Phrased differently: You can't make people love you. You CAN make yourself a better person, such that more people naturally gravitate to you. This isn't seduction. This is self-improvement, focusing on what you can control. You can't control what -- or how -- other people think of you, but you can always develop yourself and reinforce positive thinking. Becoming more comfortable in your own skin is not something you work on primarily to gain the attention of other people -- the reward is how good you feel inside. Yet, when you feel good inside and it shows outside, the secondary benefit of such a reality is that, yes, a few other people might notice.
College football seasons are so much like the human quest to be noticed, to be seen, to be taken seriously and viewed as attractive. They are ESPECIALLY similar to the above construct at this very time of year, near the midpoint, when conference play is just three games old and most of the big battles still lie ahead.
Over the past 48 hours, a LOT of discussion has emerged surrounding the College Football Playoff, the odds of 12-0 Notre Dame getting in, and how likely it is that the Irish will go unbeaten against their remaining schedule.
This is what the industry does. This is how it works. If you have followed my college football writing for a long time (at least for two years), you know I frown upon playoff or Heisman talk before November. I take that stance precisely because seasons so frequently unfold the way this one has.
I spend my Sundays and Mondays in September and October trying to reinforce the same point: We don't yet know what makes teams tick. We don't yet have a strong feel for teams' identities. In this this column last year, I felt I had a firm grasp of Boise State, Houston and Michigan State.
It turned out that I was wrong.
The few times I insist that a September collection of results sharply defines a team's condition or identity, I often miss the mark. I wrote a few weeks ago here that Oklahoma State was headed for another successful season following OSU's thumping of Boise State.
Clearly, I jumped the gun with the Pokes, who have lost to Texas Tech and Iowa State at home in the following weeks. Boise State -- which I thought would be an excellent team this year -- looks terrible on offense. It scored 13 points at home against an injured San Diego State side this past weekend... and one of BSU's two touchdowns came on a drive start at the SDSU 4-yard line following a muffed punt by the Aztecs. The other touchdown came late in the fourth quarter when trailing 19-7. SDSU's defense basically allowed only one touchdown in a prevent-defense situation. That's how bad Boise State's offense was.
I am now tempted to write off Boise State for 2018, but I wrote off the Broncos in late September of last year, and that move was shortsighted and wrong.
Again, when I stick my neck out on teams and proclaim I know what they truly are at this point in a college football season, it often doesn't work out well.
Can we see why it doesn't make much sense to map out various playoff scenarios or establish likelihoods of Notre Dame winning various games?
The Irish themselves, as John Walters [@jdubs88 on Twitter] has noted, became an entirely different team after the change of quarterbacks from Brandon Wimbush to Ian Book. The Irish have looked good, no question, but the Stanford team they defeated looks like crap at the moment, and Virginia Tech has all sorts of roster limitations -- the Hokies, remember, lost to Old Dominion.
Don't chase the playoff scenarios. Don't chase the likelihood game. Can't we let another month of football play out before November? Then we will have a far better idea of what's in store for us on Selection Sunday in early December. Then we will have a much better feel for the tension points involved in the race for the fourth and final playoff seed, and maybe the third seed as well.
Until then, we have to find out what teams are truly made of.
Look at Week 7's upcoming games: Georgia-LSU, Wisconsin-Michigan, Washington-Oregon, Colorado-USC, Texas A&M-South Carolina, West Virginia-Iowa State.
With the possible exception of Georgia, all of those teams are mysteries right now. Given this early juncture in conference play, the battles not just for conference leverage and bowl placement, but for self-identity, are only beginning.
I'm with Jim Mora Sr.
Let's not talk about playoffs for another month.
We still have to find out how good teams are.
We don't need to chase down the playoff scenarios. The season can come to us. It will be there in early November.
We CAN wait. Moreover, we SHOULD... as is usually the case this time of year in college football.