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Beyond the Fort: SEC defense just means more (points)

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NCAA Football: Syracuse at North Carolina
Brown and Howell have the Heels ahead of schedule.
Pool Photo

Remember when it was Mack Brown’s fault down in Austin? Well, the long time Longhorn head coach has his Tarheels sitting in the Top 5 of the AP Poll, something they haven’t done since 1997 — when he was the head coach of the Tarheels. Brown is keeping things in perspective though, as these October polls mean even less than usual in the most unusual of seasons. “Does [the No. 5 ranking] mean anything? No, not really,” Brown said Monday. “I’ve always told the players that until the College Football Playoff polls come out, probably be in November this year, that’s the first time I even look at the polls. Because that’s when everybody has a resume, we know who’s good and who’s not. We’ve got a few teams right now that everybody thinks are ‘great’ and then the rest of us are a lot alike.”

The polls might become even more meaningless if the majority of the Power Five gets their way; a recent survey conducted by the Knight Commision, a longstanding independent group that promotes reforms that support the educational mission of college sports. The commission’s survey, conducted from June 18 to July 14, produced a 180-page report that provides a window into the thinking of NCAA leadership. The survey found that 40% of the more than 350 college presidents, conference commissioners, athletic directors, college athlete leaders and institutionally designated faculty athletics representatives and senior woman administrators polled were dissatisfied with current NCAA DI governance, with 61% preferring to break away from DI and form their own division, consisting solely of Power Five programs.

Speaking of things about to implode, did you see how Auburn vs Arkansas ended Saturday? Auburn was down 28-27 in the final seconds against Arkansas and in field goal range. With the clock winding down, Tiger QB Bo Nix fumbled the snap, picked it up, turned, and spiked the ball behind him to stop the clock.

Arkansas recovered what technically was a live ball after Nix fired it into the ground, and that should’ve been it. After a review, it was ruled intentional grounding on an incomplete pass, Auburn ball, field goal, ball game.

The official explanation?

That’s not great, Bob!

Other things not great? SEC defenses, all of a sudden, now that they’ve injected smart offensive coaches and good quarterbacks into the league!

Last weekend, the SEC did something they had never done. In fact, they did several somethings. Let’s go to Max Olson of The Athletic:

Add it all up, and Saturday was a record-setting day for the SEC in multiple ways. In seven conference games, SEC teams averaged 33.8 points per game. According to data from Sports Reference, that’s the highest-scoring day in conference play in SEC history (minimum five games). The SEC also set single-day scoring records in conference play for the most teams scoring 40 points (seven), 30 points (nine) and 20 points (12).

There were high-scoring shootouts all over the league, including Alabama’s 63-48 win over Ole Miss, Mizzou’s 45-41 upset over reigning national champs LSU, and the Aggies 41-38 come from behind win over Florida (congrats on the seat-cooler, Jimbo!). That’s what happens when you let Mike Leach into your conference, I guess.

At least they are playing football, which is more than we can say about our friends 90 miles south on I-35. Baylor has been forced to delay their scheduled game with Oklahoma State this weekend, and will not meet the Pokes in December. The program was hit with 28 positive COVID tests among their football team, and 14 more on the coaching staff. We have seen games get cancelled and delayed all over the country; TCU had it’s opener verses SMU pushed/cancelled because of a significant outbreak in its program. That’s bound to happen. But Baylor had to Baylor things up, and blame... West Virginia? for the outbreak.

Rhoades said his team was “really spaced out well” on the team flight and bus rides and was compliant in wearing masks and goggles in transit. He speculated that spread could have occurred during team dinner the night before the Oct. 3 game or in the visiting locker room at West Virginia’s Milan Puskar Stadium, citing “very cramped quarters.” Most visiting college football locker rooms are smaller than the home teams’ locker rooms.

“That’s where we’ve narrowed it down to,” Rhoades said. ‘We think that’s the likelihood of how this started.

WVU has played three games this season, two of which happened at their home field. Eastern Kentucky was able to play their next scheduled game after traveling to Morgantown — though it was two weeks later — and the Mountaineers reported zero negative tests after playing the Bears. That means that either Mack Rhoades is right and a false negative test resulted in a spread (but it wasn’t because of the locker room, buddy — and if no one from WVU tested positive, well...) or some procedures were not properly followed. Whatever it is, the most important thing is the health and safety of the 42 folks impacted, who we sincerely wish a full recovery and no long-term impact.

It’s just the most Baylor thing to blame someone else .