I’m about to fire off some hot takes, here goes:
- Not only would Texas be 6-0 if Ewers didn’t get hurt, they would have blown out Alabama. I’m sitting here watching Alabama, Jalen Milroe just threw a pick with about a minute left in the first half, the score is 14-14. Texas would have beaten Bama badly if Ewers was playing. Okay, A&M just threw an unbelievably stupid INT and Jimbo is screaming at his QB on the sideline, but my point still stands. I firmly believe that. Texas would have won big over Bama if Ewers didn’t get hurt.
- Okay, Clemson just tossed a long TD to go up 17-3 on Boston College, but Clemson is fraudulent. I don’t care how many crappy teams they beat. They were struggling all first half against BC, locked in a dogfight. Clemson is fraudulent.
- Michigan is also extremely fraudulent. In fact, it’s a battle between Michigan and Clemson for who is the most FRAUDULENT team in the country. But it’s one of them. I have to give the nod to Michigan because they’re Michigan and they are the kings of being fraudulent. But Clemson’s offense against an actual team is going to crumble.
- However, I will cut Michigan some slack. While they were locked in a dogfight with Indiana, tied 10-10 at the half, running back coach Mike Hart collapsed on the sideline with a seizure and had to be taken to the hospital. Hart is okay, and he’s going to return to the team soon. But it was a scary moment. That is going to throw any team off-kilter. Imagine being a player on the Michigan team; there’s no way you can focus entirely on the game. You’re worried about your coach, you’re wondering if he’s going to be okay, how can you even think about football?
- So I will not ding Michigan too much for struggling with Indiana. The thing is, though, it would be different if they’d been dominating everyone until this game, then you could just write their not-so-dominant performance off to the situation with coach Hart. But they were not dominant in their previous games against inferior opponents. They were not dominant against Maryland, and they were not exactly dominant against woeful Iowa.
- I mean, Georgia has been highly fraudulent most of the year, but they at least sort of got back on track beating Auburn 42-10 (and covering the 30 point spread). Auburn is bad, but they’re not like horrible, terrible, pathetically bad. They’re a bottom-half of the SEC-tier team. That’s still decent in in absolute terms. Auburn is a better team than Mizzou and Kent State, who Georgia really struggled with recently. So this is progress for Georgia. I guess.
The AP Poll itself is on FRAUD WATCH™:
- More on this in a bit, but how is Ohio State not #1? I get why Bama was bumped down, but what did Georgia do to deserve to move up to #1? They pulled away from a weak Auburn team (after struggling for most of the first half), and their past two weeks have been about as ugly as you can possibly win as a top team. Georgia does not deserve to be #1. They just don’t.
- How is Texas ranked #23? The rankings system is so stupid. Because Texas has lost twice, without its starting QB, they just have to be down there in the fringes of the top-25, I guess? We have to sit here and pretend like they’re an actual two-loss team?
- Texas is better than most teams ranked ahead of them. Let’s look at the rankings from #4 on down to #25, because I think Texas has a case that they’re better than everyone outside of the top-3 teams. And honestly they should’ve beaten Bama by multiple scores when they played, plus Georgia has been playing like shit, so you can make a legitimate argument that there is really only one team out that that is clearly and undeniably better than Texas, which is Ohio State.
You think Texas is better than Kentucky? I do. I think they’re better than Cincinnati, too. Utah would play them close but I’d take Texas in that game. They’re better than Kansas and Syracuse in my opinion. I think they’d beat Kansas State. They’re probably better than Mississippi State, too, as well as NC State and Wake Forest. So in my view Texas should be ranked at least #14.
Now, as for TCU, I think they should be ranked in the top-10. I think TCU is a really good team that hasn’t gotten any respect this year, and I think they’re going to beat Oklahoma State pretty good this weekend. I’m really looking forward to that matchup. I think Texas would beat Oklahoma State, but maybe not TCU–it would be a good game.
As for Oregon, I think they’ve been lucky in winning a lot of the games they’ve won lately, but I do think they’re actually a decent squad right now after getting embarrassed by Georgia in week 1.
I think teams 4 through about 13 are really close to one another. Clemson, Michigan, Tennessee, USC, Oklahoma State (but I think they’re fraudulent), Ole Miss (possibly fraudulent as well), Penn State, UCLA, Oregon, TCU–I think they’re all in the same tier. They could all beat each other. And I firmly believe Texas belongs in that group. I’m not going to jump the gun here and say Texas belongs in the elite tier, but I think they could easily be ranked as high as #2 in the country. I could see the argument for it. I’m not going to go that far, but I wouldn’t fault you if you did. We’ve seen them go toe-to-toe with Bama and they would’ve won had Ewers not gotten hurt.
I’m going to say Texas belongs somewhere in that 4-13 range. As I said, I think all the teams in that range are pretty even, so it’s hard to say where exactly Texas belongs. But again, I could see an argument for them being ranked even inside the top-3.
Week 7 is Absolutely Loaded with Great Games
- Alabama at Tennessee
- Oklahoma State at TCU
- USC at Utah
- Penn State at Michigan
- Clemson at Florida State
This might be somewhat of a hot take but I don’t see how you can argue otherwise unless you’re just a massively biased SEC homer:
- Ohio State is the best team in the country. The AP poll won’t put them at #1, but if the CFP rankings came out this week, Ohio State would be #1. I have no doubt about that. They have been the best looking team all season and I don’t think it’s really debatable.
- They were dinged for their close win over Notre Dame to start the season off, and then dinged even more when Notre Dame lost to Marshall the week later, but Notre Dame has actually turned it around this year. They just beat BYU in Vegas (why was that game in Vegas, by the way?) They beat UNC a game before this one. They started badly, but they’ve kinda turned it around in South Bend. I thought Notre Dame was a tire fire earlier in the season. I thought they were going to lose to Cal, UNC and BYU after they lost to Marshall. But they’ve turned it around to their credit. I think by the end of the season, Notre Dame will look like a pretty good team. They’ve still got to play Clemson, Syracuse and USC (only the Clemson game will be at home for them). It’s possible Ohio State’s win over ND looks better and better the longer the season goes on.
- Ohio State hasn’t really played a tough schedule, but they’ve basically bulldozed everyone they’ve played. They just outgained Michigan State 614-202. They held MSU to 30 yards on 20 carries on the ground. Michigan State is bad this year; they are not the typical Michigan State, or even close to where this program typically is over the past 10-15 years. But Ohio State just boatraces everyone they play. 52-21 vs. Wisconsin, 49-10 vs. Rutgers, 49-20 vs. Michigan State–it doesn’t matter to Ohio State. They beat everybody they play by a similar margin. Everybody they play is going to get 7 touchdowns hung on them. And these games are all over by halftime. They were up 31-7 on Wisconsin at halftime, 28-7 on Rutgers at halftime, they were up 35-13 on Sparty at halftime on the road today. Everybody gets bodied all the same.
- This was how they started against Sparty, drive results: TD, pick six, TD, TD, TD, TD, TD, TD. Outside of that miscommunication on the pick-six, they couldn’t be stopped. They only stopped scoring when they chose to stop. It was like that against Wisconsin, too. And just about every team they’ve played recently.
- This is really the difference I see between Ohio State and other teams like Michigan, most notably, and even Georgia. See, Ohio State buries teams early and has their starters resting by the end of the third quarter. Michigan, on the other hand, they may have some impressive scores, but it’s after struggling early and then, in classic Michigan fashion, they punch in a few late touchdowns with their starters all still on the field to make the score look more impressive. Ohio State is the opposite. And so it’s not even so much about the scores of these games, but rather how the games have gone. Ohio State has had all but one game wrapped up by halftime.
- Look, Ohio State’s schedule has been pretty easy. They have yet to play Penn State, they have yet to play Michigan–those are the big dogs of the Big Ten outside of Ohio State. But there was a time not that long ago when Wisconsin and Michigan State were, too.
- The thing is, Ohio State has just been more consistent than anybody else. Michigan has struggled in three games in a row against weak teams–Maryland, Iowa, and now Indiana. Those are not good teams. Georgia struggled with KENT STATE and then Mizzou, and Mizzou is not good–Mizzou lost by 28 to Kansas State this year. Alabama should’ve gotten BLOWN OUT by Texas, and they easily could’ve lost to Texas A&M at home if Jimbo hadn’t called the worst play ever with the game on the line. Texas A&M was one play away from beating Alabama tonight. And A&M is not a good team. I’ve got them ranked #44 in the country, although they’ll probably move up in the rankings next week.
- So it’s not like Ohio State is dominating an easy schedule while these other top teams are struggling against brutal schedules. The other top teams are all struggling against fairly weak teams.
- By no means do I view Ohio State as some team that’s going to just bulldoze everyone and run away with the National Championship. They are not on that 2020 Alabama level. They don’t even feel as dominant as last year’s Georgia squad. But they just feel the least shaky of all the top teams.
- They have a bunch of injuries, though. It feels like their offensive skill players get hurt all the time. JSN, arguably the best offensive player in college football, has barely played at all this season. Treyveon Henderson missed last week with an injury, then played this week and lit it up, but also left with an injury later in the game. Miyan Williams, who has emerged as arguably an even better back than Henderson (which is not a knock against Henderson, in fact it’s a compliment to Williams), played last week with Henderson out, but then Williams was out this week. What I’m saying here is that injuries are the biggest threat to this Ohio State team.
- Fortunately for them they have an embarrassment of riches on offense. It’s actually kind of ridiculous when you look at it. Ohio State probably has 4 receivers that are better than anybody Georgia, Alabama and Michigan have. Ohio State has two running backs that are better than anybody Georgia, Alabama and Michigan have. It’s ludicrous the amount of talent Ohio State has. And I’m not taking shots at those other teams because they’re talented. Jahmyr Gibbs on Alabama is good, I’ve shouted him out before. He was their best offensive player against A&M for sure. It’s just that Ohio State is loaded like no other right now.
- I just think the embarrassment of riches Ohio State has on offense, plus the fact that they’ve been the most consistently strong team this season, they have to be considered the best team. It doesn’t mean they’re a lock to win the National Championship, but they should be the favorites right now, six weeks into the season.
- We have seen them in a close game (Notre Dame) but I’d like to see them respond to a real challenge again.
- I also need to see how their run defense holds up against a real team. That’s going to be what ultimately makes or breaks this Ohio State team. You know Penn State and Michigan are going to try to run on them, and push them around up front. Can they stop the run? If so they will run away with the Big Ten championship. Like, easily. If they can stop the run consistently, nobody will challenge them at all. They’ll win every game 49-20.
- You know that’s what Alabama and Georgia are going to try to do in the playoff, too. They will make Ohio State PROVE that they are no longer soft up front on defense.
- To me, that’s what stands between Ohio State and a National Championship: showing they can stop the run against good teams. Their offense is elite. We don’t have to talk about that. On defense, they have good pass rushers and good safeties, they’re a little iffy at cornerback but the good news is very few teams in college football can actually take advantage of that. And their run defense, while it has been GREAT all year, will still have to prove itself against guys like Nick Singleton and Blake Corum. Just because of how last season went against Michigan and Oregon, the jury is still out on the Ohio State run defense. They have to overwrite that negative perception, and overcome that “soft” label.
- If Ohio State can stop the run, nobody in the country will be able to keep up with them. I’m telling you. This offense of theirs is on another level. I don’t think people fully appreciate just how much more talent they have than any one else. We’ve talked about their skill position players but their left tackle is a first round draft pick next year. Their right tackle is 6’8”, 360lbs. They have two other offensive linemen (Matthew Jones and Luke Wypler) who will end up being drafted to the NFL eventually, too. This offense is as loaded as it gets.
- It’s all on their run defense. The job of their defense is essentially to make sure that other teams can’t keep the ball away from the Ohio State offense. Because that’s the only way to beat them: keep their offense on the sideline. It can’t score points when it’s not on the field. So it all comes down to stopping the run. Even if they can’t stop the pass, they will eventually pull away from you in a shootout. No team can beat them in a passing game vs. passing game shootout. The only way to beat them is to run the ball on them and keep them off the field. So their run defense is the key to the whole thing. If their run defense holds up, I really think they win it all.
- But keep in mind they had a supposedly good run defense last year going into the Michigan game. Even after getting flattened by Oregon early, their run defense ranked pretty high by the end of the year in terms of yards per carry allowed. That’s why I picked them to beat Michigan last year: because it looked like, statistically, they had figured out how to stop the run. But Michigan looked at the tape and went beyond the stat sheet, and concluded that their run defense was fraudulent.
- That’s what I wonder about this year as well with Ohio State. Can they actually stop the run when they have to, or do they only look good against the run because teams simply abandon the run against them? That’s what happened last year. When you’re down 35-10, you are not going to be trying to run it. So Ohio State’s run defense last year was able to “hide” as opponents abandoned the run. Once it was actually put to the test, though, it failed miserably.
- So that’s really my main nitpick with Ohio State, and we’ll find out if they’re legit against the run when they play Penn State and then Michigan. I’m not looking for if they can beat those teams, because they probably will. I’ll be looking at how they are stopping the run.
Alabama on FRAUD WATCH™ as well?
- Look, I told you after week 2 that Alabama is very beatable. I still believe that. People have been saying, “Oh, this is not the same Alabama team that almost lost to Texas. They are loads better.” Are they? I know they were missing Bryce Young, and that’s a big deal, but Texas A&M was missing their starting QB as well! Haynes King is the backup to Max Johnson. Not only is he the backup, he was benched earlier in the season because he just wasn’t getting the job done. They had to put him in against Bama because Johnson got hurt.
- And Bama was still favored by 24 coming into this game even without Bryce (although he may have been a late scratch, so that may not be entirely true.)
- The main thing here is that this Texas A&M team is not good. In fairness, they have a ton of talent on their roster, but a lot of that talent is young. They lost to Appalachian State, they got blown out by Mississippi State last weekend, and they were lucky to beat Arkansas two weeks ago. If not for that incredible scoop and score TD, they would’ve lost to Arkansas. And Arkansas is not a very good team—they just got blown out this weekend 40-17 by Mississippi State. A&M also struggled with a very mediocre Miami team, too. Miami out gained the Aggies 392-264 but somehow only managed 9 points. If not for two lucky wins over Arkansas and Miami, A&M could very well be 1-4 right now with their only win being over Sam Houston State. Don’t mistake this as some big quality win for Alabama. They won without Bryce Young–that part is impressive. But A&M is not very good. They’re talented, but their body of work this season is not that of a good team.
- I think this Alabama team has some structural deficiencies that can’t be fixed, namely that they are lacking in elite offensive skill players. There are no players on the level of DeVonta Smith or Najee Harris or Jameson Williams on this year’s Alabama team. They just don’t have those guys.
- Now, in fairness to them, they lead the nation in rushing yards per carry at 7.0. That’s an incredible mark for a team to average in a single game, but they’ve done it over 6 games. That is rather impressive, although I will say that number has been skewed a bit by playing against some bad teams. They ran for 5.6 YPC against A&M, 7.5 against Arkansas, 6.7 against Vandy, 7.0 against ULM, 6.7 against Texas, and 8.7 against Utah State. However, if you really break down the numbers against Texas, it looks a lot different if you filter out one 81 yard run. Bama had 161 yards on the ground on 24 carries, but take away that 81 yard run and they averaged 3.5 yards a carry against the Longhorns. So their ground game can be bottled up, don’t get it twisted here.
- Bama is limited on offense, and their defense, while good, is not invincible. A&M was moving the ball decently well against them.
- And A&M couldn’t really move the ball against anyone this year. 387 yards against Sam Houston, just 180 against App State at home, 264 against Miami at home, outgained 415 to 343 by Arkansas in Jerry World, and then outgained 473-388 by Mississippi State on the road. Bama outgained then 399-323 in T-Town. That’s about in line with what other SEC teams allowed to A&M. This A&M team got held to 180 yards by App State. Haynes King started that game and only passed for 97 yards. He threw for 253 against Bama.
- Both Alabama and Texas A&M played poorly on Saturday night. Alabama was making a ton of mistakes, missing field goals, turning the ball over, they couldn’t pass the ball, and Texas A&M still couldn’t win.
- Now Alabama has to go to Tennessee to take on the suddenly surging Vols, who are good for like the first time in 25 years. You know everybody and their mother is going to be picking Tennessee in this game after what we just saw out of both teams this weekend. Tennessee went down to Baton Rouge and just throttled LSU, while Bama struggled with a deeply flawed A&M team in Tuscaloosa. Everybody is going to be picking Tennessee to win that game.
- I’m trying to find a betting line for that game but I haven’t found anything yet. Prior to this week, I would have had Bama -20 on a neutral field, and Bama -13 at Tennessee. I will have to recalculate the power ratings on Monday, though, to see how this weekend’s games affect it. I’m sure it will move the line towards Tennessee. I’m going to wait until Circa puts out their week 7 college football lines and see where they have this game, but I would not be surprised if they actually have Tennessee favored slightly. They know the public is going to bet the hell out of Tennessee, so they’re going to skew it towards the Vols. They’re not going to give the Vols a ton of points if they know people are going to bet them either way. Like, imagine if they make the line Bama -10. People are going to hammer that. Everybody and their mother is going to smash that line. So I think they’re going to skew it towards Tennessee. Which will then present a situation where you can probably get a decent number on Alabama after the public bets heavily on Tennessee.
- Now, I’m not one of those people who is willing to say Tennessee is Back™. If they beat Bama, they just might be Back™. But that’s a big if.
- However, I will say this: Tennessee is going to be by far the most competent offense Alabama will face this season to this point. The asterisk on that is Texas with Ewers, but he only played like a quarter. Assuming Hendon Hooker stays healthy all game, this Tennessee offense is going to be the best offense Alabama has faced by far. And that’s a real problem.
- I do expect Bama to have Young back, though. And that’s a big deal, obviously. I don’t think Milroe is bad or anything, but he’s definitely not a developed passer at this point. He’s very limited. Young makes that offense so much better, and I think because he missed this week, he should be healthy enough to play next week. Maybe it was a risk by Saban: rest Young this week, hope to beat A&M with Milroe, and then have Young much healthier for Tennessee. Because if Young played against A&M, and he hurt that shoulder again, he might be out for the year.
Thoughts on the Bama-Tennessee Game:
- Okay, I waited until Sunday morning and the line is out from Circa Sportsbook: Bama -8.
- So Bama -8, over/under of 66.5, which means they see this game ending up 37-29 Bama, roughly.
- I feel like that’s going to get bet way down. Just from what I’m seeing on social media, everyone thinks Tennessee is going to win. And that worries me a bit. This site is called Fade the Public, and it feels like the public is heavy on Tennessee. So I think by default I’ve got to recommend betting Bama, but only once the line moves towards Tennessee more. If you can get Bama at like -6.5, that’s juicy–IF BRYCE YOUNG PLAYS.
- If Bryce Young doesn’t play, Bama might get slaughtered. No joke. This is not some crazy hot take. If Ewers didn’t get hurt Texas would have probably run away with that game against Bama. The way Bama played against A&M (4 TOs, 2 missed field goals), if A&M was a good team, they would’ve beaten Bama by 14+.
- I would not be shocked if a legitimately good team beats this year’s Bama team pretty soundly. I honestly wouldn’t. It should’ve happened twice already. I am not going to but the “Bug in search of a windshield” label on Bama because this is Bama and they deserve respect. But I have a feeling someone is going to expose them, and it could well be Tennessee.
- Tennessee has a reputation for being all offense, no defense, but digging in to their stats, I’m kind of impressed by what I see here. I was expecting bad, and I’m not seeing bad, at least not all over the place. They allow 5.2 yards per play, which isn’t great, but it’s 42nd nationally.
- Tennessee ranks tied for 7th nationally in rush yards per carry allowed at just 2.8. That’s really good. Now, they only face 32 opponent rushing attempts per game, which is low (104 out of 131), but that’s the case with most really good teams: they get up on their opponents and force them to abandon the run. A sampling of some teams that face fewer rush attempts per game than Tennesee: Utah, Ohio State, Michigan, Mississippi State, James Madison, Clemson, Illinois, Syracuse, NC State, Penn State, Oregon, Georgia and Minnesota. Those are all good teams. So you can’t just say Tennessee’s run defense looks good because they force teams to abandon the run; the same can be said of most top-25 teams.
- Now, where Tennessee is vulnerable is against the pass: they rank 82nd nationally in pass completion percent allowed at 61.9%. They are 128th in passing yards per game allowed at 307.4. That’s obviously really bad. They allow 23.2 first downs a game, which ranks 107th nationally. Okay, so maybe Tennesee’s defense is bad–at least it’s bad against the pass. But then again, you could say a lot of that is teams just throwing like crazy against them after Tennessee goes up big. You could say that, but then again, we don’t see that with Ohio State, who is another team that gets up big on opponents quickly and forces opponents to throw. Ohio State only allows 160 passing yards a game, which is 8th best in the country, kind of remarkable for how often teams are forced into throwing against them.
- So this is why I say it’s a completely different game if Bryce plays. I mean, yeah, that’s obvious because the guy won the Heisman. But specifically, it’s because Tennessee’s defense actually holds up pretty well against the run, but terribly against the pass. With Young in the game, Bama will be able to exploit this Tennessee team’s primary weakness.
- So bottom line, if Young plays, I’d bet on Bama. If not, I think Tennessee wins, probably by double digits, as crazy as it sounds.
Oklahoma is down TREMENDOUS
- First they lost to Kansas State. Okay, fine, it was a close game, K-State always plays Oklahoma tough, first year for Venables–no reason to panic. Growing pains.
- Then they got absolutely housed by TCU the following week, 55-24. Now that was not part of the plan; that’s concerning.
- Now it’s a full-blown panic: OU loses 49-0 to Texas in the Red River shootout. First time OU has been shutout since 1998. I believe I heard someone on ESPN say it was the worst loss in the history of the Oklahoma football program in terms of margin of defeat, but a quick Google search shows that the worst loss the Sooners have ever suffered was a 69-7 thrashing at the hands of Tom Osborne’s Nebraska Cornhuskers in 1997.
- I figured this season would be anywhere between 9-3 at best to 7-5 at worst. Right now, this Oklahoma team does not look like even a 7-win team. They could lose 6 or 7 games. It’s bad right now. It’s a lot heavier of a lift for Brent Venables than people thought. But I do think he’s ultimately the right guy, and he will get this program back on track. Just expect a lot more turbulence.
- Has Oklahoma bottomed out? I would say yes. It really doesn’t get much worse than losing 49-0 to your biggest rival on national television. That’s the definition of bottoming out. Now, that doesn’t mean Oklahoma’s season is going to get better from here, because they could continue losing. They haven’t even been competitive their last two games against TCU and Texas, losing by a combined score of 104-24. But this does feel like rock bottom. At least I hope it is.
USC is back, but…
- USC struggled once again with an inferior opponent. I don’t watch a whole lot of Pac-12 football, although I’m starting to watch a more this season (last night’s Oregon State v. Stanford game was awesome). A win’s a win, and I know nobody else really looks all that good out there, but USC has now kinda struggled with Stanford (now 1-4), Oregon State (now 4-2, not a bad team), Arizona State (2-4, fired their coach already), and now Washington State (a decent team, should’ve beaten Oregon, went on the road and beat Wisconsin).
- Only in the Oregon State game was USC ever really in danger of losing, the other three were more like USC struggled for most of the game and then pulled away later on. But it just hasn’t been enough to really give me a reason to buy in to this USC team, even though they are 6-0 and ranked #6 in the country.
- The thing is, though, this USC team under Lincoln Riley doesn’t really have the feel of a traditional USC team. When USC is good, they do it with an elite running attack and a punishing defense that features tough linebackers and hard-hitting safeties. I’m thinking of guys like Clay Matthews, Taylor Mays, Brian Cushing, Rey Maualuga, Troy Polamalu, Lofa Tatupu, Everson Griffen, Keith Rivers. And then going back further you have guys like Junior Seau, Ronnie Lott, Willie McGinest, Richard Wood.
- USC may be considered a glamor program because of how popular they were with celebrities back in the 2000s, and all the star Heisman quarterbacks, and because of the L.A. factor, but make no mistake about it: USC at their core is a program that has historically won through toughness, defense and running the football. Undeniably. USC is emphatically NOT a finesse program, in fact probably the main reason USC has fallen off so much in recent years is because they lost that identity of being a punishing physical defense with a dominant run game.
- And this is my main concern with USC under Lincoln Riley. I think he’s going to turn USC into a perennial playoff contender, perennial top-10 team (they’re already there now)–but I just worry about their ability to really win at the highest level. Riley couldn’t do it at OU because he neglects the defensive side of the ball. And while USC may currently have the Pac-12’s top scoring defense, Joel Klatt brought up a good point on his podcast: it’s because they basically mask their biggest weakness, which is stopping the run. They do this by getting up on people early and forcing them to abandon the run. You may be able to get away with that for a while, but ask 2021 Ohio State: it eventually catches up to you. Sooner or later, someone will expose you.
Awareness slowly building about the utter disaster that is the Iowa Hawkeyes offense.
- Iowa lost 9-6 last night to Illinois. In that game Iowa averaged 4.7 yards per pass attempt and 1.7 yards per carry. 222 yards of total offense in the game.
- Iowa has played 6 games and they’ve scored a grand total of 7 offensive touchdowns on the season. Barely one a game. They have 6 total turnovers (I think). 7 offensive touchdowns and 6 turnovers.
- You know how many touchdowns Ohio State has scored this year? 41.
- Iowa’s total scoring output this season by game has been: 7, 7, 27, 27, 14, 6. That’s 88 total points. Those two 27 point games seem decent, right? Well in one of them, the Rutgers game, 14 Iowa’s points were on defensive TDs. Their final touchdown in the Michigan game to get to 14 points happened with 5 seconds left down 27-7, in other words it was not a real TD. So we’ve already knocked 21 points off of their 88 point total. In the first game of the year against South Dakota State, they scored 7 points off of 2 safeties and a field goal. So take off another 4 points. We’re down to 63 legitimate offensive points. Then against Iowa State, they got an early touchdown (which would be their only points for the game) but they only had to go 16 yards because of a blocked punt their special teams got. So take off another 7 points because the offense had it served up on a platter. 56 legitimate offensive points, and 27 of them came against a bad Group of Five Nevada team (and that game went til like 3am because of lighting delays, so maybe they just put Nevada to sleep.)
- Iowa is only converting 29.6% of their third down attempts on offense this year.
- On October 22, after both teams have bye weeks, we will see Iowa travel to Ohio Stadium to take on the Buckeyes. It will be the best offense in college football against the worst offense in college football. The contrast will be stark, and it may just be the thing that pushes Iowa fans over the edge. It might be the thing that finally turns Iowa fans on Kirk Ferentz after all these years.
- What makes this Iowa story so fascinating is that Iowa’s defense is awesome, and their offense is literally the worst in the FBS. So you’d think maybe just fire the offensive coordinator, right? Wrong. He’s Kirk Ferentz’s son, Brian. So he’s never getting fired. And since Kirk is the longest tenured coach in the FBS (24 years now I believe), neither are going anywhere unless they want to leave. So Iowa is stuck with the worst offense in college football until Kirk Ferentz decides to retire on his own free will.
- And even then, I’m sure he’s going to try to hand the program off to his son Brian.
- That’s when the Iowa boosters are going to have to put their foot down and say hell no.
- If you follow me on Twitter you know my handle is “Bob Stoops for Iowa HC 2023.” I think it’s time for Kirk Ferentz to ride off into the sunset. He’s done great things for the program, he’s a legend, but it’s time for new blood in Iowa City. I think they to shake things up. Plus, I want Kirk to be remembered as fondly in Iowa City. I don’t want things to get ugly towards the end. It’s already starting to get ugly; the fanbase is getting frustrated with him and his son. There’s a rift emerging.
- The fanbase sees plainly that Brian Ferentz is incompetent, and yet because he’s the head coach’s soon, he’s untouchable. It’s a bad look. Rutgers just fired their offensive coordinator, Sean Glesson, because their offense ranks 104th in the country in scoring. Guess where Iowa’s ranks right now? 127th. Rutgers’ offense is 108th in yards per play, Iowa’s is tied for 129th. There’s only one team in the country that averages fewer yards per play on offense than Iowa: UMass.
- In other words, Brian Ferentz’s offense is performing WORSE than that of a team that just fired its offensive coordinator. And Brian Ferentz’s job is as safe as can be.
- So this is why I think it’s time for Kirk to hang it up. He’s been there long enough, it’s time to move on. If this drags on for a while, it will tarnish his legacy with Iowa fans, and that’s something nobody wants. It would be terribly sad if things go downhill for another few years and then Kirk steps down in relative disgrace. Go out on top, Kirk.
- And then Iowa needs to bring in Bobby Stoops. I think he’d take the job. He’s an Iowa alum, he’s got a soft spot in his heart for Iowa, obviously. And I think he’s waiting for the Iowa job to open up. I’m sure he’s had plenty of job offers to return to coaching, but he hasn’t accepted any of them. I think it’s because he’s waiting to see if Kirk Ferentz retires. I believe it’s always been Bob Stoops’ dream to coach at his alma mater. It almost happened back in late 1998. Look at this article I found in “The Oklahoman” from 1999:
“Stoops is man Iowa let get away”
IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Bob Stoops Watch isn’t over at the University of Iowa. It just has a different vantage point.
Nine months ago, thousands of Iowa football fans thought they would be watching favorite son Stoops walk the sideline Saturday as coach of the Hawkeyes in their season opener against Nebraska. Instead, they find themselves relegated to watching scoreboards and televisions replays to check out how Stoops and his Oklahoma Sooners do this season.
“Sure we’ll watch for Oklahoma’s scores,” said Iowa fan Bernie Swords of Burlington, Iowa. “There is still a great deal of interest in him (Stoops) around here. We will be curious to see how he’s doing.”
That curiosity could intensify if Iowa continues to perform like it did for new coach Kirk Ferentz against Nebraska. The No. 5 Cornhuskers spoiled Ferentz’s debut with a 42-7 win before 70,397 at Kinnick Stadium.
It was the worst season-opening loss by an Iowa team in a decade and the first time the Hawkeyes failed to start a season with a win since 1992.
The loss just added to the sting still felt by longtime boosters like Swords, who started the Stoops Watch last November when Iowa coach Hayden Fry announced his retirement after 20 seasons. Newspaper polls, letters to sports editors and callers to local radio shows made it clear that the view of most Hawkeye fans was that Stoops was the obvious choice to replace Fry.
After all, as a former Iowa defensive back, team captain and four-year starter, Stoops was one of theirs. And by the time he left town to launch his coaching career, he was a local hero who most figured would return triumphantly one day to take over the program he help rebuild while wearing No. 41 and playing on Fry’s first Rose Bowl team.
That vision was blurred with anger when Oklahoma hired Stoops. The venting wasn’t directed at OU, but at Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby and the selection committee.
Upset Stoops fans said Bowlsby and the committee members had blown it. By dragging their feet, they allowed OU athletic director Joe Castiglione to swoop in and steal Stoops by signing him to a five-year deal worth more than $700,000 a year.
“The whole thing was just absolutely sickening,” said local business owner Jim Mondonaro. “The University of Iowa had an opportunity to bring one of their own people back into a head-coaching position with the credentials Bob Stoops had, and we turned our back on him.”
Swords, Mondonaro and others said they admired the way Castiglione convinced the OU regents to appoint him as a committee of one. That enabled the Sooner AD to speed up the search and offer the OU job the day before Stoops was scheduled to interview with the Iowa search committee in Atlanta.
“He’s an Iowa boy, and we didn’t take the initiative to show him respect and go after him like Oklahoma did,” Mondonaro said. “No, we wanted him to wait while we did a search throughout the country with the (selection) committee.”
On Dec. 1, 1998, the day OU introduced Stoops as its new coach, stunned Iowa officials said they were under the impression they had an understanding with Stoops after interviewing him in Atlanta. They thought Stoops was aware that he was near the top of their list, but they wanted to interview other candidates.
“Frankly, that whole thing was so badly bollixed up by the university,” said Swords, who graduated from Iowa in 1942 and is secretary of the Des Moines County I-Club, a booster group. “We were hoping Bob would be the one.
“But Oklahoma went right after him with one person and signed him, and that was it. I think we should have made a more direct approach like Oklahoma.”
So does Mondonaro. The owner of a budding restaurant chain that is based in Iowa City, Mondonaro said nine months hasn’t cooled the feelings of many Hawkeye fans he knows. Mondonaro said the Stoops situation was a hot topic when he worked out this week at a local athletic club.
“There was a gym full of guys who were talking Friday about the whole scenario that took place last winter and how it’s about to unfold,” Mondonaro said of the start of the football season.
And Mondonaro left no doubt how he thinks things will eventually unfold for Stoops, who starts his head-coaching career this Saturday against Indiana State.
“We let a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity get away from us, and it’s going to prove out,” Mondonaro said. “You mark my words: Bob Stoops is going to win a national championship at Oklahoma.
“And good luck to Oklahoma. I think they have hired the best football coach in America.”
Back in 1998, after Hayden Fry retired, everyone in Iowa City thought hiring Bobby Stoops was a done deal. And then to their shock, he was announced as the head coach of Oklahoma. Plucked from right under their noses.
Now, I’d say it still worked out with Kirk Ferentz. But there’s obviously always going to be that ‘what-if’ among Iowa fans who are old enough to remember back to 1999.
Kirk Ferentz is obviously still coaching Iowa. Bob Stoops coached Oklahoma until 2017, and won them a National Championship in 2000, just as Jim Mondonaro predicted. Perhaps that could’ve been Iowa instead. Now, I know Oklahoma is a tier above Iowa in terms of the college football pecking order, but you never know. Kirk Ferentz has been a very good coach all things considered. He coaches a program that doesn’t have a natural recruiting base (Iowa is routinely ranked in the mid/low 30s in terms of annual high school football talent produced) and yet he consistently competes, wins lots of games, and sends tons of players to the NFL. Iowa is the most low-key NFL factory in the country–there were 33 Iowa players on NFL rosters on opening day of the 2022 NFL season, which is tied for 9th most with Florida.
So I am not trying to disparage Kirk or anything. He’s been a very good head coach for Iowa.
But Bob Stoops was a great coach. And I think he still might be.
Bob Stoops is 62 years old. Maybe he’s done coaching. But nowadays, with multiple NFL head coaches in their 70s, and several college football coaches well into their 70s. Nick Saban is turning 71 at the end of this month. And I know it’s an extreme example, but Joe Paterno coached until he was like 85.
If he really has the drive and the desire, Bob Stoops could coach for another 10 years or more. I think coaching his alma mater Iowa would be a situation where he’d have that desire and drive.
There’s still a chance for Bob Stoops to coach the Iowa Hawkeyes. I think the job will open up soon.
Iowa let him get away in 1998. Will they make the same mistake twice?