are still possible. For only the second time in its history, the Thundering Herd beat a top-10 team. Viva Sun Belt. They are Marshall.||NR||8-4|
Out: Notre Dame, Houston, Wisconsin, Texas