10 things I'm absolutely overreacting to after Week 5: Was that the worst game-ending call ... ever?
White out to wiped out of the Playoff race.
Chin up, Penn State. Thanks to that final play-call, nobody is going to even remember how your defense disappeared right along with your Playoff hopes.
On the result nobody wanted to see and a lot of other wild happenings from Week 5 in and around the SEC.
10. Jalen Hurts absolutely deserved an ovation
Alabama led 28-0 when Hurts checked in with about 1:00 minute left in the first quarter. Nothing magical about it, except it was his fifth game. Not that there’s been much doubt lately, but Hurts’ appearance made it official: He’s not quitting. He’s not bailing. He’s balling, still.
Credit the Bama fans for giving Hurts the respect and adulation he deserves.
The crowd roared even louder after Hurts hit Henry Ruggs III over the middle for a 54-yard touchdown catch.
Hurts finished the drive 2-for-3 for 78 yards. His first pass was a perfectly thrown post pattern that Jerry Jeudy dropped. His second was a 24-yard strike to Jaylen Waddle.
Saturday was nothing more than an expensive scrimmage, but at least Nick Saban gave Hurts the opportunity to work on his downfield game. Last week, Hurts played the final 16 minutes but only threw 3 passes. That was a wasted opportunity. Hurts only threw 6 passes Saturday, but they were all deep shots. Saturday was a step in the right direction.
9. However, … why was Alabama even playing Louisiana?
Alabama scored all seven times it touched the ball in the first half, including one on Waddle’s 63-yard punt return. They topped 50 for the fourth time in five weeks. (The program record is 5 50-point games in a season.)
A-Days are more competitive than Saturday’s game was. Well, at least when Alabama was throwing the ball Saturday. Louisiana actually held in there fairly well against the Tide’s rushing attack.
Regardless, there has to be a better scheduling model.
8. Tim Tebow was right. And Todd Blackledge couldn’t have been more wrong about Kelly Bryant
Blackledge, the Penn State quarterback who beat Georgia to win the 1982 national title, said during Saturday’s Clemson broadcast that Bryant was “selfish” for quitting the team to preserve his redshirt and deciding to transfer.
This isn’t even worth debating. There is only one right side of this, and it’s this:
— First Take (@FirstTake) September 28, 2018
Now, would the Tigers welcome him back? Absolutely. Gary Danielson obviously didn’t call the Clemson game, and when asked, he tried his best not to pick a side. But he finished his thought by basically questioning how Bryant could do this to his guys, who need him now.
That might be true. But Clemson obviously didn’t need him enough before Saturday, before Trevor Lawrence took a shot to the head and was forced to watch Clemson’s Playoff hopes nearly perish before the home folks at Death Valley.
It worked out. Clemson could have used Bryant on Saturday — though he was knocked out with a concussion in the first half of the loss at Syracuse last year, gulp — but this isn’t a one-way relationship. Bryant doesn’t owe Clemson anything.
If he returns, awesome. If he doesn’t, that’s perfectly reasonable, too.
7. Will Grier is about to lead his second team into the Top 10
Grier took Florida to No. 8 in 2015 before his suspension derailed the Gators and led to his transfer.
West Virginia, now 4-0 after winning at No. 25 Texas Tech, is about to enter the Top 10 for the second time in six seasons. Grier threw 3 more TD passes Saturday, giving him 17 in 4 games.
It’s time to start thinking about the Mountaineers as a Playoff threat … and wonder how much Grier’s 2015 suspension might impact his 2018 Heisman chances.
6. I’m moving on from Nick Fitzgerald
It’s not the system. It’s not the new head coach. It’s the quarterback. Fitzgerald is what he is: a great runner.
Use him in Wildcat packages. Use him in a lot of them, 10, 15 a game if you want. But how much more evidence do you need to realize he’s a liability in the passing game?
Mississippi State lost back-to-back games against SEC East teams. The offense scored one touchdown (Fitzgerald scored it, on a 1-yard run against Kentucky). Fitzgerald was a combined 27-for-58 (46.5 percent) with 0 TD passes and 1 interception in the two losses.
It’s time to move on.
5. Snell Yeah, baby
Kentucky is legit. The Wildcats should have been ranked at least two weeks ago. They should have been closer to the Top 10 last week. They won’t be, but they should be in the Top 10 on Sunday.
That Georgia game can’t get here fast enough.
4. The 4 Playoff teams are …
No. 1 Alabama. No. 2 LSU. No. 3 Oklahoma. No. 4 Ohio State. No. 5 Notre Dame. No. 6 Georgia. No. 7 Clemson. No. 8 UCF.
Four thoughts: 1. The gap between Alabama and everybody else is larger than the gap between 2 through 7.
2. Georgia’s offense isn’t as electric as once thought.
3. Notre Dame has never had a better chance to make the Playoff.
4. That’s one heck of an 8-team Playoff field, no?
3. Bye-bye Pac-12
Auburn beat Washington in Week 1. Notre Dame manhandled Stanford in Week 5.
The Pac-12 unofficially but realistically became the first Power 5 conference eliminated from the Playoff race. Enjoy the next 8 weeks, boys. None of it matters.
It’s amazing what you learn when these leagues actually step outside their conference.
2. Anybody seen Jake Bentley?
We fall in and out of love with quarterbacks faster than any other position. Last year’s darling is this year’s scapegoat.
Bentley is 1-2 against SEC teams this season with 3 TD passes and 6 interceptions. He threw 3 picks Saturday in the loss to Kentucky.
The honeymoon clearly is over — and so are the Gamecocks’ lofty postseason goals.
1. Ohio State 27, America 26
Penn State gave up 38 points and needed overtime to beat Appalachian State in Week 1. So it was hardly a surprise to watch Ohio State score 2 fourth-quarter touchdowns Saturday night and rally for a 27-26 victory over the Paper Lions.
What was surprising was Penn State’s final play call. Trace McSorley had gashed Ohio State all night en route to 175 yards rushing. Yet on 4th-and-5 and after 2 timeouts, McSorely handed off — and handed Ohio State a one-way express ticket to a perfect regular season.
took 2 timeouts to come up with this on 4th and 5? wtf. I take back what I said about them out-coaching OSU. Penn State deserved this pic.twitter.com/8UlVQFbKDv
— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) September 30, 2018
Kirk Herbstreit kept repeating how shocked he was at the call.
That was probably was mildest reaction you’ll find.
As for “We Are” Nation? They Are fuming right about now. This pretty much sums it up:
If I was a Penn State fan, I would riot in the streets until someone explained that 4th down play call. Good god almighty
— John Vause (@JohnVause27) September 30, 2018
My first thought: If that’s what James Franklin settled on, how ungodly horrible was the original play call, the one that prompted the second timeout?