courtesy of Universal Pictures
As the fifth week of college football approaches, most fans should be brimming with anticipation. The pain, at this point in the season, should be minimal.
Unfortunately, the football gods had other plans. They wreaked havoc as early as the first week of the season. And they continue to inflict pain on our comrades in despair.
These fans are on a teeter totter from hell. They are the tired, the fed up, the resigned.
The season they had conjured up in their minds was probably nothing more than smoke and mirrors. A train wreck that takes three months to stop.
There is still hope. But 2017, for many college football fan bases, is looking like an exercise in futility and not for the faint of heart.
Squeamish Factor 9.5: Tennessee (bordering on Train Wreck)
The only reason why Tennessee has one loss instead of two is because Georgia Tech attempted a two-point conversion in a second overtime and failed. The Volunteers escaped with a 42-41 victory.
Stop if you've heard this before: Tennessee shot itself in the foot after several miscues and questionable play calling at Florida. The Vols lost 26-20 and then struggled to beat Massachusetts the following week 17-13.
Raise your hand if "escaped" and "miscues" are permanently interwoven in your vocabulary when describing Tennessee football.
Squeamish Factor 9: UCLA
After coming from behind to beat the SEC West's Texas A&M, the Bruins were everyone's darling. While the Aggies struggled to beat Nicholls and Louisiana (Lafayette), UCLA said, "here, hold my beer" and lost to Memphis.
The Bruins lost their tenth straight to Stanford, a team that was led by its second and third-string quarterbacks. But the humiliation was not over. San Diego State beat Stanford the following week.
Head coach Jim Mora's buyout is $11 million if he is fired by the end of the season. UCLA cannot afford to pay that plus hire a new coach (and his assistants) for at least $4 million per year.
This weekend UCLA (-6.5) plays Colorado.
No pressure, Jim. None at all.
Squeamish Factor 8: Texas A&M (tie)
Is anyone's hot seat hotter than head coach Kevin Sumlin's? The Aggies are 3-1 but their victories did not come without struggles. Their loss to UCLA was historic—they gave up 35 unanswered points in one half.
Texas A&M has looked average, at best.
In fact, the SEC West looks average. The conference has become Alabama and the six dwarves. Even in a mediocre year, nobody has stepped up and challenged Alabama.
Nick Saban is king. And y'all can eat cake.
Squeamish Factor 8: Nebraska (tie)
Things are not going well in Corntopia. The Cornhuskers lost to Northern Illinois 21-17. The famed Black Shirts also gave up 36 points to Arkansas State and 42 to the Oregon Ducks. The school's athletic director was fired.
Granted, this team is very inexperienced, but all of a sudden a Friday night date at Illinois looks, well... scary.
Head coach Mike Riley is a swell guy. His likability is off the charts. But right now, Lincoln is at DEFCORN 2.5.
Squeamish Factor 7: Ole Miss
There is a lot of stuff going on in Oxford, Mississippi. Unfortunately, too much of it involves the NCAA. Hugh Freeze resigned as head coach in mid-July due to personal misconduct. The NCAA's investigation on the school's potential Level 1 violations has yet to render a decision.
The Rebels opened up the season with South Alabama and UT Martin, but allowed them to score 27 and 23 points, respectively.
The Rebels traveled to Cal and lost 27-16. Next up on the slate is a date at Alabama.
Ole Miss in a nutshell: Beat Alabama, win the SEC West but sit out the conference championship and Sugar Bowl due to a one year, self-imposed ban on postseason play.
Squeamish Factor 6: Arizona State
The Sun Devils have no defense. To recap, Arizona State beat New Mexico State 37-31 and Oregon 37-35 but lost to San Diego State 30-20 and Texas Tech 52-45.
Shootouts are fun, but only if you are the last guy standing.
Squeamish Factor 5: Florida State
The Seminoles have only played two games. Hurricane Irma caused the cancellation/postponement of two of their September games.
Florida State did not play well in is 24-7 loss to Alabama—it also lost starting quarterback Deondre Francois to a season-ending knee injury.
The 27-21 loss to NC State was enough to induce nausea.
Squeamish Factor 4: Texas
The 51-41 shellacking by Maryland was not a great way to start off the Tom Herman era. The Longhorns did shutout San Jose State 56-0 but the double overtime loss to USC was gut wrenching.
Nobody expected miracles in Herman's first season... or did they?
Squeamish Factor 3: Auburn Tigers
The Tigers lost to Clemson, 14-6 and struggled to beat Mercer 24-10 the following week. You would think the pain factor would be higher but alas, the Iron Bowl awaits.
Mediocre season prior to Iron Bowl = medicine.
Beating Alabama in Iron Bowl= sugar.
Now everyone sing.
"Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. Medicine go down, medicine go down. Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down... in a most delightful way."
Squeamish Factor 2: BYU
Remember when BYU... nah, never mind.
Squeamish Factor 1: Baylor
We were expecting a rebuilding season. Major construction, if you will. Liberty and UTSA were supposed to be wins, were they not? The 0-2 start was dreadful.
The 34-20 loss to Duke was not entirely shocking. The 49-41 loss to Oklahoma was shocking—Baylor can overachieve.
Either the Bears are not as bad as we thought or they are playing mind games with us.
On the cusp of making the Squeamish Index:
Squeamish Games of the Week
Texas at Iowa State (Thursday night)
Arkansas vs New Mexico State
UCLA v Colorado
Nebraska at Illinois (Friday Night)
Alabama v Ole Miss
Florida State at Wake Forest