Posted: 1:03 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, 2013
Lots to do today, even though it's taken me this long to crawl out from under the mountain of pure joy that cascaded over me Saturday evening. In no particular order, we need to:
1. Apply for the raft of newly available jobs. USC gave Lane Kiffin the axe and UConn likewise dispensed with Paul Pasqueloni in moves that were not surprising in the grand scheme of things, but were a bit surprising for their timing. While I'm all for getting an early start on a coaching search, USC could have saved $10 million by waiting until December to overthrow Kiffykins. And while UConn has been breaking bad for some time under Pauly P. (see what I did there? Of course you do . . .) it's not the kind of place with a win it all now kind of vibe.
If there's any justice in the world, the UConn administration will be proactively turned down by Randy Edsall, who has Maryland headed in the right direction, and may have been doing an even better job at UConn than any of us realized. Also, if God is a fan of sportsbloggers, Ed Orgeron will take over at Troy because, yawyawyawfoosballpartdeaux. Geaux Treauxjans!
Of coursethe safe bet is probably USC going with former Trojan and NFL coach Jack Del Rio. Though they might also reach out to the likes of James Franklin, Boise's Chris Petersen, Clemson's Chad Morris, or perhaps Kevin Sumlin. But please Lord, let it be The Orgeron.
2. Assess the Bulldogs' odds of falling flat versus Tennessee. Kyle Commenter already brought you a look at the historical significance of Georgia's victory over LSU, including this little nugget:
Ere we get ahead of ourselves, though, we must remember that, the first three times Georgia beat Louisiana State and South Carolina in the same season---in 1998, 1999, and 2004---the Bulldogs were 0-3 against the Tennessee Volunteers. We appear to have identified the next trend in need of ending
I for one am more nervous than one of those Duck Dynasty dudes in a Norelco factory about this game. I know that's not logical, especially with Tennessee coming off a rousing 31-24 victory over South Alabama. But the Bulldogs' recent trips into the belly of the fail whale against the Vols (2004 and 2008) were likewise totally illogical. Other than the fact that when one SEC football team just isn't interested or motivated and the other is, the differences in talent and scheme become a lot smaller. And you give derp a chance to happen.
3. Marvel at Mercer defensive back Alex Avant's interception return for a touchdown this weekend against Drake. Avant, well, you just kind of have to see it:
By my count the young man eluded 8 Drake tacklers for the score, pacing a 31-17 win for the Bears, who ran their record to 4-0 in this the inaugural season of their return to the gridiron.
4. Put out an APB for the echoes. They seem to have fallen asleep again, as Notre Dame fell to Oklahoma 35-21 at home to drop to 3-2 on the season and out of the top 25. Some will question exactly how far Notre Dame has fallen since earning the right to play for a national championship last season. I humbly request that you join me in once again screaming that the 2012 Notre Dame team didn't earn squat except the right to be required to produce a live girlfriend with two forms of valid ID before any national media personal profiles get aired.
5. Reassess whether I was too hard on Johnny Football. If Big XII football's weird infiltration of the SEC were an infectious disease, Texas A&M; would be patient zero. Johnny Manziel would probably be the most obvious symptom. I was hard on the kid this summer, thinking that there was no way he'd put up numbers similar to his 2012 production after his summer of apparently doing everything but preparing to play a season of college football. But so far Manziel is bettering his production from 2012, completing 71.4% of his passes (compared to 68% last season) and averaging a mighty impressive 10.64 yards per attempt (up over 2 yards per throw from last season).
The only major category in which he's on pace to trail last year's returns is the interception column, (he threw 9 all of last season and has 4 so far in 2013) but even there 2 of the picks came against the vaunted Alabama defense and were balanced out by 5 touchdowns. He's on pace to throw 36 scoring passes this season. Not bad at all.
So what else do we need to do before moving on with another week? Until later . . .