Dwelling on the Past: College Football Rankings, Write-Offs Need to Wait

Chris MoellerCorrespondent ISeptember 5, 2008

I have one problem with college football...

Teams are evaluated and judged on how they played the week before. The first week of the season is full of cupcake schedules and therefore offers very few elite matchups. 

Oklahoma annihilates Chattanooga, Ohio State shuts out Youngstown State, and did you see how Southern Miss absolutely dominated Louisiana-Lafayette?!

What do these games prove to anybody? The college football season is 12 or 13 games, and America looks at one week, the first week. What is proven from an elite team manhandling a far inferior opponent? Absolutely nothing.

But then there are those elite matchups that define the kickoff weekend. Missouri outlasted Illinois, and Chase Daniel looked good against a highly ranked opponent. USC, the class of the Pac-10, pulverized a mediocre and postseason-caliber ACC team in Virginia. And then, who can forget Clemson laying the biggest egg of the season against Lord Saban and Alabama?

It's been one week into the college football season, and Clemson and the ACC are already touted as the most disappointing and inferior conference. I give Clemson credit for taking on Alabama in the first game of the season. Expectations were high for a championship-caliber Clemson squad, but the Tigers did not come to play in Atlanta.

The Crimson Tide and newly christened prince of sports Nick Saban proved themselves as worthy contenders, and, with a prime-time audience, Alabama sent early warnings to the SEC and the rest of the nation for what can be expected of them.

Clemson, on the other hand, has been knocked out of the top 25, lost any chance for a national championship, and lost all respect from the other conferences after representing the ACC.

One week is gone. Clemson lost one game, the first game, and pollsters and analysts are calling it a disappointing season.

In college football, America cannot look back at last weekend and make judgements about the top 25 teams in the country. How can anybody? Ninety percent of the elite teams played cupcakes last week and proved nothing. Oh, the Sooners racked up 50 points before halftime; that's impressive! Wait, Chattanooga has a college football team?

College football is a sport that looks ahead to the next week. Who cares what you did last week? The football season is more than one game, and who says that Clemson won't wake up after last weekend, run the table, and shock the nation by playing in the BCS title game in January. The team has the potential, but it's being judged on one game's performance.

There are football matchups this weekend where people are determining victors based on their performance against a cupcake last week. Southern Miss racked up 600-plus yards of offense against a mighty defense in Lousiana-Lafayette. Does that mean that they are going to put up 500-plus yards against Auburn's SEC defense?

Auburn shut out Louisiana-Monroe's spread offense last week. Granted, not even the risen Tide could beat UL-Monroe...Does this domination mean that the Tigers will hold Southern Miss scoreless? Of course not...

America cannot judge a team on last week's performance, whether triumphant or dismal. We must look at our favorite team's potential, its attitude, and the way it practices that week. It's true in college football that any team on any given Saturday (or Thursday) can beat anybody. The team that wins a football game is the one that comes to play. 

Alabama came to play against a better football team. Chattanooga barely showed up because it was paid half a million dollars to sit there and be humiliated and allow Oklahoma to "impress" the media.

Let's not dwell in the past, but instead look toward to the future and the next 12 best weeks of the year.