So what did we learn over the weekend?
1. If Florida doesn’t suspend Brandon Spikes, then the SEC office should. Unless the video below has been doctored, this is simply unacceptable from a college football player. Spikes is a great player. He is also an emotional player. And he clearly let his emotions get the best of him when he stuck his hand inside Waushan Ealey’s facemask. My hope is that Florida coach Urban Meyer looks at the video, is horrified, and suspends Spikes for at least one game. Spikes needs a reality check. Look, I know enough former players who have told me that a lot of bad things happen in pileups. But this is right out in the open and everything was caught on camera. This is a player intentionally trying to hurt another player. It’s simple: If coaches are going to be held accountable for their actions and officials are going to be held accountable for their mistakes, then players must be held accountable for what they do. There is no place in the game for something like this.
We just learned a little while ago that Spikes will be suspended for the first half of the game against Vanderbilt on Saturday. I would have done it for an entire game, but I’m not going to quibble with the decision. It sends the message needs to be sent.
2. Georgia should never, EVER, EVER wear black helmets, black jerseys, or black pants again. Look, I understand. Georgia coach Mark Richt was trying to do something to give his guys a little extra “umph” as they went to Jacksonville to play No. 1 Florida. But it didn’t work. It never had a chance to work because, like we said last week, Georgia is such a fundamentally unsound football team. Georgia is now 119th out of 120 Division I-A teams in turnover margin (minus-15). That means Georgia has committed 21 turnovers and gained only six. Only one team in college football (Texas Tech) has committed more than Georgia’s 74 penalties.
The fact of the matter is that Georgia is not a well-coached football team. The head coach has proven he knows how to win in the SEC so he should be given every opportunity to fix what is wrong. But there is definitely something missing at Georgia.
By the way: You can repaint the helmets. But burn the black pants. And do it now.
3. Christian Ponder is a gamer. The Florida State quarterback took a serious shot to the ribs early in Saturday’s game with N.C. State. But Ponder played through the pain and led Florida State on the winning touchdown drive late to beat the Wolfpack 45-42. Ponder completed 26 of 40 passes for 266 yards. The week before he completed 33 of 40 and rallied Florida State from a 24-6 deficit for a victory at North Carolina. This guy is going to be on a bunch of Heisman lists next season. Just an aside here: Ponder’s heroics came before a crowd of only 67,712 at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee. That’s the smallest home crowd in 16 years.
4. LSU is still in the hunt for the national championship: People forget about the Tigers after they lost 13-3 to No. 1 Florida on Oct. 10. But LSU (7-1) plays No. 3 Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. Win that one and the Tigers will probably get a shot at No. 1 Florida on Dec. 5 at the SEC championship game. A win there should put them in Pasadena. Now I think Alabama is going to win the game on Saturday. But LSU is starting to figure out some things on offense and is flying very confidently under the radar.
5. Georgia Tech had better not sleep on Wake Forest or Duke. Wake Forest (4-5) had Miami beat in Winston-Salem and let it slip away (28-27) after QB Riley Skinner got hurt. Three of its losses are by three points and another is by one point. The only blowout loss it has had was to Clemson (38-3). Duke (5-3), which hosts Georgia Tech next week, is really starting to figure some things out in the second year under David Cutcliffe. If Duke wins at North Carolina this week and Tech beats Wake Forest, first place in the Coastal Division will be on the line when Tech goes to Wallace Wade Stadium on Nov. 14.
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