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Starting 11: Georgia Bounces Back Edition

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Week two of the season has come and gone.

And Florida, Texas, Notre Dame, and USC all lost on the same weekend for the first time since the 1970’s.  

There are many great days in the college football season.

Now all we need is for Ohio State to lose and just about every college football fan in America can rejoice. 

It’s Monday so the Starting 11 is here. 

Here we go. 

1. Told y’all Georgia wasn’t dead yet.

Aaron Murray played spectacularly and Georgia’s in pretty decent shape after week two. Yes, they’d prefer to be 2-0, but the Bulldogs won the most important game of their two openers. Now Georgia has a 1.5 game lead over South Carolina.

If Georgia beats LSU and Florida then the Dawgs will win the SEC East.

In fact, run the table the rest of the way, as Georgia will be favored to do, and there’s a very good chance the SEC title game will be another national semifinal, win and you play for the BCS title.

So the Bulldogs are right where they were when the season began, right in the thick of the national title race.  

2. Did we learn more about Miami or Florida in Saturday’s game?

I honestly think we learned more about Florida. Since I’d say the Gators lost this game more than Miami won it. 

The Gators put up 413 total yards to Miami’s 212. After the first quarter Miami had just 69 yards of total offense. The Florida Gator defense was downright dominant.  

Yet the Hurricanes found a way to win. 

How?

Because Florida was woeful on offense. Last year Florida was bad in the passing game, but ran the ball really well to help make up for being so bad in the passing game and didn’t make many turnovers. On Saturday the Gators ran the ball 44 times, but only averaged 2.8 yards per carry. As a result, Jeff Driskel had to make plays in the passing game. And Driskel couldn’t make enough plays in the passing game, tossing two interceptions. As if that wasn’t enough, the Gators also fumbled three times.

So Miami won the turnover battle by four.  

Florida’s offense is still bad. Last year the Gators won a lot of close games. This year they’ve already lost one close game and still have at LSU, at South Carolina, and Georgia in Jacksonville, and Florida State on the schedule. 

Plus, don’t sleep on this game, Missouri in Columbia is a potential landmine. 

As I told you last week, this looks like an 8-4 Gators team.

As for Miami, the Hurricanes only have one top 25 team left on the schedule. If the Canes are really back they’ll win ten or eleven games this year. But I’m not ready to pronounce them back just yet. Again, I think this game was more about Florida collapsing than it was Miami dominating.   

3. Mack Brown is officially on the hot seat after his team gave up 550 rushing yards at BYU this weekend.

Brown fired Manny Diaz as defense coordinator and elevated Greg Robinson, the same coach that Michigan fans gleefully ran out of Ann Arbor.

Changing your defensive coordinator the week before Ole Miss and Hugh Freeze come to town seems like an incredibly awful decision. You talk about a swing game that could blast Ole Miss and Freeze into the national stratosphere while effectively ending Mack Brown’s tenure at Texas?

Wow, this game is it.

In fact, could this game also double as an interview for the Texas job for Freeze? You can certainly argue that. Later this week I’ll have my list of potential replacements for Mack Brown at Texas. 

In the meantime, Texas opened as just a 3.5 point favorite.

I’m not so sure that line shouldn’t be completely reversed in Ole Miss’s favor.  

4. Zach Mettenberger is the most improved player in the SEC so far this year. 

And as a result LSU is for real.

If you didn’t get a chance, go back and look at Mettenberger’s throws over the first two weeks of the season. He’s been outstanding in the pocket and thanks to Mettenberger LSU’s offense is explosive. We haven’t been able to say that since all the way back in 2006 or 2007.

Yep, LSU finally has a decent offense again.  

With a young defense getting coached up by John Chavis, it’s possible LSU is the best team in the SEC by the end of the season. Now, the schedule’s brutal, but LSU will be 4-0 when they roll into Athens. After that game there are three really tough games still remaining on LSU’s schedule — Florida, at Alabama, and Texas A&M.

It’s time to raise LSU’s ceiling. Before the year I thought there was virtually no chance the Tigers could go 11-1 or 12-0.

Now?

I think that’s possible. Still unlikely, but possible. 

Because LSU’s a bona fide national title contender. 

Again. 

5. You have to watch Eminem’s interview in the booth during halftime of Notre Dame-Michigan. 

This really happened. 

6. How bad has USC become under Lane Kiffin?

Truly awful. 

If you’d seen the reaction of the USC fans at the end of the Washington State game — I was in an LA bar filled with USC fans — you’d know why I believe there’s no way Kiffin is back as coach next year.

There was some anger, but even worse, there was much more resignation. Okay, we suck, what’s next? Fans had moved past the hot seat talk and there was already focus and speculation on who the next coach should be. 

Come hell or high water you used to be able to say that Kiffin was a good coach of quarterbacks. That’s no longer the case. So what’s Kiffin’s big selling point now? Pretty simple, he doesn’t have one. 

I’m not sure how early in the season Kiffin could get fired, but there’s a pretty decent chance that Utah State comes into the Coliseum and pulls off the upset in two weeks. The rest of USC’s schedule just looks like one landmine after another. This season could turn into an epic implosion, when the Trojans finish below .500. 

Really, it could. 

Later this week I’ll have my list of potential coaches for the USC job.

In the meantime, know this, Kiffin is done at USC.  

7. What did we learn from Notre Dame-Michigan?

I mean aside from the fact that Brent Musburger asking Eminem questions is television gold.

First, we confirmed what I’ve been telling y’all, that Notre Dame is an 8-4 or 9-3 type team. They were that last year too. The Fighting Irish just happened to win every close game and some people bought into the Notre Dame’s back hype. Notre Dame’s just a decent team again this year, same as last year. But unfortunately for the Fighting Irish, winning close games typically evens out from season to season. Alabama exposed Notre Dame last year and I think several other teams will expose Notre Dame this year as well.  

As for Michigan, huge win. 

Now the game at Penn State is the only potential loss in the first seven. And Michigan should win that game and be 7-0. After that, we’ll find out how good Michigan is. I tend to think they’re more in the mold of a 9-3 type team than they are an 11-1 or 12-0 type team, but we’ll find that out in the final five weeks of the season. 

8. Alabama had a bye week, but their fans remained stupid. 

This is a real paint job on a minivan that was sent to us by reader Chris W. 

And the other side. 

And the front. 

Yes, that’s a handicapped sticker in the window. 

Never change, Bama fans.

(By the way, our countdown of the four dumbest fan bases in the nation will continue, there’s just been so much news I haven’t had time to write them yet. Rest assured, they’re coming).

9. There’s been a lot of focus on how weak Alabama’s schedule is, but check out Oregon’s.

I picked Alabama and Oregon as my national title teams because I think both teams are really good.

But the schedules sure do break well for both too.  

Depending on what happens with Washington and UCLA, the Ducks might only play one team ranked in the top 25 all season.

Partly that’s not Oregon’s fault. In addition to the Pac 12 schedule, Oregon also set up games with Virginia and Tennessee. It just so happens that both teams, particularly Tennessee, are really down from when those games were scheduled. 

Right now this Oregon team is a juggernaut.

Look out Tennessee.  

And speaking of Tennessee, where does this six game slate rank in the most difficult stretches in college football history?

9/14 at #2 Oregon

9/21 at #18 Florida

9/28 South Alabama

10/5 #9 Georgia

10/19 # 13 South Carolina

10/26 at #1 Alabama

That’s just brutal. 

10. Here’s my national top ten based entirely on the games that have been played so far this year:

1. Oregon

2. LSU

3. Clemson

4. Alabama

5. Texas A&M

6. Georgia

7. Oklahoma State

8. Baylor

9. Miami

10. Michigan

11.  Here are my SEC power rankings based only on the games that have been played on the field thus far:

1. LSU

2. Alabama

3. Texas A&M

4. Georgia

5. South Carolina

6. Ole Miss

7. Florida

8. Auburn

9. Tennessee

10. Vandy

11. Missouri

12. Arkansas

13. Mississippi State

14. Kentucky

 

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.