10 things I'm absolutely overreacting to after a wild opening Week 1
Not sure what I missed more: college football, or overreacting to college football.
Thankfully, it’s back, and Week 1 provided plenty of material in and around the SEC.
10. Are you freaking kidding me with this?
Agree or disagree? pic.twitter.com/iQCG3YlSOk
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) August 29, 2018
We’re already starting this? Again?
The Big Ten East could not have had a more disastrous opening week — and I wrote that before Michigan lost at Notre Dame. And you’re surprised? How?
What part of “the Big Ten hasn’t scored a point in a Playoff game since 2014” do you not understand? Nothing has changed — well except some of our opinions about Urban Meyer (not mine; I followed his Florida days, remember. A choir boy, he is not.).
I’ll say the same thing I correctly said two years ago and again last year: Quit hiding behind your fluffy 9-game conference schedule and go beat somebody of substance outside of your league.
(Sorry, Ohio State: blasting Oregon State, 1-11 a year ago, does not count. Though give Oregon State some credit; it only topped 30 points twice last season.
(Congratulations, by the way, to No. 11 Michigan State, which drove 75 yards to score the winning TD in the final minutes to beat an average Mountain West team at home Friday night.
(And I would be completely, irresponsibly remiss if I failed to mention the absolute poise No. 10 Penn State showed in rallying to beat Big Ten killer Appalachian State in overtime. In not-so-Happy Valley. Have yourself a weekend, mighty Big Ten East!)
So, no, I do not care what Ohio State does in the Big Ten, though I’m sure that 3-game cross-over stretch against West welterweights Minnesota, Purdue and Nebraska will be grueling.
My hope for Ohio State is that somebody does to the Bucks what OSU administrators should have done to Meyer: silence him. The selection committee cannot keep an undefeated Ohio State team out of the Playoff, but all they need is one blip in the resume to send the message OSU did not: We ain’t having it.
I firmly believe that the committee knows how disgustingly, morally corrupt it would look if Ohio State makes the Playoff months after its coaching staff is exposed as a fraud at best and allegedly criminal at worst.
9. While we’re at it, let’s nip this in the bud immediately, too …
Every game matters.
— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) August 29, 2018
This every game matters nonsense is the biggest, longest-running fallacy in college sports.
It really needs to stop. I destroyed this notion earlier, so no need to repeat in entirety here, but just remember: With 5 Power 5 champions and only 4 Playoff spots, we have at least one Power 5 Conference Championship Game that doesn’t even matter.
8. One final thought about Urb …
— Urban Meyer (@OSUCoachMeyer) August 31, 2018
I read this and, hand on the SEC Media Guide, swear to Herschel, my first thought was: Did Zach steal your password, too, Urb?
7. Preseason polls
More specifically, the respect name-brand programs get just for being name-brand programs.
Exhibit 1,246: No. 23 Texas.
First, a quick refresher:
The Longhorns started last season ranked No. 23. They opened the season with a loss at Maryland. They finished 6-6 and never appeared in the Top 25 again.
Until this preseason, of course. Where they started at No. 23, lost to Maryland and, well, you get it …
Jeshaun Jones has 2 TDs in his first 2 touches for Maryland and the Longhorns are looking… shaky pic.twitter.com/66iu2cet7H
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) September 1, 2018
That brought out cries of “overrated.” Which, in this case, isn’t an overreaction.
The FedEx Field crowd, a bastion of college football history, sets the unofficial record of the first “Overrated” chant with 7:18 left in the first.
— MatkoNickST (@matkonick) September 1, 2018
Texas should never be ranked preseason again…. pic.twitter.com/9oGKrxmejq
— Hook Em’ Horns (@TexasFight22) September 1, 2018
6. This kid is going to be a problem …
Trevor Lawrence dominated high school football in Georgia, and just like Deshaun Watson, chose Clemson over the SEC.
Watson tormented the SEC, very nearly beating Alabama twice in national title games. He won one, though.
Lawrence, the No. 1 recruit in the country last year, hasn’t even technically won the Clemson starting job, but it’s merely a matter of time. Watson wasn’t Clemson’s Day 1 starter, either.
It won’t take long.
Lawrence and Justin Fields came out of Georgia high schools together. They were the No. 1 and No. 2 recruits in the 2018 class. They’ve trained together. They’re linked and will be for as long as they play.
Their rivalry will be a lot of fun to watch. And it wouldn’t surprise anybody if their first meeting came in this year’s Playoff.
Trevor Lawrence is on the board. Your turn, Justin Fields. https://t.co/uxZjh1Iyte
— Chris Wright (@FilmRoomEditor) September 1, 2018
Lawrence finished with 3 TD passes Saturday. Granted, Furman was on the other sideline. Still as freshman debuts in season-openers go, it was enough to know: Clemson has found its guy. And it’ll quickly become the SEC’s problem for the next several years.
5. Will Grier, y’all
I wrote Saturday morning that I wanted to see Grier go off in his homecoming Heisman launch party in Charlotte. I set the over/under at 350 yards and 4 TDs.
He took the over.
4. The Playoff teams are …
1 Alabama. 2. Clemson. 3. Auburn. 4. Georgia.
3. Auburn, you’re going to do this to me again, aren’t you?
The Tigers are the team I can’t say no to, and they just opened the season with the biggest nonconference statement in America: a win over No. 6 Washington.
In theory, the Pac-12, left out of the Playoff last year, already is on the ropes, with its preseason favorite getting bloodied in Week 1. (You know, if every game actually matters.)
The SEC just solidified it has (at least) three Playoff contenders.
2. So coaching matters?
Let’s start with the obvious caveat: Yes, the opponent was Charleston Southern.
I don’t care. Florida has played plenty of cupcakes in the years since Tim Tebow, and it rarely put them on blast quite like Feleipe Franks and Co. did Saturday night.
Franks’ 5 touchdown passes were a career-high (no kidding, right?) That total was more than any combined 3-game stretch he played last year.
It was also more than Tebow ever threw, more than any Gators QB since Chris Leak tossed 5 in 2004.
Wonder what the difference was Saturday night, between that version of Franks routinely stretching the field and what we saw last year?
1. Tua Tagovailoa is going to win the Heisman
I’m not even sure that’s an overreaction, considering he was the favorite before starting a game.
The offseason quarterback race that wasn’t led to Tagovailoa’s first career start. It looked a lot like his relief appearance against Georgia, including a 25-yard touchdown throw into the left corner of the end zone.
Alabama has had a few Heisman Trophy winners. It’s won a few titles. It’s never had a quarterback quite like this.
I’ll let y’all overreact to that thought.