10 things I'm absolutely overreacting to after a wild Week 12 in the SEC
Expand the Playoff?
How about we disband the Playoff?
The “top” 4 teams in the country won Saturday by a combined 26 points. TCU and Michigan needed last-second field goals to survive. Ohio State led Maryland by 3 with 50 seconds left before adding 10 points to turn the scoreboard into a liar.
The No. 5 team everybody wanted at No. 4? They lost … by 25 … to an unranked team.
USC (the West Coast one), dismissed by many as a fraud after a 1-point road loss vs. a top-20 team … is back in the Playoff hunt, baby.
College football got turned upside down Saturday, and that’s just part of the 10 things I’m absolutely overreacting to after a wild Week 12 in and around the SEC.
10. Oh, no, Tennessee …
Good news, Vols fans. You can finally stop talking about the Georgia game.
The Bulldogs didn’t knock you out of the College Football Playoff.
Spencer Rattler did. Imagine that. Rattler entered Week 12 with more interceptions than touchdowns and all he did was set a South Carolina record with 6 TD passes.
South Carolina was a 3-touchdown underdog — and ended up winning by more than that.
We watch every snap every week and I couldn’t have predicted this outcome if you gave me 100 scenarios.
9. College kickers!
Bury the hashtag. Overreactions will accept no slander after Jake Moody and Griffin Kell delivered Playoff-saving, game-winning kicks within minutes of each other to rescue Michigan and TCU, respectively.
THE KICK IS GOOD!!!
Michigan improves to 11-0 heading into Columbus next week?
— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 19, 2022
TCU BEATS THE BUZZER TO KEEP THEIR UNDEFEATED SEASON ALIVE!!!
— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 19, 2022
8. However, are we really doing this Ohio State, Michigan thing again?
I’ve had Michigan and Ohio State in my top 4 most of the season, but not every week. My rankings are in real-time, with the expectation that whoever loses The Game would be eliminated from the Playoff race.
That game is next Saturday — and you’re going to hear, read and see for the next 144 hours that the loser deserves the 4th and final spot no matter happens in Columbus, Ohio or anywhere elsewhere in America during Rivalry Week.
Even after Michigan needed 4 field goals from Moody — including a last-second field goal to escape with a 2-point win at home against an average Illinois team.
The notion that the B1G deserves half of the Playoff field was ridiculous before Saturday, but it’s absolutely ludicrous now. Alas, it’s also completely on brand for a league that tried to sell you on Legends and Leaders as division names.
The B1G lives in an alternate universe — but the reality is, somebody will have 1 loss and neither has a résumé to survive it if Tennessee, USC (and, potentially, TCU) also finish with 1 loss.
If Ohio State loses, what is its Playoff argument, exactly? Ohio State’s best win is vs. Penn State. Its best nonconference win happened in Week 1, at home, when it outlasted a Notre Dame team that also lost to Marshall the next weekend. Beating Notre Dame in Week 11 would have been much more impressive in Week 1 against a new regime, led by a first-time head coach in his first game. Hysterically, some are noting how that Notre Dame win looks better every week. No it doesn’t. It just shows how much tougher that game would have been later in the season.
If Michigan loses, it honestly has no Playoff case. Especially after Saturday. Its best win also is against Penn State and the nonconference schedule was straight out of Indiana’s “let’s get halfway to bowl eligibility” playbook. Colorado, Hawaii and UConn combined to win 10 games entering Week 12.
My advice? Ignore the noise. The B1G has no chance to send 2 teams to the Playoff.
7. Hug a Tennessee fan, a’ight?
Could Tennessee fans have had a worse day?
Four hours before its kickoff, you could almost hear Rocky Top blaring as Vols fans no doubt were celebrating Baylor’s late lead against TCU.
In theory, before toe met leather in Williams-Brice Stadium later Saturday night, all No. 5 Tennessee needed was 1 TCU loss to clear its Playoff path … and for most of Saturday, it looked like they were going to get their Playoff wish.
TCU trailed for most of the game. The Horned Frogs’ only lead for the first 59 minutes and 59 seconds lasted all of 6 minutes.
TCU trailed 28-26 with 2:07 left.
One first down is all Baylor needed to essentially pave Tennessee’s Playoff path. (Or so we thought in real-time).
Instead, the Bears went 3-and-out.
TCU took over at its 31 with 90 seconds left and no timeouts. The Horned Frogs, who drove 90 yards on their previous possession to a TD, drove 45 yards to get in field-goal range. But without timeouts, they had to rush the Kell and the kicking unit onto the field.
#Collegekicker was born out of situations exactly like this.
Not this time.
Chin up, Vols.
You finally beat Alabama … and it could always be worse. You could be Texas A&M.
6. No, LSU, you do not have a Playoff path, unless …
… The Tigers somehow dominate Georgia in the SEC title game.
Unless TCU loses and USC loses again, anything short of a double-digit beatdown shouldn’t be enough to overcome 2 losses — including an unforgivable one at home to Tennessee.
That wasn’t an ordinary loss. Tennessee won by 27 in Death Valley on a day Jayden Daniels threw for 300 yards. The Vols were up 31 heading into the 4th quarter before calling off Smokey and his hounds.
All of this is moot, anyway. Georgia is going to clobber LSU in the SEC title game.
But just know that, if LSU somehow pulls off a miracle, while conference titles are impressive, they aren’t an automatic Playoff ticket.
Remember 2016? Penn State beat Ohio State and won the Big Ten championship. But the Lions also had 2 losses — including a 39-point blowout loss at Michigan. The committee instead invited 1-loss Ohio State to the Playoff.
So, to recap: Penn State won the head-to-head with Ohio State and won the B1G title … but Ohio State still went to the Playoff.
It’s an uphill climb for LSU.
5. 5 notable numbers
79: That’s how many career TD passes Will Rogers has thrown after tossing 5 in Mississippi State’s easy win Saturday. Rogers is now tied with Andre Woodson for 9th all-time on the SEC list. Eli Manning (81) and Tua Tagovailoa (87) are within reach with the Egg Bowl and bowl game remaining. Everything sets up perfectly for Rogers to eventually break Aaron Murray’s SEC record of 121 next season.
63: That’s how many points Tennessee allowed to unranked South Carolina. According to ESPN, that’s the most a top-5 team has allowed to an unranked team in the history of the AP poll.
502: That’s how many total yards USC QB Caleb Williams had against rival UCLA — the most in series history.
42: That’s how many passes Anthony Richardson threw Saturday — against Vanderbilt, without 3 of his top 4 receivers. He only ran it 4 times — a season-low vs. FBS programs.
849: That’s Mississippi State’s rushing total this season. Might not sound like much — and, in fairness, the Bulldogs are last in the SEC in rushing by a wide margin — but it represents the most in the Mike Leach era.
4. The 4 Playoff teams are …
You’re kidding, right?
Actually, chaos is awesome.
1. Georgia, 2. TCU, 3. Ohio State, 4. USC.
The Dawgs looked bored, not bad, at Kentucky. So why keep Georgia at No. 1 and drop Michigan to No. 5 behind TCU and USC after the Dawgs and Wolverines scored exactly 1 TD in narrow wins?
Simple: Georgia has proven it’s a big-game hunter. Michigan hasn’t proven it can complete a pass and now might be without Blake Corum, its best offensive player.
Do I expect the committee to make that switch? No. They’ll probably keep the top 4 the same, but the margin between Michigan-TCU-USC is razor thin.
I’ve liked the Trojans from the jump, simply because they have the best QB-WR combo in the country. Caleb Williams cemented himself as the Heisman favorite after Saturday’s epic performance against UCLA.
Clemson’s Playoff bid took another hit when UNC suffered its 2nd loss, dulling the Tigers-Tar Heels’ ACC title game clash in 2 weeks.
3. Trouble in Gainesville …
Everybody keeps insisting that Anthony Richardson has to return to Florida next season.
My question: Why?
The Gators just wasted another big day — a day in which when receivers weren’t dropping passes, they were tipping balls into Vandy’s hands.
Credit Vanderbilt for the complete buy-in and save the excuses about first-year this, first-year that, Dan Mullen left us nothing, injuries, etc.
But that was a disastrous outcome for Florida and the latest sign that maybe, just maybe, Billy Napier might be in over his head.
2. Meanwhile, there literally were 12 left in the stands in College Station …
They announced 90,000 at kickoff.
The weather was miserable … and the Aggies weren’t any better.
Fans are apparently celebrating Texas A&M’s track team in the Kyle Field stands: pic.twitter.com/3OCzYvyNT6
— Brent Zwerneman ? (@BrentZwerneman) November 19, 2022
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom.
1. Congratulations to Texas A&M … heck of a win
Say what you want about Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies, but they saved the SEC on Saturday with an utterly gutty performance against a UMass outfit that, by sheer osmosis, had to have learned a thing or two over the years from Bill Belichick.
Scoring 17 consecutive points to break open a 3-3 rock fight? Overcoming 3 lost fumbles? Incredible fortitude, Aggies!
What did you say? Only 1 opponent scored fewer points on the 1-10 Minutemen than Fisher’s 5-star parade?
Bygones. A win’s a win!
I wonder if they’ll give Fisher a trophy for that victory, too.