10 things I'm absolutely overreacting to after Week 7 in the SEC
Welcome back, Pac-12. Kinda. We hardly missed ya.
Good-bye, Michigan, and maybe Jim Harbaugh, too.
Liberty! And Justin Fields for all … except Georgia.
Poor Georgia. Or, in honor of the Cocktail Party, pour one for Georgia’s Playoff hopes and toast to Kyle Trask’s Heisman speech?
Those are some of the 10 things I’m absolutely overreacting to after another Saturday Down South in and mostly around the SEC.
10. The B1G standings are so 2020
Ohio State is Ohio State. Justin Fields (314 yards, 5 TD passes, ho-hum) is Justin Fields. Beyond that?
Indiana is on top of the B1G East at 3-0. Penn State is 0-3. Michigan is 1-2, thanks to the historic beating IU delivered Saturday.
Purdue is 2-0. Nebraska is 0-2. Northwestern is 3-0 and leads the B1G West a year after winning 1 B1G game. Wisconsin still has played only 1 game.
Sure, “Coastal Chaos” is an annual way of life in the ACC. But there’s only one way to explain all of those B1G developments: 2020.
9. Indiana is the SEC’s Kentucky
Granted, Kentucky is the far superior basketball school. No question there.
But for all of the bad streaks Mark Stoops has busted at Kentucky, Tom Allen is at least matching him in Bloomington.
IU ended its 24-game losing streak to Michigan on Saturday in dominant fashion. IU never trailed. It wasn’t a fluke. It was a beatdown. Allen’s program revival is remarkable. Heck, Michigan won last year’s game, also in Bloomington, by 25.
Allen is now 21-20 at Indiana. Before you roll your eyes, understand the marvel. Time will tell whether he can stay above .500, but as of Sunday morning, he is 1 of just 5 IU coaches in program history with a winning record — and the only one since 1950. I mean, this is a program whose winningest coach (Bill Mallory with 68) had a losing record (68-78-3, .466).
I was the college editor for the Indianapolis Star from 2004-2011. I’ve seen so much bad IU football that I probably could have filed a grievance for hazard pay. So I can’t even believe I’m writing this, but Indiana is a legitimate threat to win the Big Ten Championship, especially in a season where one COVID result can quickly erase talent disparities.
Obviously, I’d feel better about the Hoosiers’ chances of getting to Indianapolis if they were in the West and could avoid Justin Fields, but if you have to play at Ohio State, 2020 is the year to do it.
8. IU fans chant “We want Bama …”
This is the best Overreaction of the week.
IU fans chanting “we want bama” pic.twitter.com/VotEeMdhfV
— angelique (@chengelis) November 7, 2020
Love the spirit, especially this close to the start of basketball season.
But, no, you don’t.
7. Mack Brown is finishing what Steve Spurrier started
Long before the Head Ball Coach led Florida to its first national championship, Spurrier started his head coaching career at Duke.
He was only there for 3 years, but he left quite a legacy.
Spurrier went 2-0 against UNC coach Mack Brown. Included was the picture-perfect 41-0 beatdown in 1989, after which Spurrier and Duke’s players gathered for a photo in front of the UNC scoreboard.
Clearly Mack Brown hasn’t forgotten. Spurrier left soon after for Florida, but Brown has never lost to Duke since.
He won the next 8 vs. Duke before he left for Texas. He returned to UNC last year and promptly beat Duke again.
Saturday, his Heels blasted the Blue Devils in Durham for his 10th consecutive win in the series.
The only thing missing was a photo.
6. Congratulations to Liberty, Hugh Freeze and Malik Willis
Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze will never live down his scandalous exit from Oxford, but he deserves a lot of credit for rebuilding his brand and building up Liberty’s football program.
Saturday, the start-up Flames outlasted Virginia Tech 38-35.
Sounds crazy, but that win makes Liberty, which entered ranked No. 25 and surely will rise, the best football team in Virginia.
Willis, the former Auburn backup QB, had another dominant effort. He finished with 317 total yards and 4 combined TDs. He converted a 4th-and-6 in the final seconds to set up Liberty’s game-winning field goal. Liberty has won 9 consecutive games dating to last season.
5. Bottom 5 of Power 5
1. South Carolina’s QB situation: So many questions, so few answers. I do know this much: If Collin Hill is still the answer, it’s time to change the question.
2. Don Brown’s defense: Michigan’s defensive coordinator is regarded as one of the top minds in the game. But it’s not working. Saturday, Michigan gave up 300+ passing yards for the 4th time in its past 5 games.
3. Chip Kelly: Note to self: At some point this week, go back and find some of the hot-take tweets that insisted the Gators screwed up their coaching search by not landing Chip Kelly.
4. ACC refs: If you watched the Notre Dame-Clemson game, no doubt you came away thinking this: They make SEC refs look nearly perfect.
5. Georgia’s offense: I don’t know if starting D’Wan Mathis would have made a difference Saturday, but I do know Stetson Bennett had no chance of keeping pace with Kyle Trask. More important, I know Todd Grantham knew that as well.
4. The 4 Playoff teams are …
1. Alabama, 2. Florida, 3. Ohio State, 4. Notre Dame.
Clemson isn’t done. Far from it. If anything, the Tigers’ double-overtime loss at Notre Dame proved exactly how dangerous they are. They’re No. 5 on this list, but that’s temporary.
Imagine Alabama facing an undefeated top-5 team on the road without Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith (or Jaylen Waddle, you choose) and 3 defensive starters — and falling in double overtime.
That’s all that happened Saturday night. Ian Book was outstanding and Notre Dame won a home game against a depleted Clemson squad that was without Trevor Lawrence (again) and Justyn Ross (who hasn’t played this season) on offense and their Dylan Moses on defense.
If you think Saturday’s loss ended Clemson’s Playoff hopes, you’re a Bama or Florida fan who doesn’t want to have to deal with Dabo.
The reality is: All Saturday did was set up a Tigers beatdown in Charlotte in the ACC title game — with a healthy Lawrence.
3. Offense wins? Who knew?
Have to admit, I chuckled listening to Gary Danielson and reading others on Twitter conclude Saturday that offense wins championships.
Heck, even Nick Saban said this week that great defenses can’t win championships anymore.
I’ve been saying that for 5+ years. This was ahead of the 2017 Playoff season.
One thing about the Playoff: It's an offensive shootout. If you can't keep up, you've got no chance. In 9 Playoff games, winning team has topped 30 8 times. Champion scored 35 or more in all three title games.
— Chris Wright (@CWrightSDS) December 3, 2017
That trend has only expanded. Five of the 6 Playoff champions scored 35 or more points in the championship; 4 of them topped 40. The winning team topped 35 points in 12 of the 18 Playoff games.
Saturday didn’t introduce any kind of new era or referendum on what works and what doesn’t.
It merely confirmed what we’ve seen throughout the Playoff era.
2. What’s Jeremy Pruitt’s buyout?
I’ll look it up later. The art of overreacting is disregarding a lot of common sense and practicality. And it most definitely is not practical to buy out a head coach in the middle of a global pandemic that just turned your cash register upside down.
But after that performance?
Losing to Georgia and Alabama is one thing.
Losing the exact same way to Kentucky and Arkansas is entirely another.
We are 3 years in, and Jeremy Pruitt still has no idea what he wants from his offense or which quarterback gives the Vols the best chance at success.
Same strategy. Same result.
Nothing infuriates a fan base or prompts a booster to find his checkbook faster than that dreadful combination.
1. Next question: Can Florida actually beat Alabama?
I’m not sure, but I’m taking the over, no matter how high they set it.
As I just learned Saturday, offense wins.