As we approach the midway point of the college football season, most of us are thinking “where as the season gone?” And while we are all sulking that the first half of the season has flown by, we are more clearly able to differentiate between the contenders and pretenders of the college football landscape.
We are also able to separate Heisman Trophy candidates from good football players.
So, even though half the year is gone, try not to be too discouraged. The most interesting portion of the season is upon us.
Here is what we learned from Week 6 of the college football season.
Keith Wenning is as good as any quarterback
It’s not too often that players representing the MAC receive significant recognition on a national stage. Quietly, while the media focuses on Teddy Bridgewater, Tajh Boyd and Johnny Manziel, Ball State’s Keith Wenning is impressive the engine behind the Cardinals’ offensive attack.
At the midway point of Ball State’s season, Wenning is second in total passing yards in the NCAA with 1,996 yards through six games. The senior signal-caller has also recorded 11 touchdown strikes with only three interceptions in 225 pass attempts so far this season. Not to mention Ball State is currently 5-1.
Pay no attention to the helmet he wears or the name on the front of the jersey. Wenning is a quarterback that could play for almost any team in the country and be successful.
I was wrong about Maryland
Last week I gave the Terrapins a lot of credit for their 4-0 start and that they were headed in the right direction. A major halt was put to those comments after Florida State annihilated Maryland 63-0.
Even though Maryland is still a long way from being a serious threat in the ACC and Big Ten as of next year, winning six games and becoming bowl eligible would be a monumental accomplishment for Randy Edsall’s program.
It’s never easy to get your players hyped up after getting pummeled by a conference opponent but with two winnable games on the schedule (Virginia and Wake Forest) before a matchup with Clemson, it’s essential for Maryland come ready to play and regain its confidence before it hosts the Tigers on October 26th.
While things aren’t perfect for the Terrapins, the season can still be salvaged.
Penn State is going to have a long season
For the first time in school history, Penn State lost to Indiana, falling 44-24 to the Hoosiers this past Saturday.
It was inevitable that the Nittany Lions would eventually drop a game to their conference foe in Bloomington, the fact that Indiana was able to mark up it’s first win against Penn State this season isn’t a positive sign.
Bill O’Brien’s team currently sits at 3-2, with no significant wins so far (Syracuse, Eastern Michigan and Kent State). There is no real leadership on this squad and freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg is having his struggles with the offense.
Perhaps Penn State can get things rolling in the next few years and regain its prominence on a national level, but the Nittany Lions aren’t going to be celebrating many more victories this season.
Virginia Tech is squeaking by
Quietly, Virginia Tech is stringing together a nice streak of wins in the ACC. After an opening week loss to Alabama, the Hokies have found themselves on the right side of some close ball games.
It’s not how Frank Beemer would like to win football games, squeaking past teams like Marshall, East Carolina and Georgia Tech, but Virginia Tech is winning games nonetheless.
Virginia Tech will bypass Florida State and Clemson this season meaning the biggest challenge for the Hokies comes on November 9, when they travel to Miami to battle the Hurricanes.
The Hokies have been far from impressive in their 5-1 start, but if it can continue to find ways to put up more points than opponents, Virginia Tech could find itself in the ACC championship game come December.
Mack Brown survived another day
It took two pass interference calls, a horse collar penalty, a dropped interception, a blown fumble call and a failed fumble recovery by the Cyclones defense for the Longhorns to defeat Iowa State last Thursday, but they did it. And with that victory, the legendary Mack Brown survives to coach another week.
it’s probably not fair for a coach who has recorded more than 150 wins with one school and appeared in two BCS National Championship games (winning one in 2005) to receive this much scrutiny, but that’s the way college football works these days.
Texas has a big opportunity to save its coach’s job this weekend, as the Longhorns will battle Oklahoma in the annual Red River Shootout. A win could get Brown back in the good graces of the Longhorn faithful, while a loss would only secure more criticism for the 16-year Texas coach.
Washington is a Pac-12 sleeper
The Huskies proved they were worthy of their top 25 ranking in last week’s game against Stanford. Washington came up short in the 31-28 game, but the Huskies gave the Cardinal everything it could handle in Palo Alto.
Washington may not be able to keep up with a high powered Oregon offense this week, but it is still a team that can compete in the conference. Watch for the Huskies to be in the hunt for the Pac-12 championship at the end of the year.