Point After Touchdown: Murray Shuts Up Critics, Texas Embarrassed

The Point After Touchdown for this week breaks down Georgia and Miami (FL)’s big win and looks at whether it’s time for Texas head coach Mack Brown to step aside.

WHO’S HATING NOW: Georgia’s Aaron Murray has heard it all in his career. He’s been unable to consistently win against top 10 teams and going into Saturday he still had not won against South Carolina in his career. Plus, the Bulldogs were coming off of an opening loss to Clemson and hoping to avoid an 0-2 start that would end their national championship hopes before they could even get started.

Following Georgia 41-30 victory over South Carolina Saturday, Murray’s critics will probably be hard to find. Not only has he played extremely well through two weeks, but he’s also shown Georgia’s SEC East rivals that they are the class of the division.

HURRICANE REVIVAL: Speaking of those rivals, Florida dominated Miami (FL) in every aspect of the game on Saturday but on the scoreboard. The Gators got into the redzone seven times, but only scored two touchdowns. Jeff Driskel made two of the most bonehead throws you will ever see a junior make, considering Driskel has played in nearly every game since his freshman year.

The ‘Canes deserve a lot of credit for coming up big in the redzone and Miami’s crowd was as loud as I’ve ever it. Good for them. Those fans haven’t had anything major to cheer about in quite a while, so they should celebrate.

Head coach Al Golden has clearly turned the program around and Miami will jump into the top 25 this weekend.

UNDER THE LIGHTS: Michigan pulled away from Notre Dame 41-30 to win the rivalry’s last scheduled game in the Big House. Devin Gardner threw four touchdown passes and ran for a fifth score as the Wolverines showed they warrant a top 10 ranking.

Michigan’s schedule looks very underwhelming at this point too. The Wolverines play Akron, at Connecticut, Minnesota, at Penn State, Indiana, at Michigan, vs. Nebraska, at Northwestern, and at Iowa. In other words, they’ll be favored to win every game down the stretch before they meet Braxton Miller and Ohio State.

BYU ran through, around, and over Texas in a 40-21 romp on Saturday night. (Picture: VictoriaAdvocate.com)

BYU ran through, around, and over Texas in a 40-21 romp on Saturday night. (Picture: VictoriaAdvocate.com)

SHOULD BROWN GO?: I’ve been one Texas head coach Mack Brown’s biggest supporters the last few seasons as the Longhorns attempt to rebuild themselves into a national championship contender, but Saturday night reached my breaking point. I think it’s time for him to step down and let someone else attempt to revive the program.

I say that because I have no explanation for Texas’ 40-21 loss to a BYU team that lost to Virginia last week. The Cougars ran for 550 yards. That’s not a typo. 550 yards. How does that happen when Texas has better and bigger athletes? That should never happen. Hell, Wisconsin shouldn’t even be able to run for 550 yards on Tennessee Tech. And they didn’t. The Badgers went for 387 yards. Even Baylor in a 70-13 romp over Buffalo only ran for 329 yards, despite 55 attempts. Texas should be ashamed of its loss – not because they lost, but because they showed a lack of effort.

I NEVER THOUGHT I’D SEE THE DAY: Mike Leach’s Washington State Cougars pulled one of the nation’s biggest upsets Saturday, beating offensively challenged USC 10-7. Here’s the kicker: The Cougars did it without scoring an offensive touchdown. There was a time when even Leach’s biggest fans would tell you that his defense would stop him from getting a team to the national title game, but now that side of the ball is clearly carrying a team that cannot score points. Good for the Cougars.

On the other side, Lane Kiffin’s seat is so hot that he might as well just get out of the car. Kiffin has proven that he can’t field a consistently great team at USC, which is what fans demand. He can point to the NCAA probation and restriction of scholarships if he wants, but Leach had a tougher rebuilding job at Washington State than Kiffin had at USC. Although it isn’t by much, it’s already clear that the Cougars are better than the Trojans. How can that be possible? It’s time for Kiffin to go.

IT’S TIME TO WORRY: Oklahoma’s offense is among the national relevant teams struggling to score points. The Sooners won 16-7 over West Virginia,  although the Sooners failed to put points on the board most of the night. Quarterback Trevor Knight was awful, going 10 of 20 for 119 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Michigan State is in the same boat. The Spartans could only score 21 points against a South Florida team that gave up 53 points to McNeese State last weekend. Out of Michigan State’s six touchdowns this season, the defense has scored four of them. At Notre Dame in two weeks, the Spartans will likely need to put points on the board with their offense to win.

Four different ways to look at Alabama’s ugly win over Virginia Tech

Alabama's A. J. McCarron scambles against Virginia Tech in the Crimson Tide's 35-10 win Saturday.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Alabama’s A. J. McCarron scambles against Virginia Tech in the Crimson Tide’s 35-10 win Saturday. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

It really doesn’t matter how you look at Alabama’s win over Virginia Tech, it was ugly.  Even the most cynical Crimson Tide fans probably would agree with that conclusion, considering Alabama was held to 206 total yards in its 35-10 victory over Virginia Tech. There have been a lot of ugly games in my lifetime. I watch football unlike many others and I usually remember 95 percent of the games I do watch, but when I think of the ugliest college football games I’ve ever watched, I think of the 2008 Auburn-Mississippi State game. The Tigers won 3-2.

Saturday’s game between the Tide and Hokies was nearly as ugly, although Christion Jones and a 77-yard run by Trey Edmunds stopped the score from being that low (thank goodness). Take away the Edmunds run and Virginia Tech had 125 yards. Take away a punt return, kickoff return, and an interception return and Alabama had 14 points.

In that infamous 2009 game, Auburn had 315 offensive yards. There were 20 first downs in that game, compared to 18 in Saturday’s game. Between Virginia’s Logan Thomas  and Alabama’s A. J. McCarron, the quarterbacks combined to go 15 of 49, for 169 yards.

15 of 49. Let that sink in.

Credit the defenses, but man Saturday’s game was ugly. There’s talk of Alabama’s demise around the country and I even had one Alabama fan, who I only recently met and barely know, say Saturday’s game was one of the ugliest games he’d ever seen. He’s been watching Alabama games for 60 years.

Saturday was ugly, but maybe talk of Alabama’s demise is going too far. Maybe it’s not. It’s too early to know what Saturday’s game means for Alabama’s season and Virginia Tech’s, but it isn’t too early to speculate. Based on Alabama’s play, I came away with four different ways of looking at the Crimson Tide:

  1. If Alabama can beat a former national power like Virginia Tech – who didn’t look bad itself on Saturday defensively – without any real production from its offense, it’s really scary what the Crimson Tide might be able to do once the offense gets its timing down. Christion Jones really saved the day with his three touchdown effort, especially with two special teams scores, but isn’t that why Alabama is as good as it is? Even when the Crimson Tide have had marginal days from their offense, they’ve been able to get a great effort from an unexpected player in order to pick up wins. That has happened over and over in the Nick Saban era.
  2. Maybe Alabama’s offense is overrated. A. J. McCarron looked like he was seeing stars the whole game, missing open receivers who were unable to beat press coverage. Think about it. Amari Cooper, who I believe is the most talented player on Alabama’s 2013 roster (and that’s really saying something) was unable to break out. He had four catches for 38 yards. It’s understandable that super-talented sophomore T. J. Yeldon could only muster 75 yards on the ground, considering the Hokies were throwing nine people at him on every down, but the passing game was a huge disappointment. McCarron’s passing effort (10 of 23) almost made Tim Tebow’s completion percentage (37.5%) NFL numbers look acceptable.
  3. With Alabama’s defense, who cares how good their offense is, because nobody can score on them anyways. Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas would probably be the first to admit that Alabama’s defense is better on the field than it even looks on film. Thomas, once projected as a first round pick by NFL scouts, went 5 of 26 passing Saturday. 5 of 26. Some of that is because his receivers couldn’t catch a Nerf football gently lofted in their direction on a nice fall day, let alone a football against the nation’s most feared defense. But despite that, Thomas has to be better than 5 of 26 passing. Of course, Edmunds, a freshman still rushed for 132 yards against the vaunted defense. Although the majority of that came in one large chunk, it might still show a chink in Alabama’s armor. Everyone is looking for any chink at this point, considering Alabama has lost two games in about 2.5 years.
  4. Could defenses finally be figuring Alabama out? Let’s be honest folks, the offense the Crimson Tide runs isn’t exactly known for tomfoolery. Alabama is going to trot onto the field with lineman bigger than the opponent, use muscle to open up running lanes, allow their quick, powerful running backs to make plays, and play action off of the run. Occasionally, Alabama goes five wide receivers and many times it is effective, but opposing defenses would rather see the Crimson Tide in five-wide sets than doing what they do best – making defensive lineman cry and linebackers miss for big runs.

 

Obviously, we won’t know which of these ways of looking at the game are right until a few more weeks of football have been played. We’ll get to see Alabama’s defense go against the only team to figure it out last year, Texas A&M, in two weeks at College Station. We’ll also get to see whether McCarron and the passing game can get going against an Aggies defense that made Rice’s offense look like a national power in the first half Saturday.

My guess is that the offense will be fine. There’s too much firepower for Alabama not to put up points, although the offensive line was awful Saturday. Saban will likely make that a focus for the next two weeks. Plus, it’s two weeks. Nobody is better with a bye week than Saban, who will surely have his team ready to go for the Aggies.

Florida Continues to Recruit RB Scarbrough

boscarborough

Running back Bo Scarbrough continues to be an Alabama commitment. He’s been as firm on that verbal commitment as a high school player can be this far away from National Signing Day.

That hasn’t stopped Florida and head coach Will Muschamp  from recruiting him though. Michigan is also still in the race.

Scarbrough’s Twitter page continues to be loaded down with pictures of the Alabama Crimson Tide and “Roll Tide’s”.  The Gators appear to be gaining steam, although it looks like Alabama is still a heavy frontrunner.

“Florida met with Alabama commitment Bo Scarbrough (last Wednesday). Coach Brian White visited his school,” Andrew Bone of TideSports.com tweeted.

Zach Abolverdi of the Gainesville Sun responded, “Gators are his No. 2.”

That would allow us to assume that the Wolverines are now No. 3.

 

Information from ESPN was used in this report.

Big Board: Geno Smith Quickly Rising On Draft Boards

Below is Daniel Evans big board for the 2012 NFL Draft. Matt Barkley is still No. 1, but the story is West Virginia’s Geno Smith. Smith has jumped from off the board in the preseason to nearly the top of it.

1. QB Matt Barkley

Barkley has not had the senior season that many expected thus far, but he still makes NFL scouts drool. He has a big arm, has played in a NFL offense, and is going to be taken early in the 2013 NFL Draft.

2. QB Geno Smith

Geno Smith isn’t this high on most draft boards yet, but he is clearly a big arm guy that is starting to entice scouts. He may end up winning the Heisman Trophy and then going in the top ten of the NFL Draft (or higher).

3. LB Jarvis Jones

Jones has been so impressive early in this college football season that many publications are listing him as a Heisman Trophy candidate.

 4. CB DeMarcus Milliner

Alabama’s top cornerback is flying up draft boards right now. He was very impressive against Ole Miss on Saturday night.

5. DE Barkevious Mingo

Mingo has not done anything to slide down draft boards this season. Right now he looks like the top defensive end prospect for the 2013 NFL Draft.

6. LB Manti Te’o

T’eo has had a tough season off the field, but has been instrumental for the Irish defense. 

7. DT Johnathan Hankins

Hankins is a gigantic defensive tackle that could become the run stopper that NFL scouts dream about finding in the draft.        

8. CB Johnathan Banks

I think at this point Banks is the player that most NFL scouts are underrating. He makes big plays when he gets his hands on the football and he seems to always be near the ball. 

9. DE Bjoern Werner

Werner is leading the nation in sacks five weeks in. He has been one of the most impressive players in the country and is flying up draft boards.

10. DT Johnathan Jenkins

Like his counterpart, Hankins from Ohio State, Jenkins is a massive body that can shut down an opponent’s entire running game.

11. DE Sam Montgomery

LSU’s other defensive end is rated slightly lower than Mingo, but still figures to be a top 15 pick in the draft. Teams see him as a guy that can work in any defense.

12. DT Star Lotulelei

Scouts rave about Lotulelei because he is super impressive on video tape. His biggest challenge might be the other three defensive tackles in this draft. All have the talent to be top five picks.

13. OT Luke Joeckel

Joeckel is the first offensive tackle on the big board, although this position is typically where you see quick risers. Joeckel is described by most as a guy with great technique.        

14. C/G Barrett Jones

I feel like eventually scouts will wake up and realize that Jones’ versatility to play three offensive line positions with hardly any issues is a huge plus. NFL lineman are moved around constantly due to injuries.          

15. WR Justin Hunter

Before the season, I had Hunter on my big board. He isn’t 100% back from his ACL injury, but his potential is through the roof.

16. CB David Amerson

Amerson was picked on by Tyler Bray in N. C. State’s opening game, but his talent shines through one underwhelming performance.

17. G Chance Warmack

Warmack is one of the best offensive lineman in the country. He is looking more and more like a first round pick.

18. WR Keenan Allen

Some scouts believe Allen is the top receiver prospect in the draft. I’ll take Hunter, who has bigger upside, although Allen has better collegiate production so far.

19. DE Corey Lemonier

Auburn has been terrible this season, but Corey Lemonier has been one of the bright spots. He is a fantastic speed rusher that has a skillset that translates well at the NFL level.         

20. DE Alex Okafor

Okafor already has four sacks this season on a Texas defense that has been relatively underwhelming thus far.

21. DT Kawaan Short

Short has looked like a first round pick since midway through 2011 and he has continued to impress this year. He played really well against Notre Dame.

22. WR Robert Woods

Woods has all the talent in the world, although his teammate Marquise Lee is the better pro prospect.

23. S Eric Reid

Reid continues to look like the top safety prospect for the draft.

24. RB Marcus Lattimore

The South Carolina running back is fully back from his ACL injury. No other running back available runs with the power he does. He can truly carry a workload.

25. RB Le’Veon Bell

Bell is a lot like Lattimore, except he is carrying an entire offense right now. Bell does not have a passing game to take pressure off of him like Lattimore does at times with Connor Shaw.

 

Power 16: Week 5 Rankings Show Little Movement at the Top

RANK COMMENT
1 Although the Crimson Tide did not dominate Ole Miss, Nick Saban’s team did feel what it was like to trail in a game for the first time all season (for 15 whole seconds).
2 Just like last week, Oregon struggled for a half. Washington State played well but the Ducks are on a mission. One thing to watch: DeAnthony Thomas has to touch the ball more early in games for Oregon.
3 The ‘Noles did not roll South Florida, but they did end up with a double digit win. Florida State’s defense was impressive, but we should all remember that the Bulls fell to Ball State last week. 
4 Kansas State was idle this week after knocking off Oklahoma in Norman last weekend. The Wildcats take on Kansas next week. Their in state rivals probably will not provide much competition for Collin Klein & Co.
5 LSU always seems to fool around with teams the Tigers should destroy. Auburn and Towson are great examples of that, but knowing that should we punish Les Miles’ team for doing what they always seem to do? A trip to Florida emerges as gigantic this weekend.
6 Georgia was lucky to survive a game Tennessee team in Athens on Saturday. If not for Tyler Bray’s late fumble, the Bulldogs could have been in overtime. Instead, Georgia is 4-0 and ready to face 4-0 South Carolina in Columbia.
7 The first half wasn’t pretty (trailed 17-7 at halftime) but eventually Steve Spurrier’s offense woke up against Kentucky. If the Gamecocks were busy looking ahead to Georgia, I don’t blame them. Kentucky is one of the most inept offenses ever.
8 Florida was off this week after beating Kentucky 38-0 last week. The Gators take on LSU in Gainesville on Saturday afternoon. A Florida win would change expectations for this team that seemed to be forgotten about by most preseason publications.
9 Notre Dame was off this weekend after back to back wins over Michigan State and Michigan. Although the Irish’s wins do not look as good as they might have in the preseason, Notre Dame is at least beating good teams. This weekend the Irish take on Miami, who is surprisingly 4-1.
10 Geno Smith is clearly the Heisman frontrunner with 20 touchdown passes and 0 interceptions, but I refuse to move up a team that gave up 63 points to Baylor. 
11 Texas showed toughness that it has lacked in recent years with a big come from behind victory in Stillwater on Saturday night. Now, David Ash and the Longhorns host West Virginia in a huge Big 12 battle.
12   Oregon State’s three wins: UCLA, Wisconsin, and Arizona are among the best three wins any team in the country has this season. 
13   It is a shame that Urban Meyer’s team cannot play for a Big Ten championship, because five weeks into the season it is pretty clear the Buckeyes are the conference’s best team.
 14   Clemson struggled for a while at Boston College, but eventually the offense took over and pulled away from the pesky Eagles. Next week, the Tigers take on a Georgia Tech team that just fell to Middle Tennessee.
 15   I don’t want to move Stanford down too low for its loss to Washington, but the offense looked terrible. It makes it almost hard to believe that this team was able to beat USC.
 16   The Trojans might be in for a tough battle on Thursday at Utah, who will have a fiesty crowd on hand for the primetime battle with the Trojans. All of a sudden games against Washington, UCLA, and Notre Dame look tougher than they did three weeks ago.