In today’s Fact or Fiction, I look at three big recent topics in college football and decide whether the statement is indeed FACT or if it’s FICTION.
1. The SEC could get three in the playoff.
Farrell’s take: FACT
It likely won’t happen but there are many what-if scenarios and a lot less parity in the conference than usual. Georgia, Tennessee, Ole Miss, and LSU could all cause a real problem if certain things happen (LSU winning the SEC title over Georgia is one) and we could see chaos. Clemson is done so the ACC is out and the PAC-12 is likely done as well despite USC, UCLA, and Oregon all with only one loss. The Big 12 is done too if TCU falters just once. So you have the Big Ten with either Ohio State or Michigan (I doubt both) and then three spots up for grabs. I’m telling you, it could happen.
2. Chase Brown is the most important player to his team.
Farrell’s take: FACT
I was watching the Ravens play Monday night and the talk of how much is asked of Lamar Jackson by his team came up. He’s the most important player to a franchise in the NFL. But in college who is that guy? It’s Illinois RB Chase Brown. Illinois is 7-2 based on a great team defense and Brown, who leads the country in rushing with 1,344 yards. Now look at every other team in the top 25 and find me one player more important to their team than Brown. Jayden Daniels at LSU who is their leading passer and rusher? A case can be made but the surrounding talent there is far more impressive than at Illinois and the same can be said for Bo Nix at Oregon. Drake Maye at UNC also has a case as does Blake Corum at Michigan but honestly, to me, it’s not close.
3. It’s time for a new start at Northwestern.
Farrell’s take: FICTION
This has been brought up to me because I had Pat Fitzgerald ranked so high among Big Ten head coaches heading into the year. The Wildcats have been a disaster since their week zero win over Nebraska and have lost eight straight games. And Fitzgerald appears to be coaching to avoid blowouts and not win games which isn’t great. And he’s 4-17 over the last two seasons which is rough. But let’s be real. Who the heck would be better? This is a hard job, one of the hardest in the country with academic restrictions, a lack of facilities and support for athletics, and a diminishing recruiting territory. This guy won 9 or more games five times and has won the Big Ten West twice when they have no business doing so. Watching Northwestern is painful, it’s not the fun it was in 2015, 2017 or 2018, but sometimes you have to accept you have the best you’re going to get. Fitzgerald bleeds Northwestern blood and he will have them respectable again but honestly, the days of Big Ten West titles are gone with the transfer portal and good enough is the approach here. And he’s good enough.