- Bill Connelly is a staff writer for ESPN.com.
As the 2021 college football season approached, we were dreaming of chaos. Willing it to happen, even. Our pleas were heard.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, with six more ranked teams losing on Saturday, that makes 25 for the season, the most through four weeks in the history of the AP poll. Clemson couldn’t fix its offense in time to avoid an upset at NC State. Iowa State settled for too many field goals and lost to Baylor despite a big yardage advantage. North Carolina, which had seemingly rebounded after a Week 1 loss to Virginia Tech, got totally outclassed by Georgia Tech.
That doesn’t count the things that almost happened, either! No. 5 Iowa trailed Colorado State at halftime, No. 15 BYU seriously considered blowing a 22-point halftime lead against South Florida, No. 19 Michigan thought about blowing a 17-point halftime lead against Rutgers, and No. 20 Michigan State needed late special teams magic to avoid losing to Nebraska.
Oh yeah, and Minnesota lost as a 31-point favorite to Bowling Green.
I spelled out how a chaotic year might take shape in a late-August column; it was a fun piece to write, and a lot of it boiled down to “Everyone seems vulnerable, and every week has a few ‘What the HELL?’ results.” Through four weeks, we’ve had plenty of those.
Granted, it would help if Alabama and Georgia actually appeared a little vulnerable. But there are tests on the way for both the Dawgs and Crimson Tide. In fact, they host two potential chaos teams — unbeaten Arkansas and Ole Miss, respectively — this coming week.
Still, as we wait to see whether the top two teams are anywhere near as vulnerable as the other 128, let’s recap the month of September and take stock of what specifically has changed over the first four weeks. It’s been a lot.
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