10 things I'm absolutely overreacting to after a crazy Week 7 in the SEC
I thought about punting on this column this week, kind of like Dana Holgorsen did on Houston’s season, but that wouldn’t be fair to those of you who show up every Sunday morning expecting to be entertained.
Maybe next week I’ll write this from a roof … oh, wait, Tennessee won?
Maybe next week I’ll take a timeout and reflect … oh, wait, Kirby the game mismanager used them all?
Here are 10 things I’m absolutely overreacting to after a ridiculous Week 7 in and around the SEC.
10. Oh, no, Hot Rod. Not that like …
Everybody roots for Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship. His story demands respect. His skill is beyond question.
Of all of the crazy things that happened in the final 20 minutes of the Georgia-South Carolina game Saturday, Blankenship missing a chip-shot 42-yard field in 2OT was the absolute craziest.
Crazier than the bogus pass interference call on 4th down that set up Georgia’s tying TD in regulation.
Crazier than Will Muschamp’s crazy decision to try for a game-winning 57-yard field goal in the final minute.
Crazier than Jake Fromm throwing his 3rd interception.
Heck, crazier than Jake Fromm throwing his 23rd incompletion.
Crazier than Parker White missing a 33-yard field goal that would have won it in the first OT.
Crazier than Kirby Smart bailing out South Carolina’s offense by calling a timeout with 1 second left on the play clock on a crucial 4th-and-1 play in double OT. (If you think I’m piling on Kirby, oh, my, check out what Georgia fans are saying …)
Crazier than Georgia losing to a backup quarterback. Again.
Crazier than all of that. It was Blankenship’s 1st legitimate miss of the season. (He had an earlier kick blocked.) He has been the epitome of Mr. Automatic even before he beat Notre Dame in 2017.
Great win for South Carolina. Take nothing away from the resilient Gamecocks. South Carolina outplayed Georgia. Muschamp outcoached his good buddy, too. But as even Muschamp said, you hate to see it decided like that.
9. We gonna talk about Jake Fromm’s 3 INTs, or nah?
Again, credit the heck out of Muschamp and his defensive staff.
You can’t Google Fromm without seeing “back shoulder throw.”
South Carolina anticipated those back shoulder throws all day. And Fromm couldn’t make them pay because he continued to miss the deeper over-the-middle stuff.
Israel Mukuama had all 3 interceptions, and 2 were because he read and jumped the sideline and back shoulder throw. He took one to the house, too.
That is exactly how you put all that film study to work.
Saturday also was another reminder that Georgia is better when Fromm plays a complementary role. The Bulldogs are 0-5 when he attempts 30 or more passes in a game.
8. Unsportsmanlike conduct, everybody? Sure …
The video is out there. No punches, just lots of words I don’t like. Honestly, the Oklahoma-Texas pregame dustup wasn’t anything out of the norm for a rivalry game, except it was caught (and heard) on camera.
Game officials obviously thought it was too over the top. They handed out an unsportsmanlike penalty to everybody on both teams, meaning the next would warrant an automatic ejection.
Plenty of others overreacted to that decision. I understood their initial Twitter outrage. It’s football. It’s a hated rivalry between 2 teams with championship aspirations. What’s next? Scanning Twitter for insults during game week?
But here’s the thing: It worked. The referee’s decision cut out all of the unnecessary chirping and gesturing and we were treated to 4 clean, hard-fought quarters of football.
Got me wondering: Can’t we just start with that?
7. Redshirting was Dana Holgorsen’s idea?
This is explosive stuff. A former Houston Cougar said head coach Dana Holgorsen asked a handful of seniors to redshirt in hopes of having a better 2020 season. One of those seniors was QB D’Eriq King, who was blasted for “quitting” on his team.
Read this thread from Justin Murphy. Please. If true, and Holgorsen hasn’t responded, this is outrageous.
My name is Justin Murphy. And according to sources I am no longer apart of the 2019 Houston Cougar Football Senior Class. A senior class that is the first group to experience a head coach and administration to actively tank a football season. (THREAD)
— Justin Murphy (@JMurphy_73) October 11, 2019
An interesting detail in Holgorsen’s contract: He receives a $1 million bonus if the Cougars join a Power 5 conference under his watch. Basically, after Houston started 1-3, dreams of a prestigious bowl were gone. Holgorsen essentially decided to quit on Year 1 and get a head start on 2020. Not the first time he’s quit.
I know how I’d handle this: I’d punt on Holgorsen’s 2019 salary, a tidy $3.7 million. It’s part of the 5-year, $20 million deal he signed when he quit West Virginia and transferred to Houston.
6. You sure about this Joe Moorhead offensive guru thing?
I wasn’t last year, and I’m even less optimistic halfway through this season.
Coming off a bye week, no less, Mississippi State again looked lost on offense.
Tommy Stevens isn’t the answer. And every rep Moorhead wastes trying to convince us he is, is one rep Garrett Shrader isn’t getting.
I'm no head coach and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn last night but I have no clue why Tommy Stevens is the quarterback for Mississippi State and not Garrett Shrader.
I am simply baffled.
Stevens just threw his 2nd interception and Tennessee is in business again.
— Brad Logan (@BradLoganCOTE) October 12, 2019
Shrader replaced Stevens at halftime and led MSU to its only TD.
That’s another problem. That’s the 5th time in 11 SEC games in which Moorhead’s offense has been held to 1 TD or fewer.
Moorhead came into the league talking like he was the smartest guy in the room as if the SEC hadn’t seen the kind of offensive schemes he was going to bring. Heck, he talked as if Mississippi State hadn’t seen the kind of offense he was going to unleash.
Reality set in, and he quickly adjusted his tune after the season. No more brash talk. Problem is, nothing really has changed.
Is Mississippi State better off than where Dan Mullen left it? It’s hard to say yes.
5. Bottom 5 of Power 5
The worst of the weak, in order of ineptitude, because the alphabet is far too forgiving:
1. Rutgers passing game (Big Ten):
Rutgers has one (1) yard passing. If it finishes with under 50, it will be the ninth time in 42 games it has done so since 2016.
— James Kratch (@JamesKratch) October 12, 2019
Rutgers finished with … 1 yard passing.
The worst part? The Scarlet Knights completed 5 passes!
2. LSU fan who is holding this sign (SEC):
— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) October 12, 2019
Come on, man. Mock an interception, sure, but a career-altering injury?
3. Duke fans (ACC): The picture says it all.
Vintage early 2000s crowd at Duke today. This is the beginning of the second quarter. Everybody who’s coming is here. pic.twitter.com/maGhdKMgUu
— Luke DeCock (@LukeDeCock) October 12, 2019
(Yes, I saw Vandy’s crowd. But what else are you going to do in Durham?)
4. FSU’s defense (ACC): Upon further review, the Noles gave up 59 to Trevor Lawrence and the Tigers last year. So, Saturday was … progress?
5. Georgia’s offense (SEC): South Carolina held Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift to fewer points than it did UNC true freshman Sam Howell, in his college debut, no less. In the past 3 years, only SEC West teams had been able to hold Georgia to 17 points or fewer.
4. The 4 Playoff teams are …
1. LSU, 2. Clemson, 3. Oklahoma, 4. Alabama
Told y’all last week Clemson was simply bored. Also told y’all Justyn Ross needed to play like Justyn Ross (2 TDs Saturday) and that Dabo was going to put a boot in their butt and they’d curb-stomp FSU, which still is very much a rival.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Tigers or their quarterback.
Just like there’s absolutely nothing wrong with those other Tigers or their quarterback.
Ohio State and Wisconsin will meet in 2 weeks. That’s their chance. They’ll likely meet again in the Big Ten title game. Only way either makes it is if it sweeps the other. There will be 3 SEC teams better qualified than a 1-loss Big Ten champ.
3. Oh, he’s just showing off now …
Go on, Jalen.
Jalen Hurts’ Heisman moment happened. pic.twitter.com/gAHm0ezxxd
— Cam Mellor (@PFF_Cam) October 12, 2019
Jalen Hurts accounted for all 4 TDs Saturday in Oklahoma’s 34-27 victory over Texas.
Hurts now has 17 TD passes and 8 TDs rushing.
He’s the most unstoppable QB force this side of Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa.
2. Friendly reminder, Georgia is not done
If the Dawgs beat Florida and Auburn, win the East and beat the SEC West champion in Atlanta, the 1-loss Dawgs are going to the Playoff.
It’s fine to overreact to Georgia’s loss, but let’s not get all crazy.
One interesting scenario: Let’s say Auburn also beats Georgia, but Georgia beats Florida to win the East with 2 losses. And then let’s say Georgia beats an undefeated LSU or Alabama to win the SEC. What then?
My guess: We’d see our 1st conference championship game loser make the Playoff.
1. LSU is going to win the national title
No? Guess you missed the game.
LSU scored 42 points on 44 offensive snaps — against a defense that had allowed 55 points all season.
LSU scored 6 TDs — against a defense that had allowed 6 TDs all season.
Joe Burrow threw 3 TD passes — against a defense that had allowed 4 all season.
LSU ran for 218 yards and 3 TDs — against a defense that had allowed 93 rushing yards per game and 2 rushing TDs all season.
And don’t forget this: Florida’s defense is better than Alabama’s.