Three-Point Stance: Coaching comparisons, no-brainers, stock report
Rivals National Columnist Mike Farrell is here with a comparison of some SEC coaching jobs this season, 10 things that are normal this season in an abnormal 2021 and five players whose NFL Draft stock has risen.
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1. SEC COACHING COMPARISONS
A few coaches are gone from the SEC at the end of this season but there have been some solid jobs done by many. Here’s a comparison of a few coaching jobs for 2021 only.
Nick Saban vs. Kirby Smart — No one is better than Saban, right? Well, Smart has been better this season and it’s not really close. Alabama has struggled with a few teams and has played down to opponents which is rare for a Saban team. Smart's Georgia squad has lived up to the hype.
Lane Kiffin vs. Mike Leach — The Egg Bowl is tonight and that will help settle things. Ole Miss has lived up to expectations but Mississippi State has been better than many expected. Give me Kiffin here, but it’s close.
Jimbo Fisher vs. Bryan Harsin — Why this matchup? I would have used LSU but Ed Orgeron is gone. Fisher has done a much better job overall than Harsin and I know the latter is jumping into a new situation. But Fisher has had to overcome a quarterback injury.
Mark Stoops vs. Shane Beamer — Kentucky started off strong but lately South Carolina has won some unexpected games. For this season alone I’d give the nod to Beamer as no one expected the Gamecocks to be bowl eligible.
Eli Drinkwitz vs. Sam Pittman — Not even close, right? Missouri has won some unexpected games and is bowl eligible, and the matchup between these two teams this weekend will be big. Give me Pittman right now as he’s had the Razorbacks this season.
2. EXPECTATIONS MET
Tuesday I talked about the shocking developments from the 2021 season but there is also comfort in watching things unfold as expected. Here are 10 things we saw this season that did not surprise us at all.
1. Wisconsin finds a stud running back - Last year, one of the stranger things in college football was that Wisconsin didn't have an elite back. Jalen Berger showed some promise as a freshman but wasn't the big-time back that we had become accustomed to seeing out of the Badgers. Well, here we are and things are back to normal, as Wisconsin has again found itself a monster in the backfield. True freshman Braelon Allen has taken the Big Ten by storm and looks to be the present and future of the position. He's second in the nation in yards per attempt at 7.6 and is demolishing everyone in his path.
2. Ohio State's offense is firing on all cylinders - The Buckeyes got off to a bit of a rocky start, but they got rolling and are now the scariest offense in all of college football. Quarterback C.J. Stroud has turned into the guy we all thought he was going to be, and their top three receivers are the best trio in the country. There is no stopping them right now.
3. The Pac-12 won't be in the College Football Playoff - The Pac-12 hasn't sent a team to the CFP since 2016 when Washington went and was thoroughly beaten by Alabama, and this year will be no different. After Oregon lost to Utah last weekend, the conference's shot at finally ending the drought was over. There's always next year, though.
4. Texas is losing big games - The Longhorns had some renewed hope with the hiring of Steve Sarkisian, and some big pickups in the transfer portal like Keilan Robinson. They lost early to Arkansas and have completely fallen apart after a tremendous first half against Oklahoma.
5. The coaching carousel is in full effect - Every year coaches are getting fired earlier and earlier, and this season was no different. USC dismissed Clay Helton in September and, after that, the race was on. Since then, we've seen LSU, Florida, Texas Tech, TCU, Washington and Washington State get rid of their coaches, and that's just from the Power Five. It’s going to to be a wild offseason with all of these openings.
6. Miami is all bark and no bite - Every season there always seems to be hype surrounding the Hurricanes and, every season, they inevitably let us down. D'Eriq King was rushed back after surgery when he wasn't 100-percent healthy yet, and they've gone on to disappoint once again.
7. The single-season quarterback rating record will be broken yet again - For the sixth consecutive season, the single-season passing efficiency record will be broken, this time by Grayson McCall. Russell Wilson broke the record in 2011, but since 2016, it has been set by Baker Mayfield, then Mayfield again, then Tua Tagovailoa, then Joe Burrow, then Mac Jones last season. But the big difference is that McCall is going to shatter it. Wilson set the record at 191.8, and it's gone up 11.3 points since then. McCall is on track to break it by more than 15 points.
8. A quarterback is putting up ridiculous stats under Mike Leach - Will Rogers leads the nation in pass completions, attempts, completion percentage, and is second in yards behind Western Kentucky's Bailey Zappe. The Air Raid never dies.
9. There's a great out-of-nowhere team in the Group of Five - UTSA was an afterthought in college football until this season. Now, Jeff Traylor has his team on the brink of an undefeated season and, if the cards fall right, a major bowl game. Great stuff from the plucky Roadrunners.
10. Alabama reloads - The Crimson Tide lost eight players to the top two rounds of the draft last season, yet here they are again and probably headed to the playoff behind a bevy of talent. It doesn't even matter who's suiting up for them at this point - it's going to be all four- and-five star guys who are able to dominate anyone.
3. FIVE PLAYERS WHO HAVE BOOSTED THEIR NFL STOCK
Finally here are five players who have boosted their NFL Draft stock greatly this season.
1. DT Jordan Davis, Georgia - Davis had the opportunity to come out last year and would have been a third- or fourth-round pick, but he elected to come back and that has paid off big-time. He's now a first-round lock and in the conversation for a top-10 selection.
2. LB Leo Chenal, Wisconsin - The lesser known of the Wisconsin middle linebackers heading into the season, Chenal has broken out due to his stellar play and huge size in the middle. If he can get his 40-yard dash down to around 4.6, he could sneak up to early second round and potentially late first.
3. RB Kenneth Walker, Michigan State - One of the biggest breakout stars of the season, Walker went from relatively unknown back at Wake Forest to RB1 for the 2022 NFL Draft. With the running back position devalued, he's probably a second-round pick, but at this time a year ago, he wasn't even on the radar.
4. QB Kenny Pickett, Pitt - Sam Howell and Spencer Rattler were the two big names heading into the season, but Pickett has been nothing short of spectacular this season. He's QB1 on some big boards, and should be in play for the first round.
5. DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan - Hutchinson has always had a motor, but his productivity and physical traits have come in to focus this season. He's in the mix for the top five today and should be the second edge rusher off the board after Kayvon Thibodeaux.