- WINNER: High-paced offenses:
Specifically ones from the state of Texas. Of course, the high-octane machine in Oregon was firing on all cylinders (No Time of Possession? No problem). But the real impressive performances came from Baylor, who’s first half against SMU was as dominant as a football game can look, and Texas A&M who suddenly catapulted themselves into the SEC-contender conversation and aroused questions about if Johnny Football was more a product of Kevin Sumlin than anything else. More on this later in the blog.
Also shoutout for the West Virginia offense for giving Bama everything it could handle. It’s an open-secret that the coaches for WVU are huge stoolies, using Big Cat as a play card and sending Blackhawks blogger @BarstoolChief free Mountaineer swag in exchange for his fandom. Here’s to a great Big 12 campaign in Morganstown.
-LOSER: The Big 10:
The big loser of the week was the Big 10! It feels like bowl season already! Just look at the four favorites to win the conference! Ohio State against Navy? Needed a big fourth quarter to squash Navy’s upset-bid and looked extremely soft on defense! Iowa against Northern Iowa? Came down to the last possession for them and their secondary looked like one of the worst in football! Wisconsin against LSU? Lost one of the most heart-breaking and horrifically-coached losses in recent memory! Penn State needed a late field goal to eke out Central Florida, Northwestern lost a winnable game, injury and transfer concerns and all, to Cal. We couldn’t even blow out Youngstown State or Western Michigan (thanks Illinois and Purdue!) The only one who had positive weeks were the two teams from Michigan, where they did an excellent job stomping out inferior opponents. So good job to them I guess?
-WINNER: Todd Gurley’s Heisman Campaign:
Of all the current Heisman favorites, Todd Gurley was by far the most impressive and it wasn’t even really close. Want to know how good this kid is? In his total career, which spans 402 carries and 2,572 rushing yards, he has just 50 yards of loss. No one is a better vertical, North-South runner than him. And with Hundley of UCLA looking unimpressive, Winston having flashes of brilliance but being altogether uninspiring, and Melvin Gordon’s stats probably going to be largely discredited now to being against terrible opponents (remember, the Heisman is more about media hype more than reality), it was a GREAT week if you were one of the people who took the Georgia Running back at 12/1 to bring home the hardware.
-LOSER: Gary Andersen’s Honeymoon Period:
Obviously what happened in the Wisconsin game doesn’t need to be recapped here. A quick look at LSU’s win probability chart will tell you everything you need to know about that game. The Badgers hopes of reaching the Four-Team playoff are essentially zero now; the only situation I can see that would allow them to contend again would be if Michigan State beat Oregon, and Wisconsin beat Michigan State in the Big 10 title. Even then, the Badgers would have an outside shot of entering. While the fallout will play out how it will, one thing is clear in Madison; the honeymoon period for Gary Andersen is over. The dream hire for many UW fans is now 0-5 in close games during his tenure in Wisconsin, and while some of that is outside his control, it’s a troubling trend that has not escaped the eyes of his fans and detractors alike. I know for a fact, from a little bird who whispered something to me, that Melvin Gordon was not seriously hurt in that second-half. His 2 total touches after opening the 2nd half with a 60+ yard gain is even more head-scratching the further away you get from it. Andersen’s seat isn’t warm, yet, by any stretch. But questions are being asked.
-WINNER: New-Guard SEC Coaches:
Hugh Freeze, Guz Malzhan, and Kevin Sumlin, stand up! I won’t regurgitate the roughly 7500 articles on the internet right now about how Sumlin’s beatdown of Spurrier at home looked like a passing of the torch, and ironically stirred up memories of when the Old Ball Coach himself revolutionized the conference in the 90’s. I will say however that my biggest takeaway of the weekend was that for a conference that has been moving from being characterized by impossibly tough defenses to being a more offense-driven conference, those three coaches are thrusting the SEC even further in that direction by the day. The Freeze system works for Ole Miss and will go as Bo Wallace goes, still the Jekyll and Hyde of quarterbacks even in his senior year. But when his decision-making and accuracy are there, the Rebel offense looked like they could move the ball against anyone. Malzhan’s two-QB system proved effective as hoped. Sumlin’s offense led by Kenny Thrill (that’s all I’m calling him this year. His name is Kenny Thrill now) looked unstoppable. The clash of styles this year in the SEC will be terrific.
-LOSER: BCS Buster’s Playoff Hopes:
You don’t need to be Kirk Herbstreit to know a BCS Buster wasn’t making the playoffs, but some of the more contrarian analysts insisted not to overlook Boise State, Fresno State, and Central Florida. Well, much like Michael Corleone, all the family business was settled in week 1 by the Power 5 conferences. Sorry non-AQ’s, not your time to sit at the Big Boy’s Table just yet.
Gamblers who write for BarstoolSports.com . Big Cat and Pres in their gambling podcast debut each went 1-0 in their mortal locks. Impressive work fellas, although I will note that I tweeted TWO mortal locks and went 2-0 on them (Ole Miss -20 and Georgia -7.5). You can get more of those mortal locks by following me on twitter @CharlieWisco. And THAT is how you seamlessly and shamelessly plug yourself and end a blog at the same time. Until next time.