By: Nate Gatter, KCOU Sports
“S-E-C, S-E-C, S-E-C”. The world’s most ignorant and pointless chant echoed around Faurot Field after the Missouri defense forced an Indiana three-and-out to open the game. “Hoosier Daddy? Hoosier Daddy?” The Hoosier fans responded in kind after Indiana clinched its 31-27 victory over (18) Missouri. Forget a lackadaisical effort from the Missouri offense, Indiana dominating the trenches on both sides of the ball, and Gary Pinkel sucking his thumb for 20 seconds before realizing he might want to call a timeout. The worst blunder of the day came from chanting “S-E-C,” only for Missouri to be tossed aside by an Indiana team that surrendered 45 points in a Week 3 loss to Bowling Green. Yes, the same Bowling Green that lost to Wisconsin, a team ranked one spot below Missouri, 68-19 on Saturday.
I’ve never understood the S-E-C chant. SEC schools seem intent on giving undue credit to some of their greatest rivals when, in fact, the credit is only due to one school. Why did Missouri fans feel the need to include South Carolina and Florida in its first quarter defensive stop? Why do Alabama fans continually credit Auburn and the rest of the conference for its national dominance? There is no disputing the supremacy of the SEC in college football, but I failed to notice Georgia defenders on the field helping the Mizzou defense with its three-and-out. The groupthink mentality of the SEC becomes more apparent every season, while its overconfidence has grown to the point of losing at home to one of the worst Power Five teams of the year. To Southeastern Conference fans everywhere: If you’re going to chant, make sure you do not do so immediately before laying an egg on national television, and please try to remember which of the schools in the SEC you cheer for instead of inadvertently cheering on your biggest rival and making fools of yourselves in the process.
Revisiting the Week 4 Preview and Picks
(5) Auburn @ (20) Kansas State
Predicted Final: Auburn 41, Kansas State 21
Actual Final: Auburn 20, Kansas State 14
Not the best start to the week’s picks on Thursday night, as the Auburn offense’s missed opportunities almost came back to haunt Gus Malzahn’s Tigers in the Little Apple. Give credit to Bill Snyder’s defense, however, for playing Auburn as well as Florida State did in last season’s national championship game with half the athleticism to work with. The Wildcats were disciplined throughout the game, but they came up just short.
Iowa @ Pittsburgh
Predicted Final: Pittsburgh 24, Iowa 10
Actual Final: Iowa 24, Pittsburgh 20
The only missed prediction of the week was a product of Kirk Ferentz’s sudden realization that college football teams have passed the ball on a regular basis since the early 20th century. The Hawkeyes’ longest play from scrimmage on the season thus far, a 62-yard third quarter connection between backup QB C.J. Beathard and wide receiver Damond Powell, set up Iowa’s first lead of the game, and it didn’t look back. Not a bad Saturday for the Big Ten by its 2014 standards, and Iowa could contend in the West if it keeps up a semblance of a passing game. There was no reported injury to starting QB Jake Rudock, Iowa fans will await the announcement of next week’s starter under center.
Virginia @ (21) BYU
Predicted Final: BYU 34, Virginia 21
Actual Final: BYU 41, Virginia 33
Mike London’s Cavaliers are heading in the right direction. A valiant effort, even in losing to BYU on the road, validates the appearance of progress in Charlottesville. The ’Hoos look to be on track for eight or nine wins and a much-deserved bowl game this season. BYU improves to 4-0, but games against Utah State, Central Florida, Nevada, Boise State, and Cal remain between the Cougars and an undefeated record. According to ESPN, BYU has the best chance of any team in the FBS of finishing the season unblemished, but the Cougars will be playing under the pressure of a single loss eliminating them from playoff contention.
(4) Oklahoma @ West Virginia
Predicted Final: Oklahoma 38, West Virginia 27
Actual Final: Oklahoma 45, West Virginia 33
As predicted, the Mountaineers gave Oklahoma all it could handle in the first half, but Trevor Knight showed poise beyond his years in the second half, leading the Sooners to victory. If Knight consistently displays the level of play he demonstrated Saturday, Oklahoma will have legitimized itself as a playoff and national title contender, but it remains be seen if Knight has a flawless season in him.
(22) Clemson @ (1) Florida State
Predicted Final: Florida State 31, Clemson 24
Actual Final: Florida State 23, Clemson 17 (OT)
This pick is going in the trash; Winston’s suspension increase from a half to a full game came after press time. FSU kept the repeat dream alive with a hard-fought victory behind its tough defense and a good second half from Winston’s replacement, Sean Maguire. Dabo Sweeney’s aggressiveness was admirable; I loved the call to go for it on 4th and 1, although running out of the shotgun to pick up a single yard has always seemed counter-productive. Florida State’s win puts it and Notre Dame three wins away from a potentially monumental matchup of the old guard in Tallahassee on Oct. 17.
Florida @ (3) Alabama
Predicted Final: Alabama 38, Florida 14
Actual Final: Alabama 42, Florida 21
Our “Why The Hell Is This Game On National TV?” Game of the Week lived up to the hype, with the Tide rolling in the second half. Amari Cooper asserted his dominance, racking up more than 200 yards on the day and becoming Alabama’s new career receiving touchdowns record holder. The Florida defense showed its teeth in the first half, but couldn’t contain the Alabama passing attack well enough to hang close. Quarterback Jeff Driskel let Gator Nation down once again, completing only nine passes along with two interceptions, adding another line to his plaque in the Florida Hall of Shame while driving Will Muschamp onto the hottest seat in college football.
Through four weeks, your 2014 Heisman trophy winner is….
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Mariota completed 21 of 25 passes for 329 yards and five touchdowns through the air without throwing an interception and added 58 yards on the ground Saturday night against Washington State. The Ducks’ signal caller looked in command the entire game, taking advantage of Jameis Winston’s suspension to put more distance between himself and the 2013 Heisman winner. Oregon is idle next week before hosting Arizona in Eugene.
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
Cooper caught 10 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns in Bama’s 42-21 romp over Florida, bringing his season totals to 43 catches for 655 yards and five touchdowns. Alabama’s schedule has left something to be desired, but matchups against Ole Miss, Texas A&M, LSU, Mississippi State, and Auburn will answer any remaining questions.
Everett Golson, QB, Notre Dame
Notre Dame took this Saturday off, but the new-look Golson will hope to keep his early season momentum going when the Fighting Irish return to action against Syracuse at MetLife Stadium in Week 5. Golson has completed 64.6 percent of his passes for 780 yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions through the air through three games. He also boasts 83 yards rushing and four touchdowns. If Notre Dame is a legitimate playoff contender, it will rely heavily on Golson’s playmaking ability inside and outside the pocket.
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
So far this season, Gurley’s biggest enemy has been his own coaching staff. He ran for 73 yards Saturday against Troy on only six carries. In three games, the Bulldogs’ best player has only 35 carries, which he’s taken for 329 yards and four touchdowns. It seems 9.4 yards per carry would be welcome in SEC play, but whether his usage increases remains to be seen.
And so closes Week 4. Watch out for KCOU’s college football column next week, I will join you next for Week 7. Until Saturday…