Analysis: College football teams’ mid-season report cards

Photo courtesy of | Penn State running back Saquon Barkley has been dominating defenses all year. The Nittany Lions face a one-loss Ohio State this weekend in a game that may determine the winner of the Big Ten East division.

As the midpoint of the college football season comes and goes, there is a lot to talk about. Upsets, late-game heroics and Heisman-worthy performances have all been a part of this year’s college football campaign.

All of these factors set up a thrilling finish to the regular and post-season but now seems like an appropriate time to gauge where things are at compared to where they were at the start of the season.

Let’s all become business majors for a few minutes and see how some stocks are moving.

Stock Up

Notre Dame: After an early-season loss to Georgia, Irish fans and those across college football were expecting another disappointing 3-4 loss season for the team. Since that loss, however, the Irish have been rolling. In its last five games, Notre Dame has won all five by at least three or more touchdowns. Its most emphatic win came this past weekend against rival USC, beating the 10th-ranked Trojans 49-14. If the Irish want to have a shot at making the Playoff, they’ll need to win out down the stretch as well as receive some help from teams above them losing.

Penn State: Despite one close game at Iowa, the Nittany Lions have been nothing but dominant all season long. Heisman frontrunner Saquon Barkley has been running all over on teams and is a key reason why the team’s stock continues to rise.
If Penn State wants its stock to keep climbing and wants a chance at a Big Ten title, it will need to beat a tough Ohio State team this weekend in Columbus.

Army: For just the second time in the last 30 years, Army is bowl eligible in back-to-back seasons. The 6-2 Black Knights defeated Temple this past weekend to secure another bowl berth for head coach Jeff Monken. Since Monken’s arrival in 2014, Army has a win over Navy and two bowl berths.

Stock Down

USC: At the start of the season, USC was the trendy pick for the College Football Playoff (CFP), but in a span of just four weeks, the team’s hopes for a CFP appearance has vanished. Poor performances by quarterback Sam Darnold and the Trojan defense have left the team in shambles after losses against Washington State and Notre Dame. A season that was filled with so much hope and optimism has now become one of questions and adversity. The Trojans look to win out and make a respectable bowl game.
Tennessee and Butch Jones: It wouldn’t be a true college football season if Tennessee wasn’t overhyped to begin the year, right? Since Butch Jones’ arrival as head coach in 2013, the Volunteers have not won more than 10 games or competed for an SEC title. This season the Vols are 3-4 with zero wins in conference play. This has the Tennessee fan base more than angry, calling for the firing of Jones.

Targeting Penalties: It’s almost hard to believe that the stock of targeting penalties could go even lower than what it was to begin the season, but unfortunately, it has.
The NCAA still does not have a clear definition of the call, and its inconveniencing everyone. Players are getting tossed out of games for calls that the referees don’t even understand themselves. Hopefully, by next season, some changes are made.

Regardless of where your teams stock is at, the conclusion of the college football season should be as exciting and unpredictable as it has ever been.

By: Colin Cooper ~Staff Writer~