SEC defensive meltdowns headline 10 takeaways from Week 6 in college football

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Being a defensive coordinator in this era of college football was already somewhat of a thankless (albeit well-paid) job, but playing in the middle of a pandemic season has made it particularly stressful. 

Clemson stays at the top of Amway Coaches Poll



The lack of a real offseason conditioning program, the inability to spend as much time on fundamentals and the lack of practice tackling (in some cases due to social distancing guidelines) has undoubtedly left defenses even further behind offenses early in the season. 

Those factors will make it difficult to judge which defensive coordinators are doing a bad job this season and which have been dealt an impossible hand. But that’s not going to stop criticism from being levied against several high-profile defensive coordinators whose teams have really struggled so far this year.

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At LSU, it’s already fair to ask if hiring Bo Pelini to replace Dave Aranda was a mistake. At Florida, Dan Mullen seems to have an offense that can score on anybody but a defense that simply isn’t up to par for a team that wants to contend for the College Football Playoff. And at Alabama, 36-year-old coordinator Pete Golding has not impressed this season despite a lot of returning talent. 

a crowd of people watching a baseball game: Mississippi running back Snoop Conner (24) scores a touchdown as Alabama linebackers Will Anderson Jr. (31) and Dylan Moses try to stop him during their game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

© Bruce Newman, Handout via USA TODAY Sports
Mississippi running back Snoop Conner (24) scores a touchdown as Alabama linebackers Will Anderson Jr. (31) and Dylan Moses try to stop him during their game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

We’ll examine all of those situations in our 10 takeaways from Week 6: 

Alabama wins, but defense shows cracks

With a mask covering his face, it was hard to tell the level of seething


College Football Week 5 takeaways, from the shifting playoff race to Georgia’s dominant defense

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Six years of the College Football Playoff have produced 24 playoff bids. Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma and Ohio State have combined for 17 of them. This season, then, it was fair to assume once the Big Ten rejoined the fray and announced it would play later in the fall (Oct. 24) that these four teams would be your playoff front-runners.

With Oklahoma now standing at 1-2 and having lost back-to-back conference games for the first time since 2011-12, it’s also fair to say this list is down to three.

Between the Sooners’ implosion, a few other upsets and the announced return of the Pac-12 on Nov. 7, the CFP race has shifted quite a bit in just the past two weeks. Let’s look at which groups of teams are best poised to play for the title, even if our base assumption — Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State being untouchable — ends up proven true.

Potential Pac-12 champions

For obvious reasons, no conference’s CFP odds have improved more over the past couple of weeks than the Pac-12’s. Upsets have helped, but the biggest boost came from the conference simply announcing it would play in the fall. Funny how that improves one’s situation.

Wherever you stand on the “how many games should teams have to play to be considered for the CFP” debate, the mere existence of the debate suggests the Pac-12 could be dinged a bit by the fact that, barring cancellations, its champion will have played only seven games (six regular-season games, plus the conference title game). But it’s also fair to think an unbeaten conference champion will almost certainly get in. Which Pac-12 contenders have the best odds of getting to the finish line unscathed?

Pac-12 teams with best chance of going 6-0 in the regular season, per SP+:


Kiper & McShay – Early-season college football takeaways, plus expectations for Trey Lance’s lone 2020 start

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Well, we are a few weeks into the 2020 college football season, and we’ve already seen some exciting performances from top 2021 NFL draft prospects. The SEC has now begun its season, and the Big Ten isn’t far behind. What have we learned so far? Who has stood out? And what adjustments to draft class rankings need to be made based on the first month of college football?

Our NFL draft analysts — Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay — give their biggest takeaways from the college season to this point, and then name one early-season riser and one under-the-radar prospect to continue to watch. Plus, with North Dakota State set to play its only game of the season this Saturday, Mel and Todd explain what they are looking for from one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2021 class, Trey Lance.

What are your biggest early-season takeaways?

McShay: I’ll start with the No. 1 prospect on everyone’s board. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was in complete control against Wake Forest to start the season, completing 22 of 28 passes for 351 yards and a touchdown (and he added another pair of scores on the ground). After rolling up Citadel 49-0 a week later and then getting an off week, he carries a 91.9 Total QBR into this weekend’s home game against Virginia.

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His anticipation and accuracy are


College football Week 4 takeaways, from the high-scoring SEC to the Joe Burrow Index

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A Mike Leach team finished with more than 600 passing yards and single-digit rushing yards. Texas Tech roped a highly ranked team into some serious scoreboard explosions and fell short. Alabama was merciless. Oklahoma lost as a huge favorite to Kansas State.

The word “normal” has lost all meaning in 2020, but damned if Week 4 of the college football season didn’t return a heavy dose of normalcy to our senses. The chaos that only this sport regularly provides shook up the national title race and left us struggling to understand what to think about quite a few prominent teams. Let’s take stock.

The SEC: It Just Means Score

You can’t blame Georgia quarterback D’Wan Mathis for struggling so much in his starting debut: It was out of his hands. With what was happening elsewhere in the SEC, with a few scoreboards lighting up far more than normal, the universe demanded a sacrifice. Mathis’ miserable first-half performance — 6-for-14 for 20 yards, an interception and a sack — provided it before backup and former walk-on Stetson Bennett saved the day for the Dawgs.

Down in Mississippi, things were awfully prolific.

Florida 51, Ole Miss 35

The Gators and Rebels combined for 1,255 yards, 61 first downs and a point total that could have been even higher had the teams not settled for four field goal attempts.

Ole Miss’ Matt Corral went 22-for-31 for 395 yards and three scores, with one pick. When Florida safety Shawn Davis got ejected for targeting early in the game, Ole Miss went deep over the middle constantly because Lane Kiffin is a Spurrier-esque scab-picker. But Corral was easily the second-best quarterback on the day: Florida’s Kyle Trask went 30-for-42 for 416 yards and six TDs. He had days of time in the pocket, completed passes