Many things in life can start to feel inevitable, like you never really had much say in how you wound up there. The career you find yourself in can feel like the inevitable result of whatever you got into in your 20s just to pay the bills, the cities and towns you live in can feel like the result of where you found those jobs, even the people you marry can, at some point, feel like it was always supposed to end up this way.
That’s not the case, of course. There are a million small choices and bounces along the way that got you where you are. Things only feel inevitable. For college football this week, it can feel much the same. Alabama crushed Tennessee, Clemson and Ohio State switched spots but stayed unbeaten, and with Washington, Michigan and Texas A&M off, very little appears to have changed at the top of the Power Rankings.
But look a little closer and you’ll realize what might have been.
Everyone who’s watched their share of college football knows that there’s always guaranteed to be a weekend that comes along and throws everything we think we know in the trash. This weekend was not it, but if there was someone under center for Wisconsin a bit more experienced than redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook, someone who realizes a sack is just as bad as an interception on 4th down in overtime, maybe it is.
This week we’ve added Colorado, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Iowa into the Power Rankings, and all of them probably feel like they’re in command of their own destiny after notching impressive conference wins. We say goodbye to Penn State, Western Michigan, Wake Forest, and Georgia, but know that in another universe, at another time, Wake climbs all the way to the top.
So take a look around at where you are. Did you consciously take every step that got you there? Or did somebody else nudge you in one direction or another? At the end of this season we may very well end up with a Playoff quartet that surprises nobody. But you can sure as hell bet that for all of those teams, they got a little help along the way.
Except Alabama, of course. Like the inevitable explosion of the sun, Alabama will come for us all.