Victories big and small: Celebrating college football’s 2020 success stories

    Bill Connelly is a staff writer for ESPN.com.

It’s OK to admit it: The 2020 college football season has been frustrating and exhausting. We began the campaign with the sport’s leaders proving they aren’t capable of working in unison even during the nation’s worst health crisis in a century. We watched as a bunch of stars either opted out or battled through injury-plagued seasons. Of late, we’ve also gotten to watch as well-paid adults who should absolutely know better lost their discipline and turned COVID-19 issues into rivalry smack and, in essence, questions of effort.

We’re all tired — coaches and players most of all. The extra layers of effort they’ve had to go through to create as much normalcy as possible have been exhausting in themselves, with constant COVID testing, cancellations and postponements all taking an emotional toll.

As the regular season approaches its conclusion, we should take the time to applaud some of the season’s happier stories. We saw quite a few of them this past weekend.

BYU-Coastal was everything we could have hoped for

So many of us still enjoy waxing poetic about the 2007 season, one of the zaniest thrill rides in the sport’s history.

Upsets were a huge part of that thrill — Appalachian State over Michigan, Stanford over USC, Illinois over Ohio State, etc. But so was the unexpectedly joyous anticipation for games that wouldn’t normally cause much of a ripple. Missouri-Kansas stands out, of course, but ESPN College GameDay also visited Lexington for a top-10 Kentucky, and USF, Boston College, Arizona State, Missouri, Kansas and West Virginia all spent time in the BCS top five.

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