Joe Medley: Weekend leaves things all shook up
by Joe Medley
jmedley@annistonstar.com
Oct 08, 2012 | 6068 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jacksonville State wide receiver Trey Smith catches a pass in front of Tennessee Tech's William Dillard on Saturday. (Photo: Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
Jacksonville State wide receiver Trey Smith catches a pass in front of Tennessee Tech's William Dillard on Saturday. (Photo: Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
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Has everyone recovered from Shakeup Saturday?

Alabama fans left without a game on the top-ranked Crimson Tide’s bye week wound up gorging on upsets.

Unranked N.C. State converted fourth down after fourth down en route to its dramatic touchdown to beat No. 3 Florida State.

No. 10 Florida became the first team not named Alabama to beat No. 4 LSU since 2010.

No. 6 South Carolina gave No. 5 Georgia a humbling reality check.

Three top-five teams lost on the same day for the first time since 2008, and Alabama fans spent the day recalculating their view of what lies ahead for the idle Tide.

Auburn fans, no doubt, enjoyed the distraction after watching freefalling Arkansas define hopelessness for Auburn’s fall, 24-7.

Jacksonville State fans enjoyed an excitement overload, checking the internet for national score updates while following the Gamecocks’ impressive comeback for a 37-28 victory at Tennessee Tech.

In all, nine ranked teams lost Saturday, and days like that are why we love college football.

Alabama: Setting the scene

The sense of inevitability just keeps building up, no matter Nick Saban’s efforts to keep his team from believing it.

Missouri, Alabama’s opponent this week, lost to Vanderbilt on Saturday and lost quarterback James Franklin for this week.

LSU, that one team left on the schedule that looked capable of challenging Alabama on Nov. 3, has put together three consecutive bad weeks. Word is out on LSU’s weaknesses, and Florida was good enough to do what Auburn and Towson couldn’t --- beat the Tigers with it.

It’s looking more and more like Alabama won’t play in this season’s version of the “Game of the Century,” at least not in the regular season, and the Tide’s first scary challenge won’t come until the SEC championship.

Fans and Saban’s players are foolish to believe that, but that’s how it looks on the first Monday in October.

Maybe Saban’s players can find motivation in watching South Carolina and Florida play in the 2012 regular-season version of the “Game of the Century.”

Auburn: Down goes Frazier

Now that it’s clear there’s no saving this season for Auburn, Auburn’s coaching staff must save the future. Where better to start than quarterback Kiehl Frazier?

Frazier has to be the future. Clint Moseley’s relief work Saturday looked a lot like his relief work a year ago, so it’s clear his ceiling is too low for what Auburn needs. Jonathan Wallace is a true freshman and has shown nothing more than Frazier showed as the change-of-pace guy last year.

The only potentially more game-ready answer to be found in recruiting would be a junior-college guy, and rarely does anything close to a Cam Newton-quality answer lie in junior college.

Gene Chizik and his staff made a decision that Frazier would be the future. They committed to developing him under new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, who was hired because of his background of developing quarterbacks.

Otherwise, they would have begged Barrett Trotter to stay for his senior year.

Chizik and staff panicked in yanking Frazier on Saturday, and now they have to minimize the damage to his confidence. Otherwise, better days are farther off than they looked Saturday.

JSU: Game in Gamecocks

Who knows where JSU’s season is headed. Big games lie ahead, and they need a couple of Eastern Kentucky hiccups to win the Ohio Valley Conference, but there’s something to like about this JSU team.

The latest version of a program that has blown leads and chances for conference titles in recent years has shown resiliency this year.

They suffered embarrassment in a 51-21 loss at Eastern Kentucky to open OVC play. They got whipped on the line of scrimmage, a fact underscored by head coach Jack Crowe’s “men-to-boys” analogy after the game.

A week later, the Gamecocks picked themselves up and beat Southeast Missouri at home.

A week after that, they fell behind 14-0 at Tennessee Tech, rallied to within 14-13 at halftime, wound up behind 21-13 then 28-16 then won 37-28.

This came just two years after JSU managed an epic, fourth-quarter collapse in the same stadium to blow its chance for an OVC title, and JSU won Saturday without injured play makers Alan Bonner and Gabe Chambers.

Again, who knows where the season is headed, but it’s good to see this JSU team putting the “game” in Gamecocks.

Sports Columnist Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter @jmedley_star.
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