Red Zone Reflections: CFB Playoff thoughts and Heisman watch

College football usually lends itself to drama and excitement. On any given week upsets are bound to happen, changing the rankings and playoff picture instantly. Despite the inherent craziness that college football fans are used to, there is usually at least some predictability from week to week. In most CFB seasons, a pack of four to five teams usually emerges early and widens their gap of dominance as the season progresses. This is no such season; this college football season has been crazier than Texas Christian University’s game winning, fourth down, tipped by the receiver then caught by the running back, touchdown pass in the final half minute of the game against Texas Tech in week four.

2015 looked pretty special after Brigham Young University won its first two games on last second hail-mary plays, quickly jumping them from unranked irrelevancy to number 19 in the nation. But with the exception of those results, most games were consistently predictable through the first two weeks. Heavy favorites won convincingly, huge underdogs were blown out, and the top five stayed the same. Then week three happened. No. 2 (now No. 10) Alabama, one of the modern dynasties of the playoff era, lost at home to Ole Miss. The win jumped them all the way to No. 3 nationally for two weeks, until they got blown out at Florida and dropped back down to double digits. Ohio State, last year’s national champion who is still ranked first in the nation, was tested by a subpar-at-best Northern Illinois and No. 6 University of Southern California lost to unranked Stanford in the coliseum.

And week four didn’t give any more clarity. No. 3 TCU needed a last minute miracle to cap a game winning drive against in-state rival Texas Tech. Utah, now ranked 4th in the nation who was a complete unknown two years ago, put up the most points against Oregon in the history of Autzen stadium.

Even this past weekend left something to be desired. TCU once again won in the closing minutes after trailing all game to an unranked Kansas State. Michigan State, who entered the weekend ranked fourth, barely won against Rutgers, a not so big Big-12 opponent, and Utah would have lost were it not for Cal’s five interceptions and a final defensive stand in the red zone with 30 seconds remaining.

Now heading into week seven, it’s still anyone’s guess who might wind up in the CFB playoff. At this point, the only teams that look consistently dominant have been Utah and Baylor, both of which have the most difficult parts of their season remaining. Clemson has picked up steam, but has already won two games by just three points or less and still has to play Florida State. If Ohio State can stay undefeated they’ll wind up back in the playoffs, but they’ll have to beat a strong Michigan State team late in the season. Baylor still has to play TCU, a game that will decide the fate of both previously unbeaten teams, and the Pac-12 and SEC both are revolving doors, with new teams being considered the best every week.

Something that is much more certain this season is the Heisman race; a race that is all but over after the emergence of Leonard Fournette. A man among boys so far, Fournette has averaged over 200 rush yards per game through five contests and has single handedly won LSU games, keeping them unbeaten in one of the most competitive conferences in the nation. Of course Trevone Boykin and Zeke Elliot deserve at least a mention, but barring injury or some ridiculous falloff in production from Fournette, Boykin and Elliot may want to sit back and enjoy the show being put on in Baton Rouge.

At the halfway point of the regular season, the uncertainty we have seen can only do good things for college football. Each game is important for every team. With so many schools vying for a top spot and such a high chance of any of the top 10-15 teams having a legitimate shot at a top four spot and ticket to the College Football Playoff, the season will only get more interesting. The teams currently in the driver’s seat should not be nearly as comfortable as teams have been in past years at this time, and that’s just perfect. Buckle up because this year’s CFB season is only just beginning.