College football season has been in full-swing for nearly a month, but the season itself didn’t really get underway until this weekend. In addition to a slew of great games -- including huge wins from Texas A&M and Tennessee -- we had our first major coaching shakeup of the season.
So as we say ‘so long’ to Les Miles and Ron Turner, it means that both the college football season and college football’s second season (the coaching carousel) are really heating up. We have plenty to overreact to as well. As we do every Monday, here are six gross overreactions to Week 4 of the college football season.
Getty ImagesStacy Revere
LSU will finish an uninspired 7-5 before hiring their next coach
With Miles gone and Ed Orgeron in as the Tigers’ interim head coach, the expectation is that Orgeron will fire up the troops and rally them in ways Miles never could. After all, that’s what Coach O did at USC when Lane Kiffin was fired, going 6-2. So fans can expect much the same here, right? Wrong.
The difference between LSU and USC was that the players got tired of playing for Kiffin and Orgeron infused fresh energy and excitement into the team. (Who could forget Coach O famously ending practice early on Day 1 and bringing in Roscoe’s chicken and waffles for dinner? It was the ‘Win one for the Gipper’ of our generation). That year, USC needed Coach O as much as Coach O needed them. But LSU? That team loved playing for Miles. Forget inspiring LSU to never-before-seen heights. After starting the season with national championship aspirations, it’s going to be hard to get this team fired up to play at all.
Look for LSU to cruise past Missouri this week at home, but then the schedule gets tough with games against Alabama, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Florida remaining. LSU won’t rally to win any games under Coach O that they wouldn’t have under Miles, and probably lose a few they would have won. Expect the Tigers to finish the year 6-6, or at best 7-5. Just don’t blame Coach O when it happens.
Les Miles will become the hottest name on the coaching market this off-season
Miles will be a huge name on the coaching market this off-season.
Remember, if you hire Les, you’re getting one of the most successful coaches in the last decade, a great recruiter and proven talent evaluator who has put boatloads of guys into the NFL. Unlike so many other coaching candidates from smaller schools (Tom Herman, Jeff Brohm) Les has proven he can win at the highest level.
How fired up would a non-traditional football power like Kentucky be to bring in a guy of Miles’ stature if they remove Mark Stoops? How about a smaller school like Houston if they have to replace Herman? Heck, how many schools would replace their current coach with Miles right now if they knew they could get him? Les will have his pick of jobs in 2017 if he really wants to coach.
The gap between the SEC East and West has never been wider
How bad is the SEC East? And has the gap between the two divisions ever been wider?
No, and the results will play themselves out on the field this coming season. Georgia is probably the second-best team in the SEC East (maybe the best; we’ll find out Saturday against Tennessee), the Rebels are no better than the fourth-best team in the West (behind Alabama, Texas A&M and Arkansas), and Ole Miss just beat the ‘Dawgs by 31 points at home. 31 points! If the Rebels were in the SEC East, they’d likely be one of the two best teams, and competing with Tennessee for the East title. Overall, it feels like six teams -- everyone other than Mississippi State -- could finish at least second in the East, if not win it outright.
Imagine if LSU was in the East instead of the West? Les Miles probably still has his job and the Tigers are competing for a national championship. Gus Malzahn probably isn’t on the hot seat at all if Auburn is in the East. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. But in the SEC West you need to be both.
Baylor is about to become the bad boys of college football
Baylor football is about to make a serious run at the College Football Playoff. And when they do, with all the baggage the program faces post-Art Briles, they will become the team that every casual fan in America loves to hate, the bad boys of college football.
This story hasn’t really become an issue yet, but looking at Baylor’s schedule, here are what the next four weeks hold: They visit Iowa State, have a bye, face Kansas, and get another bye, meaning they will start the season 6-0. If they can beat Texas on October 29th, they will be undefeated when the first College Football Playoff rankings are released on November -- and likely in the Top 4.
This is a program that many wanted banned altogether post-Briles, so you can only imagine what the reaction will be if they are in the thick of the playoff race. It will become the biggest story in college football -- one that might even extend to outside of the sports world. Baylor is already the team everyone loves to hate. And it will only be heightened if they enter November in the playoff race.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY SportsJerome Miron
USC will win five straight to make everyone forget about this awful start
We saw a much-improved Trojans’ club on Friday night, one that outplayed Utah and should have beaten them. While it doesn’t feel like it, the loss was a major step in the right direction for USC.
The Trojans’ next five games are against Arizona State, Colorado, Arizona, Cal and Oregon (with four at home), and if USC plays the way they did against Utah, they will all five of those games. Winning at Washington won’t be easy in early November, but games against UCLA and Notre Dame to close the year are winnable as well.
Look for the Trojans to finish no worse than 7-5 and make everyone forget about this ugly start. It doesn’t feel like it, but things will get better for USC.
We’re headed towards the most uninspiring Heisman run ever
After another ho-hum, seven-touchdown performance Saturday against Marshall, Lamar Jackson is, literally, running away with the Heisman. While that’s great for Jackson, it's disappointing that so many other contenders who we were expecting big things from in the preseason have failed to live up to the hype.
Sadly, Leonard Fournette has been overshadowed by the drama at LSU and defenses seem to be keyed in on Christian McCaffrey in ways they weren’t last season. DeShaun Watson just hasn’t been the same, and could be exposed this Saturday when he and Jackson go head-to-head at Clemson.
Speaking of Clemson, if Louisville beats them, it’s hard to see anyone (outside Houston) giving the Cardinals any trouble at all, and also hard to see anyone left on the schedule slowing Jackson down. He could have the Heisman all but wrapped up by mid-October.