As always, Nick Saban is way ahead of the curve.
In Week 2 when his Alabama Crimson Tide barely beat what we thought — and probably still think — to be a pretty average Texas team, we mocked its softness. How dare a college football powerhouse show signs of vulnerability?
But it’s 2022. More specifically, it’s the Monday following Week 4 of college football in 2022. As several top-25 teams showed us Saturday, it’s cool to be soft. Vulnerability, in many ways, is a strength.
Today, let’s open up about our shortcomings and embrace one another not for what we aren’t, but for who we are. After all, this is college football. And if there’s one thing college football fans are famous for, it’s their nuanced understanding of masculinity. Now man up and read, nerd.
Georgia (beat Kent State 39-22) looked mortal
Kent State did what neither Oregon nor South Carolina could do, scoring two entire touchdowns against Georgia. The Bulldogs already paid the Golden Flashes $1.9 million to play this game, but threw in three turnovers as an extra thank-you gift.
We probably won’t see too many Georgia games like this in 2022, but it’s nice to know the Bulldogs still have it within them to wildly underperform. I cannot wait for the SEC Championship.
Michigan (beat Maryland 34-27) sort of struggled against a real team
Quarterback JJ McCarthy looked rough in his first Big Ten start, but that’s completely understandable. Only the elite succeed against Maryland’s vaunted No. 98 pass defense, especially under the bright (day)lights of Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff.
Next week it’s off to Iowa, so McCarthy had better get ready. He probably only needs to throw for 80 yards and one score to win, but it’s trickier than it sounds.
Listen to our Week 4 Reaction Podcast
Clemson (beat Wake Forest 51-45) allowed six passing touchdowns
Turns out, all you have to do to shred the Tiger defense is make sure three of its starting defensive backs are injured, then run an offensive scheme so frustrating even your own fans hate watching it.
If Clemson’s defense doesn’t improve by next week, NC State may actually live up to a quarter of the hype it received in the preseason. Come on, Tigers. Do you really want to be the team that ignites the Devin Leary Heisman campaign?
USC (beat Oregon State) was kinda boring on offense
Quarterback Caleb Williams threw for fewer than six yards per attempt, while star wideout Jordan Addison only touched the ball three times. After months of having to be the strong one in the relationship, USC’s offense finally had its moment of weakness.
Looking horrifically out of sync on passing plays against a rough secondary isn’t great, but maybe the Trojans can finally rely on their defense. It’s not too much to ask that they force four turnovers every game, right?
Kentucky (beat Northern Illinois 31-23) allowed five sacks
Obviously, beating NIU by one score isn’t a great look for the No. 8 team in the nation. That said, have you seen quarterback Will Levis? This man is going to manifest his inexplicable first-round draft hype if it kills him, which it might if his offensive line keeps getting pushed around by MAC schools.
Oklahoma (lost to Kansas State) (again)
Aside from its annual goals of winning the Big 12 and maybe getting blown out in the first round of the Playoff, Oklahoma’s mission this year is proving it doesn’t need former coach Lincoln Riley. Four weeks in, the Sooners have done just that. They don’t need Riley to still field an explosive, talent-rich offense. They don’t need him to still dominate Group of 5 competition. And clearly, they certainly don’t need him to still somehow get run all over by Kansas State.
Arkansas (lost to Texas A&M 23-21) is an enabler
Frankly, Arkansas, how dare you? Yes, you gave a commendable effort across three riveting hours of football, but at what cost?
Every time you lose to Texas A&M, you encourage head coach Jimbo Fisher and his dreadful offensive play calling. Every second trailing the Aggies is another six-yard lob from quarterback Max Johnson. Every missed tackle is another five-star recruit going abysmally underused in the A&M offense.
You were supposed to be better than this, Razorbacks. If the alternative were any team other than Texas A&M, I wouldn’t have even been able to look at you.
Miami (lost to Middle Tennessee State 45-31) has a ways to go
In these sort of matchups, it pays to have a youthful yet experienced head coach who knows the region well and can inject swagger into a program at a moment’s notice. That’s why Middle Tennessee State rolls with 64-year-old lightning rod Rick Stockstill. This Mario Cristobal guy for Miami looks kinda scrappy, though. Maybe he’s got a Redbox bowl or something in his future.