Are we sure Georgia has a quarterback controversy? With the No. 1 team in the country being so dominant, the situation under center has been the one possible area of weakness with the Bulldogs. The question I've been asked most often about Georgia is what happens if it gets behind and suddenly needs to start scoring in a hurry.
Is it capable?
Let's say the quiet part out loud: "it" hasn't meant Georgia, but rather Stetson Bennett. The former walk-on was seen as the scrappy underdog last season, merely holding down the fort until JT Daniels was healthy. That perception hasn't changed much in 2021 even though the Bulldogs haven't even broken a sweat. And while he hasn't put up the eye-popping numbers we've all grown to expect from national title-contending QBs in recent seasons, Bennett currently leads the SEC in passing efficiency at 193.85 -- or, at least he would if he'd thrown enough passes to qualify.
Bennett has completed 66.3% of his passes for 11.5 yards per attempt with 12 touchdowns and only four interceptions, two of which came against Florida on Saturday. However, he's throwing only 14.4 passes per game, which is short of the 15 per game he needs to qualify for rate stats. If Bennett had thrown four more passes, he'd not only lead the SEC in passing efficiency, but he'd be third overall in the country behind only Western Kentucky's Bailey Zappe and Oklahoma's Caleb Williams, who has made up for lost time quickly. Bennett's 11.5 yards per attempt would also lead the SEC and rank second nationally behind Coastal Carolina's Grayson McCall.
|QB||Passer Rating||Comp.%||Yards Per Attempt||Air Yards Per Attempt||TD%||INT%||1st Down%|
Stetson Bennett, Georgia
Caleb Williams, Oklahoma
Despite hints from coach Kirby Smart about playing both quarterbacks against Florida, Daniels didn't see the field in the 34-7 win. It's possible Smart didn't want to risk aggravating Daniels' lat injury when the game was in complete control. It's also possible Smart just didn't see any reason to remove Bennett from the game. After all, Bennett isn't just putting up solid numbers for himself; the Georgia offense has been better overall with him in the lineup.
|Quarterback||Starts||Offensive Success Rate||Points Per Drive||Yards Per Play||Scoring Rate||Red Zone TD Rate|
(Scoring rate is percentage of possessions ending in points, and Red Zone TD Rate is percentage of red zone possessions resulting in touchdowns. For an explanation of success rate, read this)
Of course, one of Daniels' starts was the 10-3 win over Clemson, a game in which neither team successfully moved the ball or even scored a touchdown. Still, his other two starts came against South Carolina and Vanderbilt, two teams that have not proven to be defensive stalwarts.
Meanwhile, Bennett started against UAB, Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky and Florida. The Razorbacks, Tigers and Wildcats were all ranked when they played, and the Gators put a scare into Alabama. Overall, Bennett has faced a more difficult schedule and yet the offense has been better.
So, I ask again: does Georgia really have a QB controversy? Or are we just trying to find chinks in its armor because it refuses to show us any on its own?
Coach of the Week
TCU caught the college football world by surprise Sunday night when it announced it had mutually agreed to part ways with longtime coach Gary Patterson. While the timing was unexpected, you could've seen the decision coming for a while if you'd been paying close enough attention. Patterson reached the end of his rope with the program and the results on the field weren't what anybody wanted. It was time to move on.
My two favorite Gary Patterson moments— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) November 1, 2021
1. When he changed shirts at halftime of the Alamo Bowl and TCU came back from down 31 points to beat Oregon
2. A TV interview he gave in 2014 after TCU was left out of the CFP and he was very mad
It's easy to let it get lost in history, but the TCU program Patterson leaves behind is light years ahead of the one he inherited. Patterson first came to TCU as a defensive coordinator under Dennis Franchione in 1998, a few years after the program had been left out of the newly-formed Big 12. Instead, the Horned Frogs joined the now-defunct WAC. After going 10-1 during the 2000 season, Franchione would leave to take over at Alabama (remember that?) and Patterson was named interim coach for the team's bowl game: a 28-21 loss to Southern Miss in the Alabama Bowl.
The Frogs then joined Conference USA the following season, spending four years there and winning a conference championship before moving to the Mountain West, where they won four more conference titles. That success finally earned the nomad program an invite to the Big 12 when the conference needed members following multiple realignment shifts. And, yes, Patterson would win a Big 12 title, too.
Patterson led TCU into three different conferences and won championships in all of them. Now, ironically enough, with TCU poised to become one of the biggest powers in the new-look Big 12, he's decided to leave. TCU will forever owe Patterson more than he owes them. They've already built him a statue, but it doesn't feel like enough.
Catch of the Week
If you didn't find time to watch Liberty and UMass last weekend, don't worry, the world will forgive you someday. But will you forgive yourself for missing the chance to see a Liberty cheerleader make this catch along the sideline? It was a lot more impressive than anything the UMass offense showed during the game.
Meatball Moment of the Week
I like to think of myself as an enlightened individual who understands that college football is just a game played by young men in hopes of bettering their lives, whether through education or athletic achievement. While there's a hint of truth to it, I also know that underneath that thin exterior layer is a competitive person who angers easily, particularly when I'm competing. This is why I'm not afraid to say that if an opponent pulled something like this against my team, I would be fighting.
If you pull this kind of crap against my team, we are throwing down. It has nothing to do with class, sportsmanship or acting like you've been there before. As a player or a team, you are allowed to do something like this if you want. Just know that I'm allowed to play by the same rules and react accordingly, and accordingly might include a few haymakers and a chokehold.
Also, while I'm not entirely clear about what was going on between these two teams, there was clearly something below the surface. Earlier in the game, Bowling Green coach Scot Loeffler became the first college football coach to be ejected for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. You would think that a team losing its head coach, who also serves as its offensive play-caller, would be a detriment. It wasn't!
Head coaches have been eligible for ejection after multiple unsportsmanlike penalties since 2016, but Loeffler is the first coach ever ejected.— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) October 30, 2021
In 18 minutes after his ejection, Bowling Green scored more points than in any full game over the last two seasons pic.twitter.com/uqlBEdLRsK
Athletic Moment of the Week
It'll forever astound me that the human body is capable of such things. Well, some human bodies are. Florida State's Lawrance Toafili can do it, but, like, if that were me, I would have caught that ball and immediately gone out of bounds because I'd have already run a good 15 yards to that point. That's a long way to run!
Athletic Moment of the Week Part 2
Speaking of athletically superior bodies running long distances, check out Ohio State's Jerron Cage. There is nothing more pleasing in football than watching a large human do something nobody expects large humans to be capable of doing.
Also, shout out to Jerron's teammates for knowing the big man needed to cool down afterward.
Stock Advice of the Week
BUY -- Mel Tucker: Oh, to be Mel Tucker's agent right now. Tucker's name was already being mentioned with the LSU job, as there seem to be a lot of people in Baton Rouge enamored with the idea of heading north to East Lansing, Michigan, for a head coach. And who can blame them? It worked pretty well the last time. Tucker's star power was already on the rise, but it's soaring now after knocking off No. 6 Michigan. The Spartans are 8-0 and up to No. 5 in the AP Top 25. The first College Football Playoff Rankings will be released Tuesday night, and given the way the committee has ranked teams during the season before, it won't be surprising to see the Spartans in the top four.
SELL -- Scott Frost: Stop me if you've heard this one before, but Nebraska lost a one-score game it probably should've won. The 28-23 loss to Purdue dropped the Cornhuskers to 3-6 and 1-5 in the Big Ten, with their lone victory coming against Northwetern 56-7. The Huskers are now 0-6 in one-score games this season, but this isn't a new theme. Nebraska is 5-18 in one-score games since Frost took over the program in 2018. Here's how that compares to other programs with the worst winning percentages in one-score games since 2018 (minimum 10 games).
That's not exactly the company Nebraska is trying to keep.
While I'm not sure it'll happen before the end of the season, Saturday's loss felt like it might be the final nail in Frost's coffin in Lincoln. This team is a loss from missing out on a bowl game in each of his four seasons, and the Huskers still have to play Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa. I just can't imagine the program will sell the fanbase on a fifth season.
Invisible Team of the Week
What if I told you there was a Power Five program that is 8-0, winning by an average of 19.5 points per game and does not exist in the minds of many who follow the sport? Such a team exists ... and it's Wake Forest.
The Demon Deacons won again Saturday, beating Duke 45-7. The Deacons offense ranks fifth nationally with 43.4 points per game, as well as ninth in yards per game (495.5) and yards per play (6.82). Quarterback Sam Hartman is throwing for 309.4 yards per game with 22 touchdowns and three interceptions. He's rushed for 208 yards and six more touchdowns, too, yet nobody even mentions him as a Heisman also-ran, let alone a candidate.
This week, voters finally seemed to take notice because they had no other choice but to rank the Deacons in the top 10 of the AP Top 25 for the first time in program history.
College Football Playoff Projection of the Week
This is not what I think it should be, but what I think it will be on Tuesday night.
- Michigan State
Until the next Monday After!