LSU is unhealthy, Texas and Oklahoma could also be worse


Defending champions hardly ever have unhealthy follow-up seasons.

That’s a giant purpose why it’s so hanging that LSU sits at 1-2 by means of the primary three weeks of the SEC season. The Tigers fell beneath .500 after a 45-41 loss to Missouri on Saturday when Mizzou stopped LSU on first-and-goal on the 1-yard line with lower than a minute left. 

Yeah, the Tigers misplaced a whole lot of expertise from their title-winning crew. Terrace Marshall Jr. is the one key offensive contributor who returned in 2020. However a whole lot of us thought that there was loads of expertise in Baton Rouge to maintain the Tigers afloat close to the highest of the SEC West in 2020. 

As a substitute, LSU is wanting so much like 2011 Auburn. After these Tigers gained the nationwide title season and Cam Newton went to the NFL, Auburn fell to 8-5 in 2011. That’s the worst marketing campaign for a defending nationwide champion prior to now 10 years. By far. No defending champ for the reason that 2011 Tiger has misplaced greater than two video games.

2011 Auburn: 8-5

2012 Alabama: 13-1

2013 Alabama: 11-2

2014 Florida State: 13-1

2015 Ohio State: 12-1

2016 Alabama: 14-1

2017 Clemson: 12-2

2018 Alabama: 14-1

2019 Clemson: 14-1

Newton was the No. 1 general decide within the 2011 NFL draft. Joe Burrow was the No. 1 general decide within the 2020 NFL draft. There may be some similarity.

LSU followers might discover one other similarity too. LSU completed 8-5 in 2008 after profitable the 2007 nationwide title. That 2008 crew went simply 3-5 within the SEC and misplaced to Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Ole Miss and Arkansas. Three of these opponents have been ranked within the prime 15 on the time of the loss.  

It’s straightforward to see how LSU might embark on a 5-5 marketing campaign within the SEC this 12 months. After Florida, the Tigers nonetheless need to play Alabama, Texas A&M and Auburn. All three of these groups are at present ranked within the prime 15. Oh, and Ole Miss and Arkansas have proven that they’re no gimmes both. 

If LSU finishes at 5-5 or worse, it would have a case to be known as the worst defending champion in trendy school soccer historical past.

— Nick Bromberg

LSU coach Ed Orgeron congratulates gamers after a rating in opposition to Vanderbilt within the second half of an NCAA school soccer sport on Oct. 3. (AP)

Oklahoma and Texas are struggling, however it’s worse for Texas

Oklahoma’s 53-45 four-overtime win over Texas on Saturday was definitely probably the most entertaining video games of the 2020 season up to now, however it gained heightened consideration as a result of it was a rivalry sport between two blue-blood packages. 

In actuality, although, it was a sport between two average-at-best Large 12 groups. 

Oklahoma has gained 5 straight Large 12 titles, however seems like a crew within the early throes of a uncommon rebuilding 12 months. The Sooners, in Yr 4 beneath Lincoln Riley, improved to 2-2 on Saturday regardless of blowing a fourth-quarter lead for the third time this 12 months. OU is working in a redshirt freshman quarterback in Spencer Rattler and an array of different new faces on offense to interchange the barrage of ability place expertise that has been on show in Norman in current seasons. To not point out, among the gamers OU anticipated to depend on — on either side of the ball — haven’t been on the sphere beneath numerous circumstances (damage, suspension, opt-out, and so forth).

What I’m saying is it’s simpler to excuse Oklahoma for taking a step again when it has 5 straight convention titles and 5 straight School Soccer Playoff appearances beneath its belt. 

For Texas, the reasons are rather more troublesome to just accept. Tom Herman talked a giant sport when he was employed forward of the 2017 season. Has he elevated this system from what it was beneath Charlie Sturdy? Certain. However a 27-17 general document with an 18-12 mark in Large 12 play will not be what Herman is being paid $6.5 million per 12 months to do. 

The ten-win triumph in 2018 that was capped off by a Sugar Bowl win over Georgia was presupposed to be an indication of issues to come back. Since then, nevertheless, Texas is 10-7 general and 6-6 within the Large 12. UT went 8-5 final 12 months with losses to groups TCU, Iowa State and Baylor alongside the best way.

Getting into 2020, although, many thought this might be the 12 months Texas lastly discovered itself atop the Large 12. In any case, the crew was returning 16 starters, together with senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger in his fourth 12 months because the Longhorns’ QB1. However all of that returning expertise has not proven on the sphere. 

UT wanted a ferocious late-game rally and additional time simply to beat a mediocre Texas Tech crew, 63-56. That startling efficiency was an indication of issues to come back as losses to TCU and Oklahoma adopted to drop the Longhorns to 2-2 on the 12 months. 

In these video games, Texas has been suffering from turnovers, penalties, poor tackling and particular groups points whereas struggling at positions (large receiver, offensive line) that one would assume can be solidified within the fourth 12 months of Herman’s tenure. 

Via three weeks of play, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Kansas State are the one Large 12 groups with no convention loss. The race for the Large 12 crown continues to be large open, however Texas finds itself with important floor to make up. At this level within the Herman period, it’s not a place Texas followers anticipated to seek out themselves in. 

– Sam Cooper

It is Yr 4 for Tom Herman at Texas, however his crew is off to a disappointing 2-2 begin. (AP Photograph/Chuck Burton)

In appreciation of Travis Etienne

Don’t let Trevor Lawrence’s standing because the presumptive No. 1 decide within the 2021 NFL draft distract you from Travis Etienne’s greatness.

Etienne made the stunning choice to come back again to Clemson for his senior season in 2020 and has been magnificent thus far. He had 17 carries for 149 yards and two touchdowns together with eight catches for 73 yards within the Tigers’ blowout win over Miami. And he produced some highlight-reel stuff.

If that dash down the sideline wasn’t sufficient for you, how about this hurdle?

Etienne has 4,430 profession speeding yards and is simply 173 yards away from breaking the ACC profession speeding mark held by NC State’s Ted Brown. He’ll possible have that document to himself in a few weeks and will find yourself placing the profession speeding mark within the convention extremely out of attain by the point Clemson’s season is over.

Etienne isn’t a product of a ton of carries both. He’s had not more than 207 carries in a single season and his 7.0 yards per carry common in 2020 is the bottom single-season mark of his profession. He averaged 7.2 yards per carry as a freshman, 8.1 yards a carry as a sophomore when Clemson gained the nationwide title in 2018 and seven.8 yards a carry in 2019.

But Etienne has by no means gotten any Heisman love regardless of these gaudy yards per carry numbers. He hasn’t completed any larger than seventh within the Heisman voting and was ninth in 2019. 

That’s what occurs whenever you play with an amazing quarterback like Lawrence. However Etienne is a superb school operating again. We should always all take a second and recognize that. 

Georgia’s second-half defensive dominance

To name Georgia’s protection dominant can be an understatement. 

The Bulldogs at present rank No. 2 nationally in complete protection, permitting solely 236.7 yards per sport. The one crew forward of UGA is Houston, a crew that has performed only one sport and allowed simply 211 yards in a win over Tulane. 

Georgia, although, has accomplished its work in opposition to three SEC foes: Arkansas, Auburn and Tennessee. And the Bulldogs have turned up the depth on protection within the second half particularly. 

In its 3-0 begin, Georgia has allowed a complete of 37 factors (although 7 of these factors got here by way of an offensive blunder). Of these 37 factors, simply six of these factors have been scored within the second half, together with zero within the fourth quarter. 

Saturday’s win over Tennessee was an ideal instance of that second-half domination. The Bulldogs truly trailed 21-17 at halftime, however the protection fully shut down the Vols over the ultimate two quarters. Through the second half, Georgia allowed Tennessee’s offense to achieve simply 56 yards on 39 performs. Tennessee additionally turned the ball over 3 times, punted 3 times and had a turnover on downs. Alongside the best way, the rating Georgia completed the sport on a 27-0 scoring run. 

In Georgia’s first sport, it surprisingly fell behind Arkansas 7-5 at halftime, solely to rally for a 37-10 win. UGA allowed Arkansas to achieve simply 115 yards and rating solely three factors within the second half. 

Within the subsequent week’s 27-6 win over Auburn, UGA allowed solely three factors and 119 yards on 38 performs within the second half. 

Cumulatively in three video games, the second-half numbers are staggering: six factors allowed in six quarters and 290 yards allowed on 110 performs. That’s simply 2.64 yards per play. On prime of that, Georgia has pressured seven punts, intercepted 4 passes, registered 10 sacks, scored two touchdowns, recovered two fumbles and compelled two turnovers on downs. 

That’s sheer dominance. However the problem will increase massively subsequent week with a visit to Tuscaloosa to play No. 2 Alabama on faucet on Saturday. Following the 63-48 win over Ole Miss, Alabama is averaging 51 factors per sport. That’s No. 1 within the nation.

Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano (2) is introduced down by Georgia defensive lineman Julian Rochester (92). (AP Photograph/John Bazemore)

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