Welcome back to Overreaction Monday, where Georgia may be the best team on the globe, the Falcons are 1-3 in the AFC East and Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon is starting to get some attention.
Georgia (8-0 overall, 5-0 in SEC)
What happened: They exorcised the Florida demons with a 42-7 win over the Gators in Jacksonville.
What's next: The Bulldogs will be overwhelming favorites at home against South Carolina before traveling to Auburn the following week.
Overreaction narrative: "We're better than Florida! We're better than everybody! We should be No. 1!"
Reality check: No. Yes. Maybe. But it won't happen. I don't think. Georgia has a dominant defense and has shown it can control any game with tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Can the Bulldogs when a game with pass? That remains to be seen. More on that shortly. As for the big picture, the first college football playoff rankings come out Tuesday night. A case could be made that Georgia has a better resume than Alabama. Hey, the Colley Matrix -- is this a new Keanu Reeves movie? -- has Georgia No. 1. Then again, it has Central Florida No. 2 and Alabama No. 3. Moving on. The Dogs have beaten two ranked teams (Notre Dame, Mississippi State), and the win in South Bend, Ind., looks better every day. Alabama has played only one ranked opponent, Florida State, which wasn't quite the mess in that season opener that it is today. But three of Alabama's remaining four opponents are in the AP rankings: No. 19 LSU, No. 21 Mississippi State (road), Mercer, No. 16 Auburn (road). Georgia has two likely home wins (South Carolina, Kentucky) and two less certain road games (Auburn, Georgia Tech). Bottom line: I don't believe Alabama has done anything to disprove that it's the best team. But there's no telling what the 13 committee members are thinking and they've been known to pull some surprises in these early rankings. A big part of college football's uniqueness is the debate over rankings. Georgia and Alabama each have four games left before likely meeting for the SEC championship. Then there could be another debate: Should the SEC get two teams into the four-team playoff? One last thing: freshman quarterback Jake Fromm has done a nice job managing the offense and he has made throws when the Dogs needed them, including an early touchdown pass to Javon Wims. But Fromm was only 4-for-7 passing against Florida. If the Dogs get down in a game and they need Fromm to rally them, can he do it? That remains an unanswered question.
What happened: They ended a three-game losing streak -- overall and to the AFC East -- with a 25-20 win over the New York Jets in miserable weather in New Jersey.
What's next: The Falcons travel to Carolina for their first NFC South game of the season.
Overreaction narrative: "If they can beat the Jets, they can beat anybody!"
Reality check: Naaaw. The Falcons still displayed problems on both sides of the ball, but gutting out an ugly win on the road showed something at a time when the team was desperate for a win. The offense was only 2-for-6 in the red zone. That's inviting a loss. A better opponent would've taken advantage of those lost points. Receivers had at least four dropped passes (granted, it was raining). Matt Ryan had four fumbles (losing two) and missed on some passes. Mohamed Sanu looked great. Julio Jones got free for a deep pass play (53 yards). Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian did a nice job taking advantage of the New York Jets' soft zone in the middle with passes to tight ends Austin Hooper and Levine Toilolo but he continues to under-utilize running backs Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman in the passing game. The defense did a nice job early, limiting the Jets to two field goals following Ryan's two fumbles (off center snaps from Alex Mack) and had a much better day defending the run. New York was limited. New York averaged 2.0 yard per carry. The pass rush looked better. Special teams were far better than at New England. Was this a turning point? We'll know more after the next three-game stretch: at Carolina, home vs Dallas, at Seattle. It has been a shaky start but Philadelphia (7-1) is the only team that has looked great this season.
Grady Jarrett, filmmaker
Georgia Tech (4-3 overall, 3-2 in ACC)
What happened: The Yellow Jackets lost at Clemson 24-10.
What's next: Tech travels to Virginia, which has lost its last two games to Boston College and Pittsburgh by a combined 72-24.
Overreaction narrative: "They've proven they're mediocre!"
Reality check: Actually, save a couple of last-minute mistakes vs. Tennessee and Miami, the Jackets could have been 6-0 going into the Clemson game. So above average. But the Tigers affirmed they're on another level from Tech, even if not as great as a year ago. Clemson drove to touchdowns on its first two possessions, and it might have been the first three if not for a fumble at the Jackets' 26 on the second drive. That was the game right there. Tech's run-heavy offense isn't built for big comebacks and the Jackets never really got a rhythm going. Paul Johnson's tidy summary : "I can’t explain it. But I think sometimes when you’re playing big, fast guys, the pucker factor comes in and you just, for whatever reason, you (make mistakes).” The Jackets should be a bowl team and they remain capable of upsetting Virginia Tech or Georgia (strange things happen in rivalry games). But given the changes on offense before the season a 6-5 or 7-4 wouldn't be a disappointment.
Georgia State (4-3 overall, 3-1 in Sun Belt)
What happened: The Panthers defeated South Alabama 21-13 Thursday night, their first win (in their second try) at the stadium formerly known as Turner Field.
What's next: A rivalry game at Georgia Southern next week against the winless Eagles (0-7).
Overreaction narrative: "Shawn Elliott was a great pick as head coach!"
Reality check: Yes. Maybe. We'll see. But first-time head coaches are always a gamble and Elliott, a former offensive line coach (and briefly interim head coach) at South Carolina, has done a nice job out of the gate at Georgia State. The Panthers lost their first two games of the season: Penn State (56-0) was expected, Tennessee State (17-10, at home) was not. But they've won four out of five since and with four games remaining have a good chance to become bowl eligible for only the second time. Elliott rallied the team after the 0-2 start, and again before the South Alabama game after the Panthers played poorly against Troy. That's a good sign. But ultimately his success will be defined by two things: 1) His ability to recruit (it's too early to judge); 2) His ability to create an exciting enough program to draw fans -- be it students, alum or the general public.
Kennesaw State (7-1 overall, 3-0 in Big South)
What happened: The Owls won at Presbyterian 28-0, their seventh straight win.
What's next: KSU is at Montana State next week.
Overreaction narrative: "Kennesaw State football will go far with Brian Bohannon!"
Reality check: The Owls are in only their third season but it's clear Bohannon, a former Georgia Tech assistant, has done a great job building the FCS program. KSU has a chance to win the Big South Conference and make the FCS playoffs, pending the result of its two remaining conference games against Charleston Southern and Monmouth. The Owls lead the nation (FCS) in rushing yardage (329.4 per game). It goes without saying he knows how to teach the option. So this is when things may get uncomfortable for KSU. The downside to success in sports is you can lose great coaches, and some FBS programs will come calling. One logical suitor: Georgia Southern. It fired coach Tyson Summers Oct. 22. Bohannon was an assistant in Statesboro from 1997 to 2001 (before following Paul Johnson to Navy, then Georgia Tech), the Eagles love the option and because they're a FBS program they can double what Bohannon is earning now. Summers' contract was worth at least $500,000 plus incentives annually. Bohannon's salary this season is about $255,000. One more possible factor in the equation: Vaughn Williams, the athletic director who hired Bohannon, left KSU during the summer for an associate AD job at Boston College. Navy running game coordinator Ashley Ingram also is among the rumored candidates at GS. Bohannon can stay at KSU as long as he wants but at some point he'll be looking for a new challenge ... and more money. And that could be soon.
Subscribe for free to the, “We Never Played The Game” podcast with the AJC's Jeff Schultz and WSB’s Zach Klein on iTunes or on the new AJC sports podcasts page.
- Georgia exorcises demons, dumps Florida and will soon be No. 2
- Weekend Predictions: Georgia huge favorite--another Halloween trick?
- Vince Dooley sees another championship in Georgia's future
- Vince Dooley podcast (audio): UGA has good chance to win title
- Falcons get drilled, problems far worse than Super Bowl hangover
- Steve Sarkisian knows Falcons' offense needs better production
- Weekend Predictions: Because it makes no sense, Falcons beat Pats
- Evander Holyfield to be honored with statue in Atlanta
- Budenholzer on changes: 'Coaching is most important thing I've done'
- Falcons dispute 'choker' label but late-game fizzles are a concern
- Overreaction Monday: Book therapy for 'Brotherhood,' parade for Dogs
- Georgia Tech, Johnson let another one slip away in loss to Miami, Richt
- North Carolina skates and NCAA's uselessness is confirmed (again)
- Weekend Predictions: Parlay: NCAA over Auburn, Johnson over Richt
- If Braves serious about cleaning up mess, they'll make changes at top
- Overreaction Monday: Dogs No. 4 -- they're in playoffs! (Not really)
- It's clear: Georgia (6-0) is really good and quarterback situation is settled
- Weekend Predictions: Georgia (Carrie) gets homecoming revenge
- Braves keep Snitker, because they don't need another inferno now
- John Coppolella never grew into job and damaged Braves need leadership
- John Coppolella resigns and Braves look like they're in disarray
- Overreaction Monday: Next two weeks will be telling for Georgia QBs
- Georgia has another lopsided win, and this team looks like real deal
- Arthur Blank, Falcons to have open discussion on race, protests