10 things I’m absolutely overreacting to after Rivalry Week in the SEC

Let’s squash the rumors first, okay?

Lane Kiffin was not offered a columnist position on Saturday Down South. That doesn’t mean he won’t be, but it didn’t happen.

Source? Me. I’m the guy who hires these guys.

Now, whether Ohio State made it to Kiffin 7 seconds after their playoff dreams imploded in a brutal loss to Michigan is a question I can’t answer. (But if not, why not?)

Coaching chaos and a rapidly emerging playoff picture are just some of the 10 things I’m absolutely overreacting to after Rivalry Week in and around the SEC.

10. How many times has Nick Saban told you he wasn’t going to be a coach in Alabama?

It was a lot. Perhaps not as many times as he has beaten Auburn after becoming Alabama coach, but Saban repeatedly said during the most critical 38 days in Alabama football history that he would not become Alabama’s coach.

Saban is just the most famous trainer trying the old ending in the middle of a job fair.

So don’t be upset if Lane Kiffin (or any other coach) slams a TV reporter for reporting that Kiffin to Auburn was real, citing sources he (and his managers, I hope) believe to be credible.

And don’t blast the reporter either (as long as the source is properly verified, of course).

Other media also reported that Auburn spoke to Kiffin.

And Kiffin also covered himself all week when he could have just signed the extension sooner than Saturday.

Conclusion: Denial and feigned indignation are just as much a part of the job game as buying them up.

Keep that in mind as we get into the heart of Coaching Carousel Szn as it applies to every coach and every situation.

9. Hugh Freeze and the art of second chances…

Seemingly within minutes of news that Kiffin signed an extension to stay with Ole Miss, reports came in that Auburn was in contract negotiations with former Ole Miss coach/veteran rule-breaker Hugh Freeze. And has been for weeks, according to ESPN.

The best thing about NIL is that no one has to pretend character is a priority anymore.

Long live the show thing!

The hiring freeze cements that feeling.

Assuming it happens, Auburn gets a proven offensive guru on the field with a track record in college football’s toughest division.

How exactly did this happen? Irrelevant.

As long as Freeze is winning games and occasionally beating Alabama, no one cares about his baggage, broken NCAA rules, or his nefarious behavior.

It’s all part of the (new) process.

8. The B1G dream is over

Michigan hadn’t even put the finishing touches on an outright demise for Ohio State when Joel Klatt began making the case for the Buckeyes to make the playoffs, too.

Then B1G Commissioner Kevin Warren went 100 steps further out of bounds.

“One hundred percent,” Warren told ESPN on Saturday. “Michigan and Ohio State are clearly two of the top four teams in the country and I think today proved it. Great soccer game. Epic soccer game. Without a doubt, I think they are clearly two of the best football teams in the country.”

To be honest, Warren once suggested that the B1G play football in the spring, so producing clear thoughts in difficult times isn’t exactly a forte.

But please stop.

Michigan is a playoff suspension. But Ohio State lost on their home field by 22 points to the only good team they’d played all year.

There is no playoff path no matter how hard Joel, Joey and Kevin try to sell the virtues of an 11-1 season with a win over Notre Dame.

As I’ve said repeatedly, beating Notre Dame in week 1 with a new regime was so difficult that… Marshall beat Notre Dame in week 2 with this slightly more experienced new regime. And Marshall did it in South Bend too.

USC’s 11-point win over a much-improved Notre Dame squad on Saturday night was infinitely more impressive than OSU’s victory over the wide-eyed Irish in Week 1.

It’s over Buckeyes fans.

We were spared by 2 Big Ten teams making the playoffs.

7. The FSU victory says more about ACC’s problems than it does about SEC

First, owe the Seminoles a thoroughly entertaining 45-38 win over the Gators.

But understand that No. 16 FSU did exactly the same thing as Vanderbilt: Beat the exhausted Gators on their home field with a single touchdown. Nothing more.

This was no proof that the ACC could compete with the SEC’s best.

It was actually the opposite of that. This was proof that the second-best ACC team was marginally better than a team that went 3-5 in the SEC.

The fact that the ACC Talking Heads spent Saturday filming this as their crowning achievement speaks to their status as the perpetually offended little brother.

At this point, even mentioning the fact that South Carolina defeated the ACC’s best team, Clemson, or Kentucky, Louisville, again feels like unnecessary harshness.

The bottom line is this was the worst year for ACC football since 2012.

The faster you accept this fact, adapt and improve, the better for everyone.

6. 6 remarkable numbers

6: How many SEC coaches will make at least $9 million next season, according to ESPN. The List: Nick Saban, Kirby Smart, Jimbo Fisher, Brian Kelly, Lane Kiffin, Mark Stoops.

83: The most combined points in a game between FSU and Florida. Frankly, given how explosive those offenses were during the glory days of the rivalry, this nugget surprised me.

4: How many teams from Mississippi State have surpassed this season (Arizona, Texas A&M, Alabama and Ole Miss).

3: The number of times Kai Kroger of South Carolina Clemson pinned from within his own 5-yard line. None was taller than his last boot, a 63-yarder who came to a halt at the Tigers’ 3-yard line, with the Gamecocks holding on to a 31-30 lead at 4:19.

15: The number of consecutive 10-win seasons Alabama has had. That’s ridiculous.

3: That’s Auburn’s APR ranking among 5-7 teams, meaning the Tigers are still in position to take a bowl bid. Two 5-7 teams are already in the bowl field. Auburn is next in line. If Buffalo (5-6) loses to Akron (2-9) next Friday, the Tigers will add a bowl bid.

5. Ranking of Power 5 Conferences

  1. SEC
  2. Pac-12
  3. big ten
  4. big 12
  5. Acc

4. The 4 playoff teams are…

1st Michigan, 2nd Georgia, 3rd USC, 4th TCU

The Wolverines looked versatile and dominant. Georgia continued an enigmatic tendency to downplay its competition for long stretches.

USC took out another ranked team, this time destroying the Golden Domers. TCU dominated as expected.

Alabama? The Tide have lost 2 games, both against top 10 teams on the road, with a total of 4 points. I’d put them 5th, ahead of Ohio State, who just got blown out at home. And yes, before LSU, who just lost for the third time.

Does the tide have a way? Only if chaos ensues next weekend in the form of a big TCU loss in the Big 12 title game and a USC loss in the Pac-12 title game.

3. Shane Beamer did something even Spurrier couldn’t do…

A week after the shock then-No. 5 Tennessee, South Carolina upset No. 8 Clemson on Saturday.

In the process, Shane Beamer became the first South Carolina coach in history to eliminate top 10 teams in consecutive weeks.

He won’t necessarily care. But he will look to end Clemson’s reign in this rivalry.

Saturday’s thriller ended Clemson’s 7-game winning streak in the series and also ended the Tigers’ 40-game winning streak at home.

2. Anthony Richardson and the $20 million question

As great as it would be to see Anthony Richardson chasing a Heisman in Gainesville next year, I think he threw his last pass in a Gators uniform.

The reasons to leave outweigh the only reason to return.

First of all, Billy Napier still hasn’t figured out how to build a game plan around Richardson’s unique abilities. That’s the most problematic problem in trying to gauge whether or why Richardson might want to return to Florida.

Does he really think Napier is the guy who will smooth out the rough edges and turn him into a shiny prospect?

That’s the goal, isn’t it?

That won’t happen, but if next year is all about development, Richardson would be better off moving to USC — where he’d sit behind Caleb Williams but would also learn daily from a legitimate QB whisperer in Lincoln Riley.

Remember all the questions surrounding Jalen Hurts the passerby? They seem silly now, but they were real when Hurts left Alabama for Oklahoma. Riley helped Hurts fix the bugs.

Game reps are important, but coaching that position is even more important.

I’m not convinced Richardson would be better off a year from now if he spent another year in Napier’s system to attend to this collection of average recipients.

His arm talent screams for a top 10 pick in this year’s NFL Draft, which comes with a four-year, $20 million contract. At least.

Above all, Richardson must go where he can develop best.

I think that’s the NFL.

1. Never change, Buckeyes fans

I get it. Ryan Day just lost to Michigan for the 2nd time in 2 years.

Urban Meyer never lost to Michigan.

But this? The screams to fire Day and reinstate Meyer?

Fans like this make it easy to overreact. Thank you for another fun regular season.

Bring on the postseason.

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