On January 4, 2019, it all changed for Georgia. Whatever the reason was, it was the moment Justin Fields announced he was transferring to Ohio State. Maybe it was because he was unhappy with his role in the Bulldogs' offense. Maybe it was insensitive comments Fields heard from a former Georgia baseball player at a game. But instead of playing quarterback for Kirby Smart, Fields is playing for Ryan Day at Ohio State.
Georgia went 12-2 in 2019 and Jake Fromm threw 24 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions and almost 3,000 yards. But Fields was to be the game changing talent Georgia saw that would change its offense and make it multi-dimensional and deliver the school its first national championship since Herschel Walker was running over defenders.
But Fields is gone and so may be Georgia's hold on the SEC East because Kyle Trask and Dan Mullen have grabbed it away.
Trask took over last season for an injured Feleipe Franks and has not looked back. He's become one of the best in the country and is neck-and-neck with Alabama's Mac Jones for top-dog in the SEC.
In Jacksonville on Saturday, Trask was 30-43 for 474 yards and three touchdowns. After Florida went down 14-0, Trask and his offense outscored Georgia 38-7 and put the game away. He hit 10 different receivers who all had at least two receptions.
Meanwhile, Georgia quarterbacks combined to go 9-29 for 112 yards with two touchdowns and three picks. Walk-on Stetson Bennett gave way to redshirt freshman D'Wan Mathis and both looked overmatched. Mathis may be the quarterback of the future, but he's not the game changer Georgia needs now,
Up at Ohio State, Justin Fields has 52 touchdown passesand just three interceptions as the starter for the Buckeyes in his 17 starts. He is doing what Kirby Smart thought he would do for Georgia. But instead, the Bulldogs look lost on offense. They can't run consistently and can't pass despite having some of the most talented receivers in the country.
Would Fields have been the difference in a double-overtime loss at South Carolina and a blowout loss to LSU in 2019? We will never know. And would Fields have been the difference Saturday in Jacksonville? Who knows. But he would have been a better matchup against the SEC's hottest passer in Kyle Trask.
So as Kirby Smart and Georgia figure out what to do next at quarterback, Dan Mullen and Kyle Trask control their destiny to Atlanta and the likely showdown with top ranked Alabama, which might be the offensive showdown we all are waiting for...
Notes: A ton of injuries and potentially Covid issues, left FSU shorthanded for their loss to Pitt. But I still don't think Mike Norvell's answer at QB is on the roster. Chubba Purdy is young and may be very talented. He was under pressure a lot and needs experience. But I still think Norvell goes looking for someone in the off-season...Clemson-Notre Dame lived up to the hype. Despite the high-scoring game, the Irish defense was the difference in stopping the run and shutting down Clemson's Travis Etienne to 28 yards on 18 carries. The two may meet again in the ACC title game and don't rule out a scenario where Notre Dame loses and still makes the College Football Playoff....Two teams who will not make the playoffs are Penn State and Nebraska. Penn State is 0-3 and Scott Frost's team is 0-2 after losing at Northwestern. Frost's offense put up 13 points and said after the game they have to be better. The problem is he has said that a lot after games in Lincoln. The Cornhuskers are a 3-point underdog for the game at home...Liberty is 7-0 after a road win at Virginia Tech. The Flames are ranked and have remaining games that include a road game at NC State and unbeaten Coastal Carolina. If you don't know, Liberty-despite the well documented issues of now ousted campus leader Jerry Falwell- is coached by Hugh Freeze and their facilities are as good as many P5 programs. Liberty's indoor practice facility cost $29 million. Their AD is Ian McCaw. He oversaw Baylor's rise under Art Briles and was handed the keys to the athletic department and given basically a blank check. Liberty wants to be everything Notre Dame and BYU are but for Evangelical Christians. They may lose Freeze after this season, but they actually have the money to compete with a major offer if it comes...
Final thought: Most supermarket apples are picked between August and November and then covered in wax, hot-air dried and sent into cold storage. After 6-12 months, they land on your grocery store shelf.
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