At midseason, No. 1 Georgia a rock amid the upsets

There has been no offensive revolution in college football.

Just Georgia.

The dominant defense of Bulldogs’ top-ranked Bulldogs was one of the most important stories in the first half, a season filled with surprises and unpredictable results. Simply, 2021 has been all sorts of fun after the pandemic-altered season in 2020.

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Through seven weeks, 47 ranked teams have lost and more than half of them have lost to unranked teams. Those 25 victories by unranked teams puts this season on pace to become the fourth since the poll expanded to 25 teams in 1989 to have at least 50 victories by unranked teams over ranked teams, according to research by The Athletic.

Every team in the College Football Playoff had lost before Week 6. This is the earliest such loss since the CFP era. Clemson fell from the rankings after losing twice in September.

Georgia is meanwhile moving along with that defense.

Georgia allows 3. 55 yard per play, which would be the fewest for a full season since Alabama in 2011 (3.32). Georgia’s Kirby Smart, the Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator back in those days was Georgia coach. The Bulldogs are allowing 6.6 points per game, which would be the lowest since Oklahoma in 1986 (6.6).

This trend doesn’t seem to have a broader reach than Athens.

Nationally, FBS teams are averaging 28.9 points per game, right in line with the last decade. Average offenses score 5. 81 yards per play. This is a slight increase from the last season (5. 78) but a tick below 2019 (5. 83, which was just shy of a record set in 2016).

What is the secret to Georgia’s great success?

” Smart stated that he loves the “college game day” defense he gave on ESPN’s last Saturday. They love the game. They are a team. “

Defensive tackle Jordan Davis, a 6-foot-6, 340-pound wrecking ball, and linebacker Nakobe Dean are the most notable stars. They were both elected to the AP Midseason All-America Team ..

Time to give out more awards for the midseason and look ahead at what lies ahead.

MOST SURPRISING TEAM (tie)

Both Big Ten Michigan teams won only two games during an abbreviated 2020 season. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan’s coach, took a pay cut. Second-year Michigan State coach Mel Tucker was expected to face a long rebuild.

The No. 6 Wolverines, No. 9 Spartans enter the second half of the season a combined 13-0.

Things are getting real in Big Ten East. Michigan, Michigan State, No. Michigan, Michigan State, No. 6 Ohio State and Number 7 Penn State will start a round-robin on Oct. 30. Although disappointing endings are possible, the Michigan-Michigan State winner looks poised to finish at least 9-3.

Honorable Mentions: Baylor (Kentucky), Pitt, UTSA and Wake Forest.

MOST DISAPPOINTING TEAM

Listen, it’s not Mack Brown’s fault North Carolina was a preseason top-10 team.

” “My expectation was to win every single game. So three times have we met that and three more times we haven’t.” Brown stated earlier in the month that the Tar Heels lost to Florida State. “The national media expectation, the expectation for us to be a top 10 team, were wrong. We should be more critical than the media that picked us so high. “

Brown is correct. It was not fair to praise a team which went 8-4 and needed to replace 2 NFL running backs. North Carolina (3-3) is already down three to mediocre Atlantic Coast Conference opponents, making the Tar Heels a mediocre ACC squad. This was something that even the most cautious UNC fan didn’t see coming.

Dis-honorable mentions: Clemson, Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, Washington.

COACH OF THE FIRST HALF

Luke Fickell, Cincinnati

Expectations were sky high and one slip up is all that it would have taken for the Bearcats’ hopes of a dream season to vanish.

Fickell did a great job getting his team to focus on the smaller goals and embrace the bigger ones. After losing Marcus Freeman as coordinator, the defense hasn’t missed a beat. The offense seems to have seen a significant boost after Gino Guidugli, quarterback coach, was more active in play calling.

Fickell continues to grow in popularity.

Honorable Mentions: Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State); Kirby Smart (Georgia); Mel Tucker (Michigan State).

HALFWAY HEISMAN

The race appears to be wide open and, as usual, big games down the stretch of the season are likely to swing the voting one way or the other.

This creates an advantage to teams and their quarterbacks in the playoff. This could be a good thing for Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Alabama’s Bryce Young.

At the halfway point, there’s an unusual Heisman five:

Jordan Davis (DT, Georgia). The best player in the most successful unit.

Drake London (WR), USC. This is a reason to see the Trojans.

Kenny Pickett (QB), Pittsburgh. He has been the most outstanding super senior in the entire season.

Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa. This is the best offensive lineman in America.

Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas. This is the best running back in America.

BIGGEST UPSET

Texas A&M 41, Alabama 38

The Aggies are good and were playing at home, but they scored almost as many points against the Crimson Tide as they had in their three previous games against Power Five competition combined.

They also snapped Alabama’s 100-game winning streak against unranked opponents and a 106-game winning streak by No. 1 teams against unranked teams that dated to 2008.

Plus, A&M coach Jimbo Fisher became the first former Nick Saban assistant to beat the master in 25 tries.

Honorable mentions: Purdue over No. 2 Iowa; Stanford over N. 3 Oregon; Louisiana-Monroe over 33-point favorite Liberty; North Carolina State over Clemson.

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CRYSTAL BALL

Predicting this season hasn’t gone too well. Wisconsin at the CFP DJ Uiagalelei for Heisman? Georgia’s win of the national title is a good sign. Let’s try this again:

Orange Bowl semi-final — Georgia vs. Cincinnati.

Cotton Bowl semifinal — Ohio State vs. Oklahoma.

Rose Bowl — Penn State vs. Oregon.

Sugar Bowl — Alabama vs. Iowa State.

Peach Bowl — Clemson vs. Kentucky.

Fiesta bowl — Texas A&M against. Michigan.

National champion — Georgia vs. Ohio State.

Champion — Georgia.

By editor