As we all continue waiting for life to return to normal, we got a dose of normalcy on Saturday with the return of college football. It may technically be Week 2 of the season, but it was the first week we saw power conference teams take the field and it did not disappoint. The return of college football meant the return of all the craziness that makes us love the game. Let's recap the craziest moments of the week and celebrate the return of the absurdity that is college football.
Your social distancing needs some work
The new normal for life in 2020 is wearing a mask and social distancing. No one was quite sure what it would look like when it came to college football. While there were some schools that seemed to take the pandemic seriously and enforce social distancing, there were others who...did not, just to put it mildly.
Considering all the tension and polarization that has surrounded the return of college football, you would think people would be careful and willing to do anything in order to protect the sport and prevent losing the season altogether. That would include taking the necessary health and safety precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Then again, bringing college kids back to campus and telling them they need to stay safe is like putting a fox in a hen house and telling it not to eat the chickens. We'll see how that works out for you.
As expected, social distancing at football games apparently is pretty difficult, but we may have a solution: the tried and true method of public shaming.
Notre Dame played a conference game
The craziest moment of the day came in South Bend where the impossible happened. Notre Dame played a conference game.
Forced into the ACC for 2020 out of necessity to fill out their schedule, Notre Dame hosted Duke in their first ACC conference game and defeated the Blue Devils 27-13.
As happens with all firsts in sports, the internet had plenty of jokes afterward.
A nightmare punt
These are the plays that make college football so damn compelling. In the second quarter, the Citadel was trailing USF 7-6, but had to punt from its own end zone. Punter Matt Campbell muffed the snap, recovered the football and did well to avoid the first tackle. He then tried to make the desperation punt but...this happened.
Those were the first six of 20 unanswered points USF would score to close out the game.
2OT at Texas State
Easily the craziest game of the day was the double-overtime tussle between Texas State and UTSA.
Texas State was without its starting quarterback due to coronavirus protocols and trailed 41-28 with 3:24 remaining in the game. The Bobcats scored a touchdown, forced a punt, then returned that punt 91 yards to tie the game at 41. All they needed was the extra point to take the lead.
Both teams would trade touchdowns in the first overtime then special teams would again haunt the Bobcats as they missed a 20-yard field goal in double-overtime, allowing UTSA to kick a 29-yard field goal for the win.
Another disappointing opener for Florida State
Two years ago, there was a lot of hype surrounding Willie Taggert and his debut at Florida State. Then Virginia Tech obliterated the Seminoles in the opener 24-3 in Tallahassee and it was pretty much downhill from there. Things were totally going to be different this year under Mike Norvell who was totally the right guy for the job, a much better fit than Taggart...and then the Seminoles lost at home to a Georgia Tech team considered to be the worst in the ACC and in year two of its transition out of the triple option.
Florida State scored a touchdown on its opening drive, going 52 yards in 2:07. It would not reach the end zone again for the rest of the game. To make matters worse, it was a true freshman quarterback under center for the Yellow Jackets and he still torched Florida State to the tune of 277 passing yards and one touchdown, plus an additional 64 yards on the ground. There was also a lengthy lightning delay as Mother Nature ensured nothing would go right for the Seminoles beyond that opening drive.
As has become typical the last few years, the Seminoles were their own worst enemy for much of the day.
Now obviously Saturday's loss does not mean Norvell's tenure at Florida State will not be successful. As head coach, he has already had to deal with serious issues such as social justice and a pandemic and it is going to be difficult to judge anyone based on their performance in 2020. But Saturday's game is a good reminder that there is more to winning football games than just optimism, a lesson fans of traditional powers often forget.
But maybe we are being unfair to Florida State. Saturday's game was the fourth straight opening loss for the Seminoles so perhaps we can't really label this as "crazy" at all.
A lousy start for the Big 12
Let's go through a quick recap of how the day went for the Big 12:
- Iowa State lost by 17 to Louisiana at home, 31-14
- Kansas State lost to Arkansas State 35-31 as the Red Wolves scored the go-ahead touchdown with 38 seconds remaining. It is Arkansas State's first win over the Big 12 in 10 years.
- Texas Tech held on for a two-point win over Houston Baptist.
- Kansas dropped their opener 38-23 to Coastal Carolina.
But hey, both Oklahoma and Texas rolled so that's something.