10 things I'm absolutely overreacting to after Week 6 in the SEC
Auburn, you got me again.
Gus, are you really sure Lamical Perine is too slow to play in the SEC? I don’t want to overreact, but I’m not so sure …. In fairness, I suppose I could say the same thing about your QB, too.
I’m not wondering about Tennessee or Ole Miss’ QB situations, though.
Here are 10 things I’m absolutely overreacting to after a better than expected Week 6 in and around the SEC.
10. Tennessee has a QB. And we’re all better for it
SEC football is more fun when Tennessee is relevant. The Vols have a national championship pedigree and one of the best fan bases in the country.
Taking shots at the Vols when they’re down is what rival fans do. I get it. But the days are a little sunnier when the Vols are a threat.
Credit Georgia for handling its business Saturday. But I could have sworn I saw a few silver linings in a Tennessee season with far too few of them.
Brian Maurer made some plays. He generated some buzz with his arm and created some hope in the huddle.
I haven’t been this excited about a Vols QB since Josh Dobbs. I never understood the love-hate relationship some fans had with him.
Maurer showed Saturday he is more than a breath of fresh air. He’s a much-needed oxygen mask.
Here’s to better days ahead.
9. Stop the Ohio State nonsense, now
It’s already started. You knew it would. Last Sunday, the Maniacal Midwest Media Mafia started banging the drum for Ohio State to be No. 1 in the country.
That was after beating an unranked Nebraska team that the MMMM propped up to be back, baby! The same Nebraska team that already lost to a Pac-12 team that turned around and lost to Air Force.
I tossed my boots in the trash when we moved from Indianapolis back to Florida 8 years ago, but I almost bought a pair Friday night to protect myself from the slop I knew I’d hear all day Saturday.
The MMMM didn’t disappoint, either.
Michigan State was ranked! (Ahem, No. 25.) Keep in mind, this was the same Michigan State team that already lost to a different Pac-12 team (at home, no less, which leads one to wonder how bad is the Big Ten if its alleged good teams can’t even beat Pac-12 teams). No matter!
Count it is a résumé builder for the Buckeyes. Do more than that. Count a home victory over a No. 25 team the same as a victory over a top 10 team. (Granted, it’s Ohio State’s 1st victory over a “ranked” team this season.) No matter!
I said it at the beginning of the season and I’m not changing my mind. Ohio State didn’t schedule anybody and it plays in a weak Power 5 conference. OK? The Buckeyes don’t get the benefit of a doubt because, yes, precedent matters. A 5-point bowl victory over a 4-loss Pac-12 team isn’t changing the narrative, OK? You know who else beat that Washington team by 5 points on a neutral field last year? Auburn.
I like Justin Fields a lot, and he played very well again Saturday. But the fact is he still hasn’t faced a quality team.
The Buckeyes will get their chance to impress in Week 9 — again at home — against Wisconsin. Win that game, then we’ll talk.
Until then, where’s the remote? I can’t take any more of this MMMM nonsense.
8. Clemson is not 2014 FSU
I edit words and topics, but I don’t legislate opinion, so when our columnist suggested connecting 2019 Clemson to 2014 FSU, I cautioned him but didn’t stop him.
Here are the 2 biggest flaws in the comparison.
1. The 2014 FSU team lost its top 2 running backs and Jameis Winston’s play-making wideout to the NFL. You know their names: Devonta Freeman is a 2-time Pro Bowler. (Dalvin Cook was solid as a freshman in 2014, but he was not Devonta Freeman.) And one of the reasons the Carolina Panthers took 6-5 wideout Kelvin Benjamin in the 1st round was they’d seen him use his length, vertical and catch radius to bail out an inaccurate Winston time and again in 2013. They figured he would be the perfect target for equally inaccurate Cam Newton in the NFL. So FSU’s offense, while it returned Winston, was nowhere near as dynamic as the 2013 version. That 2014 team wasn’t going through the motions. That team just wasn’t nearly as good.
The 2013 defense featured 8 starters who were drafted in April of 2014 (after the title) or April 2015 (after the 2014 season). The 2014 defense featured 5 who were drafted in 2015 or 2016.
It is an insult to the 2013 team to even suggest the 2014 team was on their level. The 2013 team set ACC records for most points (723), scoring average (51.6) and victory margin (31.5). The 2014 version scored 472, averaged 33.7 and not even including its loss, won its 13 games by an average of 11.7 points per game.
The numbers verified what we were seeing each week. The 2014 team only topped 40 points 3 times that year. The 2013 team topped 50 7 times and was only held below 40 2 times. That 2013 FSU offense was one of the most unstoppable in college football history. The 2014 team had too many replacement parts and simply lived on the reputation of the 2013 team.
2. Clemson returned its offensive studs and has employed the plug-and-play method to rebuild its defense overnight. The Tigers lost 1 offensive player — Hunter Renfrow — to the NFL.
This group, which is 5-0, by the way, has gone through the motions. They’ve looked bored. There is no way Dabo Swinney could convince them that a 2-win UNC team from a year ago would pose any kind of threat, and yet some want to use that game to suggest they’re not deserving of a Playoff spot?
Please, people. I know you have air time to fill, but, please, people.
Here’s all you need to know about Clemson. All offseason, the Tigers heard 2 things: How they were the greatest college football team in history in 2018 … and how Syracuse was going to get them again in Week 3.
What happened? Clemson obliterated the Orange 41-6 at Syracuse. Trevor Lawrence threw for 395 yards and 3 TDs.
You poke the Tiger, you’re going to get mauled. That team is still the biggest threat to the SEC’s title parade plans.
7. Targeting or unnecessary roughness?
#18 Central Florida 24 pic.twitter.com/pGxu42SvqB
— Cincinnati Bearcats (@GoBEARCATS) October 5, 2019
— Cincinnati Football (@GoBearcatsFB) October 5, 2019
UCF can’t even be mad. The Knights brought every single bit of this on themselves.
They wanted attention. They have it.
The Knights have now lost 3 of the past 7 games, by the way. Is it too late for them to beg their way into a 2-for-1 with the Gators?
6. Eliminating divisions most definitely is not the answer
Auburn played Florida on Saturday for the first time since 2011. That’s a lot of graduating classes that missed out on the once-historic rivalry.
So naturally, the keyboard warriors used this game as the perfect opportunity to suggest the SEC get rid of divisions.
Math is hard. But it’s not as hard as some of y’all make it.
There are 14 teams and 12 regular season games. You’re not going to play everybody. It’s not the end of the world.
If you really want to see Florida and Auburn play each other more often, the ACC handed you the perfect solution: schedule it as a nonconference game, just like former rivals Wake Forest and UNC did. That’s ingenious, actually.
Every year we hear the big boys complain that they end up playing FCS Directional State because no other Power 5 team would dare visit their place.
Again, the ACC provided the perfect solution. If you can’t get another ACC or Big 12 team to visit, find somebody in the other division.
Auburn and Florida could play every year if both programs really wanted to.
5. Bottom 5 of Power 5
The worst of the weak, in order of ineptitude, because alphabetical order is far too forgiving:
1. Iowa (Big Ten): A 10-3 loss to Michigan? Let’s just say this was not Alabama-LSU’s Game of the Century. (Maybe a throwback to the 20th Century?) Y’all told me this was the new Iowa. I told you it’s the same Iowa from the same Big Ten West.
2. Auburn’s offense (SEC): More specifically, Bo Nix. I hate to pile on a freshman, but Auburn left 21 points on the field Saturday. The kid has to play better or this championship-worthy defense is all for naught. His performance was the difference Saturday against Florida. He owned it, afterward.
3. Purdue coach Jeff Brohm (Big Ten): Remember when he was the most coveted offseason upgrade target? The team he is paid to coach is 1-4 in Year 3.
4. Vanderbilt (SEC): Specifically the rushing defense. Give Ole Miss a lot of credit. Three Rebels ripped off runs of at least 54 yards. That didn’t even include QB John Rhys Plumlee’s 33-yard TD run. Jerrion Ealy had a 78-yard TD run. Snoop Conner added an 84-yard score. Plumlee had a 54-yard run. Each time, some of the yards came after contact. Plumlee finished with 165 of Ole Miss’ 415 rushing yards. Good grief, Scottie Phillips (62 yards) was the Rebels’ 4th-leading rusher. So, again, give the Rebels credit. But Vandy, could you break down and wrap up?
5. Miami (ACC): Jarren Williams threw 3 INTs — in the 1st quarter against Virginia Tech. Not what you want to see, ever, but especially not coming out of a bye week. Those picks led to a 21-0 hole. The Canes didn’t quit, but the hole was too deep to overcome. Silver lining? After Williams was benched, the Canes might have discovered a QB in the comeback bid.
4. The 4 Playoff teams are …
- No. 1 Oklahoma
- No. 2 LSU
- No. 3 Alabama
- No. 4 Clemson
No change from last week. No reason to. Georgia is sitting there at 5. Ohio State’s day is coming. Florida and LSU will meet next week, with the winner claiming 1 of the 4 spots.
3. That was dirty
Dan Mullen took exception when Marlon Davidson crashed into Kyle Trask’s knee, leaving his QB writhing in pain. That play wasn’t dirty. Davidson was being held and dragged down as he delivered the hit. It was an unintended consequence of playing QB.
However, there was a dirty hit against an SEC QB on Saturday.
Kelly Bryant just threw a TD to put Mizzou up 42-7 on Troy and this happened to his left knee as he got hit late.
He’s gone to the locker room. pic.twitter.com/wljIgprTdE
— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) October 5, 2019
The play resulted in Kelly Bryant’s 3 TD pass and a 42-7 1st-half lead. Maybe the Troy defender was angry. Maybe he was more than that.
Whatever. That was intentional and despicable. It ended Bryant’s night and potentially his college career.
2. Lamical Perine gets last laugh
Florida’s outstanding tailback grew up in Alabama. He wanted to go to Auburn. Auburn didn’t want him.
“I’m not an Auburn fan at all,” Perine said at SEC Media Days. “They recruited me a little bit. But I didn’t have an offer from them. They told me I was too slow. You can tell on my film, you can tell I’m not that slow. They had their opinion.”
Saturday, he might have changed it a bit, too.
Sure, his 88-yard TD run started as a standard Perine 6-yarder, but after he bulldozed one Auburn linebacker, he outran every other eligible defender for a game-sealing TD.
LAMICAL PERINE 88 YARDS TO THE HOUSE.
THE SWAMP IS ROCKING. pic.twitter.com/ZkbQ30mtsd
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 5, 2019
1. Having fun yet, Gators?
Dan Mullen promised he was going to make Florida football fun again.
Goodness, did he deliver Saturday.
Kyle Trask continues to play like an orange-and-blue version of Jake Fromm, and that Gators defense is just nasty.
I’d say live it up, but don’t indulge too long. Joe Burrow and LSU await next week in another winner-take-all showdown.