September 22, 2012; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley (3) runs the ball in the second half against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Sanford Stadium. Georgia won 48-3. Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
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I know, it's Monday and you're trying to get back in the groove for another work week. But before you do, let's cross a few things off the ole college pigskin to do list.
1) Savor "September Backness". What's more exciting than March Madness? September Backness, the annual college football rite of fall, during which we're told by various fanbases and ESPN gum flappers that this or that traditional powerhouse is "back."
Last year it was Clemson. This year (or at least week) it's Florida State and Notre Dame. Admittedly, Florida State's offense looked like vintage, young Mark Richt-led FSU this weekend in coming from behind to put up 49 on Clemson. And the schedule from here looks, well, like an ACC conference schedule, which means that until the season ending showdown with Florida there are no obvious stumbling blocks.
However, if there's one thing we've learned through the years it is that September Backness usually gives way to "October Flatness" or "November Oh Dear Lord How Did We Lose To Virginia/Georgia Tech/Wake!!!" While there are no obvious stumbling blocks, remember that Jimbo Fisher is the Swiss watchmaker of 10-2 football: he likes his bumps in the road to be imperceptible to the naked eye, so that when they do hit you can be delightfully surprised.
My guess is that this year's FSU loss involves E.J. Manuel coming up gimpy at a bad time and spotty kick coverage, something we felt a whisper of this weekend against the Lake Hartwell Junior Thundercats.
As for Notre Dame, if you mean, Ryan in Chicago and Mike in Cleveland* that they are "back to being not awful and might be a top 20 team" I concede your point. The Irish defense is capable of repeatedly assaulting enough Big Ten and service academy offenses to get to 9-3 and a New Year's Day bowl.
But if by "back" you mean "back to being a national title contender" then, no sir, Notre Dame is not back to that. That defense will lose significant personnel after 2012 and the offensive line will lose 4 of 5 starters after this season, none of which is a recipe for improving on the 9-3 record they'll attain after losses to Stanford, Oklahoma and Southern Cal.
2) Marvel at Bill Snyder's Backness. Bill Snyder has finally perfected the system he began learning as a young grad assistant under Fielding Yost. That's not true, per se, but it is true that Snyder retired in 2005 after building an improbable contender at K State, then came out of retirement, and now has the Wildcats looking like Big XII-ish contenders. Sooner fans might suggest a similar career path for Bob Stoops.
3) Get excited about Georgia Tech being back where it began under PJ. The reigning CBSSports.com ACC coach of the week is still a super genius, albeit a super genius who was apparently out-geniused by Al Golden in overtime. It's tempting to ask whether Tech was somehow overlooking Miami, as inconceivable as that appears at first blush. The Jackets are now 1-2 in conference and 0-2 in their division, and rumblings have begun that Johnson has brought Tech about as far as he's going to bring them, which is right about where Chan Gailey left them: perennially 8-4 and unable to consistently beat the teams they'd need to (Virginia Tech, Miami) to go any further.
As always, feel free to add your own items in the comments. Until later . . .
*Every Notre Dame fan I know is either named Ryan or Mike, or has a brother or son named Ryan or Mike. I don't know why.