Care for it or no longer, the SEC will again be the center of the CFB world in 2020

Care for it or no longer, the SEC will again be the center of the CFB world in 2020

12: 29 AM ET

  • David M. HaleESPN Workers Writer


    • ACC reporter.
    • Joined ESPN in 2012.
    • Graduate of the University of Delaware.

Attain you hear it, off in the gap? It is easy faint, because we’re right a month into this irregular strive at college football in 2020, but it completely’s there — that acquainted refrain, the siren music now we like heard earlier than. Hear.

“S-E-C! S-E-C!”

You thought this college football season could well well per chance be various right since the full world is now not like one thing now we like experienced earlier than? Oh, how imperfect you had been.

Even in a season now not like any other, one chilly fact remains: The SEC is going to dangle our eyeballs, suck up the full air in the playoff debate and make certain that with every fresh Saturday you are reminded that right here, it right methodology extra.

Certain, Georgia gave us 30 minutes of football in opposition to Arkansas closing week to plot shut that perhaps the Dawgs would no longer secure their QB. Ha! Take into epic because the fourth man on the August depth chart toys with Auburn’s protection bask in some kind of Bond villain devising ever extra sophisticated varieties of torture. That is a honest analogy too, since Stetson Bennett IV certain sounds bask in he’ll even be a diabolical billionaire villain in a Bond film. As a exchange, he’s leading the Bulldogs to a dominant 27-6 purchase over No. 7 Auburn, throwing for 240 yards in the job. And he did all that whereas wearing a monocle and twirling a pocket peep (we plot shut).

Thought Alabama would falter with out Tua Tagovailoa? Bless your heart. Mac Jones zipped one dime after one other downfield to a receiving corps that appears to right manufacture the quite a lot of the replica/paste purpose as soon as a year to stock up itself. Alabama embarrassed No. 13 Texas A&M 52-24, with Jones throwing four touchdowns and John Metchie checking in with 181 yards thanks to route Alabama has a third huge receiver who can set apart up traces bask in that.

You wished to factor in Kyle Trask‘s opener used to be right a fluke for Florida, right six easy touchdowns in opposition to Ole Miss’s protection. Nope. Trask used to be 21-of-29 with four extra touchdowns in Saturday’s purchase over South Carolina, in conjunction with two to Kyle Pitts, who has emerged because the final college football cheat code, an unstoppable crimson zone power. Trask is the first SEC QB with 10 TD passes via two games since Tim Couch in 1998, essentially essentially based on ESPN Stats & Info learn. But Couch is the imperfect comparability. If one thing, this Florida offense appears to be like right a piece bask in LSU’s explosive unit from 2019 that went on to embarrass Oklahoma and Clemson in the playoff. Is Trask the subsequent Joe Burrow? You would possibly want to well well no longer hear us converse that. Finally, Burrow is an Ohio guy, whereas Trask could well well even be the suitable particular person in central Florida who is rarely any longer from Ohio.

But wait, there’s extra. There could be Tennessee, winners of eight straight, now poised for a showdown with Georgia after the Volunteers’ O-line tremendously stunned Missouri on Saturday. Jeremy Pruitt has the Vols rolling, proving the ragged adage that if in the starting up you manufacture no longer attain landing the apt head coach, attempt, attempt, attempt bask in 20 extra instances, and attempt again.

Even LSU, on the heels of an embarrassing return to the sphere following a nationwide championship, regarded rejuvenated Saturday, upending Vanderbilt 41-7. We mustn’t be stunned. Nobody is aware of the wonderful solution to rebound from a hangover pretty bask in Louisiana.

It is a ways a wealth of riches in the SEC, whereas the relaxation of the country presents us exiguous to earn all in favour of.

Clemson? Obvious, the Tigers are seemingly headed again to the playoff again, but one thing searching a 50-level purchase feels a exiguous underwhelming, doesn’t it?

The Vast 12? It is silly to focus on again now to mid-August, when the full plot forward for faculty football used to be held in the fingers of the Vast 12’s presidents. The Vast Ten and Pac-12 had opted out of the drop. The SEC and ACC wished to crawl forward but wished the Vast 12’s swing vote. And to boot they foolishly voted certain.

Texas lost to TCU on a brutal, late-game fumble on Saturday, the Longhorns’ sixth defeat as a ranked crew in opposition to an unranked opponent below Tom Herman. In the past calendar year, Texas is 6-5 with three losses and three extra slim escapes in opposition to unranked groups.

Baylor lost to unranked West Virginia. Oklahoma lost for the second straight week, forcing us all to wonder if Lincoln Riley’s magic potion is in the ruin wearing off, bask in the dramatic closing scene of an ’80s teen film. And Kansas — OK, nothing has modified at Kansas.

We’re easy awaiting the Vast Ten to play. Ohio Articulate could well well preserve a playoff berth. The Buckeyes are lucky to love nabbed a quarterback from an SEC college. The magic rubs off.

The Pac-12 released its agenda for the drop on Saturday, and per custom, it additionally used to be officially eliminated from playoff contention.

Would perhaps well the Crew of Five earn a playoff crew over a second crew from the SEC? Oh, like we got a bridge in Starkville we would bask in to sell you.

Obvious, it’s seemingly you’ll well well per chance also demand about the relaxation of the SEC, about Texas A&M again failing to compete on the giant stage or Auburn flipping the “it be been this many days since anyone wished to fireplace Gus Malzahn” signal again to “1” or Mississippi Articulate losing to Arkansas in embarrassing model after taking the college football world by storm right a week earlier. But that can well well perhaps be foolish. These groups like endured one stout week of a convention-finest SEC agenda. You would possibly want to well well finest demand so great.

No, 2020 has left us with the identical storyline we’re so faded to seeing in years a ways much less confounding. The SEC is honest — very honest — and the bulk of this year’s playoff drama will all as soon as more come from the league the put it right methodology extra.

Mac Attack

One offseason storyline in Tuscaloosa had us wondering if the incumbent Jones could well well hang on to the starting up QB job at Alabama with five-giant name prospect Bryce Young ready in the wings. By plot of two games, it certain doesn’t seem bask in there used to be great cause at the again of the debate.

Jones annihilated Texas A&M’s secondary on Saturday in Bama’s 52-24 purchase, unleashing a flurry of deep balls that regarded as rather as one thing Tagovailoa unleashed in the midst of his time with the Crimson Tide. Jones completed with 435 yards via the air — Tagovailoa had right one better game, with 444 yards versus South Carolina closing season — and 4 touchdowns.


2: 04

Mac Jones throws for 435 yards and 4 touchdowns as Alabama routs Texas A&M 52-24.

Finally, how honest has Jones been? His numbers via six begins match up pretty neatly alongside with his extra neatly-known predecessors via their first six begins:

Jones: 72.5% completions, 1,893 total yards, 19 total touchdowns, 3 interceptions

Tagovailoa: 75% completions, 1,617 total yards, 20 total touchdowns, 0 interceptions

Jalen Hurts: 64.3% completions, 1,692 total yards, 14 total touchdowns, 2 interceptions

Kiffin gets purchase No. 1

Ensure you slice out some time every Saturday to peep Ole Miss, because essentially essentially based on these first two weeks it be going to be a wild dash.

After putting up 613 yards in a loss to Florida in its opener closing week, the Rebels gave Lane Kiffin his first purchase with a dramatic 42-41 victory in past unparalleled time — a purchase that came courtesy of a uncared for Kentucky PAT.

How great relaxing is Ole Miss? There could be been 168 aspects scored in its first two games.


1: 00

Lane Kiffin gets his first victory with the Rebels after Ole Miss answers a Kentucky rating in OT then adds the game-a hit additional exhibit purchase 42-41.

In the opener, the Rebels’ protection helped Kyle Trask kick off his Heisman marketing campaign as he threw for 416 yards and 6 touchdowns. For an encore, the Ole Miss D allowed three — three! — 100-yard runners for Kentucky. In step with ESPN Stats & Info records, that is the first time an SEC crew had three gamers high-tail over the century impress in the identical game since Arkansas did it plot again in 2001 in opposition to (you guessed it) Ole Miss.

Kiffin’s offense appears to be like impressive to this level, but his D could well well pause up playing on pretty about a Heisman highlight reels.

Oh, and Ole Miss gets Alabama next.

A minimal of he’s consistent

Jimbo Fisher inked a $75 million deal in 2017 to raise Texas A&M from a crew that pulled the occasional upset to one which could per chance well well continuously compete with Alabama in the SEC West.

Give Fisher credit rating: He got the consistency allotment apt.

In three games as head coach at A&M, he has lost to the Tide 45-23 (in 2018), 47-28 (in 2019) and 52-24 (on Saturday).

Below Fisher, A&M is now 2-8 versus opponents who completed the season ranked (we will plot shut Alabama counts right here) but 16-2 in opposition to everyone else.

Be a a part of the membership

NC Articulate likes to name itself Quarterback U thanks to its five extinct gamers now on NFL rosters: Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson, Mike Glennon, Jacoby Brissett and Ryan Finley. They like given NC Articulate a lot of enormous performances over the final 20 years, but fresh QB Devin Leary‘s stat line from Saturday used to be ancient.

Leary, making his first open of the season after lacking great of camp in consequence of COVID-19, used to be mighty in upsetting Pitt, ending 28-of-44 passing for 336 yards, four touchdowns and no picks, whereas engineering a flawless closing power in going 79 yards on eight performs for a high-tail-forward TD.


0: 28

NC Articulate QB Devin Leary comes via in the clutch with a high-tail-forward landing strike to Emeka Emezie with right 23 seconds closing.

It used to be a statement efficiency, and the numbers set apart Leary squarely amongst the past greats. Glennon, Brissett and Finley by no methodology posted a 330-yard, four-TD game with no interceptions. Wilson did it right as soon as, in opposition to an FCS foe in 2009. To search out the closing NC Articulate QB to put up that line in a convention game, it be valuable to head the full plot again to Rivers’ spectacular senior season in 2003, when he did it in again-to-again weeks in opposition to Virginia and Florida Articulate (and alternatively in a bowl purchase over Kansas).

Scenes from the stands

There could be no longer great action in the stands this season in consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, but Week 5 a minimal of provided us a particular scene in Gainesville, Florida.

A hat tip to the americans at Florida, who honored our friend Edward Aschoff alongside with his dangle cutout in the stands for the Gators’ giant purchase over South Carolina. Nobody could well well per chance be extra all in favour of the Gators’ hot open than Edward.

We’re overjoyed we could well well put a put of dwelling for @AschoffESPN in the stands with @UFGatorBand, as a tribute. #GoGators

— Florida Gators (@FloridaGators) October 2, 2020

Overreaction of the week

When a attainable first-spherical QB performs right one game in a season, it be going to earn a exiguous consideration. Such used to be lifestyles for North Dakota Articulate‘s Trey Lance on Saturday, when the Bison took on Central Arkansas for a one-game showcase affair that completely had NFL scouts on the perimeter of their seats.

The pause end result? Somewhat meh.

Lance led a comeback uncover for a 39-28 purchase, by which he completed right 15-of-30 for 149 yards, two touchdowns and his first profession interception. Down goes his draft stock, apt?

The intuition shall be to fabricate some sweeping statements about Lance’s NFL attainable from this one, particularly since his stellar 2019 season wasn’t viewed by a ton of fans, and the caliber of competition he faced at the FCS level will indicate there shall be doubters.

But Lance additionally ran for 143 yards on Saturday, scoring twice on the ground and showcasing his versatility. He used to be dreadful on deep balls — lacking his first eight, essentially essentially based on ESPN Stats & Info — but Lance got a piece extra cosy later in the game, ending three of his closing four with a TD. And that one earn? It came after 307 passes with out one.


1: 14

In his finest game of the season, projected first-spherical earn Trey Lance throws two touchdowns and adds one other two alongside with his legs to handbook North Dakota Articulate to victory.

Even when this used to be space up as a showcase event, it could perhaps well well per chance also easy no longer like made too great sense to foretell Lance’s future in a one-off contest in opposition to a crew that already had kicked off its dangle rust.

Will Lance be an NFL giant name? That is strong to command, but Saturday’s efficiency didn’t shake our confidence or elevate our hopes. It used to be … right a game.

Underreaction of the week

Whereas Lance used to be the FCS quarterback quite a lot of the college football world used to be fascinated about Saturday, the reveal giant name used to be Bailey Zappe at Houston Baptist.

Zappe’s four-game season came to an pause with a dramatic 33-30 purchase over Japanese Kentucky by which he added to his already eye-popping stat line with 380 yards and three TDs.

It used to be in actuality a rather mundane efficiency by Zappe’s standards.

Houston Baptist opted to play in the drop, signing up for a four-game slate in opposition to EKU and three FBS colleges, but that didn’t stay Zappe from putting up a season’s price of passing yards in opposition to reputedly better competition.

He completed his season with 15 landing passes, one earn and an out of this world 1,833 passing yards. How ridiculous is that tally? That is extra yards in four games than 10 FBS groups had in all of 2019, in conjunction with Kentucky and Northwestern.

Heisman Five

Justin Fields looms in the background of all of this, but he’ll earn his flip in about a weeks. Simply now, listed below are our top five Heisman Trophy contenders from the neighborhood who in actuality like played a game.


1: 58

Trevor Lawrence continues Clemson’s dominance this season throwing three touchdowns in the Tigers’ 41-23 purchase over Virginia.

1. Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence

One more week, one other 300 yards and three touchdowns. Lawrence used to be spectacular in his first two seasons, but he has been borderline flawless in 2020.

2. Florida QB Kyle Trask

He has thrown 10 TDs in two games. In the full 2017 season earlier than Dan Mullen arrived at Florida, the Gators threw for … 10 touchdowns.

3. Alabama QB Mac Jones

Jones is already making an out of this world Heisman case, and next week he gets an Ole Miss protection that has allowed 1,201 yards in two games. He could well well throw for 1,000 yards relying on how angry Nick Saban gets about Lane Kiffin’s tweets this week.

4. Miami QB D’Eriq King

The Hurricanes had the week off to put collectively for Clemson. If King is easy in Heisman contention next week, there is a honest chance the full playoff portray right blew up.

5. BYU QB Zach Wilson

Have not been being attentive to the Cougars? You would possibly want to well well very neatly be lacking out on an out of this world expertise at QB in Wilson, who is averaging better than 13 yards per high-tail via three games.

Transfer over, Timmy

Travis Etienne‘s first-quarter TD in opposition to Virginia used to be one amongst the suitable of his intellectual profession. He takes the handoff, jumps out to his left, faces a tackler head-on, spins out of one other deal with, retains his steadiness and darts 16 yards for the rating. It used to be a wonderful showcase of Etienne’s dynamic skill space.


0: 37

Travis Etienne breaks extra than one tackles for the landing giving him 38 games with a landing, tying Tim Tebow and Kenneth Dixon for many in FBS history.

It additionally right so took put of dwelling to be the 38th various game Etienne has scored in — tying the FBS file additionally held by Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Dixon and Florida’s Tim Tebow.

And, of route, even supposing Etienne doesn’t rating again this season, he can easy get back again in 2021. And you thought Hunter Renfrow used to be at Clemson endlessly.

Shiver me timbers!

Ponder the Hogs are stoked about pulling the upset over Mike Leach and Mississippi Articulate? You would possibly want to well well very neatly be darrrrrrn apt.

A week previously, Mississippi Articulate used to be the debate of faculty football after racking up better than 600 yards in opposition to the defending champs as swashbuckling Leach made his Air Raid debut in the SEC. A week later, the Bulldogs are plundered by Arkansas, a crew that had lost 10 straight games.

Hand it to Arkansas’ social media other folks, though. They had been prepped and prepared for the upset.


— Arkansas Razorback Football (@RazorbackFB) October 4, 2020

Below-the-radar play of the week

Are we ready for the Coastal Carolina push for the playoff? OK, it be a lengthy shot, but peep Grayson McCall secure Isaiah Seemingly for a 72-yard TD right here and you earn a design of how explosive the Chanticleers — now 3-0 — will also be on offense. McCall, a redshirt freshman, is off to an out of this world open, ending 67% of his throws with 11 total touchdowns and one earn. Coastal Carolina has now overwhelmed Kansas and Arkansas Articulate, which has a purchase over K-Articulate, so there is a honest chance the Chanticleers would purchase the Vast 12. Extra importantly for them, nonetheless, is a plentiful matchup in opposition to undefeated Louisiana next week with a shot to purchase repeat of the Solar Belt.


0: 27

Grayson McCall goes deep to Isaiah Seemingly, who takes it to the dwelling for a Chanticleers landing.

Below-the-radar game of the week

Tulsa‘s tilt in opposition to UCF certain didn’t seem bask in it could perhaps well well perhaps be great of a matchup. The Golden Typhoon stumbled into Orlando after a horrendous efficiency in opposition to Oklahoma Articulate (0-of-12 on third down, 15 penalties) and two weeks off. They without warning met a UCF crew clicking on all cylinders. So what took put of dwelling? Tulsa made its case to place coach Philip 1st viscount montgomery of alamein’s job by pulling off one amongst the largest upsets of the season, erasing a 23-5 deficit with a late first-half TD and scoring the final 17 aspects to purchase 34-26. Tulsa’s triumph upends the Crew of Five’s battle for a Original one year’s Six bowl uncover, which now appears to be like to be in the fingers of Cincinnati, SMU and BYU.

Simplest bets and inappropriate beats

  • There are inappropriate beats. There are very inappropriate beats. After which there are beats which could per chance well well per chance be so horrendous you are taking note of giving up playing and transferring to a monastery in Tibet with no earn entry to to sports for the the relaxation of your lifestyles. The pause of the TCU-Texas game falls into that closing class. The entire for the game closed at 61.5, but for quite a lot of the week it used to be at 63, until dipping right earlier than Saturday’s kickoff. So a valuable chunk of bettors with the below easy felt get when TCU held a 33-29 lead with the ball with right 6 seconds left. All TCU wished to fabricate used to be punt and escape out the clock. Clearly, that punt could well well per chance be a unhealthy one, from its dangle 15-yard line. Gary Patterson wasn’t attracted to rolling the dice. He had QB Max Duggan purchase the snap, high-tail backward into the tip zone and high-tail down for a security as time expired. The protection set apart the full over the number, when a punt or, exasperatingly, even a lengthy move to escape out the clock, would like long gone the other plot.

  • Whereas you had money on Abilene Christian on Saturday, neatly, it’s seemingly you’ll well well per chance even like better complications. Aloof, there’s no question the tip of Army’s 55-23 purchase used to be a brutal beat. The Murky Knights had been a 31.5-level current and for honest cause. Army dominated Abilene Christian from the kick, taking a 23-3 lead into the half and going up 48-17 with 4 minutes closing in the contest. But the Wildcats scored on a 61-yard high-tail alongside with 3: 01 to play, putting them in put of dwelling for a quilt, assuming Army would right escape out the clock — which, let’s face it, Army appears to be like to be doing from the opening kick most weeks. As a exchange, Anthony Adkins broke off a 28-yard escape, scoring with 37 seconds to head and giving the Murky Knights the quilt.

  • In all equity, bettors of the below in the Oklahoma Articulate-Kansas game had no cause to hope for a quilt. It used to be 44-7 with 12 minutes to play, right two aspects horrified of the full, which closed at 53. The finest hope used to be the Cowboys would purchase their foot off the gas and cruise home with an effortless purchase. And that is the reason very nearly what took put of dwelling, finest the Jayhawks would no longer comply. In traditional Kansas model, it could perhaps well well per chance now not even lose with out a exiguous embarrassment, giving up a 14-play, 51-yard power that ended with a chip-shot field purpose, putting the game over the full with right 59 seconds to head.

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