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THE TOP WHATEVER: Georgia will destroy you without even reaching the 2nd page in the playbook

Ranking only the college football teams that absolutely must be ranked at this time.

AS ALWAYS, WE BEGIN WITH UNDEFEATED TEAMS THAT ACTUALLY PLAYED FOOTBALL THIS WEEKEND.

1. Georgia.

The best way to show the size of the giant asskicking pile the Georgia Bulldogs amassed in a 42-7 win over Florida: start with one small point. Jake Fromm, Georgia’s redshirt freshman quarterback, threw seven passes, not in one quarter, not in a half, but for the entire length of one regulation football game against a conference opponent and hated rival.

Unless you are Navy or another triple option team, let me tell you what throwing seven times in a 42-7 win means. It means one team beat the other team’s ass so badly, they didn’t even have to get up off the couch to do it. It means Georgia saw Florida getting Georgia’s last beer out of the fridge, and without really waking up, winged the remote control all the way across the house and into Florida’s temple. The remote control came flying back like the hammer of Thor, of course.

Note: This is the only superpower I can see any Georgia fan really wanting that doesn’t involve golf.

This meant that without even looking at the rest of the box score or watching the game, the Bulldogs probably ran the ball at will. (They did, for 292 yards and 4 TDs.)

It meant that at no point did the Georgia defense allow the Gators’ offense to change the pace. (They did not. Florida’s putrid offense flailed so badly that it might have contributed significantly to firing Florida’s head coach.)

I don’t think it’s just because they play in the burnt-out shell of what used to be the SEC East and are the last unvandalized mansion on the block. Georgia is 8-0 because it’s ridiculously disciplined, well-coached, and unlike a thousand other teams in the country, build around its ingredients.

The Bulldogs have two outstanding running backs and a young QB. Guess what they do? They run the ball with those two backs, block well, and don’t ask Fromm to do too much yet. The Georgia defense? Y’all, just watch how they read and react, and see what simple, systematic teaching can do to free up defenders to make plays without getting too deep in their own heads.

They’re smart. That’s a word the entire state of Georgia has a problematic relationship with, but the truth is that this isn’t UGA’s full potential. This is an intelligent, managed team playing clean, brutal football.

P.S. I don’t even think this team is much more talented than a lot of the teams they face yet. The bulk of what Georgia could be is still in the mail, growing in the weight room in the form of incoming recruiting classes and underclassmen. Doubt this, and ask yourself why Florida tossed Jim McElwain on the curb, free to a good home, and why Tennessee is going to rehome Butch Jones any day now. This is good, but there is much more coming, and everyone in the SEC East knows it.

2. Iowa State Wario.

Iowa State has two losses, so by the standards of the Top Whatever, they can’t make the undefeated rankings. But you know who can? IOWA STATE WARIO.

TCU v Iowa State
Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images
THEY’RE A-GONNA WIN

So much came together here:

  • the extremely smart hiring of Matt Campbell from Toledo
  • an historic upset of TCU in Ames, the second time an undefeated team has tussled with the Clones and come away bloodied
  • the decision made by this fan to not only dress up as the finest Nintendo character ever for Halloween,
  • but the EXCELLENT decision to wear that costume to the game and then onto the field in celebration
  • and the photographer, David Purdy, realizing the greatness of this moment.

3. Miami.

Tighter win than expected in a 24-19 victory over UNC, but remember: Miami is the kind of team where every game sort of comes out to 24-19, no matter the opponent.

The things to be concerned about remain the things to feel good about. The Hurricanes can’t run the ball, so they have to rely on QB Malik Rosier for production. Rosier put up 350 yards and two TDs in a win, so it continues to be a strength.

The Miami defense gave up 27 first downs to North Carolina, continuing a streak of allowing opposing offenses to move the chains on the Canes. On the other hand, the Miami defense forced four turnovers and is riding a serious streak of turnover luck, soooo …

Here we are, pointing out that Miami seems to be 2017’s Lucky But Also Good Team, and that’s fine. Miami’s 7-0 and winning where it counts: on the scoreboard and in the standings. The Canes are not just good enough to make opposing coaches mad, but make them mad at the otherwise completely inoffensive Mark Richt.

P.S. I hope Richt told Larry Fedora to “stay blessed.” That would be 10 times more infuriating than any profanity he could have thrown back at him.

4. Wisconsin.

24-10 over poor, poor Illinois. Warning: The footage below may be too erotic for some readers.

You: Wisconsin’s schedule is weak, and they’re not overly impressive

Me: 8-0, and an offensive lineman reminded the world what real joy is. Also, no one has to worry about justifying a thing with Wisconsin. They win in the Big Ten Championship Game and they’re in; they lose, and they’re out, via some pretty comfortable justifications regarding that strength of schedule.

Also, why are you bringing up stuff they can’t control, and not appreciating the fine, fat-dude thuggery of this team’s excellence? All Wisconsin wants to do is drop that ass on other teams’ heads for four hours. Let them revel in their plodding greatness before tangling them up with the Ohio States of the world.

5. UCF.

Beat FCS Austin Peay, 73-33. It’s a cupcake game, but thankfully someone still believes in testing to see whether all the numbers work on the scoreboard. UCF is now the only undefeated non-power team after USF lost to Houston. If the Knights win out, they’ll be that team looking to blindside someone in a New Year’s Day bowl.

DID NOT PLAY THIS WEEK BUT IS PROBABLY THE REAL NUMBER ONE. PLEASE REMEMBER THAT I DO NOT RANK TEAMS THAT DID NOT PLAY, ALABAMA FANS WHO WILL EMAIL ANYWAY

Alabama. Probably the best team in the nation, but also definitely on a bye. Nick Saban definitely spent it horsewhipping his staff into watching 70 hours of footage of LSU’s jet sweeps.

ONE-LOSS TEAMS TO CONSIDER FOR PLAYOFF-TYPE THINGS

Notre Dame. Disassembled NC State, 35-14.

This is a safe space. Admit how fun it is to watch Notre Dame lean on teams until they collapse. Talk about how satisfying it can be to watch Josh Adams run the ball. Okay, don’t talk about that one too much, because Irish fans will flood your mentions about how you’re not respecting Adams enough, even though you’re talking about how good he is? (I don’t know, the Yankees are out of baseball’s postseason, and Duke basketball has started yet, and they’re bored or something.)

It’s not aerial circus pretty. But beauty takes a lot of forms, reader, and it’s important to appreciate them all.

That’s mean and admirable, but the real story is the Irish defense. They held NC State to a piddling 50 yards on the ground and harassed talented Wolfpack QB Ryan Finley into irrelevance for much of the game.

For those just remembering that they are Notre Dame fans: Talk about the underrated defense, and hold off on buying that Warriors jersey for a few weeks, and you’ll continue to pass as a Real Human Sports Fan for a bit longer.

Oklahoma. Beat Texas Tech, 49-27. Hopes Iowa State beats everyone for the rest of the regular season, frankly, and doesn’t care who knows it.

Ohio State. Handed Penn State its first loss in a 39-38 thriller. J.T. Barrett went 13-for-13 in the fourth quarter for 170 yards and three TDs and was evidently the best passer in the history of college football for a while. I can’t say for sure that Barrett in that game wasn’t the greatest quarterback to ever play football, and neither can you.

Clemson. 24-10 over Georgia Tech. Hey, QB Kelly Bryant seems to be moving just fine, and that’s nothing but good news for the Tigers’ prospects as they get back into the ACC and Playoff race.

Oklahoma State. Winners, 50-39, over West Virginia, and with Bedlam coming up this week, have a lot in their control re: further ambitions.

Washington. Ran the ball a whopping 58 times against UCLA in a 44-23 win because … because they could? Yes, because they could. See all comments about Georgia above for what that means about a team in a non-triple option context.

Virginia Tech. If they want to startle some people after a workmanlike, 24-3 win over Duke, beating an undefeated Miami and taking control of the ACC Coastal this coming week would be the way to do that.

TEAMS THAT LOST THEIR FIRST GAME THIS WEEK. PUT IT ON THE TRAILER, TAKE IT TO THE GARAGE, AND COME BACK NEXT WEEK

TCU. A 14-7 loss to Iowa State in Ames is a way more respectable way to fall off the wagon than it used to be, TCU. Take some consolation in that, and the rest of your schedule, which should keep you in contention for all kinds of things.

USF. Don’t watch how USF lost this game 28-24 to Houston. Just know that the Bulls gave up a fourth-and-24 pass for a first down on the final drive, then watched Houston QB D’Eriq King run 20 yards untouched for the winning TD. BAD. IT WAS VERY BAD FOR EVERYONE BUT HOUSTON TO WATCH. LIKE A CAR CRASH YOU SAW COMING BUT COULD NOT SCREAM TO WARN ANYONE ABOUT.

Penn State. Not their fault they lost 39-38; played best college football quarterback ever of the week.

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