Welcome to Week Two Midweek Musings! It was an exciting weekend in college football- let’s get started.
It’s impossible to overstate how much the LSU offense has changed this season. Much of that is a scheme thing, but some of it is due to having the best quarterback we’ve seen in Baton Rouge in a long time. Joe Burrow threw for 471 yards and four touchdowns, not against some overmatched FCS school, but against a top 10 Longhorns squad. Their leading rusher didn’t hit the 100-yard mark and it didn’t matter. Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase may be the new Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.
Did the defense leave a bit to be desired? Maybe. But again, this is a very good Texas team. In addition, the temperature was in the mid-nineties at kickoff. That often leads to cramping issues, and this game was no exception. (Being on the field for upwards of 90 plays probably didn’t help). After halftime, multiple defenders were in and out of the game getting IVs.
We haven’t seen Alabama play a competitive game yet, but this is the first time since 2011 that I’ve felt LSU could possibly go toe-to-toe with the Tide. Time will tell.
Substitute Oklahoma for Alabama and most of the previous section could apply to the Longhorns as well. They too were held in check on the ground, and they too managed 400 yards and four touchdowns through the air. Texas has progressed nicely in each of the past few seasons, and 2019 doesn’t look to be an exception.
I have to say that from a selfish standpoint, I was disappointed when Mack Brown returned to coaching. I thought he was very good on TV. But after watching him celebrate with the Tar Heels last week, it’s very hard not to be happy for him. Some people are just made to teach or coach or work with young people in some capacity, and he’s clearly one of them. Brown’s team is 2-0, and it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to predict that they’d start 0-2. Nice to see.
The Hurricanes are off to their first 0-2 start in my lifetime, and I’m… not young. They have what should be winnable games in the near future, but their mental fortitude will be tested down the stretch. If they trail against, say, Virginia or Pitt, can they come back?
Another week, another disappointing performance by the Wolverines. Who would have guessed that they would require double overtime to beat Army? Michigan lost three fumbles, matching their total from 2018 in one game. (Fortunately for them, Army also turned the ball over three times). The new Josh Gattis offense is not clicking on all cylinders by any means. No time for the Wolverines to feel sorry for themselves though; after a bye week, they travel to Camp Randall to face #14 Wisconsin next Saturday.
Read our article about the Michigan game here.
So that defense could use a little work. A year ago Maryland won five games; Syracuse won 10, including their bowl game. The Terps have just three offensive starters back, although they brought in Virginia Tech transfer Josh Jackson at quarterback. I don’t remember anyone picking Maryland to win this game. And yet…
Jackson threw for 296 yards and three scores, with one pick. The Terps ran for 364 yards, averaging nearly eight yards per carry, and SIX touchdowns.
Let’s hope for their sake that the Orange can get back on track next week against… *checks schedule* Clemson.
Just an interesting stat from the game broadcast: Minnesota’s offensive linemen are, on average, an inch taller and 18 pounds heavier than the average lineman for the Vikings. (Six-foot-nine, 400-pound RT Daniel Fa’alele probably skews that average a bit). I covered the Minnesota-Fresno State game here.
My week two-midweek musings on Tennessee are the same as my week one midweek musings on Tennessee- bewilderment. Whoever would have thought that UT-Chattanooga would be an important game? If Tennessee loses this, do they go 0-12? Alabama-Birmingham on November 2 might be their only other real chance at a victory.
On a brighter note, check out this story from Yahoo Sports about a young Vols fan.
The highlight of the Week:
Purdue beat Vanderbilt 42-24, but my highlight from this game took place before kickoff.
Those are my Week Two Midweek Musings. Have a great rest of the week everyone!