I started this post early in the Bama – Tennessee game and I’m just going to keep a running account of my thoughts at every stage of this game.
- Bama is committing a ludicrous amount of penalties and mental errors. It’s the first quarter and it feels like they’ve already committed like 7 penalties. Very uncharacteristic of a Saban team.
- Offensive line can’t block
- Defense getting lit up like a Christmas tree
- This no-name wide recevier corps is dropping passes like crazy
- Tennessee just amped all the way up to 11
- Without Bryce Young this game would have been an utter massacre
- I’m starting to realize why Saban threw a hissy fit over A&M poaching all those five star players
- Feels like Bama has cheated “death” twice this year already, will they make it a third?
- By about the second quarter it became clear that the Tennessee defense could not stop Alabama. This game transitioned from a blowout into a shootout by the end of the first half.
- The Bama offensive line began pass blocking a lot better in the second half.
- That pass interference call late in the third quarter against Tennessee, when Bama had like a 3rd and goal from the 20, was the biggest bailout call I’ve ever seen. Bama had a third and goal from the one, appeared to have a TD, but they called it back on a hold. Then Bama false started. Then Young was just scrambling around on third and goal, nobody could tackle him, he just chucks it up to the endzone, but the Bama receiver and Tennessee DB got tangled up. You could even argue it was OPI. but the refs called DPI, Bama got a first and goal at the one, and immediately punched it in. What a disgrace. Bailed out for no good reason.
- Just horrible. If anything it was OPI.
- For a long time there have been largely unacknowledged grumblings by non-Bama SEC fans that the refs favor Bama. This is probably what they’re talking about. I know Bama has been flagged like 15 times in the game, but a lot of that is pre-snap mistakes. Those are actual penalties, not “gray area” judgement calls.
- And then of course Hooker throws a pick on the next drive.
- Feels like this game is over, momentum has swung hard towards Bama. Feels like this is a guaranteed TD on this next Bama drive.
- Wow, Tennessee actually gets a stop. And then Hendon Hooker finds Jalen Hyatt AGAIN for a 78 yard touchdown. And Tennessee gets the two point conversion to make up for that missed XP. We are now looking at 42-35 Vols.
- No matter how this game ends, it is a true classic. This has been an absolute thriller.
- Oh no: Tennessee fumbles the handoff deep in their own territory and Bama just picks it up and strolls in for an easy touchdown. Classic Fucking Alabama. They did nothing to cause it, it was just a botched handoff, that’s it. Right place, right time. Unreal.
- However, Tennessee’s offense just continues dissecting the Bama defense and basically scoring at will. Jalin Hyatt now has 5 touchdowns on the day and over 200 yards.
- When Bama got stopped and had to kick that long 50 yard field goal at the end, I knew they were going to miss it. Towards the end of that game, I just got an overwhelming sense of certainty that Tennessee was going to win. Maybe it was the way Tennessee didn’t implode after that fumble, they just answered right back with a touchdown of their own, 49-49.
- I knew the Bama kicker was missing. And then, even though Tennessee only had like 16 seconds to move into field goal range, I knew they were going to do it.
- It was after the CBS cameras showed this shot of the the Knoxville sunset:
- At that moment, with the sky bathed in Tennessee orange, I just knew they were going to do it. God was on Tennessee’s side tonight. It was time for them to finally beat Alabama.
- So I had a feeling the Bama kicker was going to miss that field goal, and that Tennessee would get into field goal range in regulation, and that their kicker would hit that field goal. I just knew it. I was supremely confident that Tennessee would get it done. The reason I picked them to win in the first place was the vibes–it just felt like it was their moment.
- On one of the shows I listened to over the course of the week, someone made the observation that the time slot this game was being played in, the 3:30pm EST window, it was one of those SEC games that starts during the daylight and ends when it’s dark out. And whoever it was said something like, “You just know some crazy stuff is going down in that fourth quarter once night falls.” Spot on.
- Watching that Tennessee kick fly through the air, it was like it was in slow-motion. The ball was just knuckling through the air, it almost looked like it was blocked. I could not tell if it went in, but I looked at the guys underneath the goalposts and they were celebrating, and then the announcers obviously called it good. It was a strange kick for sure, but all that matters is that it went through. Incredible. And actually, afterward, I saw the kick from another angle, and it barely cleared the goal line. If the kick was a 42 yarder or whatever it was, it would not have been good from 43 yards. I mean that thing just BARELY squeaked over the crossbar. It truly was a miraculous win for the Vols.
- I have to give a ton of credit to Bryce Young. The dude is just a playmaker, pure and simple. Bama would’ve had zero chance in that game if not for him. I’m telling you, Bama loses that game by 3+ touchdowns if Young doesn’t play.
- People are going to talk about his height, his size, but he made some plays out there that I don’t think many other quarterbacks can make. I think CJ Stroud probably has a better pure arm and obviously he’s more of the ideal QB size, and Stroud is an incredible player, but Bryce made some plays that I didn’t think Stroud could’ve made. Just because of Young’s mobility and escapability. Stroud is decently mobile, but Young is just a magician back there.
- He should have been sacked like 11 times in this game, but somehow Tennessee only brought him down once. They hurried him 9 times, and they were getting some serious licks in on him, but he withstood it all. And he really did enough for them to win that game. Just an incredible performance from him, especially coming off that shoulder injury and taking all those hits. Dude has the heart of a champion.
- Bama: 17 penalties for 130 yards. That is unreal. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team get flagged that much. And a lot of it was pre-snap stuff; that offense can’t get set. They get a ton of offsides and false start flags. Really uncharacteristic stuff for a Saban team. And there was no point in the game where I really felt like the refs were “favoring” Tennessee, either. These were legit flags on Bama. They were just committing a ton of penalties. They did this during the Texas game. I think they had 15 penalties against. And at the time I thought it was an anomaly, but it wasn’t. This Bama team is simply very prone to penalties. That’s just who they are. It’s 7 games into the season and they have not cleaned it up. I don’t get it.
- But my biggest takeaway here is that Bama defense. They just got shredded to pieces. Tennessee averaged 8.1 yards per play! I was wondering if Tennessee would be able to put up points consistently on this Bama defense, and that question was answered immediately. Tennessee had 28 points before Bama even knew what hit them. I mean they just moved the ball up and down the field all game long. Not only did UT throw the ball very well, they ran it, too: 39 carries for 182 yards. They averaged 4.7 yards per carry against that Tide defense. Bama came into this game ranked 4th in the country in yards per carry allowed at just 2.4. Tennessee nearly doubled that. Alabama allowed only 84 rushing yards per game prior this, Tennessee topped that by nearly 100.
- The whole time I was watching this game, I was just thinking: Ohio State should be able to do this same exact thing to Bama, maybe worse. Bama’s secondary is swiss cheese.
- All season long we’ve heard: “Will Anderson is the best player in college football!” Maybe I’m wrong, but I barely heard his name at all during this game. I feel like he was almost a non-factor. It looked like Hendon Hooker was incredibly comfortable in the pocket all night long. ESPN says that Alabama had zero QB hurries on him. That’s incredible. They registered one sack and two TFLs in the game. Will Anderson was credited with no sacks, no hurries and just 0.5 TFLs. Either he had a bad game or Tennessee just neutralized him. The one time Hendon Hooker did get sacked, it looked like he just held on to the ball way too long, like he got a little too comfortable in the pocket and thought he had all day, but finally someone from Bama got to him.
- And honestly, the Bama pass rush didn’t look all that great against Texas earlier in the year, either. I thought Texas was getting good protection up front. Bama finished that game with 3 sacks and one QB hurry, but when Ewers was in the game, he had time to throw.
- I was genuinely shocked at how bad the Alabama defense looked. I didn’t have high hopes for the Tennessee defense, so them allowing a ton of yards and points didn’t really shock me. What really shocked me was just how bad Bama’s defense looked. We were told Bama had the best defense in the country this year! It was supposed to be their strong point! The whole book on Bama this season has been, “Yeah, they don’t quite have the offensive talent they usually have, but they’ve got Bryce Young, and they have the best defense in the country.”
- No, they do not. They only have Bryce Young. Jahmyr Gibbs is good, too, but Bryce Young basically has this whole team on his shoulders. That’s my takeaway here. This Bama team would be lost without him. And you saw them almost lose to a really sub-par Texas A&M team last week without Bryce Young. They beat Arkansas on pure talent alone. If Bama did not have Bryce Young, they would have lost this Tennessee game by 30.
- 569 yards of offense for Bama, 567 for Tennessee. 1,136 yards of total offense. That’s Big 12 stuff right there. I’m just gonna keep it real: we laugh at the Big 12 for having games like this and say nobody plays any defense in that conference. But that Bama-Tennessee game looked like a Big 12 game. Sure, the offenses were great, but the defenses were also pretty bad. Tennessee didn’t punt once. Bama punted three times.
- I put Bama on Fraud Watch™ after the Texas game. I know people were trying to write that game off and make excuses for Bama, but I was not buying it. They would have gotten leveled by Texas if they didn’t hurt Ewers early. And Texas is good, but they’re not great. They almost lost to Iowa State today. I knew after that Texas game that Bama was not a great team.
- The reality is this Bama team could easily have three losses. Texas was on pace to do to Alabama exactly what Tennessee just did until Ewers got hurt. A&M was a yard away from beating Bama in Bama’s house.
Bama Actually Got Lucky
- Bama fans are still complaining about the refs in this game. I thought they just committed a ton of penalties. Nothing sinister by the refs.
- In fact, I think Bama was actually really lucky in this game, and they should have not been that close to winning, honestly.
- First quarter, 5:39 left, Bama ball, 2nd and 20 from Bama’s 4 yard line. Shotgun snap goes off of Bryce Young’s hands and bounces around in the endzone, somehow not going out the back for a safety. Young somehow corrals it mid-stride, runs to his right and throws it downfield, where it’s broken up for an incomplete pass. Should have been a safety, it was a miracle that it wasn’t. On the next play, Young is in the shotgun snap in his own endzone, Tennessee sends a blitz, hammers him, he just gets the ball out in time, but it should’ve been intentional grounding. There was a running back running a crossing route but he was not close to the ball. Should have been intentional grounding in the end zone, safety. Either way, Bama lucked out that they didn’t get a safety here. Two points taken out of Tennessee’s pocket.
- Second quarter, 14:16 left, Bama ball, 3rd and goal from the Tennessee 2 yard line. Young’s pass gets batted at the line but falls harmlessly to the turf in the endzone, forcing a Bama field goal to make it 21-10. Easily could’ve been picked, and Bama would’ve gotten no points.
- Second quarter, 2:47 to play, Tennessee ball, 4th and 6 from the Bama 35. Tennessee goes for it, takes a shot to the end zone to Romell Keaton. Keaton was wide-ass open, totally had the Bama defender cooked. Hooker just overthrew him. Would have been a TD, and would have cracked the game wide open making it 35-17. That’s another 7 points Tennessee didn’t get that they should’ve for 9 total.
- Okay, this is kind of stretching it, but on Tennessee’s hail mary before halftime, they almost had a touchdown on it. It was close. I’m not going to say Tennessee “should have gotten it” or that Bama was lucky, but it was damn close.
- Third quarter, 12:25 left, Tennessee ball, 4th and 2 from the Bama 42. Tennessee just throws one of those stupid little line of scrimmage out routes that for some reason so many teams are running these days. It goes nowhere, Bama blows it up behind the line, turnover on downs. I am not saying Bama got lucky on the play, but they were fortunate that Tennessee called that play in the first place. I can’t stand that play. It never works. If Tennessee calls a better play they end up with points on that drive. At least 3, probably 7. So we’re at at least 12 points just taken away from Tennessee.
- After Bama scored to make it 28-26 Tennessee, they went for two, and got it. The ball was tipped at the line but somehow it still got to the receiver and he made the catch. That’s pretty fortunate right there. 2 points that Bama probably shouldn’t have gotten.
- Third quarter, 4:45 left, Bama ball, 3rd and goal from the Tennessee 16 yard line, Tennessee leading 34-28 (Tennessee missed the XP on their most recent TD–another Bama stroke of luck). Bryce Young rolls out of the pocket, is just running around back there like Kyler Murray and by this point is near the 30 yard line, somehow doesn’t get sacked (like the 8th time that happened), just launches a prayer toward the endzone. Incomplete. But the refs call PI on the Tennessee defender, even though it was clear it should have been OPI if anything. Bama gets the ball on the 2, instantly run it in for a TD with Gibbs. Should’ve been held to a field goal. Refs basically gave Bama the TD there, so that’s another 4 points they shouldn’t have gotten. We’re up to 6 now.
- Make it 13 after the scoop-n-score with 7:49 to play in the game. Bama did nothing to cause that, they just benefitted from a boneheaded Tennessee mistake.
- Now from here on out, Tennessee outscores Bama 10-0. On the ensuing drive, where Tennessee eventually goes down and scores the tying TD, they did get two fortunate pass interference flags against Bama to keep their drive alive. But I think those were legit flags; I don’t think the refs were favoring Tennessee or anything. Neither of them were anywhere close to as bad as the call Bama got in the endzone in the thid quarter. Bama actually committed these penalties. Just because they were at crucial moments in the game and the refs called them doesn’t mean they weren’t penalties.
- Bama missing the kick at the end was very fortunate for Tennessee, I will say. But it was a 50 yarder. Those are tough for college kids to make. A 50 yarder in college is no gimme. But as we just went over, it shouldn’t have come down to a last-minute field goal in the first place!
- So, altogether, we have, by my count, 13 points for Bama that they shouldn’t have gotten but did and 12 points that Tennessee should’ve gotten but didn’t.
- So in reality, the score should’ve been 64-36 Tennessee. It’s not that crazy. We just went over why. If Hooker doesn’t overthrow his receiver on that 4th down, Tennessee has a 35-17 lead in the first half and are on pace to win the game 70-34. It’s not that outlandish.
- Now this was not all the refs; Tennessee just made some mistakes themselves that cost them. I would say the refs only handed Bama a grand total of 4 points in this game.
Is Saban Washed?
- Okay, I’ll stop dumping on Bama. As bad as they looked, they could’ve won this game. Yes, it was 99.9% due to Bryce Young, but as long as they have him, they have a chance in every game.
- Actually, I lied: just a bit more dumping on Alabama. Streets are saying Nick Saban has lost a step and that Alabama is on the decline. That’s tough to really say for me given that they were in the National Championship last season and probably would have won if Jameson Williams and John Metchie hadn’t gotten hurt. But I will just say that there’s been a noticeable drop-off in offensive skill position talent over the past couple years. The 2020 National Championship team was loaded: DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Najee Harris. Studs everywhere. Since then, though, their two best offensive players–Jameson Williams and Jahmyr Gibbs–have been transfers. Gibbs came over from Georgia Tech, and Williams from Ohio State. That’s a bit concerning in my view. I am not going to say Saban is washed or Bama is on the decline or anything. It’s too early to say that. But I will just say the same thing I’ve been saying all year: NIL and the transfer portal are shaking things up, and that’s not a good thing for Bama. Bama dominated in the pre-NIL/Transfer Portal era, so it follows that when that regime ends, it’s not going to be good for Bama.
- I have been saying this for a while: you take a few five star recruits per year away from Bama and it will make a noticeable difference. If Bama is pulling in 10 five star recruits a year instead of 15, that’s going to make a dent. They’re not going to be as overwhelmingly dominant. Texas A&M has really stepped up its recruiting game (translation: $$$$), Texas is stepping their game up, Ohio State and Georgia are obviously still recruiting at an extremely high level, and now you have USC resurgent, which has the potential to really limit Bama’s ability to recruit California (which is where they plucked Bryce Young out of). If each one of those schools poach a five star recruit away from Bama per year, that makes a difference, and it compounds over time.
- Now, all that said, what makes Nick Saban so great is his ability to adapt and evolve. He does not rest on his laurels. He is not rigid. You’d think he would be given all his success and his personality, but Saban is remarkably adaptable. You don’t have this much sustained success if you’re not adaptable and willing to change your system as the game around you changes. Nick Saban can and will make adjustments to fix what needs to be fixed, I think. That’s why I’ll never be the one to say Bama is falling off, or Nick Saban is losing his edge. Other people might, but not me.
Implications of Tennessee’s Win
- Georgia flew under the radar this weekend and played Vanderbilt. It was an easy game, Georgia won 55-0 and held on to their #1 ranking. But let’s not forget about how much Georgia struggled against Kent State and then Missouri. Georgia is shaky. They’re #1, but they are by no means solidly entrenched there.
- Tennessee is going to clobber UT-Martin next week. Then they play Kentucky the week after. That will be a tough game, as Kentucky is decent. They just beat Mississippi State. Kentucky is not going to be some pushover. But if we assume Tennessee pulls that game out and improves to 9-0, that sets up an absolutely mammoth showdown in Athens, GA between the Volunteers and the Bulldogs. Tennessee-Bama was a mammoth game, but the Tennessee-Georgia game could be even bigger.
- Georgia is going to be on bye this upcoming week, then they have the game against Florida down in Jacksonville. Georgia should win that game, because Florida is a seriously flawed team, but we have seen Georgia struggle against far lesser teams. But again, if we just assume Georgia wins that game, it’ll set up a showdown of undefeated top-5 teams in Athens on November 5.
- Let’s just say Georgia wins. I think Tennessee can absolutely win that game, but just for the sake of this article let’s say Georgia wins. So Georgia remains unbeaten and in the driver’s seat to win the SEC East. They’ll still have Mississippi State and Kentucky on the road to get through, and they certainly could lose one of those game, but let’s assume they go 12-0. So we’d have 12-0 Georgia, 11-1 Tennessee, and then let’s just assume Alabama wins out and goes 11-1. You’d have Bama vs. UGA in the SEC Championship. Probably at that point Georgia is in the playoff win or lose. But Bama will be desperate because they know it’s do or die.
- If Bama wins that game, goes to 12-1 while dropping Georgia to 12-1, they’re both probably in the playoff. Obviously whoever wins the game is in the playoff, but if Georgia loses, they’ll probably get in. And then Tennessee at 11-1 will have a great argument that they should be in, too. We could very well have a situation where three SEC teams get into the playoff.
- To recap, this is how we potentially get three SEC teams in the playoff. I don’t think it’ll happen, but if it could ever happen, this is how it would have to go down:
- Tennessee beats Bama ✅
- Georgia beats Tennessee
- Georgia wins out, wins SEC East
- Bama wins out, wins SEC West
- Tennessee wins out after losing to Georgia
- Bama beats Georgia in SEC Championship
- Bama and Georgia both 12-1, Tennessee 11-1 with a win over Bama.
- That doesn’t seem like a very outlandish situation, does it? Yeah, that’s why it has to be mentioned.
Tennessee Can Beat Georgia
- Why are we so sure Georgia is going to beat Tennessee? Because the game is in Athens? Because Georgia won the Natty last season and we all just assume they’re better?
- Well I’ve been thinking about this for the past few days, and I think Tennessee actually has a great shot at beating Georgia. In fact, Bama might have been a tougher matchup for Tennessee.
- I’ll put it this way: if Georgia plays like they did against Mizzou, they are going to lose by three scores or more.
- We just went over the Bama-Tennessee game. What was the only reason reason Bama was even competitive in that game? Bryce Young. Without him, Bama would’ve gotten romped.
- Does Georgia have a player like Bryce Young? No, they do not. Stetson Bennett is good, he’s underrated, but he’s not on Bryce Young’s level. Thus I’m not sure Georgia has enough offensive firepower to keep up with Tennessee. And actually, Stetson Bennett has been a little underwhelming this season, at least until the Vanderbilt game.
- Now, Georgia is probably better on defense than Bama. Bama’s defense got shredded. I don’t think Hendon Hooker and Co. are hanging 52 on Georgia’s defense. So they’ve got that going for them.
- But offensively, Georgia is primarily a running team. They are very efficient passing the ball this year, more efficient than you’d think, but they are not some air raid team capable of throwing the ball 50 times in a game to win a shootout. I just don’t see that happening. If Georgia can’t run the ball in this game, they are probably in trouble. Tennessee’s defense may get a bum rap, but they can at least stop the run pretty well. In fact, Tennessee actually ranks 7th in the country in yards per carry allowed. If you’re a one-trick pony on offense, Tennessee can smother you up front.
- Tennessee just held Alabama to 114 rushing yards on 31 carries, or 3.7 yards per carry. More specifically, honing in on just Jahmyr Gibbs, he went 24 carries for 103 yards, or 4.3 ypc.
- If Tennessee holds Georgia to something similar on the ground, Tennessee is winning the game.
- This Georgia offense is not very explosive. They got held to 26 by Mizzou! They struggled with Kent State. Georgia is very beatable, they just haven’t played a tough schedule (and they still almost lost a game to a far inferior opponent). Yes, I know they beat Oregon 49-3 to open the season. But Oregon has improved a lot since then, and I think Georgia has regressed significantly. If they played a rematch of that game right now, it would be a lot closer. Georgia still probably wins, but it’s definitely not a 49-3 game.
- My power ratings updated for week 7 would have Georgia as a 13.5 point favorite over Tennessee on a neutral site, and a 20.5 point favorite in Athens. So Georgia will be favored.
- But I think Tennessee will be able to score on Georgia. I think Tennessee will be able to at least hold their own against the Georgia run game. And I don’t think Stetson Bennett will be able to carry the Georgia offense if the need arises. I think Tennessee is a terrible matchup for Georgia, and I would not be surprised if Tennessee wins in Athens.
- The nightmare scenario is that Tennessee comes out guns blazing and scores some points early, getting Georgia into a deficit and forcing them to throw the ball. Bama fell behind 28-10, but because they have Bryce Young, they were able to storm back. If Georgia falls behind 28-10, the game is over. Tennessee will run away with it.
12 Team Playoff NOW
- The larger problem looming over college football right now, like dark storm clouds on the horizon, is all the legitimate playoff contenders in other conferences. It sure looks like Ohio State and Michigan are going to both be 11-0 when they face off in Columbus. That will probably be a top-3 matchup, maybe even 1 vs. 2. The loser of that game will still have a legitimate claim at being a playoff team.
- Then you have Clemson likely to go undefeated and win the ACC. I know Clemson hasn’t really been all that impressive, but if they’re undefeated and win their conference, they’re getting in. Yes, they’re going to get smoked by whoever they play, but they’re going to get in. Clemson just beat Florida State 34-28 in Tallahassee, and now they have no more road conference games. They still have to play Syracuse this weekend, but Clemson is well on their way to finishing the regular season undefeated. They’re -450 to win the ACC. To me, they’re pretty much a lock to finish undefeated, even if I don’t think they’re that good.
- And then you have TCU. TCU is currently 6-0. They just beat Oklahoma State in wild fashion, 43-40 in OT, after coming back from down 17. Oklahoma State was ranked #8. That was probably TCU’s toughest opponent this year. They’ve still got to play Texas and Baylor, both on the road and back-to-back, and they host Kansas State next weekend. They have to go to West Virginia the week after. They still have Texas Tech, who beat Texas, and Iowa State, who almost beat Texas and is scrappy. By no means is TCU likely to go undefeated. They can do it, but I think it’s a long shot. But if it happens, then they’ll also have a great claim on a playoff berth.
- UCLA is also unbeaten out there on the West Coast. They’ve already beaten Utah, and they have a massive showdown coming up this weekend at #10 Oregon.
- Oregon obviously got pulverized by Georgia in week 1, but Oregon has bounced back well and they’re unbeaten since (albeit with a very close call against Washington State a few weeks ago–they were down 41-22 with like 6 minutes left to play in the game and somehow came back and won). Oregon is not the same team they were in week 1.
- However, because UCLA is the only remaining unbeaten team in the Pac 12 after Utah beat USC, UCLA is really the only true playoff threat from that conference. If UCLA goes undefeated and wins the Pac 12, they will have a real case for a playoff berth.
- Again, UCLA is going to have to beat Oregon on the road first. And then they have that cross-town showdown against USC on November 19. So it’ll be tough for UCLA to go undefeated. But it’s possible. It’s very possible.
- So to recap, if this season plays out like I just described–and it’s not really a long shot for this to happen–then we’ll have Georgia, Bama, Tennessee, Ohio State, Michigan, Clemson, TCU and UCLA all with arguments that they should be in the playoff. That’s 8 teams fighting for 4 spots.
- Now, Bama winning out is far from certain. They still have to play Ole Miss on November 12, and that game is in Oxford. You know damn well Ole Miss is thinking they can win that game after what Tennessee just did to Bama. Ole Miss is a similar type of team, albeit not on the same level as Tennessee. Ole Miss is unequivocally not as good as Tennessee. They don’t play any defense. However, Tennessee could barely stop Bama and they still won. Ole Miss can put up points like crazy, and I think they’ll give Bama a run for their money. Bama still probably wins, but Ole Miss has a real shot in that game.
- And Ole Miss is currently 7-0. Nobody really thinks they are a legitimate playoff contender, but they are technically still alive and in the hunt. So there are currently 9 teams in the hunt for the playoff. 10 if you include Syracuse, although nobody will take them seriously until they beat Clemson.
- I have no idea how any of this will play out. There are so many teams with way too many important games left to be played to possibly be able to predict it (okay, fine: it’ll be Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson and Tennessee in the playoff). But I want the most chaos possible. I want as many angry fanbases as possible when the four-team playoff field is announced. I want as many snubbed teams as possible come early December. Why? Because that will highlight just how important it is for the College Football bigwigs to get this 12-team playoff system figured out and ready to go by the 2024 season. We need it as soon as possible.
- From what I’ve read, there is a lot of motivation among the bigwigs, but they say there’s a lot that must be done. There are “logistical issues” that must be ironed out. To me, it sounds like a bunch of B.S. What could really be so difficult about doing this? If everyone involved wants it to happen, there should be nothing stopping it from happening. You don’t need 3 years to prepare for an expanded playoff. That is made-up nonsense. You could have a 12-team playoff this year if you wanted.
- It needs to get done ASAP. This season we’ll have the 4-team playoff, and then next season needs to be the last year of the 4-team playoff. It needs to be. Starting in 2024, 12-team playoff. There is absolutely no reason for this not to get done.
Michigan Bullies Penn State, Makes them Look like a Group of Five Team
Okay, now a little bit on the other big game of the weekend that actually turned into a laugher. Penn State was miraculously LEADING at halftime despite mustering something like 7 yards of total offense at halftime, but that was a domination through and through.
- I saw a stat on Twitter that James Franklin is now 3-7 after a bye? Yeesh.
- Their offensive line was bad, and their defensive line was 10x worse.
- Everyone is crediting the Michigan running backs, but I thought it was the Michigan offensive line that did most of the work. I saw wide open holes and lanes.
- If you let up 411 rushing yards to a team and it’s not just because they had good running backs. That’s a sign of complete domination of the line of scrimmage.
- Penn State is going to lose 80-7 to Ohio State. I’m serious. Well, I mean, I’m sure Ohio State will take their foot off the gas pedal at some point, but if Ohio State wanted, they could hang 80 on this Penn State team. I guess that’s not really saying much because they could hang 80 on just about anybody on their schedule if they wanted to. But Penn State is supposed to be better than that. After this game, I don’t think Penn State will fare any better against Ohio State than Rutgers or Michigan State or Wisconsin or even Toledo.
- Penn State is just a weak team up front. They got absolutely manhandled up front in this game.
- For some reason, a bunch of Michigan fans have been popping up in my timeline on Twitter. Or maybe they’re just coming out of the woodwork. But man, I just realized something: Michigan fans live in this bubble world where Michigan is still the greatest college football program in the land and everyone trembles in fear of them. And nothing can break them out of their delusional little bubble world, either. They get stomped by Georgia in the Playoff last year, and yet they still sit here acting like they’re a shoo-in to win the National Championship. It’s just a ridiculous level of undeserved and irrational arrogance.
- Anyway, I’m still trying to figure out whether this game was because Michigan is ELITE™ or because Penn State is just bad. I think it’s a combination of the two: Michigan isn’t elite, but they’re good bordering on very good, while Penn State is just not that good.
AP Top 25 Upended
Overall, just a wild day in the college football world. 8 ranked teams went down:
Bama, USC, Oklahoma State and Penn State all got their first losses. They were all in the top-10 prior to this weekend. NC State lost, Mississippi State lost, Kansas lost, and James Madison suffered their first loss. James Madison, in their first season in the FBS, made it into the top-25 in a matter of 6 weeks, but promptly lost their first game as a ranked team to Georgia Southern.
In the new rankings, Tulane is now ranked. So we lost JMU, but gained Tulane, into the top-25 for the first time since 1998. Well done!
This post has gone on a long time, and I don’t have the energy to get into the USC-Utah game, but it was a thriller til the very end. Big shoutout to that Utah tight end who had 16 catches in the game–what a performance by him. I thought it was really awesome that Utah got the win on the night they were honoring the two players that tragically tied earlier this year–they really deserved that. Hats off to Kyle Whittingham for going for 2 on that last touchdown to take the lead instead of tie it up. I normally don’t like when coaches do that, but in that moment, when you’ve been behind all game, you don’t want to take your chances against that USC offense in overtime.