College football is a sublime experience for its chaos, and what that means for us in the here and now is that we’re all really confused. There is no sport better at making you throw out what you’d thought before and forcing your to re-evaluate your micro worldview.
Here at BTP Industries, we are not insane people—at least not all the time. We took the information we had on hand prior to the game on Saturday and we offered our best guesses about what would happen. We were all terribly wrong.
So was Vegas, which is a disinterested third-party only in this for the sake of making money. NC State was well-favored for a reason, and West Virginia about near hit the over on this game by itself. What do you do with that information? Dave talked this through this morning, and it’s hard to grasp.
I don’t know, but if I had to stress anything about what we just witnessed, it’s that the data is far from complete, on account of it’s mid-September. West Virginia and NC State are collectively a blender of inexperience and who knows, maybe the simplest and most obvious explanation—the team playing at home thrived because it was playing at home—is the proper answer to this weekend’s football-stuff that is necessary.
But the hell if that’s enough for any of us; we been here the whole time, and this was not the football team we saw last week. We’ve all been here a long time, and we have seen the hell out of some road mishaps. This was not entirely that. We know; we are ready with that diagnosis.
What we knew coming into this season was that there would be problems, because anytime you introduce a new starting quarterback, there’s gonna be problems. We also knew that NC State was going to have to work through a number of changes in some important starting spots.
What we got in the first two weeks was relief, perhaps instructive, but maybe not. State and its new quarterback had zero issues with Eastern Carolina and Western Carolina, and while those are both self-evidently terrible teams, there’s something to be said for taking care of business. Blowing out a couple of scrubtown outfits may seem a useless indicator, but down-to-down performance is instructive no matter who you’re playing.
All of which built up to a supposed decent road win at West Virginia on Saturday, which is where a substantial record-scratch happened. So now what?
Top on down, the performance sucked. The coaching was bad and the execution was worse and the defense, which I at least figured would hold everything steady while the offense dabbled in some extreme near-whoops, did not in fact hold anything steady.
You can cut this game any of 47 different ways, and I’m not going to disagree with you about the flaws you find, because there’s a lot of them.
And here we are now, with what we knew intellectually was an imperfect, rebuilding team that just let out a huge fart too soon in the relationship. The youth on the roster, the coaching turnover, all of that was going to matter eventually. You’d be fair in an assessment that this team is bad; you’d also be fair to counter that with the first two weeks.
We have a lot to figure out. This week we’re all going to be confused about it, and then when the Ball State game happens, we’ll feel better. That’s just how college football works.