For the first time this year, college football finally felt "back." Not "back" like "Texas is back." You know, actually back.
The addition of the SEC to the Saturday slate helped. Soon, the Big Ten, Pac-12, Mountain West and MAC will join the fold. But with more and more games being played -- especially games featuring ranked teams -- there are actually things to learn. There are national storylines. There are outcomes of real consequence. Things are starting to feel more familiar.
Highlighted by the SEC's return and another tough day in the Big 12, here are the biggest overreactions from Week 4 of the season.
LSU is in for a major rebuild after all
Mike Leach and Mississippi State took Week 4 by storm by upsetting No. 6 LSU 44-34 in Baton Rouge. Leach's system showed it can clearly work in the SEC. On the other end, though, the questions about whether LSU would be able to simply reload following its national championship run were warranted. Maybe you don't just lose your Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, running back, both coordinators, top returning receiver, several other key players and simply move forward without missing a beat.
The Tigers' defense took the biggest licks, which is what you'd expect playing a team throwing the ball 60 times. Star cornerback Derek Stingley was sorely missed, but Leach took a passing offense that finished 12th in the SEC a year ago and racked up more than 600 yards in just one game. It wasn't all bad for the Tigers -- they got to quarterback K.J. Costello often (five sacks) and took the ball away four times. Normally those numbers would be enough to win, but that leads to another point: LSU's slow start offensively could be a preview of the step back this group is going to take. Obviously, being as good as a team that finished first in scoring last year was going to be impossible, but with so much turnover, the Tigers are left looking for difference makers.
The Big 12 doesn't have a single great team
This feeling has been building for a few weeks. After No. 3 Oklahoma's stunning collapse against Kansas State and No. 8 Texas rallying to beat Texas Tech, there isn't one team in the Big 12 to feel great about. That's not specific to the Big 12, mind you. Most teams this year have noticeable holes. It's the way of the college football world in this pandemic year. And it would be naive to eliminate the Big 12 from playoff contention this early. Still, the defenses for what are supposed to be the top two teams are vulnerable to even middle-of-the-road conference opponents. Oklahoma and Texas are probably still on track for a clash in the Big 12 Championship Game, but the separation between them and everyone else isn't as wide as it first looked.
Fisher is stealing money from Texas A&M
Jimbo Fisher's 10-year, $75 million salary -- which, it's worth pointing out again, is guaranteed -- was always one of the, uh, boldest contracts in coaching. Entering Year 3, it has to be increasingly frustrating to watch what A&M has done under Fisher. With Saturday's 17-12 win over Vanderbilt, Fisher has won 18 games so far. Not bad, but few of those wins have been notable. And if nothing else, the win over the Commodores was closer than it should have been. Quarterback Kellen Mond contributed two of three fumbles on the night. Fisher is an offensive mind by trade and we're still waiting to see that notable jump in Mond's game. Like everything else, opt outs and disruptions can put a ceiling on what an offense can do. Maybe Saturday's win was rusty, but the road trip to Alabama in Week 5 isn't any easier.
Georgia's new-look offense needs a boost
So maybe the No. 4 Bulldogs were never actually in danger of losing to Arkansas, even though they trailed 10-5 in the third quarter. But this offense needs an answer after averaging 2.9 yards per rush in the 37-10 win over the Razorbacks. The best option at quarterback appears to be Stetson Bennett, a former walk-on who would normally be buried on the depth chart. Freshman D'Wan Mathis didn't do much in his first start, averaging 3.2 yards per attempt with an interception. The Bulldogs are in a tough spot. Jamie Newman opted out of the season and J.T. Daniels has yet to be cleared after suffering a season-ending knee injury at USC last year. Bennett was able to move the ball on Saturday, but the Bulldogs get Auburn, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Florida in consecutive games. We know the defense is great, but can Stetson really repeat what he did on Saturday? Otherwise, Daniels might be the best option once he's cleared.
Florida's offense is going to be a problem
Quarterback Kyle Trask might lead the SEC in passing and his tight end, Kyle Pitts, is going to be up there in receiving. The duo linked up eight times for 170 yards and four touchdowns in No. 5 Florida's 51-35 fun-as-hell win over Ole Miss. Trask ended the day with 416 yards through the air and six touchdowns. He'll face better defenses in the coming weeks than the one he faced on Saturday, but Pitts is absolutely a matchup nightmare that coach Dan Mullen will exploit over and over again. But Pitts' big day is only one part of the Gators' passing attack. Trask has three other legit wide receivers to throw the ball to in Trevon Grimes, Kadarius Tomey and Jacob Copeland. The weapons are everywhere and Trask is in an offense to take advantage of that.
Florida State is being lapped
No. 12 Miami is in a far better spot than Florida State. This was known before the 52-10 beatdown on Saturday -- marking one of the widest margins of victory in the history of this rivalry, as well as the first time in the series a team has hung a 50 burger on their opponent. What's more: Florida and UCF also won big. Combined, the Hurricanes, Gators and Knights are 6-0 while the Seminoles are 0-2 and haven't beaten an in-state rival since 2017. Mike Norvell, who was out on Saturday as he recovers from COVID-19, has a long road ahead of him getting this program close to back.
Seth Williams will have lots of highlights
No. 8 Auburn got a solid 29-13 win over No. 23 Kentucky in part to the ridiculous catches made by Williams. Both of his touchdown catches -- part of a 112-yard day on six receptions -- were demonstrations in strength and body control, but this catch against tight man coverage in the end zone was crash course in Moss'ing a guy. Williams was one of the most productive wideouts in the SEC a year ago, and with most of the conference's top pass-catchers off to the NFL (or opting out), Williams could be in for a massive year.