Another week of the college football season has come and gone and we are still left with quite a few questions after Saturday’s games. Will anyone be able to stop Georgia? Is Alabama vulnerable? Is Kentucky for real? Will the real Florida please stand up?
Let’s start in Athens, where the now top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs completely dominated their Bulldog counterparts, Samford University, 33-0. The game would have been even more out of hand if they hadn’t played shortened quarters in the second half. (On a side note, why didn’t they do this at LSU? More on that later.) Georgia started the scoring with a couple of field goals before quarterback Stetson Bennett scored on a three yard run and the route was on. Bennett added an additional passing touchdown to go with a Kenny McIntosh run from one yard out and two additional field goals to wrap up the scoring. The Bulldogs (of Georgia) clamped down on the other Bulldogs defensively, allowing only 128 total yards and three first downs. When your leading rusher has only 12 yards on the ground and your starting quarterback only had 62 passing yards, you’re not going to beat a high school team, much less the top team in college football…
And speaking about that, the former number one team in the AP Top 25, the Alabama Crimson Tide, had more than they could handle against a determined Texas Longhorns team. The Tide eked out a one point victory, 20-19, over Texas in a “much closer than the experts thought” game in front of more than 105 thousand fans in Austin. This was not the Alabama juggernaut that we have been used to seeing, especially with the Tide committing fifteen (!) penalties, allowing 12 quarterback pressures to go along with two sacks. The fifteen penalties were the most for a Nick Saban-coached Alabama team and the most for the Tide since 2002. Some people may claim that the crowd noise contributed to the large number of penalties, but many of these flags, according to Saban, were inexcusable such as offsides penalties and committing late hits and blocks in the back. He said that those are due to lack of discipline and I’d have to agree with him. I sure wouldn’t want to be a fly on the wall during film study this week in Tuscaloosa…
And speaking of uncharacteristic performances, how about the Appalachian State Mountaineers upending the then-number six ranked Texas A&M Aggies? App State were 18 and a half point underdogs and got a fat check of $1.5 million to come to College Station and lay down for the Aggies. As my mom said after the game, “Someone forgot to tell Appalachian State they were supposed to lose.” I’d have to agree with her. The week prior, Appalachian State scored 40 points in the fourth quarter in their heartbreaking 63-61 loss to North Carolina, but no one expected the Sun Belt school from tiny Boone, North Carolina to keep up with the Aggies, a team that some people had as a dark horse candidate for the College Football Playoff. Obviously, the Aggies’ chance to get to the playoffs might have disappeared with this loss to Appalachian State. On a related note, what about the other big upset of a top ten team by a Sun Belt team when Marshall beat number eight Notre Dame? Man, they’re not kidding when they nicknamed the conference the “Fun Belt Conference”! The Aggies took a tumble in the AP Top 25, falling 18 spots to number 24 and will have to try to get back on track when the host the number 13 Miami Hurricanes this Saturday…
As for another team that also disappointed on Saturday, what happened to the Florida Gators? One week after upsetting the then-number 7 Utah Utes and spring boarding up to number 12 in the AP Top 25, the 12th ranked Gators laid an egg against the surprisingly surging number 20 Kentucky Wildcats, 26-16. Kentucky’s head coach Mark Stoops has really brought something special to Lexington, as he now stands alone on the top of the list of most wins at UK. The win over Florida broke the tie with legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, which is definitely saying something. For years, football was an afterthought in the Bluegrass State, but Stoops has definitely been a God-send for Kentucky’s program. In this battle of two top caliber quarterbacks, Kentucky’s Will Levis and Florida’s Anthony Richardson, Levis was the victor, passing for 202 yards and one touchdown, including a 55 yard bomb to wide receiver Dane Key. UK has two cupcake games against Youngstown State and Northern Illinois before getting back into the SEC slate of games against Ole Miss. We’ll see when the days start to get cooler and the leaves fall off the trees if the Wildcats are contenders or pretenders…
With regards to the other SEC teams, let’s take a quick look at the other games in Week 2:
#16 Arkansas – 44, South Carolina – 30
#24 Tennessee – 34, #17 Pittsburgh – 27 (2OT)
#22 Ole Miss – 59, Central Arkansas – 3
#23 Wake Forest – 45, Vanderbilt – 25
Kansas State – 40, Missouri – 12
Auburn – 24, San Jose State – 16
LSU – 65, Southern – 17
Mississippi State – 39, Arizona – 17
One final thought. I know several LSU fans (possibly even some people on this site) said after LSU’s dominant performance against Southern University that the team should have blown out Florida State and should blow away the remaining teams on their schedule. Let’s nip that in the bud right now. Yes, if LSU plays better and doesn’t make the tons of mistakes they made against Florida State, they would have won the game against the Seminoles. But to say after beating an overmatched Southern by 48 points that LSU will run the table for the rest of the season is preposterous. LSU should take care of New Mexico and UAB, I’ll give you that. But to say that the Tigers go undefeated through the gauntlet that is the SEC is laughable. Will they win more games than last year? I hope so. But to say that LSU will go undefeated for the rest of the year is absurd. Take off the Purple and Gold colored glasses and come back to Planet Earth.