The Monday After: Is it time for Ohio State, Texas A&M to hit the panic button?
A look back at the weekend that was in college football
We're only through two weeks of the season and teams are already starting to panic a little bit. I know this because on Sunday, there wasn't just one coach to lose his job, but two as both East Carolina and Missouri fired their defensive coordinators.
OK, East Carolina "reassigned" its, but they reassigned him to a job that is not defensive coordinator. I believe he's now in charge of just showing up to collect his check until they figure out what to do with him.
Anyway, that's not the point. The point is that we haven't even reached the ides of September yet, and coaches are already getting axed. It's not just coaching staffs that seem tense, either, as I've picked up a nervous energy from quite a few fan bases already this season.
Some of them have more reason to be nervous than the others, and as a public service, I'm going to help a few select fan bases know whether or not they should have their hands hovering over that panic button right now. We'll start in Columbus.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes lost to Oklahoma 31-16 this weekend, at home, and on national television where the entire world could see. After the game, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield did his best impression of the guy Columbus is named for, planting his flag at midfield and claiming Ohio Stadium as territory of the Sooners.
Losing to Oklahoma by 15 isn't good, but when you combine it with Ohio State's struggle for most of its performance against Indiana the week before, there are some doubts about this team amongst the Buckeye faithful right now.
The Ohio State offense is averaging fewer yards per play than Purdue right now. It's passing efficiency is at 125.43, which ranks 11th in the Big Ten, and is 89th nationally. The Buckeyes have had 10 red zone possessions in two games, but has scored only five touchdowns.
The offense has question marks, and considering this is an Ohio State team that was shutout by Clemson in the playoff last year, there's obviously some lingering concerns.
Whether or not it's time to panic yet depends on your expectations for this year. With games coming up against Army, UNLV and Rutgers, Ohio State's going to have time to find a groove, and it's still going to compete for a Big Ten title. If you're hoping for a national title this season, however, there are legitimate concerns. Not enough to panic about, but enough to adjust expectations. Should You Panic? No.
Baylor: The Bears and Matt Rhule are off to an 0-2 start this season, which is never good. It's even worse when the two losses have come against Liberty and UTSA. Saying both losses have come by only 10 points combined doesn't do much to soothe the pain when those are the opponents.
Now, I can personally guarantee you that there are already Baylor fans out there who want to kick Rhule to the curb and bring back Art Briles. I know this because those fans have already existed for roughly 18 months now. It's never going to happen, of course, but it's still the reality of the situation.
For Baylor fans living in a logical reality, however, they are probably freaking out a little right now. You knew the transition would be rough, but you didn't expect it to be like this. Now you're worrying that Baylor is on a course to return to the Baylor of old. You know, the Baylor team that Kansas fans counted as a definite win while looking at their team's schedule each season.
It may be that way for the next year or two. Sorry, but that's just the truth. I wouldn't worry about it remaining that way forever, though. Your impulse may be to panic, but while the next couple of years are going to be rough, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Should You Panic? No.
Texas A&M: If your name is Kevin Sumlin, you should definitely panic. You were on the hot seat coming into the season, and things only got worse last week when UCLA pulled off an epic comeback to beat your team. Then you went and followed that flop up by barely managing to beat Nicholls State in your home opener.
Yes, if your name is Kevin Sumlin, you should panic.
If you're not Kevin Sumlin, but just a Texas A&M fan, you should still panic a little bit. It's not looking like 2017 is going to be a successful or enjoyable campaign at this point, particularly with Kellen Mond at quarterback as your team currently has no passing attack. It's hard to win that way, even in the SEC. Should You Panic? Probably!
Notre Dame: The Irish are coming off a 4-8 season and just lost at home to Georgia in a fashion that felt all too familiar to Golden Domers everywhere. That deja vu feeling is starting to kick in, and Irish fans are wondering if things are about to fall off a cliff again.
I don't think there are, and for one important reason.
At this time last season, Notre Dame was 1-1 too, but it allowed 50 points in its loss to Texas in the season opener. That kind of defense would plague it all season and help contribute to eight losses. Through two games this year, the Irish defense has allowed 36 points. I don't think this Notre Dame team is good enough to compete for a New Year's Six spot this season, but it's still a team with enough talent to go 8-4. On Saturday, it ran into another team with a strong defense, which took away Notre Dame's rushing attack and forced a young, inexperienced QB to beat it. There will be times where that happens again this season, but it won't happen nearly as often as it did last year. Should You Panic? No.
Brian Kelly of the Week
While we're on the subject of Notre Dame, let's address an exchange between coach Brian Kelly and a reporter during Kelly's post-game press conference.
Laken Litman, a Notre Dame beat reporter for the Indianapolis Star, asked Kelly a question about the team's trend of losing close games. Or she tried to, anyway. Here's video of the exchange, it begins at the 11-minute mark.
Now, I get it. Brian Kelly has never been a coach to take losing lightly, and he's entering the 11th minute of a press conference after having spent the last 11 months answering questions about last year's failures. He's grown weary of the subject!
That said, just because I understand why Kelly would be irritated, it doesn't excuse his behavior. Simply put, Brian Kelly just hasn't won enough games recently to act that way to anybody. I know it isn't easy, and I'm glad I'm not in that position, but there's no reason to be disrespectful to a reporter who isn't being disrespectful to you. Litman was just trying to ask a question. It wasn't a "gotcha" question, or anything designed to make Kelly look bad. It was a question about a trend that has developed within his program.
Instead of letting Litman ask the question and just giving a standard cliche answer, Kelly interrupted her and belittled her.
He was a jerk, plain and simple, and it's difficult to get away with such behavior when you're 5-9 in your last 14 games.
Photo of the Week
In a weekend full of huge games and big wins for teams, there wasn't a win more important than Oklahoma's 31-16 victory over Ohio State in Columbus. It was a statement win not only for Oklahoma, which had struggled recently in big games on large stages, but for the Big 12 as a whole.
So while Baker Mayfield was running around with an Oklahoma flag and planting it at midfield drew your typical "classless" accusations, I understood the catharsis for all involved here. It was the moment of the week that led to the Photo of the Week.
Sideline Attire of the Week
Last week, we were introduced to Miami's Turnover Chain, and this week we meet Georgia's Savage Shoulder Spikes.
I can't wait to see where this trend goes from here.
Random Ranking of the Week
The new season of BoJack Horseman is out, so we're ranking BoJack Horseman characters.
1. Mr. Peanutbutter
2. Princess Carolyn
3. Sarah Lynn
4. Todd Chavez
5. BoJack Horseman
Tweet of the Week
Former Ohio State quarterback and current Los Angeles Charger Cardale Jones reminded us all on Saturday night that he's better at Twitter than a lot of athletes.
He sent out this tweet during Ohio State's loss to Oklahoma on Saturday night.
For those of you who didn't know, Jones' former coach, Urban Meyer, Maryland.for his comments following Texas' season-opening loss to
Yakety Sax Usage of the Week
I don't even want to ruin it with my words, so just watch it.
Sorry but it had to be done. pic.twitter.com/DJIwj3xyEr— Braden Bishop (@tbradenbishop) September 10, 2017
Best Win of the Week
Shout out to Chris Creighton and the Eastern Michigan Eagles.
Eastern Michigan beat Rutgers 16-13 on Saturday, giving the program not only its first win against a Big Ten team, but it's first win against any Power Five team. The Eagles had been 0-58 in their history before knocking off the Scarlet Knights.
Creighton's team is now 9-6 since the start of the 2016 season, and while that may not seem too impressive to you, the Eagles were only 3-21 in Creighton's first two seasons. In fact, from 2012 to 2015, Eastern Michigan had gone 7-41.
Now, the Eagles look like a team that will compete for its first MAC title since 1987.
College Football Playoff Projection of the Week
Yeah, it looks familiar.
Until the next Monday After!
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