10 things I'm absolutely overreacting to after Week 8
Where were we? Sorry, I dozed off during the noon games.
Oh, right. Week 8. Plenty of wildly maddening/entertaining stuff happened after those early snoozers. Especially and joyfully in West Lafayette.
Here are 10 things I’m absolutely overreacting to, starting with a certain coaching decision in Knoxville.
10. Nick Saban put Tide’s title chances at risk
Playing Tua Tagovailoa against Georgia last January was bold and brilliant.
Playing Tagovailoa on Saturday against an overmatched Tennessee team was haphazard, unnecessary and just not smart. I wrote it last Sunday and repeated it Saturday morning: Don’t expose the stud in what amounts to a preseason game.
Saban’s decision couldn’t have been any more anti-Saban.
Clearly Tagovailoa’s knee isn’t 100 percent. Remember, last week, he took off a smaller knee brace than the bulky one he wore Saturday.
He was electric, nonetheless. He always is. He didn’t get hit (until a hold-your-breath moment to open the third quarter). That’s hardly the point. He was healthy enough to play. Obviously. But he wasn’t 100 percent and Alabama was going to win by 40 regardless.
Justify it however you want, just realize that’s all you’re doing. Saban jeopardized Alabama’s title chances and got away with it — barely.
9. Having said that … good grief is Tua fun to watch
Tagovailoa threw 4 more TD passes Saturday. He now has 25 and still hasn’t thrown an interception. The craziest thing about Tagovailoa is that he makes it look so easy that he still isn’t getting enough credit.
His ball placement is Maddux-like. Maybe better.
Two (more) examples:
On his first TD pass, the one where he had time to watch 60 Minutes, he had three opportunities to run. Instead, he scanned. And scanned. Finally he waved Jerry Jeudy toward the corner of the end zone and then somehow squeezed in a TD throw that left Jeremy Pruitt shaking his head.
How did he do that?
His next touchdown pass — the 77-yard catch-and-run to Jaylen Waddle — was the perfect example of why Tagovailoa makes this offense so unstoppable. Alabama’s receivers are so fast, they create cushion.
But he’s able to hit them in stride, in the numbers, seemingly every time. They very rarely break stride. They almost never have to wait. And that’s why they’re nearly impossible to catch.
It’s breathtaking — or horrifying — depending on your fandom.
8. Enough about Alabama’s schedule, OK?
The blowouts are so routine, the points so easy, the pretense of an actual challenge so implausible that analysts are going to the “Alabama hasn’t played anybody” card earlier and earlier.
Saturday, Gary Danielson couldn’t even make it out of the first quarter. I get it. You have to talk about something.
Alabama is 8-0. It has topped 50 points in six of those games. That’s already a program record.
The SEC has never seen an offense like this. This offense could be averaging closer to 70 points if Saban were as ruthless as Steve Spurrier.
But to pretend this wouldn’t happen against somebody else’s schedule? Please.
Remember, the quarterback responsible for this onslaught is the same guy who did more damage to Georgia than the Heisman Trophy winner. And he did that damage as a true freshman, with nary a start and zero snaps under game pressure.
You can’t forget that. Tagovailoa threw 3 TD passes in one half-plus against Georgia. Baker Mayfield threw 2 TD passes in four quarters and 2 overtime periods in the semifinal against the Dawgs.
The opponent doesn’t matter.
As bad as you might think those unfortunate souls are on the other side of the ball, nobody makes you look worse than Alabama.
7. Speaking of which … Jarrett Guarantano is who I thought he was
Give the kid credit. He was tremendous last week against Auburn.
Just remember that Auburn, in no shape or form, is Alabama.
Many overreacted to Guarantano’s career day, calling it a corner turned. I viewed it as more of a great day against a slumping defense.
There were just too many pedestrian performances leading up to the Auburn game to completely erase and replace the narrative.
Saturday’s performance was a good reminder of that.
6. It’s not how many show up. It’s who shows up …
Saturday’s crowd at Arkansas just meant fewer.
In my 38 years I've never seen a crowd this small at an Arkansas game.
— Wally Hall (@WallyLikeItIs) November 4, 2017
But there was one guest of note: transfer target Kelly Bryant.
Former Clemson QB Kelly Bryant is at the Arkansas game today 👀 pic.twitter.com/tyy23MF4zs
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 20, 2018
Bryant with Ryan Mallett, and Hudson Henry pic.twitter.com/qjZKfd4U95
— Alyssa Orange (@AlyssaOrange) October 20, 2018
Maybe that’s why Chad Morris was smiling during his halftime interview despite scoring just one touchdown.
As Bryant no doubt noticed, there is nothing in his way from becoming Arkansas’ starting quarterback in 2019.
5. No, I don’t believe in Michigan. So quit asking
I’m supposed to lose my mind because Michigan beat Michigan State 21-7?
You know who else beat Michigan State (4-3)?
Arizona State … and the Sun Devils are 3-4.
Northwestern … and the Wildcats are 4-3, one of those losses coming to Duke.
There’s nothing particularly special about this Michigan team, even with Shea Patterson at QB.
I literally laughed out loud when, within seconds of Ohio State losing, Kirk Herbstreit started pumping up the Wolverines, moving them to No. 5 in his Playoff rankings.
The Big Ten is something else.
4. The 4 Playoff teams are …
No. 1 Alabama. No. 2 Clemson. No. 3 LSU. No. 4 Notre Dame. No. 5 Oklahoma. No. 6 Texas. No. 7 Georgia. No. 8 UCF.
3. B.S. targeting call against Devin White could alter Playoff chase
I’m here for player safety, but Devin White’s hit on Nick Fitzgerald wasn’t targeting.
It wasn’t even close.
Here is the “targeting call” that will make Devin White miss the first half of the Bama game. The game is over before it even begins. pic.twitter.com/qf4kLqKlPn
— Belle Es You (@SouthernbeLLSU) October 21, 2018
White didn’t lead with the crown of his helmet. He didn’t launch. Fitzgerald shakes off arm tackles better than most SEC running backs. Of course, he’s bigger than most SEC running backs.
The only thing I disliked more than the actual call was the extended result: White now will have to sit out the first half of the Nov. 3 showdown against No. 1 Alabama. Ridiculous. Former LSU Jacob Hester great agrees.
The fact that it was called a targeting was ridiculous. The fact that it was confirmed is ridiculous. The fact that 40 has to miss the first half against the #1 team in the country is ridiculous. The fact that you can’t appeal the ridiculous call is utterly ridiculous.
— Jacob Hester (@JacobHester22) October 21, 2018
Not to overreact or anything, but that was a Playoff-altering call. And a bogus one at that.
2. Winning … it’s more fun than coining corny slogans
— Chris Owens (@BGChrisOwens) October 20, 2018
After the 365 days you just endured, you deserve to smile. Congrats, coach.
1. Good riddance, Buckeyes
America 49, Ohio State 20. Right 49, Wrong 20. Karma 49, Corruption 20.
What a beautiful way to cap a night.
Purdue did the Selection Committee a huge favor, and that should be the last time we hear “Buckeyes” and “Playoff” in the same sentence — until next July, anyway. It won’t be, of course. ESPN has too many Bucks on staff to let the dream die this hard, this early. But it should be.
P.S.: As long as we’re residing in Fantasy Land, what did Saturday say about Mizzou’s Playoff chances? Granted, the Tigers haven’t won an SEC game. Might not, either. Details. Don’t bore me with facts. The Playoff push is all about propaganda, baby. Push that agenda. Mizzou beat Purdue on the same field that the Boilermakers exposed “Playoff lock” OSU as a corporate fraud! Moreover, Mizzou drilled a Memphis team that last week nearly beat UCF!
Does that make any sense? Of course not. Blame it on the Big Ten. They’ve taught us all how to make a case for just about anybody.
Go away, Big Ten. Go very far away.