Imagine, if you will, a college football calendar without its many celebrated rivalries.
No Army-Navy tete-a-tete? That would be a reason to take up arms.
No Iron Bowl? The ‘War Eagle’ battle cry just wouldn’t feel the same.
Or no Red River Showdown? Horsefeathers.
It’s those rivalries — oh, those rivalries — that really draw the eyeballs to the sport. That’s next-level stuff.
So when news lands, as it did this week, that another such tradition is coming to a halt for the foreseeable future, some of the air gets let out of our football spirit.
Bedlam — the annual in-state tilt between Power Five Oklahoma programs — is being put to bed.
With the Oklahoma Sooners on the move to the SEC in the next few years, the Oklahoma State Cowboys have pulled out of Bedlam with the school’s athletic director, Chad Weiberg, telling Action Network’s Brett McMurphy “(Playing Oklahoma) presents logistical issues under our current (scheduling) structure. We don’t have any openings to play them. We’re full.”
Straight off the top of our heads, what about the weekend when Bedlam is usually played? Isn’t that open?
Or is the SEC simply too full of itself to take that for its own schedule?
No matter, because another date on the fixture — a non-conference one — can surely be found to make it work.
Concessions for traditions should always be ready at hand in the NCAA world. Otherwise, the overall game is lost before it’s even started.
After all, college football shouldn’t be all about big business. There’s still the fans — and the fun of it all — to consider.
But no … “Unless there are significant undertakings to make the game happen,” added Weiberg, “it can’t happen.”
Losing Bedlam due to conference realignment is ridiculous.
In fact, losing any rivalry due to programs changing conferences is weak.
Don’t follow in the tracks of the Lone Star losers, Texas and Texas A&M.
Carve your own road, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Put your pride aside and do what’s best for the game …
Keep Bedlam alive.
One big rivalry on this week’s sked is No. 20 Florida (2-1) vs. No. 11 Tennessee (3-0). It runs all the way back to 1916, and Saturday’s meeting (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS) is among the most hyped, especially with Tennessee a threat to make noise in the SEC this fall. It’s, without a doubt, the game of the week … What else ya got, Week 4? Somebody’s perfect start will be stuffed when ACC rivals meet in Winston-Salem, as No. 5 Clemson (3-0) faces No. 21 Wake Forest (3-0) early Saturday (noon ET, ABC). Also of interest: No. 22 Texas (2-1) visits Texas Tech (2-1) in the afternoon (3:30 p.m. ET); No. 15 Oregon (2-1) plays host Washington State (3-0) in a matinee (4 p.m. ET, FOX); No. 10 Arkansas (3-0) travels to No. 23 Texas A&M (2-1) later on (7 p.m. ET); and No. 3 Ohio State (3-0) welcomes Wisconsin (2-1) for a Big Ten evening affair (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC) … Herm Edwards won’t be there for the Pac-12 late nighter between No. 13 Utah (2-1) and host Arizona State (1-2), since ASU sacked him after last week’s lowly home loss — 30-21 — to Eastern Michigan (2-1). Edwards, 68, leaves Tempe after a recording a 26-20 mark in four-plus seasons. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that success left Edwards, as did many of his stars this off-season, with six — including the program’s top quarterback — transferring out. What’s left behind are some strange memories, including allegations that his assistants leaked ASU game-planning to opposition coaches to get ‘The Herminator’ terminated and an NCAA investigation for recruitment violations, specifically hosting hopeful recruits during COVID when the non-contact period was in place. Oh, Herm.
Who sports the most stingy defence through four weeks? It’s the new kid, James Madison (2-0), having allowed just 165.5 yards per game through two. But the former FCS powerhouse might find things a little more challenging this weekend in Boone, N.C., where it tests much-celebrated Appalachian State (2-1) on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET) … Stingy is also what Michigan (3-0) is, having surrendered just 194 yards a game to sit third behind the ‘Jimmy Dukes’ and Minnesota (3-0), at 170.3, but just might get a test — finally — in Week 4, when improved Maryland enters The Big House on Saturday (noon ET, FOX). At the very least, expect Maryland to eclipse the paltry 5.7 point-per-game average allowed by Big Blue … Speaking of stingy, No. 1 Georgia (3-0) — having allowed just an FBS-best 3.3 points per game — is now our pick to win it all, looking better — we’ll admit for the first time ever — than No. 2 Alabama (3-0) in pretty much all aspects of the game … Isn’t this supposed to be a kindler, gentler, all-inclusive world these days? Somebody forgot to teach that to students in Eugene, as they chanted ‘F— the Mormons’ during last week’s 41-20 takedown by Oregon (2-1) of BYU (2-1) at Autzen Stadium. The school apologized for the behaviour of the ignorami in the stands. But can you really apologize for being bad humans? C’mon, world.
Only three Group of Five teams remain unbeaten just four weeks into the season — Tulane (3-0), Coastal Carolina (3-0) and FBS newcomer James Madison (2-0). By contrast, there are 30 perfect teams among the Power Five conferences, and the FBS’ 124 non-independent teams are pretty much split right down the middle between the two groupings … A few of those 33 undefeated programs are raising eyebrows. We’re talkin’: Washington State (3-0), with that Week 2 upset of then-No. 19 Wisconsin; Oregon State (3-0), with an season-opening win over Boise State; Rutgers (3-0), with slim wins over host Boston College and host Temple; and Syracuse (3-0), with home wins over solid Louisville and Purdue sides … The big surprise, however, is the starting run of traditional sad-sack Kansas (3-0), which was 2-10 last year but has rolled into both West Virginia and Houston this year and come away with victories. Wow! Second-year head coach Lance Leipold is making a name for himself at Kansas after success at, first, Wisconsin-Whitewater — with 109-6 record and six Division III Championship titles in eight seasons — and, then, Buffalo — with a 37-33 mark at a once-who cares school. Kansas gets another surprise starter, Duke (3-0) on Saturday (noon ET) … As Pauly Howard on VSiN’s Follow The Money pointed out, Nebraska fans should lobby for Leipold to be the next coach there instead of keeping up with chants heard Saturday in Lincoln of ‘We want Urban.’ No, you don’t, Nebraska. Meyer’s make-it-all-feel-better reputation is an Urban myth.
AP TOP 25
Rank Team (last year) Record
1. Georgia (1) 3-0
2. Alabama (2) 3-0
3. Ohio State (3) 3-0
4. Michigan (4) 3-0
5. Clemson (5) 3-0
6. Oklahoma (7) 3-0
7. USC (10) 3-0
8. Kentucky (9) 3-0
9. Oklahoma State (8) 3-0
10. Arkansas (10) 3-0
11. Tennessee (15) 3-0
12. NC State (16) 3-0
13. Utah (14) 2-1
14. Penn State (22) 3-0
15. Oregon (25) 2-1
16. Ole Miss (20) 3-0
17. Baylor (17) 2-1
18. Washington (NR) 3-0
19. BYU (12) 2-1
20. Florida (18) 2-1
21. Wake Forest (19) 3-0
22. Texas (21) 2-1
23. Texas A&M (24) 2-1
24. Pittsburgh (23) 2-1
25. Miami (13) 2-1
NR — not ranked
GAME TO WATCH
#20 FLORIDA @ #11 TENNESSEE (-10.5)
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, in Knoxville, Tenn., CBS
Big line for a rivalry that’s seen FLA dominate by winning 16 of last 17 meetings. Too big.
(-7) #5 CLEMSON @ #21 WAKE FOREST
Saturday, noon ET, ABC
Even if the Tigers don’t again put together a 60-minute effort, they put teams away late.
MISSOURI @ AUBURN (-7)
Saturday, noon ET
Surely, Auburn has enough firepower to master miserable Mizzou in an all-SEC Tigers tango.
KANSAS STATE @ #6 OKLAHOMA (-12.5)
Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, FOX
OK obliterated host Nebraska at home. K-State ain’t any better, especially in Norman.
LAST WEEK: 1-3
2022 RECORD: 10-7