Week 2 of the college football year came to a fever pitch with a quartet of big games happening concurrently Saturday night. When the smoke cleared, the top four teams in the nation (Alabama, Oklahoma, USC, and Clemson) went to bed in possession of a signature win. Baylor tossed and turned, still winless. Texas A&M fans dropped to their knees and said an extra prayer late against Nicholls State. Urban Meyer may have dabbled, once again, in late-night pizza. Mike Leach got appropriately weird in the #Pac12AfterDark.
To the clickbait …
Actually, Baker Mayfield’s Flag Plant Was Fine: Oklahoma went into The Horseshoe and claimed it as their own territory. Ohio State put up little resistance. Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield executed a diabolic game plan from the brain of 33-year-old Lincoln Riley. Elation was in free supply after the final whistle. Mayfield “planted” an OU flag at midfield. A more dedicated student-athlete would have realized field turf doesn’t facilitate such an action. The blowback he’s received is unwarranted. He’s a college kid having fun, and had already performed on the field.
Also, this gentleman makes a fine point:
Ohio State Could Save Its Season Using This One Cool Trick: It’s not replacing J.T. Barrett, though the dissenting voices are growing louder. Barrett, a senior captain and team leader, is not a worldbeater nor is he a true liability. His limitations are clear: he cannot throw a deep ball and struggles with accuracy. Some of that has to do with the Buckeyes’ mediocrity at wide receiver. If Ohio State wants to save its season, the offensive mindset must change. Barrett should not be relied on as the primary ball-carrier.
In Saturday’s loss, Barrett rushed 18 times for 66 yards. Running back J.K. Dobbins only carried the ball 13 times. In the Buckeyes’ embarrassing Fiesta Bowl against Clemson last season, Barrett had 11 carries, matching the total of all other rushers. In an offensively-challenged game against Michigan, Barrett racked up 30 of OSU’s 50 carries. In an equally unimpressive squeaker over Michigan State, he had 24 of 45. Barrett also carried the ball more (15 times to 12) than Ezekiel Elliott in the Buckeyes’ painful 2015 loss to the Spartans.
Sensing a trend?
Kelly Bryant Is No DeShaun Watson. But He’s Capable of Winning a National Title: Replacing Watson is an unenviable task. Bryant, the 6-foot-4, 220 pound steam engine, appears up for it. He rebounded from what looked to be a devastating hit against Auburn to rush for two tough touchdowns in a Death Valley rock fight. His numbers have been fairly pedestrian through two games, but he does exude ample amounts of moxie and composure on the field. Dabo Swinney and Tigers fans have to be thrilled.
Here’s How the Big Ten Could Get Shut Out of the College Football Playoff: Ohio State likely needs to win out and their vulnerabilities were laid bare. Road trips to Nebraska and Iowa could prove problematic. Michigan came back to Earth by struggling against Cincinnati. Wilton Speight and the offense is still a question mark. Treks to Madison and Happy Valley will be unpleasant. Penn State currently appears to be the best team in the Big Ten but must play in Columbus.
Michigan State does not appear to be destined for another 3-9 season and could very well knock off one of the above three Big Ten East foes. Jim Delany’s worst fear could be realized if a two-loss East champ takes down Wisconsin in the conference title game. There’s no way the selection commitee would take them over a one-loss Oklahoma. And what if it’s one-loss Oklahoma or one-loss Ohio State for the final spot?
Has There Ever Been a Better Spread of Big Games Happening at Once Than Saturday Night?: Georgia-Notre Dame. Stanford-USC. Oklahoma-Ohio State. Auburn-Clemson. Gluttony can be good.
Brian Kelly Destroys Reporter For Asking Perfectly Reasonable Question: Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly promised this year would be different in South Bend. Saturday night’s one-point loss to Georgia felt eerily similar to 2016. Kelly, for his part, is acting like the same old cantankerous curmudgeon. Here’s how he treated a perfectly fair question from the Indianapolis Star’s Laken Litman.
It’s too early to start the merit-based hot seat discussion. Then again, the Irish schedule isn’t filled with cupcakes. Trips to East Lansing, Palo Alto, Miami, and Chapel Hill won’t be easy. The high-flying Trojans will roll into town.
Things could go south, to the 7-5 region or worse, very easily. The question for Notre Dame will then be: is Kelly worth all this? Is it worth putting him out as the face of the program while not reaping the victorious rewards?
On a related note, the Georgia invasion in South Bend should make Irish eyes everywhere frown. For an institution so fond of beating its own chest and saying it’s special, it sure felt like the almighty dollar spoke a little louder than the pageantry and folklore.
You Won’t Believe How Little James Franklin Respects Pitt: In a single soundbite, Penn State’s coach zinged renewed rival Pitt for celebrating too much and compared the Panthers to Akron.
Since I have permission to take this anyway I want, I’ll say he’s talking a lot of smack before showing he’ll be able to replicate last year’s success.
Old Takes Exposed: Sam Darnold Makes Football Writers Look Like Idiots: After struggling a bit against Western Michigan, the Heisman hopeful showed immense talent and playmaking ability against Stanford. Darnold completed 21 of 26 passes for 316 yards and four touchdowns. Odds are we’ll continue to see more Dr. Jekyll and less Mr. Hyde as the season goes on.
Remember Him? Former Heisman Trophy Winner Lamar Jackson is Still Good: We can argue over the level or motivation behind Jackson’s miniature buzz. What he’s done through two games (1,010 total yards, eight TDs) speaks quite loudly. My personal opinion is that the perceived anti-Jackson movement consists largely of strawmen. The Louisville standout is undeniably electric and dominant. Fixating media coverage on a repeat champion from a school like Louisville — still somewhat off the beaten path in national prominence — is not a recipe for clicks. Give me even money that the Heisman discussion morphs into concerns about Jackson adapting to the pro game within a few weeks. This movie is familiar.
Want Beefy Arms Like Referee Mike DeFee? All You Need is a Friend and a Football
Who Would Be in the College Football Playoff If It Started Today [Slideshow]
What time Does the [Big Game] Start?
Clemson vs. Louisville, Saturday 8 p.m. on ABC