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      Tuesday Takeaways 9/14: Forget Everything You Thought You Knew

      Tuesday Takeaways 9/14: Forget Everything You Thought You Knew

      Week Two of college football left us all wondering what the hell just happened, and Week One of the NFL felt a lot like a glorified preseason game. Here are our five takeaways from what we saw:

      1. DON’T “F” WITH THE SUN BELT CONFERENCE. 

      There were three massive “upsets” in college football this weekend:

      • Appalachian State beat Texas A&M 17-14 in College Station 
      • Marshall beat Notre Dame 26-21 in South Bend
      • Georgia Southern beat Nebraska 45-42 in Lincoln 

      What do all of these upsets have in common? They all came at the hands of the Sun Belt Conference. What’s important to remember is that these aren’t just one-off upsets either. Hell, just last week Old Dominion (ahem, also Sun Belt) beat Virginia Tech, while two years ago Coastal Carolina (yep, Sun Belt) beat 13th ranked BYU. 

      These teams play a fun brand of football and can clearly go toe to toe with almost anyone in the country. The best part? They’ll take your million-dollar payouts and come beat you in your own house. 

      All I’m saying is that after this weekend, I’d think long and hard about scheduling a team from the Sun Belt if you’re looking for an early season “easy-wins.”

      Sunbelt Conference

      2. You Don’t Want Bama.

      In what I’d consider the best game of the weekend, Texas and Alabama went toe to toe in front of 100k+ in Austin, Texas. The Longhorns looked better for most of the game but ultimately it was Bryce Young making plays, and a late field goal that sealed the win for the Crimson Tide. 

      The big story from this game (outside of the fact that Texas was almost “back”) was that Texas freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers was injured and knocked out of the game in the first half. As Ewers laid on the ground and the camera panned the stadium, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a familiar situation that hit close to home.

      In 2017, #1 Alabama opened the season against #3 Florida State and much like the Texas game, it was a back and forth affair. That was until the play that sent Florida State’s program into a free fall.

      FSU’s highly touted quarterback, Deondre Francois, took a hard (clean) hit from an Alabama defender and was knocked out of the game, and eventually the season with a knee injury…

      That season and injury proved to be the beginning of the end for the Jimbo Fisher era at FSU, and eventually put the program in a hole that they just now appear to be slowly climbing out of.

      Now I’m not saying that level of destruction will happen to Texas, but perhaps teams should think twice before they schedule Alabama. You never know what can happen with that Nick Saban juju…

      3. Contrary to last week’s newsletter, turns out the state of Florida might not be back.

      UCF lost at home to Louisville on Friday night, and the Florida Gators lost to Kentucky in The Swamp. I’ll admit, I may have jumped the gun last week claiming that the once-powerhouse state was back from the dead. Stay tuned. 

      4. The State of Texas could be in for a long year.  

      As if Saturday’s losses weren’t hard enough for the good-football-loving people of Texas (Baylor also lost to BYU), things only got worse on NFL Sunday. 

      To start the day, the Houston Texans blew a 17-point lead to end up playing for a tie in overtime vs the Indianapolis Colts. Meanwhile in Arlington, the beloved Dallas Cowboys lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19-3.

      However, the big story from Sunday was the injury to Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback, Dak Prescott. Midway through the fourth quarter, Dak pulled himself out of the game with a thumb injury to his throwing hands. After the game, Dallas’ worst fears were confirmed, and that thumb injury will require surgery, keeping the QB sidelined for at least two months. 

      5. NFL Week One is a Mirage

      Some results from Week One will leave a lot of people scratching their heads, but I wouldn’t look too much into what happened Sunday (and Monday.)

      Most, if not all, of the starters across the league hadn’t played a full game of football since last year and that “rust” won the day. 

      The NFL is a marathon, not a sprint – and a lot of these Week One losses were just an example of a couple vets being slow out of the gates. 

      Is Pat McAfee the Heir Apparent to Lee Corso on College Gameday?

      Is Pat McAfee the Heir Apparent to Lee Corso on College Gameday?

      A rumor made its internet rounds last night that the ex-NFL punter turned must-see TV media analyst, Pat McAfee, would be joining the College Gameday crew for the rest of the season… This morning those rumors were confirmed.

      First thing first – this is a MASSIVE win for ESPN. Since his first day at Barstool Sports, when he announced his retirement via a fake news conference at the Super Bowl, McAfee brought an energy and refreshing new twist to the way sports are covered in this country.

      Before any traditionalists jump to the conclusion that McAfee isn’t for them, I suggest giving his podcast “The Pat McAfee Show 2.0” a listen. His interviews, knowledge and overall ability to make boring seem fun make him someone any Smack fan can appreciate.

      McAfee has a long history of putting entertainment first. He’s not afraid to push the envelope to get the audience engaged and laughing. He was once arrested during his college days at West Virginia – the police report is enough to prove he's comedic gold. 

      Given his larger-than-life personality, and ESPN’s need to fill it’s most important seat to date, this leads us to the obvious question:

      Is Pat McAfee the heir apparent to Lee Corso?

      The timing definitely checks out, especially when you consider that the Great Lee Corso is 87 years young, and ESPN will need to pull off a smooth transition sooner rather than later.

      Possibly even more important than the timing, is getting the right person to fill the chair. College Gameday is one of the greatest shows on the planet, and with McAfee, ESPN has found the perfect replacement to continue their reign.

      He will certainly have some big shoes to fill. Lee Corso is a beloved staple in American football, after firing up the crowds, dropping accidental F-bombs and throwing on mascots head gear for 35 years. Time will tell if Pat is up to the challenge, but we’re excited to watch the chemistry unfold!

      Tuesday’s Takeaways (9/6) - College Football is Back

      Tuesday’s Takeaways (9/6) - College Football is Back

      Since the beginning of time, preseason college rankings have always been, and continue to be a bunch of nonsense. Sports writers from every corner vote on who they think are the best teams in the country. Given that no one has seen a minute of real football yet, it’s a pretty wild shot in the dark.

      Luckily for us fans, football is officially BACK and the preseason rankings are a distant memory!

      Here at Smack, we did the heavy lifting so you wouldn’t have to – after not leaving our couch for the last five days, here are our five biggest takeaways from the first weekend of college football.

      1) College football runs through Athens until proven otherwise:

      Coming into the season there were a lot of questions about Georgia and how they’d handle the massive roster turnover from last year's National Championship team.

      It’s safe to say that after “Whacking the Quack” and obliterating the #11 ranked Oregon Ducks 49-3, talks of a potential setback were greatly exaggerated. Georgia was dominant in every facet of the game and their retooled defense spent the entire four quarters bullying the Ducks all over the field. Offensively, Stetson Bennett looked like an early season Heisman favorite and it’s probably time we all start putting more respect on the Mailman’s name. 

      2) Clemson’s quarterback change isn't an “IF” question, it’s a “WHEN” question:

      Last night the #4 ranked Clemson took the field against Georgia Tech with nothing but questions surrounding their QB 1 DJ Uiagalelei. Expectations have been high for “DJ” since he stepped foot on campus but unfortunately for the quarterback and the Tigers, he hasn’t been able to live up to the hype.

      If you haven’t heard of the name Cade Klubnik, I’d suggest you get used to it. When the freshman stepped onto the field with the game in hand, the entire offense changed for the better. Klubnik showed the poise the position hasn’t seen since Trevor Lawrence and with three more cupcake games on the schedule, I’d expect a lot more playing time for the freshman. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him starting by Week Five.

      3) The “Backyard Brawl” should kickoff every college football season: 

      Thursday night, West Virginia and Pitt played in the “Backyard Brawl” for the first time in 11 years and it did not disappoint. You could feel the hatred these two schools have for eachother radiating from the TV, and the game on the field will go down as one of the best college football games we’ll see this season.

      This was the perfect way to kickoff college football and, I for one, want to see this every year.

      4) SEC is King:

      New year, same story. The SEC went 14-1 this weekend to open up the season with some big wins along the way. Florida upset #7 Utah, #19 Arkansas beat #23 Cincinnati and the aforementioned Georgia dismantling of the Oregon Ducks just once again proves that the South dominates football.

      5) The state of Florida could be back: 

       It was a big opening week for a state that is used to being a powerhouse. 

      • Formally-unranked Florida knocks off #7 Utah 
      • Florida State upsets LSU in New Orleans
      • Miami has a competent coach and a lot of NIL money 
      • UCF keeps winning

      Smack’s Weekend Guide to College Basketball

      Smack’s Weekend Guide to College Basketball

      If you wait until the conference tournaments to tune into college basketball, you’re not alone – so we’ve created a quick guide to some of this weekend's games that will be worth watching. 

      This weekend we’ll get to watch some of the best rivalries in the country, a true legend saying “goodbye” and regular season championships up for grabs!

      UNC @ Duke: ESPN, Saturday, 6PM ET

      About a month ago, Duke embarrassed UNC at home – but since, UNC is 6-1 and they’re playing some of their best basketball at just the right time.  Duke is on a seven game win streak, and will be the popular pick to win it all when brackets come out.  Unlike years before, this match up has extra drama – this will be the legendary Coach K’s last home game at Cameron Indoor.  Tickets to the game have already passed Super Bowl prices.  We’ll have to see if UNC can spoil the much-anticipated affair. 

      Arkansas @ Tennessee: ESPN, Saturday, 12PM ET

      Arkansas and Tennessee are both ranked in the top 15, and just .5 game back from Auburn in the SEC standing.  Either of these teams could clinch a share of the regular season title if Auburn slips up this weekend when they host South Carolina.  You have to love the drama! 

      Kentucky @ Florida: CBS, Saturday, 2PM ET

      If Florida wants to get back into the March Madness conversation, this is a must win for the Gators.  Kentucky finds themselves in a similar situation as Arkansas and Tennessee – just .5 back from a share of the regular season SEC title.  Kentucky and Florida both have a lot to play for, so we expect this game to be a nail-biter.

      Texas @ Kansas: ESPN, Saturday, 4PM ET

      Texas and Kansas are each capable of making a run come tournament time, but both teams are coming off tough losses.  Kansas can clinch a share of the Big 12 title with a win, but we know Texas will be looking to play spoiler. 

      USC @ UCLA: ESPN, Saturday, 10PM ET

      These Los Angeles based rivals are both capable of cutting down the nets this year.  If you’re staying up late Saturday night, this matchup should be a good one. 

      Michigan @ Ohio State: FOX, Sunday, 12:30PM ET 

      Michigan needs this win to keep any hope of making the Big Dance alive.  Meanwhile, Ohio State is in and they’re just looking to have some fun and end Michigan’s season.  This is one of college sports best rivalries, so no matter the outcome, this’ll be a good one to watch.