Joe Murphy - Getty Images
Some random thoughts and observations on the weekend-that-was in College Football from a Dawg fan who, frankly, needed the bye week as much as the team did.
Saturday was a pretty wild day in college football. Some games were highly competitive and went right down to the wire. Some games were called early (mercifully) due to weather, and perhaps a few games should have never been played in the first place. Since Georgia was off this week and the collective fan base could kick back and generally enjoy the day’s bounty in a generally relaxed mood, I hereby sit in judgment and offer a few thoughts. As always, please chip in your .02 if something strikes your fancy.
In no particular order…
1. I watched the Auburn – Ole Miss game in its entirety and thoroughly enjoyed every single schadenfreudetastic moment. I know it’s been knocked about for a few weeks now, but has there ever been a more precipitous drop in two years than what we are witnessing with the Auburn program? They are only nationally relevant in this context at the present time.
Auburn actually had a chance in this game, but a penalty early in the 2nd half on a horribly shanked Mississippi punt nullified what would have been great field position for the Tigers, who had all the momentum at that moment in the game. Ole Miss proceeded to score and Auburn – who’s psyche is obviously as fragile as rice paper – crumbled as the second-half marched on. Auburn is at Vandy next week. Of their remaining 6 games, maybe the 2 non-conference cupcakes seem winnable as of now.
2. Jumping ahead just a bit…what do we make of Tennessee? They are clearly a better team this year than the last few, but the record does not reflect this.
Tennessee still has a chance to do some damage, in 2012, but that window of opportunity is closing fast. Tennessee has a ton of offensive talent which has a propensity to turn the ball over at critical moments, but their defense cannot get a stop when the chips are down (except against UGA FWIW), evidenced by last night's nail-in-the-coffin drive by Mississippi State to put the game away late. What happens if Justin Hunter, Tyler Bray and Cordarrelle Patterson all jump to The League next season? They probably regress...again.
3. C'mon, Stanford. Four running plays inside the 3 yard line? Were you trying to prove a point or something? I understand that Notre Dame's defense hasn't allowed a touchdown since Purdue, but dang. And the refs blew the whistle on the contested final play of the game in overtime, not the call. There is no controversy. Forward progress was stopped, and you could see the zebra waving his hands signaling "play over." The only controversy is the Stanford coaching decision at the end of what was a very good football game. Notre Dame is back until they’re not.
4. I did not watch the Texas - Oklahoma game. I intended to switch back and forth between this game on ABC and the Auburn-Mississippi tilt. The ESPN "crawl" at the bottom of my television screen told me all I needed to know by late in the 2nd quarter. This is the rivalry game for both schools, and Oklahoma has re-established a psychological edge that Texas had temporarily overcome, much like we're trying to do against Florida (or, dare I say, South Carolina of late..). I think the coaching staff in Austin could be quite different next season.
5. Kentucky is bad. Epically bad. The Good Lord took pity and washed out the rest of the game in Fayetteville when Arkansas was up 49-7...with about 6 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter! I'm a picker, I'm a grinner, I'm a Joker, and I'm a sinner...
Watch the Cats give us fits next Saturday night. You read it here first...
6. Tech didn't lose this weekend. Paul Johnson is a genius.
7. Alabama just toyed with Missouri for most of the game, much like a cat plays with a mouse it has captured before eating it head-first. I wonder if the Tigers had any inkling that it would be this tough? Anyway, Gary Pinkel is impressed. Bama is a machine and I'm convinced none of their players ever let up at any point in the game because Nick Saban will literally cut them. Or disembowel, YMMV.
8. I read some chatter somewhere that the real reason Urban Meyer left Florida is because he saw the behemoth that was growing in Tuscaloosa. Urban Myth?
9. I caught a few moments of Florida's win over Vanderbilt. I saw all I needed to see. The Gators seem to be steadily improving on offense, which is a revolting development. We'd better figure out how to contain Jeff Driskel in two weeks because he's a load, and Marcus Howard doesn't have any eligibility left for us last time I checked. Hope Jarvis is healed. It would be nice if Cornelius Washington showed up, too.
10. Back to Fayetteville for a moment: I know it was Kentucky that the Hogs beat up on last night in less than 3 quarters of competition, but this team has improved and pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. I am happy for John L. Smith. He hasn't quit and the team has responded. This is good to see. NEXT COACH AT AUBURN!
11. I had a feeling that West Virginia might have some trouble in Lubbock on Saturday. The 48-45 victory last week in Austin turned out to be an emotional track meet. Plus, it's a long flight from Morgantown. Then, you essentially have less than a week to essentially do it again. That's taxing, and anyone who has traveled knows how the simple act of sitting on an airplane for 4 or more hours can zap your energy. Yeah, West Virginia doesn't play much defense, but I think this game was an aberration. That's why I don't bet. Much.
12. You know what's better than a mid-season bye week? One that occurs after you come off a big win. Sigh.
13. Best wishes to Minnesota coach Jerry Kill.
14. LSU's defense came to play and essentially shut-down Marcus Lattimore. Connor Shaw couldn't break contain often because LSU wouldn't let him get wide very often. It was simply the way you execute against a team like Carolina, and they were missing some starters at linebacker. I get it: Tiger Stadium on a Saturday Night is a special kind of hell for anyone, but you still have to play. LSU's defense has them right back in the BCS chatter. Les Miles & Co. did us a solid last night. Can we use it?
15. Steve Spurrier is a Hall-Of-Fame college football coach. Of this, there is no doubt. But he's also a 105mm ass-cannon. The following is just one of many Spurrier-isms that solidify my assertion:
I don't know if he got hit in the head tonight or not. Some of his decision-making was a little off.
- Spurrier on Connor Shaw, LSU post-game
We've got Kentucky on Saturday Night at 7:00...just like it used to be. Television times To Be Announced, so stay tuned. This game has SECTV.net.org.edu written all over it (or, Pay Per View).
Until next time...