Even Condi Rice is an upgrade over this.
Daily Archives: October 27, 2013
… is check the weather. Next Saturday in Jacksonville is looking mild and wet. There’s even a chance of a thunderstorm. (That’s all the Dawgs and Gators have been missing this season, a game delayed by lightning.) I have no clue which team gets a break with inclement weather. The more relevant question is whether rain increases the chance for injuries. Not that either team needs any more help in that department.
Yesterday started out as a wet dream for the Hutson Mason aficionados in our midst, with three SEC East teams starting backup quarterbacks. (You could argue that on a normal team, Justin Worley would be a backup, too. But I digress.) So how’d they do? Not that well. Maty Mauk was the best of the bunch, but he completed less than 50% of his throws, threw a pick, and, well, lost. Facing a shutout, Spurrier pulled Dylan Thompson in favor of a gimpy Connor Shaw, who rallied his team for a dramatic overtime victory. Patton Robinette threw a pick-six en route to a Texas A&M rout.
Believe it or not, coaches want to win. There’s usually a good reason the second-stringer is the one carrying the clipboard.
After those Tennessee and Vanderbilt wins, you couldn’t turn to a media site covering college football without tripping over some resident pundit’s proclamation that we were witnessing the remaking of the order of the SEC. Even Mike Slive chirped in about that.
So how did the new kidz do this week? Welp, the Commodores traveled to College Station, went +2 in turnover margin, recovered an onside kick (and dodged a bullet on a successive onside kick that went out-of-bounds), forced turnovers on four straight possessions by a Texas A&M team that started a Johnny Manziel who obviously wasn’t 100% healthy… and lost by 32. Tennessee looked outclassed literally from the opening kickoff in this year’s version of the third Saturday in October (who was that red team?). Same old, same old, in other words.
The reality is that this story was way overblown. There is some newfound parity in the West, but it’s at the margins. TAMU isn’t as good this year because its defense has taken a step back. Auburn is the most improved team in the conference because Gene Chizik turned out to be the head coach we all thought he was when he came from Iowa State. And Hugh Freeze with that excellent recruiting class has given Ole Miss a puncher’s chance in every game it plays. But the big picture hasn’t changed. LSU is the LSU we expect under Les – great when they put their minds to it. Alabama is just great, period.
The story in the East isn’t that there’s a new sheriff or two in town. It’s that two of the old sheriffs got the crap beat out of them in a bar fight and are in recovery mode. You’d think everyone would have figured out that health is the name of the game in this division after watching Missouri’s return behind a healthy, experienced group this season. If every team in the East were as healthy as the Tigers, does anyone honestly think the division would look like this today?
One good thing about Dawgless Saturdays in the fall is that I get a chance to watch a lot more of what other teams are doing. One impression I got flipping channels is that Jimbo Fisher has done at FSU what all the Saban disciples endlessly blather about: build a program in His image. The ‘Noles are deep and well-coached. Both their win and Alabama’s were the kind of effortless, soul-crushing beatdown of mediocre opponents you expect to see from top five teams. Boring, even. (I don’t blame ‘Bama fans for leaving early, by the way. How many handoffs in a blow out can you watch?)
Oregon, by comparison, is intriguing. The Ducks run a different scheme, but basically they’re Texas A&M with a defense. UCLA has a legit defense, too, and did a good job holding Oregon to 14 points in the first half. But the dam broke in the second half as Oregon rolled to a 28-point win and 555 yards of offense, 200 yards more than UCLA’s defense had yielded on average going in. Pretty damned impressive.
As long as two of those three teams go undefeated, I’m officially on the Ohio State win out bandwagon now. I would love to watch Corch lobby all his buddies in the media if his undefeated team looked like it was coming up short in the BCS rankings. (He’s already started with the how great two-loss Wisconsin is talk.) And I’d expect the Big Ten coaches’ votes in the last Coaches Poll to be epic. Fun stuff.
So in the midst of watching all these talented SEC quarterbacks having great days yesterday, a thought comes to me. Alabama, Texas A&M, South Carolina, even Missouri – they’ve got all that skill position talent to throw to and hand the ball off to. Could anybody blame Aaron Murray for looking skywards last night and wondering, “why me, Lord”?