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Sunday, May 19, 2024
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It always looks so good, until it goes so wrong for sports in the state.

Overreactability: Everything sucks after a bad week of college football

Editor’s note: College football is nothing without its fans, and its fans are nothing without their passion. In an attempt to capture that unique intensity and Overreactability, we’ve asked washed-up sports editor and Southerner Bremen Keasey to give us a weekly breakdown of college football happenings around the country like only a true fan could.

Maybe it’s the aftermath of sitting in the cold rain for three hours watching the Badgers, but I wasn’t totally behind college football this weekend. Shocking, I’m sure, to those who know me the best, but I signed up to do this column at the beginning of the year, rain or shine, so here are the moments from the weekend (hopefully there will be better ones next week).

Bo looked like a Freshman, but then again, so did everyone

We first take our tour of college football down to The Swamp where the marquee matchup of the weekend was the No. 7 Auburn Tigers against the No. 10 Florida Gators. 

Heading into the game, most of the questions surrounded whether the Gators, on backup quarterback Kyle Trask, could match their offense to Auburn’s defense. The Tigers are loaded up front with defensive tackle Derrick Brown, one of many likely to play on Sundays next year. 

The Gators did enough to get the 24-13 upset win in a herky-jerky game that made fans wonder if the offenses realized they were supposed to be playing as well. Other than two long touchdowns — a 64-yard run after catch from Freddie Swain and a 88-yard run by Lamical Perine — the Gators struggled to move the ball on Auburn. 

Luckily for Florida, Auburn struggled to move the ball too, and Bo Nix finally looked and acted his age. Nix, who before had helped Auburn lead a comeback against Oregon, tossed three picks and probably should’ve had more with the amount of ill-advised throws. He finished 11-for-27 passing, which isn’t good, but also understandable considering he’s only a true freshman.

Then again, everyone on offense struggled. The Gators had three straight drives where they fumbled, had a fake punt go spectacularly wrong, and only scored seven points in the second half. They got lucky Auburn was as inept.

CBS sports commentator Gary Danielson summed the game up perfectly when he said, “There’s a whole lot happening, but nothing is really happening.” 

Thanks Gary.

Anyways, the main point is that this game probably won’t matter a whole lot in the end because Auburn has to play UGA and Alabama still while Florida will play LSU and UGA. But Florida fans had fun gator chomping when it lasted, and really life is all about the adventure.

Excellence(?) in Punting

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As a fan of a Big Ten team, I’ve seen a fair share of punting in my day. Sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes it’s awful and sometimes it’s just kind of necessary. 

It’s like classes where you have to lead a discussion section. Sometimes you really want to lead a good discussion, you put a lot of work into it and it’s a lively, interesting discussion. Other times, you’ve ignored it until the day before you’re supposed to lead and it’s totally scrambled together. All the other students in the class understand either way, and in those situations, I have great respect for people who truly half-assed the assignment.

I’m pretty sure that Iowa and Michigan really just wanted to punt yesterday, and spent hours and hours preparing their punting team and forgot about the offenses.

Because oh lord, they were punting. 15 times total. 

Sure, maybe Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz was happy with the punts, but fans of both sides probably weren’t because when the teams weren’t punting, they were throwing picks. 

I know I haven’t gotten to the score yet (it was a 10-3 win by Michigan) partly because it seems like, as stated, scoring wasn’t the point of this game. Over half the drives ended in punts, and no points were scored in the second half. Zero. Goose egg. In fact, in 11 drives of the second half, only three ended in something other than a punt: an Iowa INT, a Michigan missed field goal and the end of the game.

Want more? Iowa had only one rushing yard in 30 attempts. This is partly because, weirdly, sacks count against a team’s rushing yards and Michigan sacked Nate Stanley eight times. 

The only way this game could’ve been more Big Ten is if someone got a safety. 

At least you tried

In a world where we’re all just trying to feel something despite the inevitable collapse of the planet’s ecosystem and the dominance of the rich few over the lives of the many, we look to escape and find solace in something stupid that takes your mind off of the world for a moment.

In college football fandom, we want CHAOS (always in big capital letters).

Once again, not much was provided. A graphic during the Stanford vs. Washington

game popped up about “Ranked teams who lost today” and there were only four teams on there, and three of them lost to other ranked teams. (Sidenote, No. 15 Washington did end up losing to Stanford, but that barely counts because the Huskies have already lost a game).

But for brief moments this weekend, we had glimpses of hope in this sad and twisted world of college football, where the rich get richer and the majority of players in the game are getting exploited (hey! Sound familiar?). 

At one point, Kansas was beating No. 6 Oklahoma 7-0 (don’t check what the final score was).

A backup quarterback for Tennessee was really testing the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs for like a half. The Vols had a 14-10 lead in the second quarter...then didn’t score for the rest of the game to lose 43-14.

Those were very expected beatdowns. One potential bright spot and possibility for CHAOS would’ve been No. 4 Ohio State playing the No. 25 Michigan State Spartans.

See, the Spartans seem to have an uncanny ability to force the biggest and baddest teams in the Big Ten to play at a much lower level. They scrap, they force weird mistakes, they frustrate the teams and this scenario is made all the more deadly if you add a nice dash of rain in the mix. 

So when Sparty was frustrating the Buckeyes and stud quarterback Justin Fields to only a 3-0 lead after the first quarter, my interest was piqued, especially because MSU had already turned the ball over a couple times and Ohio State couldn’t make anything happen. Maybe if a freak rainstorm opened up in Columbus, Sparty would get their magical powers and be ready to make the Buckeyes at least look mortal.

Well the rain never came, and Ohio State romped to a 34-10 win and reached their full powers on offense as they finished with 323 rushing yards with over 6.6 yards per carry. Fields also threw for 206 yards and two touchdowns, and Sparty never had a chance. 

So the six-headed death monster of college football — Bama, Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio State and LSU — are still all perfect and don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. On the bright side, there’s a lot of season left for some CHAOS; it’s very hard to go undefeated in college football and “you never know what’s gonna happen any given Saturday.”

On the other side, the talent gap between those schools and the rest of the country is incredibly high, Tua and Trevor both have another year at their schools, OSU had Fields at quarterback for two more years and Oklahoma will find another Heisman-level grad transfer. There’s not going to be much room for the rest of college football to break in for now, and that might mean that we still have to bow down to either Saban or Dabo. 

Can you tell it’s been a rough weekend? Hopefully we’ll find more positives next column. 

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