Who’s No. 1? I have no idea

 

Five things we learned over the weekend:

1. Who’s No. 1? I have no idea: Every preseason poll I saw had the same four teams in some kind of order: Florida, Texas, USC, and Oklahoma. Just three weeks into the season two of the four (USC, Oklahoma) have lost and neither Florida nor Texas has been impressive. BYU, which was going to be the designated non-BCS fly in the ointment (as my friend Tim Brando likes to call it) just got trounced by a Florida State team that lost its home opener to Miami (FYI…you have to look at that FSU loss in a totally different light because Miami may be pretty darn good). To tell you the truth, the only three teams who have been impressive the first three weeks are Alabama, Miami, and California. Alabama opened the season with a really good win over Virginia Tech and has gotten better every week, albeit against inferior competition the past two weeks. Miami is not the Miami of old just yet. We’ll find out a lot more about the Hurricanes on Saturday when they go to Virginia Tech.  Based on what I saw Saturday, California and Jahvid Best can beat USC. Bottom line, we don’t know who the best teams in the country are. And that’s kind of fun.

 

 

2. Joe Cox’s arm is just fine, thank you: Even if you had doubts about the kid after the Oklahoma State game (and I did), you have to admit he showed a helluva lot of moxie in the win at Arkansas Saturday night. The guy knew he was in a shootout and was going to have to make a lot of big throws. He did with five touchdown passes, which tied a Georgia record. And the guy was cool under fire when Georgia got behind 21-10. I don’t know how many games Georgia will win this season, but quarterback will not be the Bulldogs’ problem. Now the defense? That’s another topic for another day. But if you can’t rush the passer and you can’t cover the receivers, it doesn’t take John Heisman to figure out that Georgia is going to have problems with any team that that pitch it and catch it a little.

 

3. Opposing defenses have zigged. Now Paul Johnson has to zag: Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson has been running some form of this offense for well over 20 years. This is not the first time that opponents have used the defensive game plan to slow down the option employed by Clemson and Miami. If a team has athletic defensive ends, which Clemson and Miami both had, they can take away the pitch man and basically force Josh Nesbitt to make a decision. Johnson will have to make some adjustments, starting with Saturday’s game with North Carolina who, by the way, has a big athletic defensive line. It should be an interesting chess match.

 

4. You gotta give Lane Kiffin some credit: Tennessee went into The Swamp and had a great game plan. They stuck with running the ball in order to shorten the game and limit Florida’s possessions. Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin used formations that literally forced quarterback Tebow to run. So Tebow ran the ball 24 times. Tennessee played hard and physical and never backed down from the No. 1 team in the nation. If I’m a Tennessee fan I’m optimistic about what this team will do in the long term. But I am also pessimistic in the short term because Jonathan Crompton is simply not the answer at quarterback, especially in big games. The senior had a couple of really bad throws that turned into interceptions at crunch time. If Crompton just makes a play or two, the Gators might have been sweating at the end.

 

5. You have to admire Chris Todd:  The Auburn quarterback became the whipping boy for just about everything that went wrong in that program last season. His offensive coordinator (Tony Franklin) was fired at midseason and Todd was sent straight to the bench. As it turned out, Todd was trying to play last season with an arm that was all but dead. But Todd stayed in the program and had surgery on the arm last December. He couldn’t throw in the spring but was named starting quarterback after just nine days of practice in the summer. It was a tremendous risk by new coach Gene Chizik that paid off Saturday night when Todd threw four touchdown passes in a 41-30 win over West Virginia. With a win over Ball State on Saturday, Auburn will start 4-0. Who would have predicted that?

 

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158 comments Add your comment

Grantland Rice

September 21st, 2009
8:36 am

Weekend observations

Florida looks soft up front.

USC has some big time offensive problems.

Dawgs need some defense.

Irish & Hogs have no defense.

Al Groh & Ralph Friedgen’s resumes are now on Monster.com

Texas appear to be the best team right now.

RAMBLE ON!!!

September 21st, 2009
8:46 am

Well, I’m glad you have finally come to realize that you have not idea what you’re talking about.

That’s called JOB SECURITY at the AJC.

Mikey

September 21st, 2009
8:49 am

One thing is for sure, fellow Dawg fans-
A.J. Green is the man. I understand there was a cornerback that questioned his ability.How did that work out?

He is a man amongst boys.

RedKneckerson

September 21st, 2009
8:49 am

Would love to have heard you (Tony) come up with some rationale as to why Tenn was stiil hanging in the game during your CBS halftime show. (as fate would have it I had to endure a haltime of weather realted news). You seemed so confident that it was going to be UGLY in the pre game studio show. You and many other pundits really discredit yourselves by throwing stuff out that you really have no basis in which to do so.It leaves you looking silly and not being taken seriously (much like the local radio guys) You should be above that, but most times you aren’t.

this is why we need a playoff

September 21st, 2009
8:49 am

hmm…
so the people who vote don’t know who number 1 should be.
THAT’S WHY WE NEED A FREAKING PLAYOFF.

JB

September 21st, 2009
8:51 am

Varoom, Varoom………………………………………………..That’s the sound of 9 paper shredders going off in the offices of the remaining Def. Cord. on Georgia’s schedule titled ” Defensive plan to beat Georgia, put 9 in the box and make Joe cox beat you”.

Gatorzone

September 21st, 2009
8:53 am

Grantland, you may be rigtht on the Gators, but I will tend to think UT is much better than people think. Whomever set a 4 touchdown line on them is Crazy. That defense is way too tough to lose like that. UF has work to do, but it was a good win

TECHnotINtop25

September 21st, 2009
8:54 am

Ramble on, out of the top 25 as deserved. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Vince Dooley is a great American

September 21st, 2009
8:57 am

Who said Paul Johnson’s offense was unstoppable? As predicted, Tech will be a cellar dwellar again and fire Paul Jonson and hire Reggie Ball as head coach.

Max Sizemore

September 21st, 2009
8:58 am

Sorry, Tony, the defensive end has nothing to do with the pitch man. That would be the corner, safety, or linebacker, depending on the defense. On the triple option, the quarterback ALWAYS has to make a decision. Sometimes, more than one.

Kid Ray

September 21st, 2009
8:58 am

going to have problems with any team that that pitch it and catch it a little.
that CAN pitch it…

1L

September 21st, 2009
8:59 am

nice Column TB. We missed you in Statesboro this weekend, but then again, that whole work thing is important.

Thanks for giving my tigers some love. No one seems to want to give them any respect for winning 3 games that, if the team playeed like they did last year, Auburn could have been 0-3 at this point.

Got 12?

September 21st, 2009
8:59 am

UT is not better than people thought they were. UF is not as good as people thought they were. We all knew they would miss Mullin, Harvin, and Murphy but no one knew how much.

kkkkkkk

September 21st, 2009
9:05 am

Didn’t I see Nesbitt throw the the ball away on 4th down?Dejavu!That playground offense is a laughing stock!

nuetral observer

September 21st, 2009
9:07 am

If the Vols had Half of J. Cox, they could be 2-1 or 3-0, Cromps shows that recruiting experts don’t know S^%* or that his body maybe D1 but his head is high school.

Gary

September 21st, 2009
9:07 am

Another exciting weekend of college football. This season is starting to shape up like the 07 season as in no one knows for sure who the best two teams are.

Florida played it’s first real game of the season and Tennessee (give the Vols a lot of credit) did not lay down. Get rid of the turnovers and this game would have been a nail biter for the Gators. Glad that the Vols came to play because now no team should take them lightly, including my Dawgs.

Glad USC got exposed early so the pundits will quit talking about them. Welcome back to college football Washington Huskies, it’s been awhile. Mark it down right here….Cal will beat USC and end the Trojans reign on the Pac 10. No Rose Bowl this year for Pete Carrol’s boys. Javed Best is the best RB in the country.

Texas is NOT any better than Florida right now. If the officials do their job and call the helmet to helmet hit on the Texas DE in the 4th quarter, Tech would have had good field position and only a TD away from sending that one into OT. Texas needed to blow Tech out of the water and they didn’t do it.

Irish go down to Michigan at the big house, then come back and have to pull out a late squeaker at home against a bad Michigan State team (who lost at home to a team from the MAC last week). You can almost hear the Norte Dame AD asking for Urban Meyer’s cell numbers before that one ended.

Great weekend for the ACC. Miami looks to be on track at making it back to big time college football, Va Tech pulled a miracle out of their hat against Nebraska, and Florida State demolished BYU (thank god, one BCS buster down, one more to go).

Speaking of BCS busters……not only BYU, but Utah went down as well. Only Boise State remains.

Ryan Mallet is a big time QB. He is a pure gun slinger and it’s a crying shame he is wasting his remaining college career in Arkansas for Bobby Petrino. Simply because of his arm, Arkansas is going to beat someone they are not supposed to.

Glad to see Auburn back and how about the SEC…..4 teams in the top 10.

Saint Simon

September 21st, 2009
9:08 am

HELP!! We have fallen and can’t get up……we are falling and falling and falling……..OUT OF THE POLLS

Jeff

September 21st, 2009
9:08 am

(((((((((((((((((LMAO…Jackettes out of poll))))))))))))))

Jim

September 21st, 2009
9:10 am

Boy, you people make Cox sound like the Heisman front-runner…..have you thought about the fact that ARK has the worst defense in the SEC?? My goodness….my 2 year old could have thrown for 300 yards against the Hogs. And, it wouldn’t hurt if UGA starting to play a little defense themselves. These lightweight teams they are beating (barely) are nice, but when you have to play against Monte Kiffin’s defense, the Gators, LSU, and even Kentucky…..things may be a bit different. Besides, UGA gave away 3 turnovers, had 14 penalties, and allowed 41 points….that won’t last in the SEC.

Got 12?

September 21st, 2009
9:12 am

The UGA/Ark and AU/WVU were really exciting and fun to watch. I’m not sure how any of these teams will fare against a team with a defensive. In Arkansas’ case, we’ll see this weekend.

I also enjoyed our game and the FSU/BYU game but was saddened by USC’s loss. I wanted them to make it to the MNC game and get embarrassed.

DawginLex

September 21st, 2009
9:13 am

My top 10 right now based on what I have seen:

Alabama
Texas
Florida
California
Ole Miss
Oklahoma(with Bradford)
Penn St
Miami
USC(with Barkley)
Boise St

UGA is in the next 5.
FSU is in the next 5
UNC is in the next 5
LSU will get exposed shortly

PMC

September 21st, 2009
9:14 am

It’s not CPJ’s offense. It’s his teams lack of fire. Miami beat them because they wanted it more. They blew up Tech blocks they evicerated thier manhood. Tech wasn’t Man enough against Miami. They don’t have much depth on the defensive front 7 which leads to fatigue and on offense… what can you say… their intensity was just lacking… but that’s understandable really.. It’s tough to win on the road against a good team and Miami was well rested and ready.

JB

September 21st, 2009
9:17 am

Rambling wreck in shop for overhaul…….Having trouble finding parts. Can’t find a passing game or a D Anywhere. Called everywhere…………………………………..speaking of D. we should talk. Has Georgia EVER been ranked 108…………By the way, Cox can PASS.That will make the running game THAT much better…… Put 8 or 9 in the box, he will light you up. gotta get a D game somewhere. Looked decent against the run, but boy do we need to get some pressure. Rushing more than 3 might help.

gatorcali247

September 21st, 2009
9:19 am

Florida has got to find a go to Wr..once we do….things will change

MIke

September 21st, 2009
9:19 am

I think Saturdays showing against the Gators shows Kiffin is a young, up coming coach that will make mistakes but can also game plan. Knew what he had and tried to play it best he could. FL knew TN was going to run and still had some success.
Better team won on Saturday but I think Kiffin has the Vols pointed in the right direction.

Gatorzone

September 21st, 2009
9:19 am

DawwginLex, I agree with your rankings. Urban’s Offense will develop and get better as the season progresses, it happens every year. He has to stop relying so much on Tebow and open up the other options avialalble.

Gary

September 21st, 2009
9:19 am

Jim, us Dawg fans are not crowning Joe Cox the Hesiman front runner. We are fans, but we are not crazy. Joe has been what most of us thought he would be; a leader and a game manager. Defenses are going to have to play for the pass and not load up the box to try and stop the run.

Plus this team has heart and will not let what happened last year against Alabama and what happened in 07 at Knoxville happen again. Does that mean we won’t lose another game? Far from it. It just means this team is not going to lay down and give up until the game is past the 60 minute mark.

Two of the three things that are killing this team right now can be corrected (penalties and turnovers) if the coaching will step up and bust some arses in practice and during the game.

The one thing that will hurt Georgia as they go into the meat of the schedule, and no one is talking about, is the fact they only have one true week off. ASU, LSU, UT, and Vandy before they can rest and then they have the Gators and Auburn right after that. This team is tested, but they sure look like they could use a rest too.

Gen Neyland

September 21st, 2009
9:24 am

Crompton = 2 turnovers, Tebow = 2 turnovers. Neither team could go deep. Tennessee showed a decent pass defense from DL to DB, Florida didn’t have to but they got 2 picks…Alas, had Gerald Jones known where the sidelines were. I can’t put that one on Crompton…Kiffin didn’t get his arse handed to him (sorry about that, Mob Frenzy) but he did get beat and I guess Mob Frenzy can find solace there…I could further disect the UT-UF game from an opinionated point of view, but what’s the use..? Florida won and that’s that. Again, congrats to the Gators. Right now as a football fan, I’m wishing UF-Miami were scheduled.

ATLnole

September 21st, 2009
9:31 am

Tony,
Was expecting a little more coverage of the FSU win considering we went on the road and beat the #7 time like a red headed stepchild (no offense to red headed stepchildren out there). UF is good, not great but trying to tell that to a Gator fan is impossible. They are already talking about their 2nd consecutive title after a lackluster win against Tennessee and whichever junior colleges they played to start the year off.

Gator Mike

September 21st, 2009
9:34 am

I was in the Swamp on Saturday for the game. Everyone took UT for granted which was a mistake as was the idiotic spread. The UT traveling fan base was even absent. The Gators have been listening to the press, and they were not impressive. Brandon Spikes being out in the second half did not help, and the lack of dependable receivers is a huge problem.
The UT defense is as good as ever, and the offense is a quarterback away from being much better. Their running game is still good. Hardisty and Brown are studs.
In my humble opinion, UT is going to beat one of the better teams in the next few weeks, and my beloved Gators will loose at least 2 games this year unless they get focused.
The SEC is going to be very interesting this year, and there is no clear super team at this time. UGA is definately a top team, and we will see about Ole Miss this Thursday night. BAMA is very good, and LSU remains an unknown. All of this makes SEC Football fun and interesting.
Go Gators.

Dawgday

September 21st, 2009
9:34 am

1. UF is still the best team (unfortunately)
2. Congrats to Joe Cox. He made a lot of throws that Matt S. overthrew last year. Maybe not having a cannon arm isn’t such a bad thing?

Pass rush is non-existent again. Not sure if Mallett is that great but when you have 30 minutes to pick out a receiver you can look pretty good.

3. I’ve been saying it since day one: Why are Tech fans so optimistic after that beat down they got by LSU at the end of the year?

4. One word for why UT can be successful: Monte. Wish UGA had a DC like that. Heck, just about every team, college or pro probably wishes they had Monte Kiffin!

5. Said this first of the season too. Look out for Auburn, they usually have a great season when they’re expected to suck.

Tech Fan in Braves Country

September 21st, 2009
9:37 am

Even as a Tech fan, I have to give Cox credit. I had predicted he wouldn’t be starting by the 4th game. He looked great against Arkansas. If I were a defensive coordinator, I would stack the middle of the field and make him throw to the sides. But I give him credit, he played fantastic. And A.J. Green is everything we knew he would be … not just height and speed, but great adjustment to the ball. Michael Moore had a great game also.

As for Tennessee, the main credit I give Kiffin, is being smart enough to hire the best assistant coaching staff in the country (and lucky that Monte is his father!). I think his plan is to just tread water this year and build for the future. He just has to win enough to convince recruits to come to Tennessee. Still not sure if he is crazy like a fox, or just plain crazy, but I think he could be a force to contend with in the future.

As for Tech, hats off to Miami. I am more concerned about our defense than the offense. I believe CPJ can correct the problems with the offense, but not sure about the defense. I wouldn’t bet against us in any game though. Go Jackets!

Lord of The Lizards

September 21st, 2009
9:37 am

Look, anyone close to the UF Football program knew there was gonna be an adjustment to life after Percy Harvin. That the Gator D would have to hold up while the offense found its way. I think you will see that happening over the next couple of games, with a very important bye week sandwiched between the Kentucky and LSU tests that awaits them. Some very good things came out of Saturdays game: 1) They won, 2) They won 3) They can now put down the press clippings and just get to work, don’t have to worry about being “invinceable” anymore, it’s just about getting better and go play 4) They got physically tested Saturday (give Tennessee alot of credit) and responded in the second half. 5) The “Kiffin” game and all its crazy distractions and hoopla and unrealistic point spreads are now behind them 6) And now that people will start to talk again about how they can and will be beat, they can reclaim that edge they seem to always thrive on. They have some work to do…

Biff

September 21st, 2009
9:44 am

Please, Lane Kiffen is a giant p***y who ran his mouth in the offseason and then played to avoid humiliation rather than going for the win. As far as the comment about take away the turnovers and its a close game, how bout take away the two Florida TOs and the Swine Flu virus and we win by 50 like everyone thinks we should. Regardless, we won, USC lost if we win every game from here on out by 1 point, we’re still national champs.

Gatorzone

September 21st, 2009
9:48 am

Lord, I agree. I think Gator Mike is selling this team wayyyy too short. Offense seems to start slow every year until Urban opens it up. I watched the UT game again this morning and there were plenty of opportunities for off tackle runs (which UT could not stop) and quick passes, but Urban called a VERY conservative game. BTW, what is up with constantly running 155 lb Demps up the gut on dive plays?

PT

September 21st, 2009
9:51 am

College football is about evloving as the season goes and gaining confidence as the season goes. I believe typically at the beginning of the season there are usually about 15-20 teams capable of this, by mid season that number is down to 10, by the end about 5. Then there is the lucky 2. That is fact people. To annoit a team #1 at the start is nuts cause everyone loses players that creates a chemistry imbalance and everyone adds new players that you dont know what you have til week 3 or so. Its all just talk and fun til then

Gen Neyland

September 21st, 2009
9:54 am

Thank you, Biff. What an informative take you have on the game. Always great to read a knowledgeable post-game perspective.

Gator Growl

September 21st, 2009
10:01 am

Gator Mike, I was at the Swamp too and I think that between the economy AND some fear of excessive hostility, many Vol fans decided to stay home and stay safe. Gladly, other than some serious smack, I didn’t see anything bad go down. ALSO…I gotta admit, even as an avid Gator, I had started to feel like rival fans and was getting sick about hearing how great Tebow is. I think I was even starting to take him a little for granted. But after watching that guy play Saturday, even with two uncharacteristic turnovers, that guy is a BEAST. I was sitting down on around the 20 yard line on that side and that collision with Berry (and two other Vols) was epic and sounded like a friggin thunderclap. Nobody backed down and I can tell you, it was violent!!! Now I’m going to relish every Tebow play because I realise I’ll never see his kind again.

Jeff

September 21st, 2009
10:02 am

See what happens when a bunch of idiot sportswriters and fans say that Urban and Teblows can name their score???? Did Teblow have a fever? Swine Flu? where were the 50 points that UF was going to hang on UT?? What happened to Urban “teaching a lesson”????? hmmmmm…..tell me Gatorboys

Got 12?

September 21st, 2009
10:03 am

The biggest factor in the Gator’s lackluster offensive performance was the absence of Dan Mullen. It will be very interesting to see how Meyer adjusts. I’m sure he’ll work it out.

Thank you, UGA, for the game film on Arkansas. We shouldn’t have much trouble with them this weekend. We will pressure Mallet incessantly.

Congrats to Auburn for upholding the conference’s honor. Malzahn v. M. Kiffin in two weeks will be something to watch.

Joe

September 21st, 2009
10:04 am

what? you Gators now re-evaluating “the greatest college team ever” hmmmmm, statements like “we knew there would be adjustments to life after Percy” …hmmmm Bottom line- UF can and will be beat this year

Alabama Jack

September 21st, 2009
10:06 am

Luv that dawg defense….

Spike

September 21st, 2009
10:08 am

Dawgs win an SEC game on the road, Tech gets their arse handed to them on national TV, no M, St. Simons, Ramble on, Yellow Fuzz, Stinger to hear from. And Tech out of th polls by week three. Ahh, good times. Glad it hurts so much Tech, and it is just getting started. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

Gatorzone

September 21st, 2009
10:09 am

I’ll admit, I was expecting a beatdown but I have a new respect for UT. They have a tough D and a hardnosed running attack that made the game a fight. I do not recall the greatest team ever talk, but I am sure that has been mentioned. We will see as the season progresses. I will still be surprised if they lose a game this year.

Lord of The Lizards

September 21st, 2009
10:11 am

Joe…regarding my earlier post about the Gators recaiming their edge…thanks for making my point!

Otto

September 21st, 2009
10:11 am

Is CWM Erk or Joe Kines? no Is he as bad as most think? no

If you give up 3 turnovers, kick 2 kick offs out of bounds, and your offense is boom or boost only staying on the field two minutes at a time,.. expect points to go up on the board.

Arkansas had 16 possesions and the average starting point was their 41 yard line. Considering that and UGA had 3 drives all night that lasted for more than 3 minutes, I am not puttiing it all on CWM. Fabris needs to get better coverage and Bobo needs to put together a ground attack that will eat up some clock.

The defense came up with 3 key stops late and forced a field goal in the final 4 Ark possesions, after being gassed thanks to special teams play and turnovers.

The blame and credit is equal on all 3 parts of the game.

P

September 21st, 2009
10:14 am

It’s still early. But this looks like a season where the better coaches will make the adjustments and coach up their team and the rest will not. Not only will we learn alot about which teams are for real we will learn which coaches are for real. That includes Paul Johnson at Tech.

Vol of reason

September 21st, 2009
10:16 am

Proud of my Vols for not mailing it in, but sure wish we had a QB that could simply manage the game. The slate is bare for some QB stud to come in and take over the offense.

ReptilesRule

September 21st, 2009
10:16 am

Tony, you will probably see a few Vol fans gloating today about their 10 point loss. Please, if you ever catch me celebrating a 10 point loss, please call Jeremy Foley and have my UF UAA membership revoked immediately! Evidently, I had not realized how far the Tennessee program had fallen…

TrueCrimson

September 21st, 2009
10:17 am

As a Bama fan, I don’t particularly want the Tide to be ranked No.1 yet. It only counts at the end of the season. There’s a lot of ball to be played yet.