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Georgia Football

What Did Georgia Learn in the Bye Week? A Look Around College Football

October 24, 2020
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ATHENS - The off weekend for the Dawgs saw the rest of college football move forward - most in unspectacular ways. 


The exception to that was likely only Alabama and Ohio State, which cruised to double-digit blowout wins over lackluster foes. Alabama, however, took a horrible loss when Jaylen Waddle went down with an ankle injury that will sideline him the rest of the year. 

That will hurt the Tide for sure. Again, Waddle went for six catches for 191 yards, and a 90-yard TD against Georgia. If the two meet again he won’t be there, and that will matter. Will that be outcome determinative?

Hard to say. But Waddle missing the rest of the season is a horrible thing.

Meanwhile, Tennessee is a train wreck, but The Ramblin Wreck might be worse. Back-to-back beatings have the locals angry on Rocky Top, and with good reason. 

Here is what Jeremy Pruitt said after Tennessee’s 48-17 loss to Alabama when talking about the Vols “closing the gap” on the Tide: 

“I can assure you the gap is closing. It might not show on the scoreboard today, but the gap is closing. I can assure you that.”

I mean… Tennessee has lost its last three games by 23, 27 and 31. There is no need to talk about a “closing of the gap” between Alabama and the Vols. Tennessee needs to close the gap with SEC teams in general and get right, or they will be 2-5 with Auburn, Vandy and the Gators to close the season. I’m not penciling in a win for the Vols from here on out. Why would you?

“The final result hurts, but you have to learn from the pain. We are going to be really, really good,” Geoff “From Decatur” Collins said after Tech was smothered and covered again - this time in a 21-point loss to Boston College. 

Collins is 5-13 at Tech - all but two of Collins’ losses at Tech have been by double digits (The Citadel; Virginia). Pruitt is 15-15 on Rocky Top with 12 of those 15 losses by 21 points or more. 

Yikes. 

Meanwhile, Justin Fields and the Buckeyes seemed to pick up where they left off a season ago. I expect them to jump Georgia in the rankings Sunday, but if we are being honest about things the top five should go something like this: 

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Ohio State
4. UGA
5. Notre Dame

The Irish are not what these other top teams are. Still, a blowout win to start the season will be reason enough for folks to leap the Buckeyes over UGA. Doesn’t matter, but that’s what I expect to happen. 

Oklahoma State appears to be on the way to the Big 12’s only shot at a playoff birth, but that’s a long way away as the Cowboys still have to deal with Texas (next week), at Kansas State and at Oklahoma. I doubt they get through the regular season undefeated, but they are undefeated now. 

Penn State deserved and earned its loss Saturday. Their loss at Indiana should have never gotten to overtime to start with on a few different levels. James Franklin and company did a terrible job coaching in the season opener. Unless his squad pulls off a massive upset next week in State College over Ohio State, their season will be pretty well over before November starts. 

Losing to Indiana is an inexcusable event for a so-called top-ten team. No, I did not think the IU QB got into the end zone on the 2-point conversion - doesn’t matter. 

"They played well, and we didn't," Franklin said after the game. "Not a good combination.”

Nope, but at least Franklin appears to be living in reality this week. 

Then there was Clemson’s lackluster effort against Syracuse. The Tigers were up six with about a minute to play in the 3rd before their defense saved the day for the No. 1-ranked team in college football. 

Clemson can’t play like this. Honestly, if Clemson is playing Indiana this week: do they lose? This isn’t a good formula to win it all. Yes, this will work in the ACC because the slate simply is not challenging (although UNC seems like an interesting possible matchup in the future, but they just lost to FSU, who is horrible). 

Clemson won 47-21, but it was not impressive. We can’t ever know what Clemson is until the playoffs anyway, but we know when they don’t play well. And they didn’t play well today. It is OK to voice that. 

Then again, Dabo Swinney after Clemson’s win over Syracuse: 

"I just want to make sure I'm at the right press conference here. We did win the game, I think. Am I in the right spot? You don't usually score 47 points if you don't have the right energy. We made some mistakes. It's not energy when you don't make a certain play, or snap the ball over a head. Just didn't execute, but at the end of the day, it's not easy to win. There's a lot of teams out there that would have lost this game with some of the mistakes that we made. We won the game by almost four touchdowns. I'm not getting any questions about 'Proud of you guys for winning the game.' It's a lot of negative questions. You're not going to get any negative stuff from me.”

Couple of things. 

First, yes, you are in the right spot. 

Second, Trevor Lawrence was the one who said the energy was low, so take it up with him - not the reporter.

Third, reporters are there to ask challenging questions. It is their job. If you want lollipops and milkshakes head to your weekly radio show. 

Fourth, this entire routine is old. You are a good coach with a great team. But that team has no business goofing around with one-loss Syracuse (a team that just lost to “Liberty” by 17) late in the 3rd quarter with the talent you have recruited to your roster. You are getting paid north of $9 million a year. You can hang in there for a tough question or two. 

Finally, why are you so sensitive all of the time? This is the great time in your career - I’m old enough to remember when things weren’t so great for you up there. Things could get better after this, but let’s be honest - you got it pretty good right now. Why not have fun without the sanctimonious routine. 

It’s old, and it really doesn’t represent you or your institution well. I mean this is the most respectful way possible: Someone needs to let you know that this is a bad look. The folks in admin at Clemson should be doing that, and I hope they are. You are better than this. 

Now…

We are going to be led to believe that Cincinnati belongs in the discussion for the playoff. But with all due respect to Luke Fickell and his program (and this is a solid, impressive program) they have no business in the College Football Playoff. Again, a year ago Ohio State beat Cincinnati 42-0. 

So. 42-0. That’s not close. That’s not competitive. No. No Joey Galloway - don’t do it. (Substitute “BYU” for Cincinnati if that talk picks up). 

Then there was the SEC today where one has to really wonder about officiating. Auburn greatly benefited from a blown call for the second game this season. This is a wobbly Auburn team. Ole Miss could have delivered a knock out punch early Saturday afternoon, but officials missed an obvious call late in the game that would have resulted in an Ole Miss score. 

At the start of the Alabama-Tennessee debacle, officials missed what was an obvious targeting call on the Vols. The play was flagged on the field, but replay officials said it was not targeting. I need someone to reexplain targeting to me. I clearly don’t understand what it is. 

I’ve noticed quite a few newer officials in the league. That could be what’s going on, but these games are often too close and are decided by such small measures that missing them - particularly on replay - is inexcusable.

I thought LSU looked better Saturday night, but South Carolina simply could not stop itself from imploding. Carolina’s offense looks fine. Everything else looks in tatters. I texted a long-time Carolina friend during the game and said: 

“You know what. If Carolina would get out of their own way this game would be tied.”

Response: “Then they would not be Carolina.”

Correct. Moving on. 

Kentucky and Missouri nearly set offensive football back decades with their play Saturday. The two SEC East schools struggled to move the ball, score and function as a unit. Georgia should be licking its chops for the opportunity to play both of them in two of the next three games. 

It was hard to learn a ton. It is good to have the Big Ten and my old late-night lady friend the Mountain West back in the fold. I have watched far, far too many Utah State (my dad went there), Wyoming and San Diego State games through the years. It happens.

 
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