What Are Your Takeaways From First Weeks of College Football?

Jon Joseph Editorials 41 Comments

After two weeks of intermittent college football play, we find ourselves at the first in-season reflection point of 2020. Albeit without Our Beloved Ducks on the field, it’s a point that us fans are all seeing in different perspectives. Without Pac-12 football and the Ducks playing this Fall, what are your takeaways from the games you’ve seen thus far? Any premature predictions posited on preliminary play? Or, prescient prognostication of pigskin probability?

Here are some of my takeaways after two weeks of college football games and news:

1. Army’s play has been a surprise: With two big wins to start the season, will the Black Knights of the Hudson shake off the 2019 Napoleon-like invasion of Russia and make the Final Four? Unfortunately, due to COVID concerns, after sinking Navy, BYU is not in shape to play Army.

2. Bob Bowlsby? Let’s call the whole thing off? Holy Sunbelt! Bowlsby has rumored the cancellation of games pending COVID tests and the lacking health precautions being taken.

The Usual Longhorn and Sooners suspects kicked inferior booty (maybe Bobby Petrino’s cycle needs a side-car?) off radar. These two played on the only network that makes Larry look good, the LHN (Longhorn Network), and PPV(Pay-Per-View) for the 13 or so fans who bought in. But, here are some scores to consider from around the Sunbelt and Big-12 conferences:

Louisiana 31 – Iowa State 14
Arkansas State 35 – Kansas State 31
Coastal Carolina 38 – Kansas 23
And Houston Baptist came that close to dunking Texas Tech.

Via Twitter

Texas Tech runningback Sarodorick Thompson celebrates his second TD in week 2.

3. Jayhawk Football: Didn’t you used to be Les Miles? Back-to-back Coasting against Carolina? Jayhawk players don’t look to have “bought-in” to coach Miles’ system in 2020, and their struggles from game one look far from resolved.

4. Trevor Lawrence: But for an NFL ‘restraining order’ why son, are you not playing on Sunday? After the golf course whipped me again and I watched some tapes of the,”You Do Get Paid To Play League,” I observed at least four teams you should be starting for. As for the Tigers, seven starters missing and they still rolled.

5. With the manner in which the Sun Belt in particular showed up on game day, should college football have a 16 team playoff; a playoff like that the NCAA puts on for all other sports? 10 conference champs and six at large? Or, would it be too large?

6. Final Four: who would be in? Clemson (of course), Oklahoma/Texas and two of either: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, or LSU. Given the circumstances of COVID and the low stadium attendances, it’s curious to think about what a playoff matchup would even look like in 2020.

7. Finally, all the best to Penei Sewell, Deommodore Lenoir and Thomas Graham. Thanks for giving your all to the Ducks and Ducks fans. Although we all wanted to see them play this season, you have to (at least) respect their decisions to move on to the NFL. (THIS is not pondering; it’s a fact, Jack! ..and Charles.)

Those are my takeaways thus far. In your own viewing, which games have caught your eye in the past two weeks? What key differences do you predict will come along the way? Although these games may not be what we as Ducks fans expected of 2020, the fact of the matter for me is: football is back, and I’m fired up.

But y’all stay out of the fire’s way.

Jon Joseph
Aiken, South Carolina
Top Photo: Via Twitter

Chris Brouilette, the FishDuck.com Volunteer editor for this article, is a current student at the University of Oregon from Sterling, Illinois.

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My friends, thanks for helping feel less weird about the football season in the comments. I am a website owner and need to know what is going on in the football world for a ton of reasons involving writers and readers. Yet I cannot get “into it” at all this season. I have not watched a single college or pro game and even planned to record two NFL games that, in retrospect, would have been dandies to watch. (‘Hawks and Packers)

I am glad for Jon’s article to keep me up to date!

Jon…interesting about how you are pivoting to a 16 game playoff in your ponderings? I am all for it or a 12 team playoff; the top four seeds sit out the first week with No. 5 through 12 going at it and the playoff continuing from there. My thought was that anyone that has even a remote chance at winning the NC would be in the top 12…especially the current “hot” teams.

But that could be done with 16 and include any impressive teams in the Group of Five as well… Or conference winners of all ten conferences and then arm-wrestle over the other six spots? (SEC would get how many of them….three?)


I have to agree Charles. It’s hard to get into anything. I had the Giants game on last night while doing other things. I don’t even know the score (yes, i searched it today, but I didn’t know the score even with it on in the background).



Off subject: 5 star basketball Nathan Bittle commits to Oregon. 6’10” 175 lb. from Central Point, Oregon. Class of 2021

Thats a big get for Oregon basketball.


A big get, literally and figuratively. Apparently Altman spent a lot of time with Bittle and it worked, there was some concern when a friend of Bittle’s, 4* PF, Ben Gregg, signed with Gonzaga a couple of days ago. It would be great if he could add to his 175 lbs. Joining Bittle in the frontcourt in 2021 is PF, Isaac Johnson, 6’10, 220.


I think there could be some confusion here, I didn’t mean at all anything about delaying BB. Bittle & Johnson are committing for the 2021 season, not the season that hopefully will start in November of 2020, and the Ducks have a pretty good looking team ready for that!


I watched most of the E. KY vs West Virginia game on FOX1, mostly out of curiosity about how Mark Helfrich would perform as the color man/analyst. Same curiosity I had when Chip moved into the booth a couple years back.

Helf did better than I expected: not as dry and professor-ish as I had feared. The play by play guy talked over him a bit, but some of that due to Mark giving too much info on prior plays. They should be able to work that out. Props to Mark on a solid first outing.

West Virginia looked very crisp and interesting vs a game, but over-matched opponent. They didn’t show a lot of variation on offense, but did execute very well. That seems to be an understandable key variable in these early games. They might be worth keeping an eye on.

Overall the Fox broadcast was much more like a regular college football game broadcast, with an emphasis on the players, coaches, and the game. Possibly similar to the differences in the Game Day vs Fox pregame shows that Jon J. makes in his comments.


Yeah, “Gameday” is definitely showing its age. For years, we pretty much just got through the first two hours and 59 minutes to see which Mascot head Corso would put on. ESPN has just become so much of the transmogrification of the sport we all grew up loving to the money driven packaged product it has become.

“The Playoff” as constructed is a means to an end for ESPN; “Who’s in?” it asks all week as if there is any chance anyone doesn’t know already. Its announcers, Paul Finebaum to “Dumb & Dumber David Pollack, could go the whole season without even mentioning the Pac-12; when they do its definitely off script.

Let’s ask ourselves what ESPN would be doing with itself if somehow it was the Pac-12 and Big 10 playing while the SEC, Clemson and the Big 12 were idle. ESPN wouldn’t know what to do, except to scream that the season should be canceled, that any champion to emerge would be bogus.


Your description very similar to my protocol for Game Day for the last several years. For the majority of broadcasts I simply set my recording the night before. Then, with my first steaming mug of Saturday coffee I go through the day’s game offerings to qualify: essential, desirable, and optional, and then match those results with my Comcast limits on simultaneous recordings and available cloud space.

I try to wrap my programming by about 8:45 AM, zap a second mug of coffee, and then watch the guest picker intro and the day’s picks live. Then, as the East Coast games kick off I’ll skim through the preview shows for previews or backstories of interest before deleting and heading out for chores or activities, with actual game watching for the afternoon and evening (ah, the joys of the Pacific Time Zone). Friends know not to call or text during my blackout periods.

I think I’ll get a lot of chores done over the next couple months.


I really don’t think Urban will wind up at USC, The powers that be have put the kibosh on him coaching there, and I don’t see them caving. Even more important, I don’t think Urban, or really any coach sine Carroll considers USC to be the prize that the Trojan faithful believe it is, and like you have said, Urban is good in the booth and making a lot of $$$. I think he likes where he is.


Coaches like Urban and especially established as one of the greats don’t want to put in the work a rebuild entails, and they don’t want to hear it in Heritage Hall, but that’s what it would be at USC, if conditions finally got so bad that Helton is let go.

Jon Sousa

zzzZZZzzzzZZZZzzzzzZZZZZ**** Huh?? What??? Is someone playing football somewhere??

“Hey, Mom! T J Hooker is coming on again!”



My Takeaway: I am just so sick of Clemson!!!! Last season another site I started a Topic called, “Clemson is a fraud”. I was motivated to do this after Mac Brown deciding to go for 2 and the win, and failing, kept the Tigers undefeated, and on top of the polls.

It just sickened me to see them riding the previous season’s championship to the top that season; their schedule was worse than what Boise State had when they were kept out of the playoff discussion because, “you don’t play anybody!!”

The talking heads really couldn’t argue that Clemson was playing anybody either, so they pulled out, “the defending champ has the right to DEFEND their championship”. This of course is insane. THAT was last season’s team, last season’s championship. It doesn’t carry over to this years team. This year’s team should be judged only on what it accomplishes. “But they’re undefeated!” they said. With the schedule they have, of course they are. “Lawrence, Etienne, Simmons, all those great players!” Fine, let them get drafted in the first round.

The rationale used to keep Clemson in the talk is the same that when Alabama won the championship when it didn’t even win its own conference proved that it was the best team. No, it did not prove that. Whichever team won the championship would be able to say it was, The Best Team, but this farce of a playoff does not come close to doing that, and it won’t ever until it ceases to be the CFP/ESPN Invitational.


Well said 30Duck, well said indeed.


I watched the first quarter of the Clemson vs Wake game. On the plus side Trevor Lawrence is everything Jon J. lauds in his item #4.

On the downer side, Clemson got a couple of very questionable official non-calls in the first quarter that helped take the Deacons out of the game early. The first was a pretty obvious pass interference inside Clemson’s 10 yard line on Wake’s first drive. The announcers, and their remote rules specialist, all agreed that the refs ‘missed that one’.

A few series later the Wake QB was flushed from the pocket and a Clemson LB nailed him with a textbook 1980s helmet-spearing-helmet tackle. Not a peep from any of the broadcast team. The QB was slow and hesitant getting up, and not a word.

It did bring to mind how greatly Clemson benefited from a targeting call in last year’s semifinal playoff game vs Ohio State which, to my eyes, was far less worthy of a targeting call than this hit on the Wake Forest QB. That bit of irony did not enhance my enjoyment of the game, which I quit after the first quarter. Hope this is not a preview of what we’ll see when the SEC games open up.


Of course, and fitting as I can’t stand, Dr. Pepper!!!


I tried watching football specifically that NC vs Syracuse. I don’t know if it was the lack of fans but that NC team was not consistently motivated. They would make a few good plays and then drop off, then make a few good plays and then drop off. I ended up letting my child watch bluey as it was more entertaining than the lack of show that nc team played(I didn’t watch the 4th quarter when they put up 21 points).

Football in general feels weird to watch right now, it could be the lack of fans, it could be the current climate, it could be a number of things but as of right now it doesn’t feel right. At least knowing Iowa state get smacked after all the pomp leading up to the game is great. the big 12 has proven that they are no better than the ACC(One team who wins everything and everyone else stinks, which is better than the pac were everyone constantly stinks).

As for sewell, graham and lenoir, I hope we can give them a great pro day and if we have a season that we do something for all players who sit out due to covid or declare early on a senior day.

Lastly when Cristobal took over oregon as head coach, oregon had 21 blue chip recruits all 4 stars.(Per rivals), since than he has gained the commitments of 4-5* and 48-4*(not including the class of 22). Oregon went from having ~25% of all scholarshipped players being blue chip to what will be ~60%. It really is an astounding turnaround from what oregon had managed for decades. It will be something to see as he finishes and signs this 2021 class.


I tried to watch football. I am not sure i finished a game…. sigh…. and ‘real life’ (that doesn’t hardly even seem real anymore), thanks to the economic fallout from Covid and fires etc. is even worse

Lastly when Cristobal took over oregon as head coach, oregon had 21 blue chip recruits all 4 stars.(Per rivals), since than he has gained the commitments of 4-5* and 48-4*(not including the class of 22). Oregon went from having ~25% of all scholarshipped players being blue chip to what will be ~60%. It really is an astounding turnaround from what oregon had managed for decades. It will be something to see as he finishes and signs this 2021 class.”

THIS sublime reality. as stated so well by UtahDuck, seems to be the only good thing this Duck fan has in 2020, vicariously thanks to MC!


Until Notre Dame loses they are the greatest team in all of college football ;).

In all seriousness it is depressing to watch, as our Ducks are grounded.

I still like to compete, and really don’t like to just watch others play sports. With Oregon in the hunt I can put myself in the game, and feel I have some skin in the game. Without that, it is just others enjoying something, and the feeling of being left out.

I actually have really thought about stepping away from the whole Duck thing until we have a season. It is just another item that reminds me of how messed up things are right now. My apologies for being a downer, but that is my takeaway after week 1.


I definitely support an expanded playoff for football. I have always thought conference champions should get an automatic bid. While 16 teams might provide an opportunity for a lower ranked team to be a “ bracket buster”, seems too large to me. 8 teams seems about right. Besides conference championship games then would become much more important. Not sure how to handle at large teams…

Not watching much football. Nothing really seems that compelling to watch.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I believe strongly that opening up the playoff field will balance out recruiting and create more college football equality among teams. You would not see all the top talent going to a few schools, as any would have the chance.

Do we really need conference championship games if we have a four game (16 teams) playoff?


Ah Jon, it has been interesting so far, the first things I noticed was that Corso wasn’t at Wake Forest with the rest of the “Gameday” bunch, and Desmond Howard’s laugh is still fingernails on a chalkboard worthy. The visual of “Gameday” w/o any fans is a microcosm of the season; it just feels weird!

The Pac & The BIG aren’t playing, so there were lines through Ohio State & Oregon in the first Top 25, and The Duck wasn’t with the other Mascots that were hanging out with Corso at his undisclosed location, but as long as SEC and Clemson are up and running, its full speed ahead for ESPN and the Playoff Committee. Oklahoma can still take its place as the appetizer, and Alabama, Clemson will be there, while Georgia, Auburn, the Golden Domers, LSU, fight it out for the last slot.


To be honest Jon I haven’t watched any games, or really cared to. Like the writing on the “T” shirt said – – “If the Ducks aren’t playing, I’m not watching”.

Santa Rosa Duck

Thanks for the contribution Jon. I feel like BDF. I have no excitement at all. The closest I have come to watching something is scanning this past Saturday’s TV lineup and say nope. No DUCKS, no Santa Rosa DUCK.

David Marsh

I am in the same boat BDF. I get excited to watch other games because they may impact the Ducks in the polls… most of the time I like watching with a morbid fascination of watching the underdog unseat a ranked team (that isn’t the Ducks). Granted… that only seems to matter to me if it can help Oregon in some way… which it doesn’t right now.