2012 College Football Week 8 Review, Analysis: LSU, Texas A&M, Florida, South Carolina and More
LSU 24, Texas A&M 19
Texas A&M's introduction to losing against Les Miles was particularly brutal, given the first half domination by the Aggies. All was going along swimmingly for A&M, leading 12-0 and LSU's offense was only producing Zach Mettenberger overthrows.
Then Johnny Manziel threw an interception. LSU slapped together a touchdown drive, aided by a pass interference penalty on a 3rd and 9, which gave the drive some momentum. On the next A&M possession, they fumbled the ball right back to LSU. This, of course, was soon followed by a perfect pass from Mettenberger, who had shown zero indication of any kind of accuracy, for a touchdown.
So, after dominating for nearly a half, A&M was losing 14-12 at halftime to a team that looked like Auburn for the first 25 minutes of the half. And in the second half, it further came undone when Manziel's accuracy went away (12-25, 2 INTs) and LSU got the knockout touchdown it had been playing for since the beginning of the half.
Still not sure why A&M went away from the run after its first two drives, which built a 9-0 lead. On those drives, the running backs put up 59 yards on 9 carries (1 TD) out of 23 total plays. On every drive after that, running backs never carried the ball more than twice. That put the game in Manziel's hands, which clearly works against the likes of Arkansas, Ole Miss, and Louisiana Tech, but not against a team with great speed in the defensive front.
LSU was outstanding at preventing massive green spaces from appearing in front of him and making him throw against tight coverage, which is not one of his strengths. This helped make up for the fact that LSU is now playing a statue of Jordan Jefferson at quarterback. Just once, I'd like to be a fan of a team that could literally start a koala at quarterback and it wouldn't affect the probability of winning the game.
Vanderbilt 17, Auburn 13
Late in the fourth quarter, with Auburn still clinging to hope down just 17-13 (with an assist to James Franklin), Jefferson Pilot announcer Dave Neal said something like "Coach Chizik told us yesterday that the plan was to hang around until the fourth quarter and then find a way to win it there."
This marks the first time in the history of our planet that a strategy such as that one has been used against Vanderbilt. So there's your update on just how poorly things are going at Auburn.
And if not for their head coach, who insisted on taking chances against an Auburn team that spent most of the day showcasing its ability to be horrible at offense, Vandebilt comes close to shutting out Auburn. James, heretofore referred to as Jimmy, Franklin decided to go for a 4th down TWICE in the second quarter (once at his 37 and once at midfield), both failed, giving Auburn a life-sustaining short field, and led to 10 points.
In Jimmy Franklin's defense, he's probably not used to being favored against an SEC team and coached the first half like a standard Vanderbilt SEC game, which includes shitting the bed at the worst possible time.
Florida 44, South Carolina 11
Les Miles plans to sue the University of Florida for copyright infringement after watching Florida blatantly and willfully steal his manual for winning games. Florida was outgained 191-183, averaged 1.9 yards per rush (89 yards on 48 carries), threw for 94 yards, and had 74 yards in penalties.
Out of that mess, they won by 33, threw 4 touchdown passes, and brought out exasperated Steve Spurrier, followed by silent angry-smirk Steve Spurrier, who is a cousin of silent, raging-smirk Steve Spurrier. All are part of the Spurrier emotional family and dearly loved around here.
And we should get to see more of the Spurrier faces over the next few weeks because Connor Shaw has been confirmed as NOT GOOD. This also means Dylan Thompson will get several chances, given the speed at which Spurrier changes quarterbacks, to show that he too is firmly in the NOT GOOD category.
Georgia 29, Kentucky 24
How does a team put up 504 yards of offense, throw 4 touchdown passes, commit NONE TURNOVERS, and only give up 329 yards of offense win by just 5? Give credit to The Mark Richt Foundation, a program specifically devoted to making sure whoever is coaching at Kentucky stays employed. Observe:
Georgia 19, Kentucky 10
Georgia 44, Kentucky 31
Kentucky 34, Georgia 27
Georgia 42, Kentucky 38
Georgia 24, Kentucky 13
Kentucky 24, Georgia 20
Those are the scores to the Georgia/Kentucky games going back to 2006. Zero blowouts and two Kentucky wins in a series that, based on recruiting rankings, fan support, cash money, facilities, and every other significant advantage your brain can think of, should never, never be remotely close. A swell guy that Mark Richt.
Mississippi State 45, Middle Tennessee State 3
Troy. South Alabama. Middle Tennessee State. All vanquished this season by the Bulldogs, your 2012 Sun Belt Conference champions. I look forward to Mississippi State's run at a SWAC conference title next year. With all the championships Dan Mullen can now claim, they're gonna need a bigger trophy case.
Alabama 44, Tennessee 13
I know he hasn't faced a good defense all year, but the sternum-tattooed man, AJ McCarron looks more like a quarterback and less like a robot programmed to hand the ball off or throw to a tight end on a five-yard out. He's yet to throw an interception and now has 16 touchdown passes, while creating very few, if any, volcanic eruptions from Nick Saban. I thought McCarron was great in the national championship game last year, but assumed that was a one-time deal. This world frightens and confuses me.
Double Your Paycheck Picks
Week: 4-2 (.667)
Season: 34-27-1 (.548)
2012 Jevan Snead Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Quarterbacking Failure Leaderboard
Awarded to the SEC quarterback who throws the most interceptions during the regular season
A new leader this week! Sadly, Kiehl Frazier is probably out of the race, but with Johnny Manziel closing fast, this could be an exciting three-way battle down to the wire.
1. Tyler Bray 9
2. Kiehl Frazier 8
2. Bo Wallace 8
4. Johnny Manziel 6
5. Maxwell Smith 4
5. Aaron Murray 4
5. Zach Mettenberger 4
5. Connor Shaw 4
9. Brandon Allen 3
9. Corbin Berkstresser 3
9. Tyler Wilson 3
9. Morgan Newton 3
9. Clint Moseley 3
14. James Franklin 2
14. Jalen Whitlow 2
14. Jordan Rodgers 2
17. Jeff Driskel 1
17. Dylan Thompson 1
17. Tyler Russell 1
WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO THIS WEEK
Ole Miss at Arkansas
Will Hugh Freeze line up in shotgun on a fourth and short for the third straight game? Will a white-hot-against-really-bad-teams Arkansas team continue that success against a mediocre-ish team? Will this game remind Arkansas fans to write (in crayon) an indignant, poorly spelled letter to Jeff Long about playing a game in a dump of a stadium in Little Rock?
Florida at Georgia (Jacksonville)
Will Mark Richt carry on the tradition of losing to Florida? Will Jacksonville reduce its natural stench by 25% to meet minimum federal air quality requirements? Will Will Muschamp recover from voice immodulation issues?
Mississippi State at Alabama
Will the Sun Belt champs (NEVER RETIRING THIS JOKE THAT'S NOT EVEN A JOKE ANYMORE BECAUSE I'VE BEAT IT INTO THE GROUND) be able to adjust to the speed of a non-bad team? Will Dan Mullen say something about the Cleveland Browns this week (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE)? Will Tyler Russell quickly learn that holding the ball for any length of time will get him killed against the Alabama defense?