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Del Olaleye: The week in college football

Nick Saban is never short on opinions. Even bad ones. Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

The week in college football:

The Kyler Question

What does Kyler Murray do? The Oklahoma signal-caller was drafted ninth overall by the Oakland A’s on Monday. Murray has waited a long-time to be the full-time starter on the college level after being one of the most decorated high school QBs of all time. That wait includes a transfer from College Station to Norman after spot duty at Texas A&M. His newly-minted status as a millionaire complicates his situation. Does the pull of playing college ball mean more to Murray than starting his professional career in baseball? Currently the prohibitive favorite to succeed Baker Mayfield, the Allen High School product says he will remain at Oklahoma and play football this season despite being a top 10 selection. Oklahoma opens the season against Lane Kiffin’s Florida Atlantic Owls on September 1st.

Pac-12 will require their teams to win 6 games to be bowl eligible

In 2015 the NCAA instituted a rule that allowed teams with a 5-7 record to make bowl games. I’m sure they have some long and drawn out reason for allowing under .500 teams to make bowl games but it really is pretty simple. Too many bowl games and the fear of not having enough teams to fill all the bowl slots led to the change in standards. The Pac-12 decided on Monday to require their teams to win six games to be bowl eligible. The conference is the first to create a rule that asks their member schools to exceed the NCAA requirement to play in a bowl game. As you might imagine, a coach or two isn’t thrilled. Mike Leach has been the most vocal on the matter, "If we had a 5-7 team lucky enough to make a bowl, they could probably use the practice and the players would probably appreciate the chance to play another game," Leach said. "Why should we limit opportunities when other conferences aren't?

Nick Saban on SEC transfer rules

The coach of the Crimson Tide was a bit on the defensive after being questioned about why he didn’t allow one of his former players to transfer to the school of his choice. The player in question is Brandon Kennedy. He’s a graduate transfer with two years of eligibility remaining who would like to stay in the SEC. Saban wants no part of that and has blocked SEC schools as potential landing spots along with future opponents on the Tide’s schedule. Saban cites an SEC rule as the reason behind his restrictions.  

"I don't think it should be on me," Saban said of the criticism. "If we agree in the SEC at these meetings that we're going to have free agency in our league and everybody can go wherever they want to go when they graduate, that's what we should do."

Saban wants no part of that type of player freedom and judging by his own words wouldn’t be a proponent of more flexible transfer rules.

"When we make a rule that guys can transfer whenever they want to transfer, how are we supposed to get people to do what they should do?" Saban asked. The coach known for telling players to move on to make room for new ones is worried that players may grab some control back. Delightful.


 

 


 

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RAVENS 33, TEXANS 16

5 observations from the Ravens win over the Texans

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Let's be honest; the Texans were not going to beat the Ravens. Baltimore has better players, a better quarterback and a better coaching staff. (And oh, a better kicker). All of that was on display in the Ravens' 33-16 win.

The Ravens move to 2-0, while the Texans dropped to 0-2 after facing the AFC's two best teams.

The Texans will still likely contend for a playoff spot, but nothing the last two weeks indicates they are anywhere near contending in the AFC. A look at five things from the Ravens win:

1) Oh, Brien...It did not take long for Bill O'Brien's goofy coaching to rear its ugly head. Down 3-0 at their own 34 as the first quarter was running out, O'Brien chose to go for it on fourth and one. The play was predictably blown up, the Ravens quickly scored to make it 10-0, and the Texans were instantly in a hole against a superior opponent. You can't give points away against the Ravens. They might have scored anyway with a punt, but there was no stopping them with a short field.

2) Some positives on defense. Despite the score, The Texans looked much better on that side of the ball against an explosive offense. J.J. Watt had two sacks, the team had four total, and they kept Lamar Jackson from destroying them. Seven of the points were scored by the Ravens defense, and O'Brien's gaffe led to seven more. The Ravens wore them down in the fourth quarter, but they played well enough until then to keep the team in the game had the offense been better. They did not force any turnovers, however, and that was one of the differences in the game. They were also blown off the ball on a fourth and one in the fourth quarter that led to the Ravens' 30th points and could not stop the run at all in the fourth quarter. But that's what the Ravens do with a lead, and the Texans offense gave them no breaks by being unable to stay on the field.

3) The difference between real contenders...The Ravens were just so much more skilled on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they focused on taking away the run. David Johnson averaged 3.1 yards per carry. Will Fuller had as many catches as you did. The Ravens forced two turnovers on just really good football plays. The Texans don't make plays like that. They might against lesser teams, but if your goal is to compete with the best, it's just not good enough.

4) Deshaun Watson needs to be better. His numbers looked so so on the surface (25 of 36, 275 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception). He was sacked four times and added 17 rushing yards on five carries. He did not make plays late when they needed one here or there to maybe get back in the game. With his big contract, it's time for Watson to stop being close to elite and take the next step. His interception was more of being fooled by Marcus Peters than throwing a bad ball, but the Texans were just 3 of 9 on third downs. Throw in the ill-advised fourth down play, and they were just 3 of 10 extending drives. Give the Ravens a lot of credit, but again, to compete with the best, you have to be better than that.

5) Now what? The Texans travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, who have not been impressive in their two wins. Still, it's hard to see Houston as anything but serious underdogs. They are last in the AFC South, and have a lot of work to do. The defense showed some promise at times, but will have to continue to improve. The offense has a long way to go. They match up better with the Steelers than they do the Ravens and Chiefs, but that does not mean they can win. If you were hoping they would give you some indication they can be more than just also-rans, they failed to do that on any level against either the Chiefs or Ravens.

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