The return of the SEC and a full slate of college ball had it all this week didn’t it? There were upsets, blow outs, huge individual performances and benched QBs across the board. Oh, and Mike Leach introduced himself to the SEC in style against the reigning National Champions.
For those that love the NFL but are dubious about the college game, Saturday’s action should surely go some way to showing them what you’re missing. For those that have existing loyalties with some of the bigger names in the Power 5, then there were a couple of big scalps that fell or were humiliated this week (I’m mainly looking at my own Seminoles), so there’s plenty of choice for this week’s winners and losers.
- Mississippi State Bulldogs
Saturday night’s biggest shock saw the upstart Bulldogs go to LSU, and not only win but win in record making style. New QB, KJ Costello threw for 623 yards and 5 TDs in a 44-34 win that not only heralded Mike Leach’s arrival, but also the arrival of his famed air raid offense. Mississippi State even had a chance to turn the ball over to the Tigers’ offense four times, and still emerged ten point victors. Three Bulldogs players racked up more than 100 yards receiving as Costello shared the wealth around his offensive colleagues. If they continue to perform like this, it surely can’t be long until Leach’s men are sniffing around the top 10 mark in the NCAA rankings.
- Pitt Panthers
With the early season action centering around the ACC and some of the smaller schools across America, both Pitt and Saturday’s rivals Louisville started the day in the top 25. In a close game, the Panthers emerged with the W thanks to senior QB Kenny Pickett and a stingy Panthers pass defensive. Most of the points in this one were front loaded into the first half, and it was a clever play from Taysir Mack that proved pivotal on the scoreboard, as he rolled over a tackle and took the ball to the house. But it was Pitt’s D that won this game, with three INTs off Full10Yards darling, Micale Cunningham, along with a forced fumble eventually making the difference.
- Kyle Pitts
8 catches, 170 yards and 4 TDs. We’ve been raving about Kyle Pitts for the last few weeks and months on the CFB podcast, but not even Rob could have predicted the way that Kyle Pitts would take over the Gators’ first game of the season. From the first drive to the last, Pitts was open and available in the end zone for Kyle Trask. The future first round pick also proved he was more than a big target, with the third of his TD grabs coming on a 71 yard catch and run as he outpaced the Ole Miss secondary with ease. We pity anyone assigned to cover him this year.
- Oklahoma Sooners
You’ve heard of bogey teams, right? Well Kansas State defines that term for the Sooners. I can’t believe that K-State have done it for a second straight year! But as for 2020; this is not a good look for Oklahoma. It’s no secret that the Sooners’ defense is mediocre at best, but to give up 38 points from 334 passing yards is quite frankly embarrassing – especially to a team that just 7 days prior could only put 31 points up in a losing week to Arkansas State. In a shortened season where every little slip up has severe consequences, the Sooners can now kiss goodbye to any dream of playing in the College playoff this year. That ship has sailed already.
Sorry LSU fans (but mainly poor Kieran); i hate to say I told you so… but…I kinda told you so. OK, I get it; Stingley pulling out hours before kick off didn’t help and there are ready made legitimate reasons why it wasn’t great this weekend considering the amount of turnover the team has had to deal with this off-season. But as I mentioned with the Sooners; every slip up is going to be costly this season, and this loss is going to make it incredibly hard for the Tigers to make the playoffs. It’ll require a clean sweep of the rest of the season, that’s for sure. Unfortunately this loss in week 1 means it’ll be a long and bumpy road in 2020 LSU fans… buckle up.
I don’t think anyone was predicting the Horned Frogs to be moving mountains this season, but losing to a team that the week previous got turned over by a middling group of 5 team doesn’t look good for Gary Patterson and co. A positive would be that Max Duggan who was originally expected to miss this season with a heart condition but was cleared to play earlier in the week, looked good when he came in to take the reigns. Aside from that, 9 different rushers only managed a total of 99 rushing yards, whereas the rush defense leaked 213 yards, 2 more yards than what Brock Purdy punished them through the air with. Not good.