10 things I'm absolutely overreacting to after Rivalry Week
That was fun.
Unless you like defense. Or hate an overtime or seven.
I’m here for all the points, and I don’t mind if the defense scores a few, too.
Here are 10 things I’m absolutely overreacting to after a wild, Playoff-altering Week 13 in and around the SEC.
10. There are not 4 better teams than Oklahoma
I don’t even know if there are 2 better teams than Oklahoma.
What I do know is every analyst with a connection to another conference keeps bringing the hammer on Oklahoma’s defense, just absolutely dismissing the fact that nobody can stop Oklahoma’s offense because of the tired “Big 12 doesn’t play any defense.”
Here’s the problem with that: Oklahoma hung 48 on Georgia last year, remember?
Care to guess how many times Kirby Smart’s defenses have given up 48 since he arrived in Athens?
Once. To Oklahoma.
Nobody stops Oklahoma. You have to outscore them. (Oh, and guess what: Oklahoma’s defense scored twice Friday night!) An Alabama vs. Oklahoma shootout might be the most fun game in college football history.
Don’t deny me, sorry, us, that pleasure, Playoff folks.
— David Pollack (@davidpollack47) November 24, 2018
9. That was not how I wanted to see UCF’s hopes end
McKenzie Milton deserved better than to potentially have his career end with a hit to his right leg. (It wasn’t a cheap shot, by the way. It was a hard tackle.)
I wrote earlier in the week that UCF isn’t built like a Playoff team. They aren’t. Ole Miss has more future NFL players than UCF. That’s not opinion. That’s fact. But please don’t think for one second I was happy to see something like this happen.
This game can be so cruel, so unforgiving, and Friday in Tampa, we got another reminder.
I think everybody had the same reaction: Damn.
Man I hate injuries 🤦🏾♂️ Prayers up for McKenzie Milton 🙏🏾 Guy is a straight baller 💯
— ⭐️Deshaun Davis⭐ (@_Davis_Boy12) November 23, 2018
8. Mike Leach, I miss you already
Washington State was a Playoff long shot even if it had finished 12-1 with a Pac-12 conference championship.
But the Cougars’ loss Friday night made it official. The Pac-12 is out.
That’s too bad because now Washington State will end up in a bowl SEC fans don’t watch, which means Mike Leach will say things that we will miss.
There’s no more entertaining coach in college football. Or any football.
7. Will Grier, I miss you already
If it isn’t obvious already, I spend more time watching quarterbacks than anybody else on the field.
And over the past 4 years, there isn’t a quarterback I’ve enjoyed watching more than the ultimate gunslinger, Will Grier, who capped his final home game by throwing for a career-high 539 yards — and 4 TDs without a pick — against Oklahoma. (Yeah, he fumbled twice and both were returned for touchdowns. Whatever. I’ll live with it.)
That was Grier’s 10th 300-yard game this season, his 19th since being forced to leave Florida and resettle in the mountains of West Virginia.
He’s got a little Baker in him, a little Tua in him. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any more Gator in him.
I scream every time somebody brings up Florida’s QB drought since Tim Tebow.
No! Florida had its franchise quarterback! Florida solved its quarterback quandary! There might very well be another statue on the way!
Treon Harris? Really? You honestly thought Treon Harris was better? McElwain, you’re such a stubborn idiot.
6. 7 OTs? 146 points? Are you kidding me?
LSU won. Then it didn’t. Then it won again. Then it didn’t.
Tigers fans are going to be sick. Every imaginable break or call that could have gone Texas A&M’s way in the final minute of regulation and all 7 OTs thereafter did go A&M’s way.
1. Delpit intercepts the ball to win. Overturned
2. A&M is an obvious yard short on 4th and 18 which would have ended the game
3. Refs put a second on the clock after A&M spikes the ball when regulation expired
4. A&M fumbles and LSU recovers ending the game. Refs rule incomplete
— Harrison Gitz (@hgitz31) November 25, 2018
The result was a 74-72 Aggies victory — the highest scoring game in FBS history.
It was epic. Kind of.
It was historic, no doubt.
It was exhausting, without question.
And it probably needs to lead to some OT rules changes.
Oh, and maybe ESPN/SEC Network needs to adjust its yellow first-down line, too. Apparently the call on the field was correct and the yellow line was wrong. This view started a Twitter war.
LSU got hosed multiple times by the officiating. This may be the most egregious. 4th & 18 with 0:10 left in the 4th. Garbage… Game stolen by the refs @SECNetwork @SEC #Disgraceful pic.twitter.com/7f8XlNePyS
— Jason Duplantis (@Beefy698) November 25, 2018
5. Bye-bye, Big Ten
There’s a reason I never had Michigan in my Playoff Top 4.
There’s a reason I never believed Michigan’s defense was the best in the country, despite stats and analysts insisting it was so.
The reason is the Big Ten’s biggest problem: This league continues to make its heavyweights look better than they are. Until …
Saturday brought the latest, harshest example.
A thoroughly flawed Ohio State team that should have 3 losses pounded a Michigan team many already had as a Playoff lock. It was an absolute beatdown.
For most of the past 10 weeks, as Michigan climbed, I wondered: How? They lost to the only good team they played and got healthy against bad Big Ten teams.
I can only hope some of you feel absolutely foolish for believing in Michigan in the first place. I tried to tell you …
Now, as for Ohio State. Stop. Just stop.
I don’t want to spend the next week reading or hearing about how beating Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship Game is Playoff-worthy and should vault the Buckeyes into the No. 4 seed.
First, Northwestern is the second-worst Power 5 division champion. (Um, there are 10 if you include two from the Big 12.) Second, Ohio State has, by far, the worst loss among Playoff contenders — 29 points to a team that needed to win Saturday to become bowl eligible. Further, OSU won 3 games by a combined 7 points. Two of those victories came against teams that finished with losing records.
Oklahoma has 1 loss — by 3 to Texas, which it can erase in the Big 12 Championship Game. Georgia has 1 loss — at LSU, which it can erase by beating No. 1 Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.
Those are the only two teams worthy of discussing for the No. 4 spot. And if Georgia does beat Alabama, then Alabama belongs in the No. 4 spot.
It’s over. Ohio State is done. The Big Ten is done.
Get off Twitter and go shovel the driveway.
4. The 4 Playoff teams are …
No. 1 Alabama. No. 2 Clemson. No. 3 Notre Dame. No. 4 Oklahoma. No. 5 Georgia. No. 6 Ohio State. No. 7 Florida. No. 8 UCF.
Honestly, I think Oklahoma is better than Notre Dame and Clemson, but it’s impossible to jump undefeated teams, so No. 4 it is.
I think the nation has been sleeping on Oklahoma all season, certainly after that 3-point loss to Texas.
Fortunately, we’ve been spared of seeing another No. 1 Alabama 31, No. 4 Michigan 7 Playoff game.
I want 45-45, heading into the final minutes of the fourth quarter. I want Oklahoma.
3. My Heisman ballot
Disclaimer No. 1 : I don’t have a ballot.
Disclaimer No. 2: I think voters get it wrong more often than they get it right, so I don’t indulge in the various season-long Heisman updates, and I barely pay attention to the actual ceremony. It’s typically an exercise in frustration, best and easily avoided.
Disclaimer No. 3: That was for you, Deshaun. (And Peyton.) (And 1980 Herschel … and 1981 Herschel.)
This year? You’re allowed to vote for 3. These are the 3: Tua Tagovailoa, Kyler Murray, Will Grier. McKenzie Milton will end up with more votes than Grier and likely earn an invite to New York. He deserves it, too. Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins probably will too.
Tagovailoa should have wrapped it up Saturday. He threw a career-high 5 TD passes. That set a Tide record for most TDs in the Iron Bowl and tied the Tide record for most in any game.
This bears repeating: He threw 5 TD passes … and 7 incompletions … in the Iron Bowl.
In Week 4, in this same space, I said I’d seen enough to crown Tagovailoa the greatest QB in SEC history.
Nothing has changed. Except, now, there are a lot more people who agree.
2. Feleipe Franks, have yourself a day, young fella
Florida’s sophomore QB accounted for 300 total yards and 3 TD passes in a blowout victory over rival Florida State.
That victory might be the moment Gators fans point to in 5 years as the turning point. Yes, it was significant.
And Franks was magnificent.
You know the last Gators QB — the only other Gators QB — to throw 3 TD passes against FSU this century?
Tim Tebow. He did it 3 times, delivering a W each time, too.
Florida, you have your quarterback.
1. Jalen Hurts, I miss you already
If that was, indeed, his final pass at home as Alabama’s QB, what a way to go out. A seed to Jaylen Waddle for a 53-yard touchdown.
Bryant-Denny never sounded louder Saturday than when the crowd realized Waddle had a step and the QB Who Did Nothing Wrong had just delivered a walk-off dagger.
It’s no wonder everybody loves Jalen Hurts. The way he handled everything, beginning with the benching in the second half of last year’s national title game to officially losing his job before the season opener, to staying the course instead of leaving.
It’s nice when the nice guys get rewarded. And if you think Saturday’s Iron Bowl was fun, just wait until next year, when Hurts shakes hands with Tua as captains on opposite sidelines.