More Overtime (cont.)
In April, Arkansas' John L. Smith experiment had the makings of a potentially fascinating season-long storyline. After just three weeks, it's already an unmitigated disaster -- and the blame falls squarely on the Razorbacks' one-year rent-a-coach.
Alabama's 52-0 rout in Fayetteville Saturday will go down as one of the lowest moments in Arkansas football history -- arguably more humiliating than the previous week's home loss to Louisiana-Monroe. No, the Razorbacks weren't expected to hang with the nation's No. 1 team. But you would have thought they'd at least put up a fight in front of their fans. Injured quarterback Tyler Wilson said as much when he marched into the postgame press conference and excoriated his teammates.
"Do I feel that we, at times, gave up out there? Yeah, absolutely," he said. "As a leader, it sucks to see people not do their jobs and things go wrong."
It's not Wilson's fault he couldn't suit up. He suffered an apparent concussion in last week's game, and concussions -- as you may have heard -- are a pretty serious issue these days. Smith, however, spent the week milking Wilson's injury as part of a ridiculous ruse. The coach admitted afterward that Wilson was ruled out Thursday, but Smith still went so far as having the concussed star suit up and throw passes with the first-team offense before kickoff.
Shockingly, Nick Saban was not fooled.
Going forward, however, Smith's biggest challenge won't be managing Wilson's health. It'll be keeping a team together that's preseason goals are all but shot and that already knows its coach won't be back next year. AD Jeff Long had no choice but to fire Bobby Petrino last spring, but he took quite an unorthodox route by replacing him with Smith, a former BCS-conference washout, and labeling him with a pre-emptive expiration date. Smith endured his share of low moments at Michigan State, but nothing he went through was nearly as embarrassing as what has transpired over the past two weeks at Arkansas.
Each week, I'll update my projected BCS lineup (as necessary) based on the latest week's games. Here's my current edition:
Title game: Alabama vs. Oregon
Rose: USC vs. Michigan State
Fiesta: Oklahoma vs. Clemson
Sugar: LSU vs. Texas
Orange: Florida State vs. Louisville
This week marks my first real shake-up -- though interestingly, it did not involve dropping either USC or Michigan State from their previous perches. For one, I had to flip Alabama and LSU. The Tigers have done absolutely nothing wrong, but after the clinics the Tide put on against both Michigan and Arkansas, I'd be outsmarting myself to not have them in the title game right now.
Meanwhile, the two-teams-per-conference limit, combined with the Big Ten's league-wide struggles, is making it awfully hard to fill that last at-large spot. A week after I slotted Virginia Tech there, the Hokies went and lost to Pitt. Yes, Pitt. BYU, my non-BCS dark horse, fell to Utah. Clemson gets the nod for now, even though it may well lose this weekend. However, even if that happens, Dabo Swinney's Tigers would still have ample opportunity to rise back into the top 14.
To refresh, this is a real-time top three Heisman ballot in which the only consideration is the players' performance to date. Neither preseason buzz nor the likelihood of a player actually of winning will come into play, but the quality of competition so far will.
This week's ballot:
1. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA: The nation's leading rusher posted consecutive 200-yard games before racking up 125 rushing yards last week against Houston.
2. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia: Though he didn't play last week, the star of Georgia's Week 2 win at Missouri has 3.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, an interception and 11 quarterback hurries on the season.
3. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: The sophomore has completed a ridiculous 81.8 percent of his passes for 855 yards, five touchdowns and no picks.
Note: My preseason favorite, Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas, sprang for another 220 yards on 10 touches against Tennessee Tech, but he's played three cupcakes. West Virginia's Geno Smith gets dinged for the same reason.
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