10 things I am overreacting to after Week 1
Was your TV broken? Were you working late Thursday? Did your satellite go in and out Saturday, you know, a lot like LSU’s offense and Kentucky’s defense?
Here are 10 things I am absolutely overreacting to after watching 13 SEC teams in Week 1.
1. Jalen Hurts is the SEC’s next Heisman winner: Not this year, but pencil him in as the favorite in 2017. Nick Saban has never had a quarterback who was the offense’s best player. He potentially does now. He still might stubbornly play the experience card, but there’s zero question Hurts brings an unmatched electricity to the huddle. He’s Alabama’s Deshaun Watson.
I picked Alabama to finish third in the West (10-2, 6-2) solely because I was convinced Saban was going to ride with Blake Barnett. If Hurts becomes QB1 — as he should — I don’t see how Alabama loses.
Nick realizes we'll still think he's a great coach if he wins BECAUSE of his QB, right?
— Chris Wright (@FilmRoomEditor) September 4, 2016
What makes him/them so dangerous is you can’t just close your eyes and go after him because he has the speed to break containment … and Alabama has 5-stars everywhere. O.J. Howard, ArDarius Stewart, obviously Calvin Ridley. Linebackers and defensive backs have to pay attention to those guys.
2. LSU would have an easier time installing the Triple Option: Les Miles promised tweaks. I saw a ton of Power I dives and tosses into an 8-man box. I kept checking the TV to make sure there wasn’t a “Previously Recorded” icon at the top of the screen.
3. Florida might start kicking on second down: Why risk a turnover? Get inside the 40 and let YouTube/kicking sensation Eddy Pineiro do his thing. In a week where so many SEC kickers struggled, Pineiro single-leggedly beat UMass 9-7.
4. Texas A&M is a serious threat: As much as I talked about the Aggies’ skill all preseason, I talked myself out of picking them to win the West. The defense is so legit and the offense, already good, will only get better. Timing offenses like theirs usually improve. The more reps, the better the results. The schedule sets up nicely, too. Tennessee is in serious trouble when it visits College Station on Oct. 8.
5. Vanderbilt … and the forward pass: What are y’all doing? Every time I think about Derek Mason and Vandy’s offense, I’m reminded of the time Tim McCarver walked to the mound to talk to Bob Gibson. Before McCarver could manage a word, Gibson told him: The only thing you know about pitching is you can’t hit it.
Kind of how I feel about Mason and whatever offense they’re trying to run. The only thing he seems to know about offense is how to stop it.
Until Paul Johnson becomes an SEC coach, there’s no way an SEC offense should be held to 73 or fewer yards passing in four of six games.
6. Auburn’s QBs are exactly who we thought they were: 15-of-30, 175 yards and 2 interceptions. You either adjust to what you have, upgrade what you have … or put your house on the market.
7. Speaking of which …: There were two “if not now, when” teams this season. LSU and Tennessee. I picked both to win their respective divisions. If Georgia can get rid of Mark Richt, nobody but Nick’s job is safe in this conference. (Did you see what Miami did yesterday, by the way? You could say “it was only Florida A&M,” but it was only “Southern Miss,” “Appalachian State,” “South Alabama” and “La. Tech.”)
I don’t even think I overreacted Thursday when I tweeted that Butch Jones’ seat was hot enough that Ruth’s Chris could serve their famed porterhouses on it. LSU lost, but Tennessee turned in the most disappointing performance in Week 1. When Appalachian State upset No. 5 Michigan in 2007, the Wolverines spiraled into a 9-4 free-fall that cost Lloyd Carr his job.
This Battle of Bristol game will be fascinating. If the Vols turn in another dud and Jones doesn’t beat Florida, he might not finish the season.
8. #FireLes: There were so many angry Tigers fans that one hashtag wasn’t enough. Some included #FireLesMiles just to be sure LSU’s AD saw it. I like Les a lot more than I like his offense. How about #FirethefootballLes.
9. Alabama’s defense is better than last year’s: And last year’s, you might recall, was pretty good. Alabama’s defense beat USC last night 7-6. Let’s go ahead say nobody scores 30 on the Tide this year.
10. The SEC is still better than your league: I had fun with a Power Rankings tweet …
SEC power rankings: 1 Alabama. 2. App State, 3. S. Alabama … Relax. The SEC varsity starts its season in a few minutes.
— Chris Wright (@FilmRoomEditor) September 3, 2016
… but the fact is it’s tough out there. Auburn pushed No. 2 Clemson. No. 3 Oklahoma lost. No. 8 Stanford looked no more impressive than Tennessee. No. 12 Michigan State struggled with Furman. No. 13 TCU still can’t stop anybody (well, maybe Vandy.)
Thank goodness Alabama hasn’t had enough and decided to form its own league.
Chris Wright is Executive Editor at SaturdayDownSouth.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.