10 things I'm absolutely overreacting to after Week 5 in the SEC
Where were you when Alabama AND Clemson both were losing at the same time Saturday, a circumstance rarer than a Will Muschamp win over a ranked team?
What a crazy 3 minutes that was, huh, before Alabama restored order and continued its assault on college kids wearing shoulder pads and the SEC record book.
Speaking of which, here are 10 things I’m absolutely overreacting to after a wild Week 5 in and around the SEC.
10. Thank you, Nick!
As soon as Tua Tagovailoa threw his 5th TD pass Saturday, I dropped my head, expecting the inevitable.
Then something amazing happened.
Three previous times, Nick Saban had pulled Tagovailoa soon after a 5th TD pass. Saturday, he finally let the kid take an eraser to the Alabama record book.
Actually, Saban gave Tagovailoa 3 more possessions to break the single-game record for TD passes.
He did, too. His 6th TD pass came on a 19-yard toss to Miller Forristall.
More records are coming. Tua has 23 TD passes already, more than halfway to Drew Lock’s SEC record of 44.
It’s so much fun nobody is even worried that Alabama still can’t kick or run the football.
9. DeVonta Smith is WR3?
Entering Saturday, only 7 players in the country — and 2 in the SEC — had more than 5 TD catches this season.
Saturday, DeVonta Smith, Alabama’s No. 3 receiver, caught 5 TD passes all by himself. Smith tied the SEC single-game record and broke Alabama’s single-game record.
Oh, he also took over the team lead with TD catches this season, with 8.
However, he made it very, very clear afterward that Rock, Paper, Scissors had nothing to do with his number being called so often Saturday.
No, no. Can’t play that anymore, he said. That most definitely is not part of The Process.
8. Jalen Hurts is not QB2
My goodness, how much fun is Hurts having in Lincoln Riley’s offense?
Probably as much fun as I’m having watching him do his thing in Lincoln Riley’s offense.
Hurts threw for a career-high 414 yards Saturday. Notable? I’d say so.
He only had 1 300-yard game at Alabama — 347 against Mississippi State as a freshman. He already has 2 in 5 games at Oklahoma and just missed a 3rd when he finished with 289.
He has thrown 3 TD passes in all 4 of his games as a Sooner, too.
Nick’s happy. Tua’s happy. Lincoln’s happy. Jalen’s happy. It’s like a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party in here. Balloons for everybody.
Check that. Jalen still isn’t happy. He won’t be happy until he gets his shot at Nick and Tua.
Oklahoma wins 55-16.
Jalen Hurts: “Starving” 😤
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 28, 2019
7. How did refs miss this?
Arkansas QB Nick Starkel took the heat after throwing an interception in the end zone. The announcers repeatedly questioned Starkel’s decision to throw into traffic.
Where was he throwing it, they wondered?
Um, how about to Rakeem Boyd, who was tackled WWE style.
The announcers missed it. The refs missed it. It’s Arkansas, so nobody’s really going to care, but this was a terrible no-call. And it led to Starkel being knocked out of the game.
This play goes from bad to worse for Nick Starkel.
Throws an interception and then gets ran over on the back end.
— Joseph Hoyt (@JoeJHoyt) September 28, 2019
Too bad college football doesn’t have the new NFL rule allowing coaches to challenge non-calls like this.
That’s too easy to get this wrong.
Fortunately, the football gods immediately made it right. Texas A&M fumbled on the next play, and Arkansas’ De’Jon Harris turned it into a scoop and score TD.
Ball don’t lie isn’t just a basketball expression.
Unfortunately, karma couldn’t help the Hogs when the back judge missed another obvious PI against Texas A&M, this one on Arkansas’ final drive.
— Belle Es You (@SouthernbeLLSU) September 28, 2019
Given some of the PI’s they called against Arkansas, it makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
I don’t think it’s in the SEC’s best interest if we’re wondering.
Unless it’s about this …
6. Is this the greatest year in SEC football history?
The SEC has dominated college football for so long, we’re almost numb to it. The rest of the country certainly is over it. They hunt for holes, question nonconference schedules and essentially cry about SEC bias.
Even by the SEC’s ridiculous standards, this year is different. Recognize it. Appreciate it. On merit, you could easily argue that the SEC has 4 of the 5 best teams in the country. On merit, you could argue the SEC deserves 3 Playoff teams. That won’t happen, of course, because the SEC soon will start doing what no other conference can: beat the SEC’s best teams.
But given the start and the star power? This might be the best year of SEC football in history.
5. Bottom 5 of Power 5
The worst of the weak, in order of ineptitude, because alphabetical order is far too forgiving:
1. Virginia Tech (ACC): Losing to Boston College was bad enough. Almost losing to Furman wasn’t much better. Getting blown out by 35 at home against Duke? This Va. Tech team is so bad it might actually lose to Virginia for the first time since 2003.
2. Rutgers (Big Ten): Outscored 82-0 in 2 Big Ten losses. Saturday: 10 first downs … but 9 penalties. One-hundred and 52 total yards … but just 46 rushing. You want to know the crazy thing? Rutgers had the ball 29:19. Just shut it down, already.
3. Texas Tech (Big 12) secondary: What happened? The Red Raiders entered Saturday ranked No. 3 in the country in pass defense, having allowed just 401 yards and 2 TDs in 3 games. Total. Oklahoma topped both numbers and made them look like they’d never played tackle football.
A small but telling example:
THIRD TOUCHDOWN of the day for Oklahoma WR Ceedee Lamb 🔥 pic.twitter.com/G9NeN2cTIn
— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) September 28, 2019
4. Wisconsin (Big Ten): The Badgers’ performance was OK, I suppose, if 9-point home wins against teams with a losing record are your thing. Regardless, their attire was utterly atrocious.
Is Wisconsin wearing the worst jerseys of all time today? @danchadbourne
— Brian Frost (@shmyanshmoss) September 28, 2019
I had the same thought, and I saw Florida’s gator-skin getup from a couple of years ago.
Who wore it better? pic.twitter.com/VjUpZwthI8
— Adam Spencer (@AdamSpencer4) September 28, 2019
I haven’t seen Under Armour design something this ugly since the Curry 2 low “chef” shoes.
5. Cal (Pac-12): Ranked team, undefeated, playing at home against an unranked team. That’s a guaranteed W for Nick Saban. The Bears? They lost by 7 to Arizona State — officially ending the Pac-12’s Playoff hopes. There’s no way a 1-loss team from the Pac-12 is making the Playoff.
4. The 4 Playoff teams are …
- No. 1 Oklahoma
- No. 2 LSU
- No. 3 Alabama
- No. 4 Clemson
Clemson survived a scare last September against Syracuse. A year later, the Tigers survived another scare Saturday in Chapel Hill, when UNC went for the knockout but came up short on a 2-point conversion try and lost 21-20. Absolutely no problem with Mack Brown’s decision. You get one chance to knock out the king.
Rest assured, had Clemson lost, the Tigers would have needed a lot of help to make the Playoff. The ACC just isn’t strong enough to warrant a 1-loss Playoff team. Even if it is Clemson. There’s just no justifiable loss in that league this year.
The SEC is waiting on the ACC or Big Ten to stun Clemson or Ohio State. That will open the door for the SEC to get 2 teams in the Playoff.
3. As in, Auburn is about to have 3 wins over top 20 teams
These Tigers are a legit threat to win the national championship. It’s absurdly unfair that they’ll have to play 6 teams this season that have spent time ranked No. 12 or better — likely preventing them from having a shot at said national championship.
Auburn already has beaten Oregon (which was No. 11) and Texas A&M (which climbed as high as No. 12).
This defensive line is the most dominant in the country, every bit as good as Clemson’s was last year. And each week, Bo Nix and Gus Malzahn figure out a few more ways to find the end zone. Nix turned in an effortless 300-yard game against Mississippi State.
Next week, they’re going to blast Florida for a 3rd W over a highly-ranked team.
The SEC West has 3 teams capable of winning the national title. It’s a shame at least 2 of them won’t get the opportunity.
2. Where Clemson should be in the AP Poll
AP voters aren’t going to overreact to a close call Saturday. But the truth is, Clemson hasn’t played like a No. 1 team all season. The Tigers likely will slide to No. 2 behind Alabama, but it’s hard to argue that LSU, Georgia, Auburn and Oklahoma haven’t been more impressive.
We’re 5 weeks in. Maybe this was the wakeup call the Tigers needed. But as I pointed out in the preseason, lost in the hoopla of all of the things Clemson has done well, it has yet to handle prosperity well.
After winning the title in 2016, the Tigers lost in the Playoff semifinal in 2017.
After winning the title in 2018, will history repeat in 2019?
Everybody is looking at Trevor Lawrence. Fair enough. But Justyn Ross has 1 TD catch in 4 games. He had 9 last year. If he continues to be just a 6-4 decoy, Clemson isn’t nearly as dangerous as the team that blasted Alabama last year.
1. Hey, Nick, what do you say we let Tua go for 7 at Texas A&M?
You don’t have to answer today. Take the week to think about it …