Before we get to next weekends “Showdown Saturday in the SEC,” featuring #1 Alabama @ #4 LSU, #7 Georgia @ #12 Kentucky and other great matchups, including: Michigan/PSU and Texas/West Virginia, let’s look at my Top 10 Takeaways from this weekends slate of CFB action, in no specific order…
*Don’t look now, but the Clemson Tigers are starting to hit their stride and click on all cylinders. Dabo’s boys went into Tallahassee and gave a beatdown to Florida State, 59-10. Factor in a 41-7 victory over previously undefeated N.C. State as well as a 63-3 demolition of Wake Forest and all of the sudden the Tigers look like that team who could at-least challenge Alabama. They’ve outscored their last 3-opponents by a combined total of 163-20.
*As I said all week long on “Morning Drive” and reiterated again this morning on “Saturday Tailgate”: Florida is good, Georgia is very good. The Dawgs defeated the Gators 36-17 in the “Worlds Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party!” We can still say cocktail party, right? Jake Fromm answered the bell all day long. I said that Georgia would play with a purpose, following their embarrassing loss to LSU and they did exactly that. This sets up a showdown next week in Lexington and quite frankly I expect the Dawgs to smother the Cats.
*Speaking of the Cats, congrats to Kentucky on their best start since 1977! Terry Wilson responded, following a dismal performance last week vs Vandy when he completed a whopping 3-passes for 18-yards! He responded today completing 22-passes for 267-yards and a touchdown as Kentucky defeated Missouri 15-14. I said all week that Missouri being favored by 7-points was wrong. Benny Snell wasn’t much of a factor and committed a dumb 15-yard penalty. That said, Stoops taking him out late in the game was a decision that could have cost him the game, if not for his defense and special teams. This sets up a big time showdown vs Georgia in Lexington.
*Congrats are in order for Coach Stockstill, who improved MTSU’s record to 5-3, but more importantly, to 4-1 overall in C-USA play. The Blue Raiders destroyed Old Dominion 51-17 on the road today, and ODU team that defeated then 13th ranked Virginia Tech a month ago. QB Brent Stockstill completed 25 of 32 passes for 280-yards and 2-scores. The men of Murfreesboro look like they have a shot in Conference USA. Watch out!
*Is there a QB with less help around him than Trace McSorley in CFB? I’m not sure there is. The Penn State WR’s drop more passes than the Tennessee Titans WR’s do for Marcus Mariota. Yet, somehow, someway, the Nittany Lions defeated Iowa today, 30-24, in Happy Valley. Entering today, you could make the case that Iowa should be undefeated and Nate Stanley has been a better QB than McSorley. But, that’s why they play the game. On a big stage, Stanley stunk. The Hawkeyes QB went a dismal 18-for-49 with 2-interceptions. James Franklin’s guys improve to 6-2 and now face Jim Harbaugh and the surging Wolverines.
*On a night when I had ZERO expectations from Nick Fitzgerald throwing the ball, he absolutely impressed me, as Mississippi State defeated Texas A&M in Starkville behind Fitzgerald, who completed 14-of-22 passes for 241-yards and 2-touchdowns. Fitzgerald also ran for 88-yards and 2-scores, but that’s to be expected. I was not expecting him to outperform Kelly Mond through the air. The Bulldogs defense is legit.
*It wasn’t the result that Jeremy Pruitt was looking for but he certainly got the response he was seeking. The Vols lost in Columbia on Saturday night, 27-24, after leading 21-9 at one point in time, but the Volunteers certainly came to play and gave the Gamecocks all they could handle. Is their a tougher QB in the SEC than Jarrett Guarantano? I think not. UT drops to 3-5 they have 3 straight homes games and then a “road game” vs Vandy. 6-wins is still a possibility.
*Congrats are in order for Coach Derek Mason as Vandy gets their 1st SEC win of the season in Fayetteville. Shurmur, Pinkston and Vaughn were as advertised.
*On Tuesday evening we will see the 1st release of the CFB Playoff Top-4 teams. I believe the Top 4 (and Top 11) will look like this:
- Notre Dame
- West Virginia
- Ohio State
- That QB from Bama
- The kid who took over for Jalen Hurts