Starting 11: Georgia Georgia’d

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Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) stiff-arms Clemson safety Van Smith (23) as he goes out of bounds during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, in Clemson, S.C. Clemson won 42-36. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt) Rainier Ehrhardt

I’m still in shock. 

Sitting here writing the Starting 11 on Sunday morning, I still can’t believe that I saw what I saw at the end of the Tennessee-Georgia game. It was the single greatest play in the history of Tennessee football — replacing the Clint Stoerner fumble — and it shouldn’t have ever been necessary because there’s no way Tennessee should have ever given up that touchdown pass to Jacob Eason with ten seconds left.

If Tennessee bats down that pass and withstands one more hail mary from Georgia then we’re talking about the huge play by Derek Barnett and the gutty comeback win for the Vols on the road in Athens. 

Instead we’re left with a different feeling entirely — that Tennessee’s 2016 squad might be a team of destiny. 

I know it’s still early in the year, but these are the kinds of wins that make teams believe they’re unbeatable. Having now come back to win four games from double digit deficits — Appalachian State, Virginia Tech, Florida, and Georgia — can the Vols split with Texas A&M and Alabama in the next two weeks and head to Atlanta at 11-1? 

I think they can. 

Because they truly believe that they’re unbeatable right now. And the mind can be a powerful thing.

Ask Auburn in 2013.

Sometimes teams get hot and just find ways to win.   

At the very least this game was evidence of two things: 1. College football is America’s best sport and 2. The SEC is the most entertaining part of the best sport in America. 

God bless college football. 

1. Tennessee’s miracle sets up two massive games for the SEC.

The Vols at the Aggies in College Station will be the biggest SEC game in the state of Texas since Alabama came to town to seek revenge against Johnny Manziel back in 2013. That game was an epic classic, we’ll see whether this game can live up to the hype.   

The polls aren’t officially out yet, but there aren’t a ton of great games this coming weekend so Vols-Aggies, a match-up of two top ten undefeated SEC teams, will soak up all the national oxygen.

If Texas A&M wins then their game at Alabama, with both teams ranked in the top five, will be beyond massive in two weeks.

But if Tennessee wins, can you imagine what Neyland Stadium would be like next week with number one, undefeated Alabama coming to town to take on top five ranked, undefeated Tennessee?

That might be the biggest game in Neyland Stadium history.

Which is saying something.

And it’s going to be a big game regardless, but if both teams are undefeated?

Look out.  

But, first, let’s go back to that final 2:30 in Athens. First Georgia Georgia’d when Derek Barnett sacked Jacob Eason and pounced on his fumble for a touchdown. Then Georgia double Georgia’d when Jacob Eason threw an interception. Then Tennessee Georgia’d when they allowed the long touchdown pass. Then Georgia Georgia’d again when Tennessee completed the hail mary. 

What. A. Game. 

Hobbnail boot? Meet the Dobbnailed boot. 

2. I still think Louisville is better than Clemson.

I know Clemson won and credit to the Tigers for finding a way to come back late in the fourth quarter when it looked like Louisville had them beat, but I think if these teams played ten times that Louisville would win at least six of them.

Hell, Louisville would have won last night if their wide receiver hadn’t inexplicably run out of bounds on fourth down.

So now what happens for Louisville?

Given that Clemson has the tiebreaker and FSU now has two losses in conference, even if Clemson loses to Florida State in Tallahassee Louisville has no chance to advance to the ACC title game unless Clemson loses twice.

Clemson losing twice seems highly unlikely.

This is one of many reasons, by the way, why I’d do away with all college football divisions and just take the top two teams every year to play for conference titles. When you have uneven divisions it seems unfair to reward a team with a chance to play for the conference title when they aren’t one of the top two teams in the conference.

By the way, how incredible is Lamar Jackson? He may be the best college football quarterback I’ve ever seen. He’s like Michael Vick if Michael Vick had gotten to play for Bobby Petrino in college.

And he’s still only a sophomore.

If he stays healthy can you imagine what he’s going to do next year? 

3. Washington hammered Stanford, meaning the Pac 12 now has just one playoff hope.

If the Huskies don’t go 13-0, I’m not sure their resume, even at 12-1, would warrant a playoff invite.

Who would they have beaten?

Right now the Pac 12 has just two ranked teams. 

That’s especially the case when you start to look at the potential resumes out there.

Figure you can pencil in an SEC and Big Ten team for the playoff. The ACC looks pretty likely too. That leaves one remaining spot.

As I’ll discuss below the Big 12 is likely out of the running. So if Washington went 12-1, would the Huskies have a better resume than 13-0 Houston, 11-1 Louisville, or one loss non-champion Tennessee, Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, or Texas A&M teams?

I say no way.  

Regardless, Chris Petersen, who dropped off the radar for two years at Washington, is back, baby. 

Here are my revised top five coaches in college football:

1. Nick Saban

2. Urban Meyer

3. Jim Harbaugh

4. Bobby Petrino

5. Chris Petersen

4. The Big Ten has two good teams — Ohio State and Michigan. 

Let’s put to rest the idea that the rest of the conference is very strong. 

Michigan State lost to Indiana and Wisconsin was dominated from a yardage perspective by Michigan, who also missed three field goals. 

The truth of the matter is this — Michigan will play one more top 25 team on its schedule this year, at Ohio State.

I’ll be really surprised if Michigan and Ohio State aren’t both undefeated on the last week of the regular season.

And I’ll also be surprised if any other Big Ten team finishes with a record better than 10-2.  

5. LSU posted its best offensive output in school history yesterday.

The Tigers put up 634 total yards of offense including, wait for it, 418 yards rushing against Mizzou.


And Leonard Fournette didn’t even play!

It’s wild to think about this, but if LSU ran the table they’d still win the SEC West. (This is assuming, I think fairly, that Auburn is not winning out the rest of the way.)

Now the schedule is brutal: at Florida, Ole Miss, Bama, at Arkansas, at Texas A&M, that’s five top 25 teams in the final seven weeks.

But the point is, it could happen.

And people will start talking about it happening if LSU can go on the road and beat Florida next week. Because then LSU would return home and beat Southern Miss to start off 3-0 with Coach O.

Tell ’em about it Jojo! 

6. The Big 12 is out of the playoff race unless Baylor or West Virginia finish undefeated.

And neither of those teams is very likely to finish undefeated.

But if you’re a Big 12 homer and you want to dream, the final week of the season, on December 3rd, Baylor plays at West Virginia.

So maybe that could be 12-0 Baylor against 12-0 West Virginia!

By the way, how dumb does the Big 12 look in taking West Virginia over Louisville right now?  

If the Big 12 had Louisville, perception of the league would be totally different and Louisville would likely make the playoff. Instead, the Big 12’s a dumpster fire. 

Speaking of which…

7. Texas has to fire Charlie Strong.

I’m sorry, it’s just impossible to defend Charlie Strong at this point.

It’s probably unfair to him, but two things happened late in Texas’s game against Oklahoma State that made Strong look totally incompetent: 1. It appeared he was attempting to decline a penalty despite the fact that Oklahoma State had gained a first down on the play. and 2. He punted down three scores to avoid giving up fifty points.  

Based on Notre Dame’s collapse it now appears readily apparent that Texas beat a bad Notre Dame team in overtime to start the season. 

If Texas loses to Oklahoma this coming weekend — by the way, I’ll be in Dallas this week shooting footage for the Red River Rivalry which is on FS1 for the first time ever this year — don’t you have to go ahead and let Charlie Strong go and focus on making Tom Herman your next head coach?

I would. 

8. This North Carolina kicker officially killed #fsutwitter

#fsutwitter was already just hanging on by a thread, but when this kicker drilled a 55 yarder to give my North Carolina Tar Heels a big road win — seriously, the number of you who Tweet me pictures of Larry Fedora and congratulate me on UNC wins is extraordinary — and then ran around the field doing the tomahawk chop, it officially ended FSU’s multi-year run as one of the top ten programs in college football. 

Maybe Jimbo Fisher will get the Noles back to respectability — if he doesn’t bolt for LSU — but this year’s team may well fall out of the top 25 this week for the first time since 2011. 

9. Don’t sleep on Mark Richt’s Hurricanes. 

While Clemson looks to have the Atlantic locked up, the Coastal could get interesting. (Don’t worry, I don’t know the ACC divisions either, it’s another reason why all divisions should disappear in college football.)

North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Miami all look fairly decent, particularly Miami.

If Miami can beat FSU this coming weekend then Mark Richt’s Hurricanes will be 5-0.

Would there be anything more Georgia than Mark Richt taking Miami to the playoff in his first year after leaving Georgia?  

10. New Twitter rule. 

With the morning radio show, the Outkick Show, and the continued growth of Outkick my Twitter mentions are insane. 

I still try to read all my mentions because 99.9% of you are awesome and I enjoy seeing what y’all have to say. 

But I’m going to have to start blocking people more aggressively to be able to keep reading all my mentions. Because I’m just too busy to be able to keep up otherwise.

Yesterday we had over ten thousand interactions on Twitter. That’s absurdly awesome and most of you are great. But why should I allow you to interact on my timeline if you suck and you’re keeping me from interacting with the people who are great?

So my new Twitter rules are pretty simple:

a. Don’t be a pussy.

This is my number one rule of life so it’s no surprised that it’s also applying on Twitter.

If I recognize your name and you’re consistently being a pussy on my Twitter feed, you’re gone.

Since I rarely block people — I’ve only blocked a couple of hundred people out of nearly 210,000 followers — if you get blocked by me you should feel like a total and complete loser and a failure at life. Because you are. 

b. Don’t blow me up with ten straight Tweets.

My opinions are pretty clear — I have a three hour daily radio show, a daily Twitter and Periscope show and a website. There are millions of people agreeing or disagreeing with what I have to say every week. You’re more than welcome to agree or disagree, but I don’t have time to debate you and I don’t need you blowing up my mentions with your ten-part Tweets. If it takes more than two Tweets to tell me, email it. 

d. If you say anything negative about my wife or kids, you’re gone.

And, seriously, who the fuck comes after a wife or kids on Twitter? Even the mob doesn’t do that. 

e. If you seem incredibly stupid I may block you because I don’t need your stupidity in my life.

That’s it, the rules are simple.

For most of you they won’t be an issue at all, but some of you are living on borrowed time.

And Clay Kyle is about to start murdering people.  

This ain’t a democracy, it’s a Clayocracy. 

11. SEC power rankings 1-14

1. Alabama

2. Texas A&M

3. Tennessee

4. Ole Miss

5. Arkansas

6. LSU

7. Florida

8. Georgia

9. Auburn 

10. Mississippi State 

11. Kentucky 

12. South Carolina  

13. Vanderbilt 

14. Missouri 

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.