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Starting 11: The Gators' ugly collapse
Week two of the season has come and gone.
There are many great days in the college football season.
Now all we need is for Ohio State to lose, and just about every college football fan in America can rejoice.
It's Monday, so the Starting 11 is here.
Here we go.
1. Told y'all Georgia wasn't dead yet.
Aaron Murray played spectacularly and Georgia's in pretty decent shape after Week 2. Yes, the Bulldogs would prefer to be 2-0, but they won the most important game of their two openers. Now Georgia has a 1.5 game lead -- thanks to the tiebreaker -- over South Carolina.
If Georgia beats LSU and Florida, then the Dawgs will win the SEC East.
In fact, run the table the rest of the way, as Georgia will be favored to do, and there's a good chance the SEC title game will be another national semifinal. Win that and you play for the BCS title.
So the Bulldogs are right where they were when the season began, in the thick of the national title race.
2. Did we learn more about Miami or Florida in Saturday's game?
I honestly think we learned more about Florida since I'd say the Gators lost this game more than Miami won it.
The Gators put up 413 total yards to Miami's 212. After the first quarter, Miami had just 69 yards of total offense. The Florida defense was downright dominant.
Yet the Hurricanes found a way to win.
Because Florida was woeful on offense. Last year, Florida was bad in the passing game but ran the ball really well to help make up for the weak passing game and didn't make many turnovers.
Against Miami, the Gators ran the ball 44 times but averaged only 2.8 yards per carry. As a result, Jeff Driskel had to make plays in the passing game. And Driskel couldn't make enough plays, tossing two interceptions. As if that wasn't enough, the Gators also fumbled three times.
So Miami won the turnover battle by four.
Florida's offense is still bad. Last year, the Gators won a lot of close games. This year they've already lost one close game and still have at LSU, at South Carolina, Georgia in Jacksonville and Florida State on the schedule.
Plus, don't sleep on this game -- Missouri in Columbia is a potential landmine.
As I told you last week, this looks like an 8-4 Gators team.
As for Miami, the Hurricanes have only one top 25 team left on the schedule. If the 'Canes are back, they'll win 10 or 11 games this year. But I'm not ready to pronounce them back just yet. Again, I think this game was more about Florida collapsing than it was Miami dominating.
3. Mack Brown is officially on the hot seat after his team gave up 550 rushing yards at BYU this weekend.
Changing your defensive coordinator the week before Ole Miss and Hugh Freeze come to town seems like an incredibly awful decision. You talk about a swing game that could blast Ole Miss and Freeze into the national stratosphere while effectively ending Brown's tenure at Texas?
Wow, this game is it.
In fact, could this game also double as an interview for the Texas job for Freeze? You can certainly argue that. This week, I'll have my list of potential replacements for Brown at Texas.
In the meantime, Texas opened as just a 3.5-point favorite.
I'm not so sure that line shouldn't be completely reversed in Ole Miss' favor.
4. Zach Mettenberger is the most improved player in the SEC.
And as a result, LSU is for real.
If you didn't get a chance, go back and look at Mettenberger's throws over the first two weeks. He's been outstanding in the pocket and thanks to Mettenberger, LSU's offense is explosive. We haven't been able to say that since all the way back in 2006 or 2007.
Yep, LSU finally has a decent offense again.
With a young defense getting coached up by John Chavis, it's possible LSU is the best team in the SEC by the end of the season. Now, the schedule's brutal, but LSU will be 4-0 when it rolls into Athens. After that game, there are three really tough games still remaining -- Florida, at Alabama and Texas A&M.
It's time to raise LSU's ceiling. Before the year I thought there was virtually no chance the Tigers could go 11-1 or 12-0.
I think that's possible. Still unlikely, but possible.
Because LSU's a bona fide national title contender.
5. You have to watch Eminem's interview in the booth during halftime of Notre Dame-Michigan.
This really happened.
6. How bad has USC become under Lane Kiffin?
If you'd seen the reaction of the USC fans at the end of the Washington State game -- I was in an LA bar filled with them -- you'd know why I believe there's no way Kiffin is back as coach next year.
There was some anger, but it was even worse -- there was much more resignation. OK, we suck, what's next? Fans had moved past the hot seat talk, and there was already focus and speculation on who the next coach should be.
Come hell or high water, you used to be able to say that Kiffin was a good coach of quarterbacks. That's no longer the case. So what's Kiffin's big selling point now? Pretty simple: He doesn't have one.
I'm not sure how early in the season Kiffin could get fired, but there's a pretty decent chance that Utah State comes into the Coliseum and pulls off the upset in two weeks. The rest of USC's schedule just looks like one landmine after another. This season could turn into an epic implosion, when the Trojans finish below .500.
Really, it could.
Later this week I'll have my list of potential coaches for the USC job.
In the meantime, know this: Kiffin is done at USC.
7. What did we learn from Notre Dame-Michigan?
I mean aside from the fact that Brent Musburger asking Eminem questions is television gold.
First, we confirmed what I've been telling y'all: Notre Dame is an 8-4 or 9-3 type team. They were basically that last year, too. The Fighting Irish just happened to win every close game, and some people bought into the "Notre Dame's back" hype. Notre Dame's just a decent team again this year, same as last year. But unfortunately for the Fighting Irish, winning close games typically evens out from season to season. Alabama exposed Notre Dame last year, and I think several other teams will expose Notre Dame this year.
Which is why I've been telling you that Notre Dame's an 8-4 or 9-3 team.
As for Michigan, huge win.
Now the game at Penn State is the only potential loss in the first seven. And Michigan should win that game and be 7-0. After that, we'll find out how good Michigan is. I tend to think they're more in the mold of a 9-3 team than they are an 11-1 or 12-0 team, but we'll find that out in the final five weeks of the season.
8. Alabama had a bye week, but their fans remained stupid.
This is a real paint job on a minivan that was sent to us by reader Chris W.
And the other side:
And the front:
Yes, that's a handicapped sticker in the window.
Never change, Bama fans.
9. There's been a lot of focus on how weak Alabama's schedule is, but check out Oregon's.
I picked Alabama and Oregon as my national title teams, because I think both teams are really good.
But the schedules sure do break well for both too.
Depending on what happens with Washington and UCLA, the Ducks might play only one team ranked in the top 25 all season.
Partly, that's not Oregon's fault. In addition to the Pac-12 schedule, Oregon also set up games with Virginia and Tennessee. It just so happens that both teams, particularly Tennessee, are down from when those games were scheduled.
Right now, this Oregon team is a juggernaut.
Look out Tennessee.
And speaking of Tennessee, where does this six-game slate rank in the most difficult stretches in college football history?
9/14: at No. 2 Oregon
9/21: at No. 18 Florida
9/28: South Alabama
10/5: No. 9 Georgia
10/19: No. 13 South Carolina
10/26: at No. 1 Alabama
That's just brutal.
10. Here's my national top 10 based entirely on the games that have been played:
5. Texas A&M
7. Oklahoma State
11. Here are my SEC power rankings based only on the games that have been played:
3. Texas A&M
5. South Carolina
6. Ole Miss
13. Mississippi State
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