What we learned over the weekend:
1. Georgia is really lucky to have No. 8: I knew the Georgia-Arizona State game was going to be ugly. After three straight tough games and with LSU coming to Athens this week, there was no way that Georgia was going to be sharp. The Bulldogs could have had an easier night, however, but the old problems of turnovers and penalties just killed them again. At the end of the evening, Georgia won the game because it had A.J. Green and Arizona State didn’t. Bill Parcels always said that football is about players making plays. Green is a great player and he made the plays that Georgia needed to win. Georgia is 3-1 and 2-0 in the SEC. That’s not a bad place to be. But there is no way the Bulldogs win Saturday if they turn it over three times.
2. Ole Miss was overrated: Don’t get me wrong. Ole Miss has a good team and will have a good season. But the Rebels simply did not look like a Top 10 team to me in the preseason. I wasn’t surprised Ole Miss lost at South Carolina. But I was surprised at how poorly Houston Nutt’s team played. Quarterback Jevan Snead looked confused for most of the game. You have to give a lot of the credit to the South Carolina defense, which has played lights out except for the game with Georgia. And here is an early tip. Ole Miss does not have a walkover this week when it goes to Vanderbilt. The Commodores beat the Rebels last year in Oxford. But this is a game Ole Miss has to win with Alabama coming to Oxford on Oct. 10.
3.Tim Tebow is lucky that he wasn’t seriously injured: A normal human being would have been hurt pretty badly with the shot that Tebow took in the Kentucky game. But Tebow, who is a beast in the weight room, is not a normal human being and “just” came away with a concussion. Florida can be second-guessed for having Tebow in the game throwing the ball with a 31-7 lead. But the truth is that what Florida did is consistent with what they’ve done with Tebow his entire career. ESPN can be second-guessed (and should) for showing shots of Tebow throwing up into a bag. I’m just not sure that was necessary. The ambulance shots were a little over the top as well. I spoke to several people at Florida close to the situation on Sunday and they are cautiously optimistic that Tebow will be able to play on Oct. 10, when Florida plays its next game at LSU. The next 48 hours, I was told, will be crucial in determining how long Tebow will need to rest. But even if Tebow can’t go in Baton Rouge, Florida can still win as long as its defense keeps playing like it did against Kentucky.
4. Paul Johnson really knows how to coach. When a team is struggling the way Georgia Tech struggled against Miami, a coach has to do one of two things. He has to coach his players more. Or, he has to coach them less. Good coaches know which one to do based on the team. Paul Johnson realized that he and his staff were coaching Georgia Tech’s players too much after the Miami game. The players had too much to think about instead of just taking advantage of their talent. So Georgia Tech simplified the defense, demanded better execution on offense, and the result was a very impressive 24-7 win over North Carolina. All good coaches make adjustments. The really good coaches know when to turn up the heat and when to back off.
5. All the one-loss teams are back in the national championship race: With four Top 10 teams—Ole Miss, Miami, Penn State, and California—all losing last week you have to say that all of the one-loss teams like Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, and Southern California are back in the hunt. Look, if Alabama/Florida/L SU and Texas go undefeated, life is going to be pretty simple. An undefeated SEC champ will play an undefeated Big 12 champ.
But two of the three SEC teams in the top four have to lose because Florida plays LSU on Oct. 10 and LSU plays at Alabama on Nov. 7. And the way the first month of the season has gone (7 of the AP preseason Top 10 have already lost), you would have to says that the odds are against having two undefeated teams from the major conferences at the end of the regular season.
Yes, Boise State could go 13-0. I’ll talk about the No. 5 Broncos and their chances of getting into the big game on Tuesday. But here’s a hint: Look at the Boise State schedule and tell me if they should get in if the Broncos are the only undefeated team in the country.
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