No. 2 Clemson went down. No. 8 Washington State fell. No. 10 Auburn blew a big lead and lost. Could top-ranked Alabama see a scare as well?
Not. A. Chance.
The Crimson Tide looked like an emphatic choice as the best team in the country on Saturday, rolling over Arkansas 41-9 in a game that was never in doubt for the home team on a lovely night in Tuscaloosa for Homecoming.
Not everything was perfect for Nick Saban’s squad though, as the team struggled to field punts and saw quarterback Jalen Hurts toss his first interception of the year. Of course, it’s not like it really mattered in the end, as the signal-caller finished with 155 yards and a touchdown through the air and another 41 yards and a score on the ground in a runaway.
Perhaps the biggest development for the Tide was that tailback Damien Harris might start to get a little Heisman love going forward. He started the game by ripping off a 75-yarder to the house (for the second straight time) and wound up with 125 yards and two scores on the ground all told. Harris did make a trip to the injury tent late in the second half but it’s possible he could have returned had the score not been out of hand. Either way, backups were in fairly early in the second half to spell the starters.
Razorbacks quarterback Cole Kelley did what he could in making his first start in place of Austin Allen, but it’s not exactly easy to face this Alabama defense. The big gunslinger passed for an even 200 yards with an interception and a TD, but was pressured on just about every dropback and took five sacks. It would have helped if he had a running game to lean on but Devwah Whaley could muster just 18 yards on five carries against that tough front seven.
In the end, another ho-hum Alabama victory. Considering what happened elsewhere around the country in a wild week for college football, it’s at least good to know you can rely on some things that never change.
We’re at the dawn of a new season in college football but for a lot of folks, the upcoming campaign is a lot more about the ending than the beginning. We’re talking of course about the thing that dominates the debate in the sport for much of the fall: the College Football Playoff.
Though it seems like we’re stuck at four teams in the postseason event for the foreseeable future, expansion of the playoff is a topic that seems like a never ending well. Most want it, but few in power seem to be pushing for it.
That point was reiterated this week by Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick. The leader of a program who made last year’s edition of the final four and one of the more powerful people in college athletics recently told the South Bend Tribune that he doesn’t see a move to six or eight teams in the event anytime soon.
“I don’t want to speculate on that. I don’t sense a lot of momentum,” Swarbrick said. “But again, this is a group of individuals who cares about college football and think about it all the time. And so that’s all you want, a process where people are always talking about how to make the game better. But I don’t sense any particular momentum for change right now.”
If anybody would have some insight into the thought process regarding expansion, it’s bound to be Swarbrick — who sits on the CFP Management Committee and has his school president on the overarching CFP Board of Managers.
Perhaps something will change by 2025 when the postseason contract comes up with ESPN but until then, get used to four teams.
At some point in the distant future, Missouri fans, coaches, players and administrators will forget about the sanctions that the NCAA handed out to their football program.
That day is not today however.
Hot on the heels of Friday’s decision by the NCAA to slap the wrist of Mississippi State over a somewhat similar academic fraud case, Tigers AD Jim Sterk is telling anybody who will listen just how wronged his school was in the wake of what happened at his SEC rival.
“We believe that the penalties imposed in the recently decided and factually similar case (at Mississippi State) further illustrate that the penalties imposed on Mizzou were excessive and inconsistent with previous case precedent,” Sterk told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. We have never wavered from our stance or the merits of our appeal and remain hopeful it will be successful.”
The Tigers are hopeful that an appeal will be decided in the fairly near future and, obviously, that it will be a favorable ruling.
There are a handful of differences between Mizzou’s and the Bulldogs’ cases and enough to make comparing them apples to oranges despite being under the broad umbrella of academic fraud. We’ll see what ultimately ends up happening but something says that short of a complete reversal, Tigers fans and others sporting the gold and black won’t be happy with the NCAA for a long, long time.
The latest completely unsurprising quarterback decision? Step right up Wisconsin!
As has long been expected, the Badgers confirmed via their Week 1 depth chart release on Sunday that junior Jack Coan would be the Badgers starting quarterback for the upcoming season:
Coan was an obvious choice for Paul Chryst given his experience at the position and one wonders what took the program so long in naming him the guy given his five starts last season, including leading a blowout of a Miami in the Pinstripe Bowl. He threw for 515 yards and five touchdowns (against three interceptions) last year and replaced a rather ineffective Alex Hornibrook down the stretch.
With Hornibrook transferring to Florida State in the offseason and both Graham Mertz and Chase Wolf being freshmen, picking Coan to lead the team under center was an expected end result.
Perhaps the far more interesting name on the Wisconsin depth chart is that of wide receiver Quintez Cephus as the backup behind Kendric Pryor. While the former’s talent undoubtedly makes him one of the top options in the passing game, it’s still notable to see his name pop up given that he was so recently reinstated to the team following his acquittal of sexual assault charges earlier in the month.
Cephus has been practicing with the team but he did miss all of last season while dealing with the legal issues and will have less than two weeks of practices under his belt before the opener at USF on Aug. 30.
Either way, we at least know where he stands in the pecking order for the Badgers and who will be throwing him passes this season as UW gets set to make another run at the Big Ten title.
The SEC East sure is having itself a weekend. And only a handful of teams can say that’s a good thing.
Hot on the heals of Tennessee DB Bryce Thompson getting arrested, Georgia is now dealing with an arrest of their own. While the charges are not quite as serious as those in Knoxville, they are still enough to make Kirby Smart blow a gasket or two.
As per DawgNation, Bulldogs freshman defensive lineman Bill Norton was booked on a number of alcohol-related charges early Sunday morning and eventually released on bond. Record show he was cited for driving under the influence, failure to maintain lane/improper driving and minor in possession of alcohol.
A court date does not appear to have been set just yet in the matter.
While there seemed to be little chance that Norton saw action in the opener against Vanderbilt on Saturday night, his arrest probably ended any slim hope of seeing the field or traveling with the team to Nashville.
A four-star prospect coming out of high school in Tennessee, Norton picked Georgia over fellow SEC rivals Alabama, Ole Miss, Tennessee and others.