We are just two weeks into the 2018 college football season and things are already controversial in some areas. But, that is the nature of the game isn’t it?
Just last weekend, Clemson defeated Texas A&M 28-20 and did so on a controversial ruling by the game officials on a fumble near the goal line. When a Texas A&M player stretched toward the goal line, the ball came loose and went out of bounds. The question was did the ball go out of bounds before the goal line which would have given the Aggies the football at about the 1-yard-line or did it go out of bounds after it crossed the goal line in which case the Clemson Tigers would gain possession of the ball on a touch back at their 20-yard-line. The ball went to Clemson because of inconclusive video evidence to the contrary and because officials ruled the ball went past the goal line on the field. When the video does no show conclusively the call was wrong, the call stands.
For Clemson, that call may be the gift that keeps on giving. My question is what happens if There are four undefeated teams at the end of the season and a one-loss Texas A&M? Yes, I know this is a pipe dream of a scenario, but what if? Does the playoff committee have to make a decision between Clemson and Texas A&M – should Clemson be one of the undefeated teams? Does Texas A&M get in because the committee feels the call was in error? Does another team get canned from the playoffs to let Texas A&M in along with Clemson in hopes of a re-match? Well, never worry. It will not happen. There is no guarantee that had Texas A&M been given the ball at the 1-yard-line it would have scored. If it had scored, would it have made the two-point conversion and forced overtime? Could it have beaten Clemson in overtime? There are too many variables to say the one call took a win away from the Aggies. It did take a chance for a win away, but not the win itself.
Now, let us look at how the SEC stands after two weeks of play. Is this the best Power 5 conference in the nation? Looks like it to me. Of the 14 teams in the league, nine have perfect 2-0 records. The other five are at 1-1. It is the only Power 5 conference where every team has a win. None of the other four can make that claim at this point. So, here goes my take on the SEC as we head into Week 3:
Alabama – As long as the Crimson Tide has two quarterbacks with the talent of Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts, it looks as if the offense will score enough points to claim a victory in every game it plays – provided they continue to lead the team in the same manner they have the first two weeks. The defense has been the real surprise so far. Yes, there were some mistakes in the Louisville game and a couple against Arkansas State, but no one expected them to play as well as they have so far. Still, there is a real test coming this weekend when Alabama takes on undefeated Ole Miss – the team that has been a thorn in Nick Saban’s side in recent years.
Georgia – Okay, so South Carolina was not the game everyone expected it to be. Georgia hunkered down and blew the feathers off the Gamecocks. The loss of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel did little to stymie the Dawgs. D’Andre Swift lived up to his name. Jake Fromm was consistent in his play at quarterback as he was last season. The Dawgs are the team – besides Alabama – to beat.
Auburn – The Auburn Tigers romped past Alabama State as expected by rolling up over 400 yards on the ground in this easy victory one week after upsetting Washington and probably pushing the Huskies out of the playoff picture early. Guess who is not out of the playoff picture? Auburn. A win over LSU this weekend will push Auburn even closer to one of the four postseason spots early.
LSU – Okay, the Bengal Tigers of LSU have started fast and furious. Now the question is, will this last? We will see on Saturday.
Mississippi State, Kentucky, Missouri, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt are all unbeaten so far. Mississippi State and Kentucky have looked the best so far with Missouri, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss following closely.
The teams with 1-1 records are Texas A&M, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas. Texas A&M and South Carolina still have a chance to eke out eight or nine wins and get into a good bowl if they keep playing like they have. Arkansas and Tennessee have looked pitiful so far. I would think six or seven wins for each would be a blessing.
Well, there it is. The first two weeks are on the shelf. Week No. 3 will be over after Saturday and we will see what lies on top after the dust clears away. Somehow, I kind of expect Alabama, Georgia and Auburn to still be those teams on top of the pile.
Mark Clark is a local sports writer for
The Citizen of East Alabama.