One also doubts that God takes much interest in college football, compelling though Auburn’s 27-24 victory over Clemson in overtime Saturday turned out to be. Auburn coach Gene Chizik called it “a God thing,” but really?
If God takes sides in college football and shows preferences through dramatic finishes, then God is a Gamecock. Jacksonville State did it again Saturday, beating Georgia State 34-27 in overtime.
Or maybe God’s preferences show in dominance. Top-ranked Alabama sure seems blessed with talent and showed it again while beating Duke 62-13.
Then again, if God interceded in college football, wouldn’t He have commanded a stiff wind as Michigan State ran a fake field goal in overtime to beat Notre Dame, a Catholic school?
Wouldn’t He have done more for Brigham Young? The Latter-day Saints school took a 34-10 beating at Florida State.
Maybe He could have had a talk with Texas Christian coach Gary Patterson. TCU hardly took it easy on Baptist-run Baylor, winning 45-10.
In seriousness, if God touches college football, one likes to think it’s when carts haul off injured players, like Auburn’s A.J. Greene and Clemson’s David Smith.
Maybe God watched over Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio, who reportedly will recover fully from the heart attack he suffered late Saturday.
It’s ridiculous to think that God would choose between teams, and claims to the contrary seem amateurish.
Tide’s young ‘D’ meets Petrino
It’s not inconceivable the thought of No. 10 Arkansas upsetting
No. 1 Alabama in this week’s much-anticipated SEC game at Fayetteville, Ark.
Yes, Alabama looks strong. The Crimson Tide looked strong before Mark Ingram and Marcell Dareus saw their first action of the season Saturday, and neither player disappointed.
Yes, Alabama’s offense is more than a match for Arkansas’ defense.
Then again, Duke’s spurts of offense Saturday reminded everyone that Alabama’s defense is young.
Arkansas has Ryan Mallett at quarterback. And if any offensive mind can spot defensive weakness, it’s Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino.
Alabama fans remember how Petrino, then Auburn’s offensive coordinator, solved a strong Tide defense in the 2002 Iron Bowl. He did it without injured running backs Carnell Williams, Ronnie Brown and injured fullback Brandon Johnson.
Alabama overpowered Petrino’s rebuilding Arkansas teams in 2008 and 2009, but Alabama’s young ‘D’ faces its toughest test yet.
A fill-in-the-blank thing
For the record, Auburn’s victory over Clemson was many things, but likely no “God thing.”
It was a Kyle Parker-was-inaccurate-with-a-wide-open-receiver-in-the-end zone … thing.
It was a double-clutch-snap and missed-field goal thing.
It was a Cam Newton-tale-of-two-halves thing.
It was an Auburn-is-weak-at-linebacker thing, as evidenced by the fact that Clemson’s top three receivers were a tight end and two running backs.
In the end, it was an Auburn-was-just-good-enough-with-luck thing and a Kirk Herbstreit-saw-his-West Division-title-prediction-take-on-water thing. While Auburn climbed one spot to No. 14 in the USA Today poll, it fell one spot to No. 17 in the Associated Press poll.
Occasional faint boos in Jordan-Hare Stadium also indicate that some see a Gus Malzhan-has-gone-conservative thing. Auburn ran up the middle on second down and long and took too few cracks at the chasm between Clemson’s linebackers, which shadowed Newton, and deep safeties.
It’s hard to believe that Auburn’s offensive coordinator has sworn off imagination. It’s part of his brand.
Malzahn is either holding back for big SEC games ahead or he doesn’t trust Newton so much yet.
OVC JSU’s letdown-in-waiting?
What a first three weeks it’s been for Jacksonville State.
The fourth-ranked Gamecocks won in overtime at Ole Miss, bagging the biggest victory in JSU’s Division I era plus national attention and an unlicensed Coty Blanchard action figure.
JSU came from behind to beat Chattanooga in the first game for the expanded Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium. More than 22,000 fans showed up.
Saturday, the Gamecocks won dramatically in the Georgia Dome.
Big wins, big stadiums and big doings for that growing school in Jacksonville. It no doubt gives all involved with JSU’s program big dreams for more of the same in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
In between, the Gamecocks face a mundane detail called the Ohio Valley Conference. After the venues the Gamecocks have seen, Eastern Illinois’ 10,000-seat O’Brien Field should come as a culture shock Saturday.
JSU must maintain its edge for the next eight games. It’s a challenge, because the OVC has a way of taking the edge off.
Joe Medley is The Star’s sports columnist. He can be reached at email@example.com or 256-235-3576. Follow on Twitter @Jomedstar.