The stock market of college football


This college football season has been all over the place. Starting with just the Big 12 and ACC in action during week one, then picking up the SEC two weeks later. Flash forward to almost a month later and the Big Ten starts back up after commissioner Kevin Warren officially announced football will return. Unfortunately, for people living on the west coast, the Pac-12 had to wait two more weeks after the Big Ten returned to start playing.

This season has been a rollercoaster as teams all over the country have had huge improvements from a year ago. Teams like BYU and Indiana have seen this very early on and have contained their hot streaks. On the other hand, the two biggest teams in Michigan are seeing major struggles. And as for the MAC, Western, Eastern, and Central Michigan have only had one week this year to play.

Many unexpected teams have stepped up their game this year. A lot of surprises have led to very random teams to jump into the rankings and continue a climb to the top. Let’s take a look at teams to buy, sell, and wait this season.

Northwestern Wildcats:

Starting off this list is the newest ranked Big 10 team, The Northwestern Wildcats. 2018 was a break out year for the Wildcats after they started the season struggling with a 1-3 record, losing to a mediocre team like Akron. They would finish with a 10-4 record winning the Big 10 west and winning the Holiday Bowl over Utah. 2019 was not a good year for Wildcats as they fell to 3-9 after having major quarterback troubles.

The offseason would be vital as a former 3-year starting quarterback for Indiana, Peyton Ramsey transferred in to fix the offensive issues. The Wildcats would also hire former Boston Colleges Offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian to replace long-time atrocious play-caller, Mike McCall.

In week one, Northwestern would go on to stomp Maryland and completely shut down an offense that has former Alabama quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa taking the reigns. Taulia would throw three picks in the game and barely move down the field as the Wildcat’s defense contained its long reign of being one of the top defenses in the Big 10. NU would win this game 43-3 and would follow up that win with another big game coming back from 17 down to beat Iowa on the road. Statistically, Kinnick Stadium (Iowa’s stadium) is one of the hardest places to go into and win. The following week, the Wildcats faced Nebraska, and 7 out of the last 9 games between these two have finished within 7 points. The Wildcats would finish the Cornhuskers off in the fourth quarter with a big pick by Chris Bergin.

The Wildcats are now 3-0 on the season and come in at number 23 on the A.P. poll.  As of right now, NU is on pace to win another Big 10 west Title. Look out for these Cats as the defense is ranked as one of the top Ds in the nation. The verdict, for now, is to wait because they have not played a ranked opponent yet this season. They do have a matchup with Purdue this week, and these two teams are leading the west. Follow that game up with number 13 Wisconsin, who has been off for the last 2 weeks due to Covid-19. If Northwestern beats these two teams, the verdict would be to buy because they will likely land a very good bowl game.

University of Southern California Trojans:

The Trojans did finish 8-5 last season and looked to be a team on the rise in 2020. I really do not see that happening this year. Although they had won their first matchup with Arizona State, I don’t see them going very far. The Pac-12 will not be strong this year, as only two teams are ranked in that conference (Oregon and USC).

The game versus Arizona State did show a good offense with returning starting quarterback Kedon Slovis leading the way; however, they only won that game by 1 point. The receiving core is very good with high recruits such as Amon-Ra St. Brown, Tyler Vaughns, and Bru McCoy. This team is very very young and needs a year to progress under coach Clay Helton. The verdict, for now, is to sell but it is very early to tell.

Brigham Young Cougars:

Wow. Just wow.

Anyone who had money on BYU winning a national championship going into the season may get a big payout. BYU is 8-0 and is now the number 8 team in the nation and very close to jumping into the top 4. The Top 4 remains Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Clemson, but these 4 teams have very difficult competitions ahead of them while BYU does not. The 3 other teams ahead of them are Texas A&M, Florida, and Cincinnati. Cincinnati has the easiest remaining schedule out of all the seven teams just listed ahead of BYU, but what we see with many nonpower five teams that make it to the top of the rankings is a hard loss at the end of the season that opens up a path for another nonpower five teams.

BYU is led by Heisman candidate Zach Wilson who has been on a monster run this season. The junior has thrown for 2511 yards, 21 touchdowns, and only 2 interceptions. His completion percentage is astonishing with a very productive 74.7% rate. He has been very efficient with the ball making the right plays when needed. The air attack has not been the only way to get touchdowns for Wilson. The run game has proven effective as he has run for 158 yards and 8 touchdowns on 50 carries.

The verdict is an easy buy as this team will either end up in a New Years Six Bowl or a potential Playoff game.

Oklahoma State Cowboys:

The Oklahoma State Cowboys were my early favorite to win a struggling Big 12. They remain at the top of the conference with a 5-1 record. They have definitely shown us that the Big 12 can play defense which has been a running joke the past few years as the Big 12 is statically one of the worst conferences in football at defense.

The Cowboy’s defense allowed an average of 27 points per game to opponents last season. That is not good for any team trying to contend for a playoff spot and head coach Mike Gundy knew something had to be done. In the 6 games, they have played this year, they are only giving up an average of 17 points to opponents. This is one of the lowest amounts a Big 12 defense has seen in years.

You think that fixing the defense would make them a top team in the nation, but it hasn’t. Oklahoma State has not returned the same production as they had a year ago. Chubba Hubbard, a top running back in the nation, has dropped vastly in yards and touchdowns after having 2094 yards on 328 carries, with 21 touchdowns on top of that. This year he has run for 581 yards on 125 carries with 5 touchdowns. Hubbard was a Heisman candidate coming into the season and is getting around 21 rushes per game. He should be doing more with the number of carries he’s getting this season.

On the other hand, Hubbard isn’t the only sore spot in a weakening Cowboys offense. Sophomore quarterback Spencer Sanders was predicted to have a breakout season this year after helping bolster a very stout freshman. He threw for 2065 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Obviously, 11 interceptions on 16 touchdowns are not near what you want as a QB but, as a true freshman, his is something you can work with. Gundy has been one of the better offensive coaches of the past decade and has produced some great QBs, so going into the season, critics were high on Sanders.

Going into week one, Oklahoma State had a matchup with Tulsa. Tulsa is a great team to play week one because they are closer to the bottom of division one football and usually do not perform well against power-five teams. Early in the game, Sanders would injure his ankle and that would make him miss the next 3 weeks.  He returned against Iowa State to throw for 235 yards on 20 completions for one touchdown and 2 interceptions. The stats have only been positive once this season for Sanders as he played a weak Texas defense which gave him plenty of room to do what he needs to do.

The verdict on OSU is to sell as the offense has let us down this season, but there is still a little time left for them to make a drastic change and make a playoff run before it’s too late.