Starts of the NFL and College Football Seasons

The 2021 football season has taken America by storm. Last year most football stadiums were empty, which removed one of the most important aspects of the game. On the contrary, this year fans are finally getting to see in person action and it has not disappointed. Throughout all levels of football, the eagerness to return to normal games has been prominent. 

The NFL wrapped up its fourth week of football with an interesting slate of games. Last season, Tom Brady earned his seventh super bowl ring leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers returned all 22 starters for the 2021-2022 season, prompting them to be frontrunners this year. However, the Rams had other plans in week one absolutely embarrassing the Buccaneers on live television. This propelled the Rams to the top of most people’s power rankings. Yet, the Cardinals proved almost everybody wrong by demolishing the Rams.  Ultimately, the Arizona Cardinals have taken the NFL by storm with a 4-0 start, proving themselves to be arguably the best team in the NFL. 

The Giants secured their first win of the season on Sunday in an overtime victory against the Saints. Saquan Barkley had a great game and seems to finally have recovered from his gruesome ACL tear. However, the Cowboys seem to be the heavy favorite to win the NFC East, as they start their season 3-1. The Cowboys seem to be true Superbowl contenders with a healthy team. On the contrary, the 49ers struggle to stay healthy once again. The team that was minutes away from a Superbowl victory just two years ago is already struggling early on in the season. The Chiefs finally looked like the contenders they are, swiftly defeating the Eagles in a game where star receiver Tyrekk Hill racked up over 150 yards and caught three touchdowns. On the contrary, Christian McCaffery did not play for the Panthers this week, while they lost their first game. This NFL season has been full of surprises, yet we are only a quarter of the way in and cannot panic or celebrate yet. 

The college football season has not lacked surprises as well. The Pac-12 has confused viewers throughout the season. It seems as if they will be spending another year without a team visiting the College Football Playoff. Oregon, who was ranked third in the country, was upset by unranked Stanford Saturday night. All Pac-12 teams have at least suffered one loss this season. In 2016, Washington reached the College Football Playoff, only to get blown out by Alabama. This is the only Pac-12 team to ever make the playoff. In contrast, SEC teams have appeared in the College Football playoff eight times. It does not look like this trend will change this year. Alabama and Georgia both had dominant weeks against top 15 teams. The top two teams in the country are likely to face off in the SEC championship later in the season. Notre Dame, a team that has visited the College Football Playoff twice in the past three seasons, suffered a devastating loss to Cincinnati at home. This is their first home loss in over three years. This game strengthened Cincinnati’s case to make the playoffs. Cincinnati will not play a single ranked team throughout the rest of the season and is in great shape to make the playoff. The Big 10 has been a lot different this year. Ohio State has dominated the Big 10, winning the championship the past four years. However, Ohio State has been shaky to start off the season and has already lost a game. Number four ranked Penn State and number three ranked Iowa will face off this upcoming Saturday. Unfortunately, one of these teams will lose their undefeated season. 

Quarterbacks have been the name of the game this season. Justin Fields and Trevor Lawerence were the top two quarterbacks in college football last season. Trevor Lawerence led Clemson to the playoff in all three of his years at Clemson. Now, Clemson is unranked after already losing two games. Clemson seemed to be very confident in their new starting quarterback DJ Uiagalelei. This deterred other quarterbacks from attending Clemson and has put the team in a tough spot. He has immensely underperformed and seems to fold under pressure. Additionally, Ohio State’s quarterback situation is a mess. Their perfect recruit, Quinn Ewers, decided to skip his senior season in high school and play for the Buckeyes a year early. Ryan Day, the Buckeyes coach said he has not adjusted to the offense and simply is not ready for college level play. Their starter for now, CJ Stroud, has been struggling to find one of the best receivers in college football, Chris Olave. Both Clemson and Ohio State need to sort out their quarterback situation if they want to return as playoff contenders anytime soon.

Football has been eye-opening this entire season. It has been one of the most unconventional seasons fans have ever seen. The teams that have won in the past are not succeeding and new teams are making their way up the food chain. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues throughout the remainder of the season.

Thomas Gluckow (staff writer)

Graphic: Jiah Lee

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