10 things I'm absolutely overreacting to after Week 2 in the SEC
Jimbo Fisher hasn’t done anything in 2+ seasons that Kevin Sumlin couldn’t have done.
Except draw a much, much larger paycheck.
That’s the reality for Texas A&M, which showed Saturday it isn’t anywhere near Alabama’s level — or appreciably better than where Sumlin left it — and now must seriously consider whether it has the right quarterback (micro issue) and right coach (macro) moving forward.
Is that an overreaction to the Aggies’ latest disaster against a ranked SEC team?
I don’t think so.
But here are 10 things I’m absolutely overreacting to after another Saturday Down South in and around the SEC.
10. Kyle Pitts for the Heisman
It’s ridiculous to suggest a tight end has a chance to win the Heisman Trophy. It hasn’t happened since 1949 … or, 2 years before Nick Saban was born.
Of course, it’s also kind of ridiculous to keep calling Kyle Pitts a tight end, too.
If defensive types can invent positions — Edge, Buck, Star — I think it’s time offensive types get in on the act.
I’m open to suggestions, but in order to aid Pitts’ burgeoning Heisman credentials, I won’t be referring to him as a tight end anymore.
“Freak” is cliche, so henceforth, Pitts lines up at Florida’s “Weapon” position.
Not every team has a “Weapon,” but the Gators certainly do.
Here’s a number to watch: Reidel Anthony set the Gators’ record with 18 TD receptions in 1996. Pitts already has 6 in 2 games.
9. Eric Gray reminds me of D’Andre Swift
Former Georgia star D’Andre Swift’s best attribute was his ability to stick his foot in the ground and change directions, seemingly without losing speed.
Gray had a 20-yard TD run in the 1st quarter against Mizzou in which he started up the middle, planted, cut right and scored without being touched.
He nearly had another in the 3rd quarter. That time, he cut left, bringing a defender to his knees in the process.
Mmaaannnn, Eric Gray breaking some ankles! pic.twitter.com/kIndvVJ466
— Welcome to Knocksville! (@VolWrld) October 3, 2020
Gray is electric. Like Swift, he has home-run ability.
I was surprised he only got 12 carries last week in the opener. He shared the burden again Saturday but had 105 yards with a receiving TD to boot.
He’s Tennessee’s best big-play threat.
Tennessee fans are comparing Gray to Alvin Kamara. That works, too, especially after Gray became the first Vol since Kamara to score a rushing TD and receiving TD in the same game.
8. Kyle Trask is outstanding, but let’s slow down on the Joe Burrow comparisons, OK?
I saw this a lot this past week, this notion that Kyle Trask was climbing up draft boards, appearing in the first round of NFL mock drafts, edging his way toward the top 10 or higher. You know, just like Joe Burrow did last year. It’s an easy narrative. Both guys came out of nowhere, though, in fairness, Trask started about 800 miles west of Nowhere. Both guys are big. Both guys are putting up huge numbers. Burrow broke SEC records last year — 60 TD passes, 5,671 yards.
Trask already has 10 TD passes in his first 2 games. Tim Tebow never did that.
Trask is making smart decisions and he absolutely is making Florida go. I like everything about his game, his leadership qualities, etc. But I don’t like the Burrow comp.
Burrow was a better athlete. Burrow was a bigger threat when plays broke down. Burrow had a bigger arm. Trask’s comparable lack of arm strength came into focus on a couple of throws Saturday when he tried to drive the ball downfield. The throws were late and broken up.
Kyle Trask is the best quarterback in the SEC East. He’s the reason I picked Florida to win the East. He might be the best quarterback in the SEC. That’s all Florida needs him to be.
7. I know y’all want Bryce Young, but Mac Jones is so legit
Mac Jones flashed his arm talent late last season and has picked up where he left off.
He opened Saturday’s game against Texas A&M with a 78-yard bomb to John Metchie III that was so beautiful you might have thought Tua Tagovailoa learned how to throw right-handed.
Hello, Mac Jones. Hello, John Metchie. Hello, end zone. pic.twitter.com/RN1aVjYHXY
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 3, 2020
That was merely a warmup toss.
Jones added an 87-yard strike to Jaylen Waddle on a perfectly thrown post pattern and finished with a 63-yard TD to Metchie.
Jones ended his night 20-for-27 for 435 yards, 4 TDs and 1 interception on a tipped pass.
It’s the 5th time in 5 legitimate playing opportunities that Jone has thrown at least 3 TD passes in a game.
I know Alabama fans want to see Bryce Young, but there’s no debate here. Mac Jones is entirely capable of leading the Tide to the national championship.
6. Why, Kentucky, why?
Kentucky was playing Kentucky football. Ole Miss had no chance of stopping the run.
So … Kentucky pulled the plug?
That’s essentially what happened during a disastrous 3rd quarter when Kentucky suddenly and strangely decided to start throwing the football.
Kentucky opened the 2nd half with a 10-play, 75-yard TD drive to stretch its lead to 28-14. Nine of those plays were runs. The lone pass was incomplete.
After Ole Miss scored to make it 28-21, Kentucky went back to work. It ran 4 consecutive times for 56 yards. That’s when they decided throwing would be a splendid idea. On 2nd-and-4, Terry Wilson took a sack. On 3rd-and-9, he threw an incomplete pass. On 4th down, Kentucky missed a 49-yard field goal attempt.
Why? Why? Why?
Ole Miss couldn’t stop Kentucky’s run game. The Cats ran for 408 yards. Wilson, Christopher Rodriguez and Asim Rose each topped 100 yards.
The overtime loss was maddening, but the “how” and “why” it happened is worse than that.
I’ll never understand why coaches go away from something that’s working.
Kentucky did that Saturday and it cost them a victory.
5. Bottom 5 of Power 5
The worst of the weak:
5. Texas: 1st-and-goal at the 1, chance to win the game, and the Longhorns fumbled. Earlier, a Sam Ehlinger interception gave TCU a short field, which it used to kick a field goal. Those 2 turnovers cost the Longhorns the game and a shot at the Playoff.
4. Mississippi State: Life comes at you fast and furious in this league, right Mike Leach? (On the flip side, huge congratulations to Sam Pittman on his first career win, Arkansas for ending its 20-game SEC losing streak and Feleipe Franks for another win in StarkVegas.)
— Arkansas Razorback Football (@RazorbackFB) October 4, 2020
3. Kansas: The Jayhawks scored 23 in their opening loss, 14 in their next loss and 7 points in their most recent loss. Will they muster a field goal next week at West Virginia, or go for the donut?
2. Auburn’s QB play: I hate to pile on a college kid, but Bo Nix got outplayed by a former walk-on. He still bails too early, too often and seems hell-bent on throwing everything either on the run or off his back foot. It’s impossible to be consistently accurate with that style.
1. FSU: Congratulations. You beat Jacksonville State. I doubt Mike Norvell will celebrate his first victory as the Noles’ coach, however. But credit the Noles for showing courage in climbing out of a 21-14 halftime hole against an FCS program playing its first game this season.
4. The 4 Playoff teams are …
No. 1. Alabama, No. 2. Clemson, No. 3. Florida, No. 4. Georgia
Buh-bye Texas, so long Big 12.
Georgia is No. 4 and surging. That’s the best I’ve seen them look since 2017 and if this ranking were purely about this week, the Dawgs would be No. 2.
Ohio State slid to No. 5 this week simply because Georgia rose. The Buckeyes absolutely are a Playoff threat.
UCF’s shocking loss ended any hope of Cinderella crashing the ball.
3. Is Stetson Bennett IV the answer?
The kid looked great. Dare I say he looked better than … Jake Fromm in 2019?
A couple of throws in particular stood out.
First, his scramble roll out to his right, followed by a dart to Kearis Jackson. Fromm could evade pressure but his resulting passes typically floated.
Next, Bennett’s touch throw on 3rd-and-9 to George Pickens for a TD was a beautiful ball and gave the Bulldogs an insurmountable 17-0 lead. (That extended Pickens’ TD streak to 6 consecutive games, longest in the nation.)
Bennett attacked the middle of the field with seam routes to tight ends. He threw deep out routes. He did all of this, mind you, without getting a ton of reps with first-teamers in camp.
Georgia’s offense is appreciably better with Bennett … which makes me wonder if we’ll see JT Daniels and why didn’t Kirby Smart see this during fall camp?
2. The Cocktail Party is gonna be electric
Georgia’s offense looked outstanding Saturday.
Florida’s offense looked outstanding again.
Both teams have scored 30 or more points in the same Cocktail Party just twice in series history — most recently Florida’s 34-31 win in 2010.
The losing team hasn’t topped 20 since then, either.
After watching both dominate Saturday, I’m optimistic we might finally get some fireworks in Jacksonville.
1. The SEC QB carousel is about to kick into overdrive
Interesting decisions loom at Texas A&M, Kentucky, Mizzou and maybe Georgia once JT Daniels is fully ready, though, as mentioned, I like how Georgia is playing with Bennett.
In Texas A&M’s case, it’s not so much an indictment of Kellen Mond but rather an admission that this team isn’t ready to contend and Mond won’t be the quarterback when it is.
At some point, enough is enough and it’s time to try something else.
Kentucky is particularly interesting because Terry Wilson hasn’t necessarily done anything to lose his job, either. I fault the coaches more than Wilson for Saturday’s collapse against Ole Miss. But Joey Gatewood has too much talent to just stand on the sideline.
Of course, I said the same thing when Gatewood was standing beside Gus Malzahn on Auburn’s sideline.
After watching Bo Nix struggle again against an elite defense, I’m wondering if Malzahn is having second thoughts, too.