Every Monday, Dr. Saturday editor Graham Watson looks back on the weekend that was and decides what she loved, what she hated (I have all the hot takes) and what she can’t wait to see again.
Welcome back, Bryce Petty
I’m not gonna claim it was my column on Petty’s dwindling Heisman chances that got him off the bench and in the game against Buffalo last Friday, but I know it totally was. As I wrote last week, Petty needed to come off the IR and get back into the Heisman race if he wanted to keep pace with his competitors.
And boy did he.
Petty completed 23-of-34 attempts for 416 yards and four touchdowns in his first game back after suffering two cracked vertebrae in his spine during the season opener against SMU. Petty missed last week’s game against Northwestern State and watched his backup, Seth Russell, throw for more than 400 yards in a half. That raised questions about whether it was Petty’s skill or coach Art Briles system that made Petty so good. But Petty quieted his doubters for now. Even though it was against Buffalo, it was still a quality outing. And now, he has a bye week to get healthy again before starting Big 12 play against Iowa State.
Hey, look, Arkansas beat a Power Five team
It was the moment Arkansas fans had been waiting for, a win against a team from one of the Power Five conferences. The Razorbacks ran all over Texas Tech to the tune of a 49-28 victory and the first win against a team from a major conference since beating Kentucky on Oct. 13, 2012. It also marked Arkansas’ first back-to-back wins since early October in 2012.
It’s not quite time to strike up the band and anoint Arkansas a legitimate SEC threat — we did all see what Auburn did to it in the season opener — but it’s play against the Red Raiders was light years ahead of any game it played a year ago and the chances of it being competitive in the SEC are much higher.
As for Texas Tech, well, things just ain’t been the same since they gave coach Kliff Kingsbury that contract extension.
Keep rowing that boat Western Michigan
This might be the second time Western Michigan has been mentioned in this column, but that’s because I’m just so darn proud of the way the Broncos are playing this year. And no, I have no affiliation to the team, but I am a big fan of coach P.J. Fleck and his rebuilding project.
The Broncos beat Idaho 45-33 to give them their first victory of the season and match their win total from a year ago. There’s no doubt this team is much better than last year’s squad and it could be poised for a nice little run in the Mid-American Conference this year. At the very least, the Broncos’ high-powered offense should be a good “over” pick for those gamblers out there.
THE HATE (hot takes a-plenty)
Why Rutgers fans, why?
In an attempt to create some sort of rivalry against Penn State for its Big Ten home opener this past weekend, Rutgers fans decided to use the Jerry Sandusky scandal as a way to mock Penn State.
Stay classy Rutgers. Kids are going to see that. How will you explain? pic.twitter.com/1irXadxL4Y
— Sandy (@TweetsfromSandy) September 13, 2014
What were these people thinking? Has common sense and common decency gone totally out the window? What if that was your child? These people should be shamed and should really look at their lives and wonder exactly what is wrong that would make them think something like that would be funny.
Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann apologized for the members of her fan base that participated in this ignorant behavior and for her social media gurus that decided to repost the photos on the school’s football Facebook page.
I guess this is the only thing to use when you try to make a rivalry out of one that doesn’t actually exist. The last time these two teams met before last Saturday was 1995 and Penn State owned a 22-2 edge in all their meetings. Oh, make that 23-2.
Someone explain Tim Beckman’s logic
I admire Illinois coach Tim Beckman for having a bright-side-of-life attitude, but when it makes you say dumb things publicly, no one wins.
After Illinois’ 44-19 loss to Washington last weekend, Beckman had two ingenious quotes:
“If you look at the second half, we won.”
“You take out 21 points on three plays and we’re in this football game.”
I don’t even need to point out the faulty logic in the first quote and in the second, well, you take out 21 points and Illinois still loses by four.
The Illini were manhandled by a better team, plain and simple. It’s not the first time and, after watching this team through three games this season, it certainly won’t be the last. Don’t try to put a spin on it. Don’t try to make everyone feel better. Just admit that you got whooped and move on. At least then, you don’t turn a bad loss into fodder for Monday morning jokes.
The struggle at Texas is real, ya’ll
Texas managed to do something I’ve never seen in a college football game — or any non-youth football game — mess up the coin toss.
Prior to Saturday’s game Between UCLA and Texas, the Bruins won the coin toss and elected to defer their choice to the second half. Texas was given the option to either receive the opening kickoff or go on defense. Most teams in this situation would receive the kick. The logic being that UCLA would receive the kick in the second half. But not Texas, no, it chose to kick the ball away and thus didn’t receive the ball during in either half.
The official even tried to explain to Texas captain Desmond Jackson that what he was doing was the wrong move and Jackson just stuck to script. UCLA received the ball to start the first half and to start the second half, something none of us might ever see again in our lifetimes.
Here was coach Charlie Strong’s response after the game:
"I said, 'What happened?' He said, 'I don't know, coach. I was just so hyped up.”
And we thought Strong’s biggest challenge was going to be changing the locker room culture. Apparently, he has to teach his guys the rules, too.
LET’S DO IT AGAIN
Oklahoma's first halves are must-see TV
If you’ve missed the first half of any Oklahoma game this season, you’ve missed dominance that has been so much fun to watch.
During their three games this season, the Sooners have outscored their opponents 55-0 in the first quarter and 82-10 in the first half. Tennessee’s touchdown in the second quarter last week was the first first-half touchdown the Sooners have allowed this season. Coach Bob Stoops has employed a strategy that puts his opponents in a deep hole early and then he really lets his defense hold down the fort in the second half. So far the strategy has worked because the Sooners have not faced a team that can match it offensively. But that could change this week when they travel to West Virginia, a team that is averaging 39 points per game. However, the Mountaineers also have allowed an average of 35 points to the FBS teams it’s faced so far.
How fun is the SEC East?
If last week’s games between South Carolina and Georgia, and Florida and Kentucky are any measure, the SEC East might be the closest contested divisional race of any major conference in the country. Those two games were among the most interesting of the weekend and really either one could have flip-flopped the winners and losers. With the exception of Vanderbilt, which needed UMass to miss 22-yard field goal to secure its first victory, every team in that conference appears competitive. In past years, it would be easy to say that one team was ahead of the others, but I don’t think you can say that this season, at least not yet. As of right now, Week 5, when almost every East team is playing another East team, is shaping up to be must-watch television.
Penn State in the College Football Playoff?
Anyone who was excited to see the NCAA restore Penn State’s bowl eligibility last week was probably downright giddy after the Nittany Lions defeated Rutgers to not only secure their first Big Ten win, but also get halfway to bowl eligibility.
And let’s be honest, Penn State might be the second-best team in the Big Ten East behind Michigan State. With the exception of the game against the Spartans, every game is totally winnable on the Penn State schedule. Could Penn State turn restored bowl eligibility into a spot in the College Football Playoff? No, get that thought out of your head right now. But this has the possibility of being the team’s first double-digit win season since 2009. I say that and watch it lose to UMass this weekend.
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