What we learned: Routs help nobody, LSU looks strong, Saban's staying
Here's hoping the coming playoff spells an end to 76-0 games. That kind of wipeout shouldn't be a problem when LSU, looking strong, travels to Athens to face Georgia.
It was a pretty crummy weekend for competitive games, but we still learned a lot. Specifically:
1. Is 70 the new 50? Let's hope not because it's not good for college football.
After looking at Saturday's lopsided scores, former Florida State quarterback Danny Kanell, now a television analyst, tweeted: "70 is the new 50 in college football."
On the day, seven of the top 20 teams in the AP poll scored more than 50 points in beating their opponents. Four of those scored 70 or more. The damage:
No. 4 Ohio State 76, Florida A&M 0
No. 7 Louisville 72, Florida International 0
No. 16 Miami 77, Savannah State 7
No. 20 Baylor 70, Louisiana Monroe 7
No. 8 Florida State 54, Bethune-Cookman 6
No. 13 UCLA 59, New Mexico State 13
No. 17 Washington 56, Idaho State 0
All told, those seven teams beat their overmatched opponents 464-33.
Not sure what sense it made to beat these teams that badly. Because when it comes to the BCS and the impact on the human polls, anything after 50-0 is just showing off. I'll give Miami's Al Golden credit for taking measures to try to hold the score down. Still, Golden didn't really like what he saw on Saturday.
"No, these types of days aren't good for college football," Golden told freelance journalist Craig Barnes after the game. "But they aren't going to get any better until we find some vehicle of uniform scheduling.
"I hope as we move deeper into the playoff system that will happen, but teams now schedule 5-6 years out. It isn't easy to change games once they are scheduled."
The good news is that moving forward to the four-team playoff and its selection committee, teams will be less inclined to play these games. And with a small selection committee making the decisions instead of 200 poll voters, hanging 70 on a helpless opponent is probably not going to impress anybody. It's just not necessary.
It was a weird game Saturday night between LSU and Auburn in Baton Rouge. The first half was played in a driving rain and in the second half the normally passionate LSU fans started heading for the exits in droves. Auburn made a little comeback and showed some toughness in avoiding a rout. The final score was 35-21 but LSU controlled the game throughout.
This is what I saw: I saw an LSU team that lost 10 juniors to the NFL Draft that is now better than it was at any point last season. Zach Mettenberger has calmed down and become a bona-fide SEC quarterback under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. If there is a better pair of wide receivers than Odell Beckham Jr., and Jarvis Landry, you're going to have to show it to me. And who goes deeper in really good tailbacks than LSU? I still think Georgia's Todd Gurley is the best running back in the country but LSU's Jeremy Hill (184 yards vs. Auburn) has to be in the conversation.
Nobody was really talking about LSU in the preseason because the conversation was dominated by Alabama and Johnny Football in the SEC West.
Bottom line: Saturday's game between No. 6 LSU and No. 9 Georgia in Athens is going to be some grown man football.
3. Well, I guess I'm going to have to say it: Nick Saban will not be the coach at Texas.
One of the things we do far too casually in the media these days is take an ounce of fact and turn it into a ton of speculation. It is a fact that a big-moneyed booster from Texas had a conversation with Nick Saban's agent, Jimmy Sexton. The Texas guy basically asked an open-ended question: Should the Texas job come open (regardless of how it happens) would the position interest your client?
Sexton is a very good agent and good agents know never to turn down a job that hasn't been offered. Always keep the door open even if your client is supremely happy in his current situation.
But to suggest that Nick Saban would leave Alabama for Texas defies logic. Three reasons:
• If Nick Saban ever does leave Alabama, it won't be because somebody offered more money. Saban has plenty of money and, despite all the legends of Texas billionaires, there is no offer that could be made from the Lone Star State that Alabama could not beat. Period.
• Texas is a great job. It's a top-five job. Maybe a top-three job. But it's not a better job than Alabama. Saban has complete control of his domain at Alabama. I'm not sure that could ever happen at Texas. The Alabama program speaks with only one voice and that is his. And it's in the SEC. Case closed.
• They've already built a statue. At 61, you don't leave a place where they have already built a statue for you. I'm sure that's a rule that's written down somewhere.
4. Despite loss of Driskel, Gators will be OK with Murphy: Standard operating procedure for college quarterbacks these days is that if you don't get playing time you leave. Tyler Murphy decided to stay at Florida and today he's glad and the Gators are glad.
Starting quarterback Jeff Driskel, who led Florida to an 11-2 record last season, has been lost for the rest of the year with a broken bone in his right leg. Murphy, who had played in Florida's first two games with Toledo and Miami, came on and put up 218 yards of total offense in a 31-17 victory.
I'll bet when Murphy woke up Saturday morning he didn't expect that before the day was over he would be talking to CBS Sports' Tracy Wolfson as the star of the game.
Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun writes that five different Florida quarterbacks have taken snaps since Murphy arrived on campus in 2010. He wanted to contribute so much last season that he volunteered to run the scout team. He dressed for all 13 games and played in one -- as a wide receiver. He is a fourth-year junior from Connecticut who played in only three games before this season. His bio in the Florida media guide takes up 12 lines, and four of those lines are what he did BEFORE Florida.
And suddenly, it is his time.
5. West Virginia is bad ... as in really, really bad: Look, we all knew that West Virginia's offensive production was going to drop a bit with the departures of Geno Smith and Tavon Austin. But West Virginia (2-2) is not even competing just four games into the regular season.
The Mountaineers struggled just to beat William & Mary of the FCS 24-17. Their other win is against Georgia State, playing only its third season of football. They scored a touchdown on a 75-yard run against Oklahoma and were shut out the rest of the way in a 16-7 loss.
Saturday against Maryland Dana Holgorsen's team hit rock bottom. They trailed 30-0 at halftime with only two first downs and a grand total of 65 yards of offense. West Virginia finished the game with 175 yards of offense and only six first downs.
I know Maryland is better this season with quarterback C.J. Brown and mega-receiver Stefon Diggs. But come on!
West Virginia has now lost eight of its past 12 games under Holgorsen. The wins have come against Iowa State, Kansas, William & Mary and Georgia State.
Holgorsen was the offensive genius when he arrived in Morgantown. Now nothing is working.
"We're very inept," Holgorsen told the Gazette-Mail of Charlestown, W.Va. "We're going to fix it. It's 100 percent on me."
So it would seem.
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