Whenever I'm in a goofy mood, I tell people that my favorite sport is middle school football. People assume that this is because I am from Texas and have some kind of sick and twisted obsession with which kids are going to matriculate at a high school team I care about. This isn't true, and everyone knows the good schools in Texas do under-the-table deals to recruit kids from other districts anyway. I love middle school football because of its unpredictability: Anything could happen at any moment. The players barely know where they are, much less which direction they're supposed to run. The tackles are terrible, but so are the passes. Every play could be an interception or a fumble or a touchdown.
Ultimately, this is also why I love college football. Sure, I was raised on it, but the quality of play is in a perfect sweet spot for me: The players are old enough that the ethics of watching are only pretty bad instead of atrociously bad, and the play is just not good enough to be predictable. There are plays that can happen only due to sheer talent, but there are also plays that are the stupidest shit you've ever seen.
Thursday night, the beginning of Week 1, had two of these plays. The first occurred in South Carolina State-UCF. An important thing to note is that this play happened in the middle of the first quarter. It is fourth and NINETEEN. UCF is up by a touchdown. The need for a fake punt has never been lower. And yet, someone on the Bulldogs' sideline looked at their little iPad and chose danger.
What a thing of beauty. The ball is snapped to punter Dyson Roberts, a very normal thing to do. The punter runs toward the sideline. Is it a fake? He crosses the line of scrimmage. Will he make it? He's about 10 yards past where the ball was snapped when he sees a bunch of big defenders running toward him, and that's when he decides to ... punt the ball?
"If you're confused watching, so are we," the announcer said.
For context, last season against Jackson State, the Bulldogs ran this little fake fake punt, and Roberts darted over to the sideline just the same. He managed to kick the ball before crossing the line of scrimmage, and it bounced very close to the end zone. Had his own teammates been a little faster, it would have worked perfectly. Instead, it was a great punt that turned into a touchback.
In the first game of the season, why not try to recreate a potentially great opportunity from last year? Live a little! Dyson Roberts still has hope. Isn't that beautiful? What an angelic start to our weekend.
The other good play from last night was in Penn State-Purdue. The Penn State quarterback (whose name I will not be learning) attempts to throw the ball across the middle of the field to a receiver, but overshoots him by about 10 yards, putting the ball closer to three defenders than his own teammate. Purdue's Chris Jefferson intercepts the ball and runs it back 72 yards for a beautiful pick-six.
Theoretically, this is just a good play. But did you forget that this is Week 1 of college football? Poor Chris Jefferson, our pick-six angel, ran a little too hard. He got to the sideline and vomited.
Do not watch this video if you fear vomit:
That's a puke-six if I've ever seen one. The best part about college football is that by Saturday night, there will be 10 dumber plays than these two.