Breaking news, rankings, predictions and analysis all in one place.

My Favorite Moments from the 2017 College Football Regular Season

Now that bowls have been announced and the four Playoff teams are known, the college football season has nearly reached its inevitable end. While there are still some memorable moments left to come, I took some time to reminisce on some of my favorite moments from the 2017 college football regular season:

Baker Plants the Flag

After being dominated by Ohio State early on in the 2016 season, Oklahoma entered their Week Two meeting with the Buckeyes eager for revenge. The Sooners did just that, handling the Buckeyes without much issue, rolling to a 31-16 victory. The victory didn't just assert Oklahoma as serious National Title contenders, but also began Baker Mayfield's Heisman run. It was all capped off with Mayfield rushing to the middle of the field and planting an Oklahoma flag right in the heart of the OSU logo. While the move rubbed some people the wrong way and Mayfield was forced to apologize, I loved it. The senior quarterback had just had a huge victory and was celebrating, in typical Baker Mayfield fashion. The veteran quarterback is not only one of the best players in the sport, his confidence and charisma exemplify some of the things that are the best in sports.

Saquon Barkley Hurdling Iowa

Fourth-ranked Penn State began their conference play on the road against Iowa, a tall task for anyone. While the Hawkeyes don't have the talent or stars Penn State possesses, going on the road in Iowa City is always difficult. The Hawkeyes gave the Nittany Lions a very tough game, and nearly had it won before a last-minute drive by Trace McSorley and PSU. Beating Iowa not only kept Penn State's Playoff hopes alive for the time being, it began to show the college football world just how good PSU running back Saquon Barkley was. Barkley ran for 211 yards and recorded 94 receiving yards and also provided us with some highlight-reel plays, including a hurdle over Iowa defender Joshua Jackson that produced one of the coolest GIFS you'll ever see. Barkley became a Heisman favorite following the win, but struggles later on dropped him out of the race for the sport's most prestigious award. Yet, his play against a good Iowa team on primetime TV on the road was an absolute thrill to watch, and gave us a good indication of what Barkley may soon be doing on Sundays.

Syracuse Stuns Clemson

For the first half of the 2017 season, Clemson looked primed to have a good shot at repeating as National Champions, prior to a Thursday night clash with Syracuse. Not much was thought of Syracuse's chances to win at home, but the Orange came out and outplayed the ACC favorite. Junior quarterback Eric Dungey threw for 278 yards and guided 'Cuse to a thrilling victory (which was helped by Clemson losing QB Kelly Bryant to a concussion). Clemson did end up recovering, winning out and earning the No. 1 seed in the Playoff race, and the Orange were unable to keep the momentum going, as they fell back towards the bottom of the ACC. Even so, watching the fans storm the field and head coach Dino Babers embrace his winning QB (right) was awesome, and again, is one of the things that make college sports so great.

Iowa State Beats Another Top 5 Team

Iowa State has long been a punching bag in the Big 12 over the years, and while second-year coach Matt Campbell looked like he was ready to turn things around in Ames, the Cyclones still were picked eighth or ninth in the preseason by most. However, despite losing their starting QB (Jacob Park) early on in the season, Iowa State proved to be one of the country's biggest surprises. Walk-on Kyle Kempt played masterful and out-dueled Baker Mayfield in a huge upset on the road, then a few weeks later, once again guided Iowa State to a Top 5 victory, overcoming TCU, who at that point was the Big 12 favorite. It was great to see a program that had endured some tough times over the past few seasons have the type of success they did, and even better considering they were led by a walk-on, and veteran Joel Lanning, who starred at both QB and linebacker. The Cyclones were unable to play their way into the Big 12 Championship Game, but finishing at 7-5 was still a major improvement after going 3-9 in Campbell's first year on campus.

The Turnover Chain

I don't think there was a cooler tradition in college football this season than the "Turnover Chain" broken out by Miami. The gold, shiny "U" chain was brought out every time a Hurricanes player forced a turnover, which happened aplenty as Miami jumped out to a 10-0 start on the year. It was great to see Miami, of course one of the sport's storied programs, be dominant once more and even cooler to see them doing it with their version of "swagger". The 'Canes were unable to beat Clemson in the ACC Championship, and won't be playing in the Playoff just yet, but the 2017 season really saw them return to prominence, as they won the Coastal Division for the first time since they moved to the ACC a decade ago, and got the fans the most excited they've been in a long time.

The Iron Bowl

No matter how good Auburn or Alabama is playing, their annual rivalry in the Iron Bowl has big implications for the people of Alabama. The rivalry is always heated and usually has major implications when it comes to the SEC West, which was certainly the case in 2017. The winner would not only win the division, they would put themselves in prime position to earn a Playoff berth. Undefeated Alabama didn't play poorly, they were simply outplayed by Auburn who looked confident en route to their second win over a No. 1 team of the season. Auburn did eventually lose to Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, but the victory still represented a major power shift in the SEC West, and showed that Alabama, who had ruled the SEC with an iron fist the last few years, wasn't exactly invincible.

Other Cool Moments

  • Ohio State and Penn State in the rematch of their 2016 thriller
  • UCF going undefeated two years after going 0-12 (and their classy send-off to head coach Scott Frost)
  • Florida QB Feliepe Franks' Hail Mary to stun Tennessee
  • Breakout stars like Stanford's Bryce Love, San Diego State's Rashaad Penny, UCF's McKenzie Milton and Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor

No comments:

Theme images by LUGO. Powered by Blogger.