|Aaron Murray's big win at Missouri proved Georgia was the team to beat in the SEC East. (US Presswire)|
Week 2 is over so it's time to fire up the Tuesday Tweetbag and tackle the burning topics that are being talked about in the college football-sphere. I'm here to answer questions tweeted to me so make sure you follow me on Twitter at @BryanDFischer. Without further ado, let the smorgasbord of questions commence.
"Does the result of Saturday evening's game in Columbia, MO say more about Mizzou or Georgia?" - Aaron Potter (@AaronEPotter)
|It wasn't all offense for the Bulldogs as Jarvis Jones and the defense fueled a big win. (US Presswire)|
I think it says more about Georgia but it certainly speaks to Missouri going forward in the SEC as well. We knew the Bulldogs would be good this season with Aaron Murray at quarterback and a suffocating defense but there was plenty of concern when they made the trip West to Columbia with those suspensions and a few injuries at key spots. It felt as though both teams were playing a game of tug of war given how they traded blows for three quarters before the floodgates came open following that fake punt by the Tigers. The defense -- and particularly linebacker Jarvis Jones -- held Mizzou to just 2.6 yards a carry and forced James Franklin into several costly mistakes late in the game. There's a lot to like on offense when scoring 41 points, especially with the emergence of freshman tailback Todd Gurley, but if this team is to compete for the SEC East title again (and possibly the conference crown as well), they're going to rely on Todd Grantham's unit.
Like their former Big 12 brethren Texas A&M, Missouri showed they wouldn't be run off the road when playing in the mighty SEC as they kept the game much more competitive than the final score would indicate. Remember, before that miscalculation by Gary Pinkel to pull the fake on 4th down, the game was just 24-20. The team looked quick and showed they had plenty of team speed, enough that it was encouraging going forward to the fans in attendance. Given the way the second half went one wonders about the week-in, week-out grind that the team will go through as they adjust to a league that wants to run the ball far more than their old one. They didn't get a win but that first, and signature, SEC victory will come for Missouri and they should be alright going forward.
Also, speaking of traveling West (to face an SEC East foe no less) the win was Georgia's furthest away from Athens in the regular season since a Sept. 20, 2008 win at Arizona State. Since Mark Richt has been in Athens, he has only three wins further West than the one Columbia (Arkansas twice and the one in Tempe).
"General thoughts on Texas A&M's debut? Is Johnny Football the real deal?" - Kyle Nelson (@jkylenelson)
My colleague Bruce Feldman was in College Station and tackled both subjects thoroughly. I won't add too much but I showed up at the Rose Bowl on Saturday way, way too early just so I'd get the chance to see how the Aggies would handle the Gators. Having been to Kyle Field the atmosphere looked great but what struck me right out of the gate was how different and attacking the offense was. No, it didn't continue in the second half but I think the underlying signs of life and big play potential are notable in a league that doesn't see too many high fliers on the offensive side of the ball. The defensive line was better than I expected and there's definitely enough talent to be competitive even in the SEC West.
Johnny Football's debut may not have produced the W but did produce confidence in the position that not many people expected coming into this game. For most of the lead up to being named the starter, Manziel was a bit of an afterthought to Jamile Showers -- the notable exception being when he was arrested in an amazing fashion -- but he won the job in the eyes of Kevin Sumlin and O.C. Kliff Kingsbury thanks in part to his moxie as much as his play during camp. He definitely has some swagger that we haven't seen at the quarterback spot for the Aggies in some time and it will be interesting to track his development going forward. With a good offensive line and running game the team needs him to play smart but there's no doubt that he gives them a chance to win if need be. A&M will live and learn during this year, starting with the game against Florida. I expect them to eventually get past their second half woes and, hopefully for the faithful at Kyle Field, that was the last time they'll see it.
"Can Notre Dame make a BCS bowl with Golson/Rees splitting time?" - Anyaa (@blackzag05)
|Notre Dame is in for a long season regardless who is taking snaps at quarterback. (US Presswire)|
I don't think Notre Dame can make a BCS bowl this season with Joe Montana in his prime behind center. The Navy win seemed to get folks fired up at what the Irish could do this season but remember, they have a brutal schedule no matter the personnel. CBSSports.com guru Jerry Palm has the team in the Military Bowl against Vanderbilt and that type of bowl (i.e. pre-New Year's Day) seems about right. Getting back Cierre Wood should help the offense but it's the defense, particularly the secondary, that seems to be holding them from having a better than expected year. The fact that they are 109th in sacks allowed just two games into the season (against two middling defenses) is notable.
With Golson in particular, Brian Kelly has a good fit at quarterback to run his offense and based on how they're recruiting, the right playmakers will eventually be seasoned enough to shoulder the load. Yes, the old adage about having two quarterbacks meaning you don't have one is apt for this squad but it's important to keep in mind this team is building for the future. Notre Dame doesn't quite seem ready for primetime right now but based on a few other teams the schedule isn't as tough as previously thought. Michigan State/Michigan/Oklahoma/Stanford/USC is as tough of a slate as you can find but the Miami, Pitt, Boston College and Wake Forest games are very winnable should help get the team to a bowl game. The one thing I'm looking for this season is consistency and eliminating the mental mistakes that have plagued the team in the past. The first game it seemed like those things had been cleared up but the squeaker over Purdue brought them right back up.
There's no way Notre Dame makes it to a BCS bowl but perhaps they can be better on the field by the end of the season even if their record is not indicative of it.
"Does Jeff Long have to stick it out with John L Smith until the end of the season, or is there a breaking point for Arkansas?" - John (@SchlenTastic)
He has a 10 month contract and I would think that as soon as the regular season is over, Smith will be out looking for work. It was a tough, if not impossible situation, but there's no way the Razorbacks should have lost that game even with a backup quarterback in. Some folks were talking national title this season and most didn't look at them like they were that crazy. What will get really distracting is if the talk about Smith continues week after week and starts to filter down into the players' minds. It seems like he was a long shot from the beginning to actually keep the job and Saturday's upset is one reason why.
"What's the future of Auburn and Gene Chizik; 2 yrs removed from BCSNC and top 10 recruiting the last 3 yrs?" - Brandon Gossett (@gossettbrandon)
|Just two years after a national title, Gene Chizik is feeling the heat at Auburn. (US Presswire)|
It's such an interesting situation down on the Plains as suddenly the shine from that national title has gone poof and the spotlight is firmly on Chizik after an 0-2 start. Take away Cam Newton and he's never won more than 8 games in a year, sporting a 16-12 record with the Tigers (21-31 overall without that 2010 season). Just as concerning has been the inconsistent nature of the offense from season to season, as if he's searching for the right answer but never finds one. Quarterback Kiehl Frazier has looked completely unprepared for what's being thrown at him and Auburn is near the bottom of every major statistical category on both sides of the ball with the exception of kick returns.
It's a young team and not a whole lot was expected out of them this year in terms of national relevance but some progress was probably considered a given. Tre Mason and Onterio McCalebb are a pair of nice running backs but with a quarterback that can't throw accurately and receivers that struggle to create separation, it could be a long season. Brian VanGorder should get the defense turned around some but you have to wonder if the offense can contribute to any victories. And, let's face it, Louisiana-Monroe is no slouch coming in this week either.
Recruiting has been fine as Auburn has had one of the top classes in the conference just about every year since Chizik took over. One wonders about the 2013 class, currently ranked 10th by MaxPreps, if the losing continues and there's no bowl game for the program this year. It's not out of the realm of possibility and if that happens, it could be open season on a class that has one of the best front seven groups in the country. I don't think the head coach is on the hot seat -- yet -- but this is no doubt an important season for Chizik.
"Who are the top 5 offensive minds in college football?" - Jason Remmert (@jasonremmert)
Great question, here's my short list of head coaches in no particular order: Chip Kelly, Lane Kiffin, Dana Holgorsen, Rich Rodriguez and Chris Peterson.