Musing about Manziel, Bama, and more . .
Sunday morning coffee:
Don’t know about you, but I wore out my remote control Saturday. And then I dreamed about college football last night, mostly about what might happen when Manziel takes his Johnny Football show to Tuscaloosa this Saturday. Listen, I’m not counting the kid out. He is the truth.
I am left with these three impressions from Saturday:
• There is no reason, none whatsoever, Texas A & M’s Johnny Manziel should not be a leading candidate, if not the leading candidate, for the Heisman. The award goes to the most outstanding player in the country and it says nothing about the most outstanding upperclassman player. The kid has it all, including instincts that remind at least this writer of Joe Montana.
• The luck of the Irish has returned to South Bend, Ind. No way Notre Dame was supposed to win that game against 4-5 Pitt. The Irish are a really good team. Brian Kelly is an outstanding coach, and, yes, Notre Dame is still in the national championship hunt. BUT, the Irish aren’t in the same league with Alabama — or LSU for that matter. The speed differential is obvious.
• Every great team faces a moment of truth, a time when it stares down defeat. Alabama had that moment Saturday night. Bama’s winning touchdown drive was one for the ages, one that people will talk about for years and years. Given the circumstances, it was as good as it gets. Lost in the last-minute heroics of Alabama was the fact that LSU Zach Mettenberger came of age last night. He was outstanding.
Funny, how after 40-something seasons of watching Mississippi football, I find myself watching each weekend with the Egg Bowl at least in the back of my mind. I began this season thinking there was no way on turf that rebuilding Ole Miss, under first-year coach Hugh Freeze, could possibly hang with Dan Mullen’s much more experienced and deeper Bulldogs. Week by week, that opinion has changed, especially since the game will be played at Oxford.
I would have had State a 14- to 17-point favorite back in August. That’s down to 3, at best, now.
What do you think?
And, no, I have no answer for what has happened in Hattiesburg, other than it’s almost like a perfect storm. USM lost a four-year starter and star at quarterback and has started four different Qbs due to injuries and performance issues. The new coaching staff approaches the game far differently than the old one, and obviously the players have not adjusted. The schedule was front-loaded with all the far more difficult games in September and early October. Confidence was shattered. Nothing has happened to restore it. A talent vacuum exists on the defensive side of the football. Still, 0-9 in Conference USA is, well, unthinkable.