With Ole Miss having an off week, I too took an off week of sorts and didn’t watch very much college football. I found it to be refreshing and non-emotionally damaging, which was nice. However, thanks to some outstanding scheduling by those in the Ole Miss athletic department, I’ll be locked in for the next 11 weeks and can promise much more insightful and stinging reviews of our football teams and all the ways they find to disappoint us. So without seeing much more than highlights for each game, here was the week in the SEC.
Florida 56, Troy 6
Note to self: Always pick Florida to cover. Always. Any other idea you may have is stupid.
One of the games I did get to watch a good chunk of was the USC/Ohio State game, which was a contest of some bad offenses. I’m not really sure why anyone even talked like this would be the game that Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor finally arrived as one of the big time players in college football. Anyone who has watched Pryor play quarterback should have known he wasn’t going to play well because he’s not a good quarterback. Outstanding athlete, yes, quarterback, no. Watching him try to pass and read coverages is just painful. It sort of reminds me of the illustrious Brent Schaeffer era at Ole Miss (for the record I think Pryor is a better athlete). Schaeffer was forced into a pro-style offense that wasn’t suited for his talents and when he did play, played poorly. And it didn’t help the coaching he received could best be described as poor.
Now, if you remember the last two games of his last year at Ole Miss, the Rebels finally started running a form of the spread/run option offense that really cut down on his having to read defenses and allowed him to use his athletic ability. That offense ripped LSU up for 400+ yards of total offense (even though LSU kicked the crap out of Ole Miss) and was highly successful the next week against Mississippi State until Ed Orgeron decided to play super conservative until the infamous fourth and one play in which he needed to be super conservative and wasn’t.
Pryor has better coaching (at least I think he does) and more talent around him on both sides of the ball than Schaeffer had at Ole Miss, so why not run an offense that plays to his athletic strengths? He’s faster and sometimes bigger than the linebackers chasing him, has a pretty strong arm and has great natural strength. If used properly, he would be a nightmare match up for defensive coordinators. Lining him up under center or using that stupid fake draw pass play out of shotgun is what opposing defenses want to see from Ohio State.
And Ohio State should take heart, this is the second game in a row versus a top-ranked BCS school in which they were not blown out of the building. Luckily for them, the rest of their season is filled with Big 10 teams, Toledo and New Mexico State. So look for them in the Fiesta Bowl.
And as for USC, let’s put an end to all these cries of the next great one for quarterback Matt Barkley. It was obvious that for most of the game the USC coaches were terrified of letting him take any sort of chances downfield. I thought he played well given the conservative nature of USC’s game plan and play calling, but I think we should all see a little more before we declare him the next great quarterback in college football.
UCLA 19, Tennessee 15
I blacked out, what happened? Were we just taking at length about Ohio State? Not sure what happened there. Anyway, welcome back to reality Lane Kiffin. Life sure was easy against the Western Kentucky’s of the world.
Remember all that talk about the new and improved Jonathan Crompton? Well, that was just silly. He still stinks. I thought Tennessee played this game much like they should play every game. Rely on their defense, run the ball and hope your quarterback can make a handful of good throws. Unfortunately for them, running the ball is much harder against teams with a degree of talent who also know you can’t throw the ball.
And make no mistake about it, this UCLA team is not very good at all. They were 4-8 last year and I saw nothing that indicated they were going to be much better than that this year, much like Tennessee. But the good news for Tennessee fans is that their defense appears to be a pretty good one, which should prevent Florida from scoring 70 this week.
Alabama 40, Florida International 14
It should be noted that Alabama has now surrendered 65 total rushing yards on the season. 64 of those came against Virginia Tech.
LSU 23, Vanderbilt 9
It appears the cure for LSU’s defense was the Vanderbilt offense and some rain. Everything I read about this game noted that the rain really slowed both teams down, LSU more than Vandy. Not much to say here other than LSU played well enough to win and deserved to win. I’m really looking forward to their game at Georgia on October 3rd. They’re better than Georgia right now, but I want to see what happens when they play a team that is in the neighborhood of their skill level because then we’ll have a real understanding of this LSU team.
Georgia 41, South Carolina 37
So not only does Georgia’s offense stink their defense does too. 427 yards to a Stephen Garcia led offense? And he even threw 53 times, which should always mean good things for opposing defenses. This is the one game of the weekend I wished I had been able to see because looking at the box score I have no idea how South Carolina lost. Georgia had fewer yards, more penalties and had the ball for nine fewer minutes. Someone go check to see if Steve Spurrier has finished vomiting yet.
Auburn 49, Mississippi State 24
Speaking of bad offenses and defenses, it’s Mississippi State. We all know State’s offense is bad, but to give up 390 yards rushing to a team that can’t throw the ball is awful. If this poor run defense turns into a trend for State and with the schedule they have, a 2-10 season is a serious possibility.
And my apologies for labeling this game a bloodbath of punts. I should have called it a bloodbath of Auburn first downs.