College Football Is Back!

Damn there were a lot of moments from the weekend.

Jim Rome
September 03, 2019 - 9:44 am
Tennessee Vols

USA Today

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Week 1 of college football is finally over and what a week it was. It nearly ran a week, going from Thursday to Monday and not it seems weird to be here on a Tuesday and not see a college football game tonight.

Damn there were a lot of moments from the weekend.

How about Mack Brown beating his former assistant Will Muschamp in his first game back at North Carolina and getting emotional?

How about Jonathan Taylor and Wisconsin rolling over USF 49-0 on the road? I saw that game, surrounded by Badger fans, in Madison. And that was one hell of an experience.

And I know that everyone is going to want to jump to conclusions after week 1. And there is nothing more tired than doing that. There is nothing more overplayed than watching 60 minutes of football and declaring that Clemson is going to repeat. Or that Alabama is back. Or that Michigan is finally living up to the hype because they beat Middle Tennessee.

Don’t do that. You can never read too much into one game.

Then again, if you’re the Pac-12, it’s getting kind of hard not to. Forget reading too much into one game for one team, everyone knew the pressure on Oregon going into that game against Auburn. They weren’t just playing for themselves, they were playing for the entire conference. And they showed up well. Until the very end.

That was brass by Bo Nix, a freshman, and an absolute dagger to the chest for Oregon and the Pac-12.

And UCLA didn’t make things better by starting off the weekend with a loss at Cincinnati. And USC getting past Fresno State, but losing JT Daniels, is a blow as well.

But even worse than people jumping to conclusions about a team or a conference after one game, is people jumping to conclusions about the entire sport after one game and wanting to give out the Heisman on Labor Day weekend.

But that said, did you see Jalen Hurts? Let me repeat: did you see Jalen Hurts?

He transferred to Oklahoma in the spring, wins the job, and comes out in the first game and has a career-high 508 offensive yards and six touchdowns against Houston.

The guy practically arrived on campus a few minutes ago, hops out of the car, and starts running and throwing for TDs.

And I know that Houston’s defense needs work, but that did not look like a guy playing in his first game for a new team with new teammates and a new head coach.

Maybe the question shouldn’t be, did you see Jalen Hurts, but did you forget about Jalen Hurts? Because it feels like a lot of people did.

After, he was 26-2 as a starter at Alabama. And he was the SEC offensive player of the year as a freshman. And he did lead them to back to back national title games.

Don’t give the Heisman to Hurts just yet. Give it to Lincoln Riley and let him give it to whoever he wants. Remember when Baker Mayfield won it in Riley’s first season and everyone said, that’s cool, but can Riley do it again? And then Kyler Murray won it last year. And everyone said, that’s cool, but can Riley do it again? And Hurts went out and did what he did. Right now, if you’re the starting quarterback in Norman under Riley, you’re winning the Heisman Trophy.  

But there are two moments that really stuck out from the first weekend. One that I’m going to get into right now and one that deserves its own take.

The team of the week for Week 1 is Georgia State. This is a program that started in 2010. That went 2-10 last year. They were paid $950,000 to show up in Knoxville and be a tune up for Tennessee.

Instead, the Panthers went into Neyland Stadium and tuned up the Vols 38-30. Tennessee was a nearly four touchdown favorite and they got dump trucked.

There have been some bad moments in Tennessee football over the last two decades – like the Lane Kiffin Era, the Derek Dooley Era, and the Brady Hoke Games. But as bad as the shower discipline was under Dooley and as stupid as the turnover trashcan was under Butch Jones, Saturday was even worse. 

And don’t get this twisted. There was nothing weird or wacky about that. Georgia State didn’t get lucky, they got good. They were the better team. They punched Tennessee in the face, repeatedly, took the 950 grand, and went home with a W as well.

Head coach Shawn Elliott and his team absolute humiliated the Vols in their own house. And nothing summed it up better than two Volunteer defensive players taking each other out while Panthers quarterback Dan Ellington ran for a fourth quarter touchdown.

How bad was it? Here are some adjectives from Tennessee players after the game:

“Flabbergasted.” “Disgusted.”

Hate to say it guys, but there’s no reason to be flabbergasted. That was a beating that was coming to you. Georgia State just manhandled Tennessee and if the Vols couldn’t see that coming, that’s on them and nobody else. 

And nobody enjoyed that more than Shawn Elliott’s old boss, Steve Spurrier, who told Andy Staples: “They just thoroughly beat Tennessee. It wasn’t any fluke. There weren’t any fluky plays. They were 26-point underdogs, isn’t that right? Rocky Top might be Rocky Bottom for a week or two until they win one, I guess.”

How’s that taste, Tennessee? Georgia State dominates you and the Head Ball Coach clowns you on the way out.