College Football Week 6 is behind us, and we learned quite a bit about what’s to come the rest of the season. Georgia made a big statement at home against Kentucky, Texas slipped up against Oklahoma, and Notre Dame fell flat in another prime-time spot. Let’s recap the week.
College Football Week 6 Notebook
Georgia Has Entered The Chat
For as much flak as I gave Michigan preseason for their light schedule, Georgia’s has been right up there regarding difficulty, or lack thereof, this year. Michigan has steamrolled through their bad opponents, while Georgia has mostly just kind of played with their food en route to wins. Last week, for example, they pulled out a tight win at Auburn, who is in a transition year.
Well, this week it appeared Georgia wanted to make a statement. Or, last week remembering that they have Brock Bowers gave the offense the spark it needed. Kentucky came into the game 5-0 and ranked No. 20. They were coming off a blowout win over Florida that saw them run for over 300 yards as a team. And absolutely none of that momentum mattered.
Georgia held the Wildcats to just 55 yards rushing as a team and only 183 yards of total offense. The Dawgs on the other side put up 608 yards of total offense and Carson Beck had the best game of his young career tossing four touchdowns in addition to racking up 389 passing yards. Bowers chipped in with a modest 132 receiving yards on seven receptions with a touchdown as well.
I don’t think anyone doubted that Georgia was a talented team, but there were lingering questions about this year’s team given how much they lost last year, the light schedule, and the slow start. There’s still a lot of football left to play, but this was an impressive performance that Georgia needed to flex their muscles a bit and remind the country they’re still the champs.
Horns Down – Texas is #NotBack
Ok, headlines aside Texas is still a good football team and probably still controls their own destiny. That said, that was a TOUGH way to lose to Oklahoma on Saturday. The Longhorns trailed by 10 in the second half but fought their way back to a 27-27 tie. Late in the fourth quarter, Texas went down the field on the Sooners defense, but Steve Sarkisian got incredibly conservative with his play calling and basically played for a 47-yard field goal. Bert Auburn (elite kicker name) drills it to give Texas a 30-27 lead.
Problem is, Oklahoma still had 1:22 left on the clock, and for whatever reason in late-game situations teams just love sitting back in soft zones and allowing offenses to move the ball down the field easily. Dillon Gabriel easily picked apart the Texas defense and led the Sooners on a touchdown drive to win the game 34-30 for Oklahoma.
So what did we learn from this game? Well for one, Oklahoma is a good football team and a playoff contender. Defensively in year two of Brent Venables, they’re miles ahead of where they were last season. Offensively, Dillon Gabriel is running that unit very efficiently and they’ll be able to score with a lot of teams.
On the Texas side of things, they’re incredibly talented on both sides of the ball but something just seems to be holding them back. They seemed to play and coach somewhat nervously early on in this one, and that kind of carried out throughout the game. I’m not sure if it’s a Steve Sarkisian thing, a Quinn Ewers thing, or a combination of a lot of several but they do have some time to figure it out.
Both teams’ remaining schedules appear to be pretty light, and we’re in all likelihood headed for a rematch of these two in the Big 12 Championship game with a College Football Playoff bid on the line. The Horns & Sooners both likely control their own destiny getting into the playoff, and I’m really hoping nothing weird happens and we get this rematch after the season.
Louisville Thumps Notre Dame at Night
Credit to where it’s due, Louisville looked like a very dangerous team on Saturday night against Notre Dame. The Cardinals were more physical up front on both sides of the ball and were able to limit the Irish in just about every facet of the game. Louisville looked like a team playing their program’s biggest football game in a long time and Notre Dame looked like an exhausted team in their third consecutive primetime game against an undefeated opponent.
What we learned from this one is that Louisville has a very legitimate chance to win the ACC, and if they do that they’ll have a chance at a playoff bid. The schedule does have a few potential tough spots on it, but two of their three most difficult games left come at home (vs No. 17 Duke, vs No. 14 Kentucky). They wouldn’t have to worry about a matchup with Florida State until a potential ACC Championship game, and they avoid Clemson altogether.
As for the Irish, their playoff hopes are done. They certainly look like a team that was emotionally and physically drained. But that was far from the reason they were beaten on Saturday night. From an offensive standpoint, Notre Dame lacks creativity and playmaker depth at the wide receiver position. Defensively, the Irish lacked discipline, and that showed again on Saturday night.
Whatever the issues may be, Marcus Freeman has his work cut out for him going forward. He can most certainly recruit, and he’s bringing in some very serious talent to the program. But for whatever reason, there have been these random weeks (more so on the offensive side of the ball) where the team looks lifeless in his two seasons as head coach. Again, he’s still learning and growing as a coach. His defensive coordinator hire in Al Golden, an experienced veteran coach was a good one. It might be time this offseason to look for a similar hire on the offensive side of the ball to bring that experience and stability.
No rest for the weary, the Irish will play their fourth consecutive night game against an undefeated opponent this Saturday night when they host USC.