DEL OLALEYE

Week 2 college football around the country recap

Dabo Swinney has a decision to make. Bob Levey/Getty Images

Clemson is Kelly Bryant’s team

Clemson stuck to their plan of playing Trevor Lawrence in the first half. Of course when he threw a touchdown pass on his first play in the game the Rece Davis/Kirk Herbstreit love fest about Lawrence went into overdrive. But when Clemson needed plays to be made in the second half it was their senior signal-caller Kelly Bryant who got the call and the job done. The vibe at Kyle Field was awesome and the 12th man had it going but Bryant made enough of plays with his arm and his legs to keep Clemson rolling. That third and long strike to Amari Rodgers in the first quarter was big time. He followed that up by shaking one of the Aggies best defenders in Otaro Alaka on the way to end zone on the same drive. Those type of plays continued in the third quarter as the Aggies made their push. Dabo Swinney leaned on his senior QB and Bryant answered the call. Because of Lawrence’s immense talent Bryant may have to prove himself every week to people outside of the program. Inside the program? There shouldn’t be any questions.

Expect the unexpected in Arizona

After two weeks everything we thought we knew about the state of football in the Grand Canyon State needs to be thrown out. Arizona State beat a top 15 team in Michigan State in a defensive battle on Saturday night. Herm Edwards killed the game off with superb clock management and the team who’s nickname he didn’t know when he took the job is 2-0. Meanwhile, Kevin Sumlin made his return to Houston coaching Arizona and trailed 38-0 before scoring a point. Through two weeks all of us are dummies and Coach Herm is a Sun Devil legend in the making.

Oklahoma loses a Heisman Candidate

Rodney Anderson suffered a season ending knee injury in the second quarter of the Sooners 49-21 victory over UCLA. Anderson scored 18 total TDs in 2017 and was expected to be leaned on more this season after the departure to the NFL of Heisman winner Baker Mayfield. Oklahoma’s offense scored 63 and 49 points respectively in the first two games of the season and it appeared the show on offense was simply rolling along. With Anderson no longer available to be the feature tailback look for the Sooners to rotate backs until one of the backups emerges.

Hate Watch Game of the Week: LSU vs Auburn

Nothing against LSU really but once your team embarrases mine on national television I become a bit irrational. LSU’s first true road game of the season just happens to be against a top 10 team in Auburn who plays at a different level when they’re at home. Joe Burrow is completing less than 50% of his passes through two games as the LSU starter but his Tigers are 2-0. His first test in a hostile environment is against an Auburn defense who made life difficult for Washington’s Jake Browning in week one. I hope Auburn beats LSU into submission.

Current Hate Watch Record: 2-0

Kentucky beat Florida to end their 31-game losing streak to the Gators. The Gators touch a sign before they walk on the the field at The Swamp that says “Only Gators Get Out Alive.” Really that hasn’t been true for a while but Kentucky was one of the few teams that the statement actually still applied to. That is no longer the case. Now was the time for Wildcats to end the streak. They got it done.

 

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It's easy to blame Bill O'Brien for the Texans woes. He is a lousy GM, a below average play caller and his offense is boring, predictable and ineffective. Not once has he had a top 10 offense in the league. So he does not get a pass here.

But Deshaun Watson shouldn't, either.

Last year, Watson was in the MVP conversation entering the game in Baltimore. Four of the nine games he played before that, Watson had an ESPN Total QBR over 85, which is playing at an elite level.

Since that 41-7 debacle (where his QBR was 13.6), Watson has played 10 games. He has topped 85 just once (and barely - 85.6) in the win over the Patriots. While QBR is not the be all end all, it shows a trend. And before you blame the talent around him or the ridiculously stupid DeAndre Hopkins trade, eight of those games were with Hopkins in the lineup.

Over his last 10 games, Patrick Mahomes has done it five times (and just missed last week at 84.7). Lamar Jackson has done it six times in his last 10. Russell Wilson is six for his last 10. Dak Prescott? Three. Aaron Rodgers? Three. Ryan Tannehill? Three. Josh Allen? Two. Lamar Jackson led the league last year with an 83 for the season. Watson was sixth at 71.3. To be a top 10 quarterback, you had to average 64.1. In two games this season, Watson sits 20th, about where he was over the last six regular season games and two playoff games last year.

In essence, Deshaun Watson - who often gets compared to those players - is not on their level. Yes, O'Brien has a lot to do with it, but it's also time to start looking at Watson's performance and regression as an NFL quarterback.

In 2018, Watson had four such games. In 2017, four in six starts. And now ONE since that Baltimore game. In fact, he has topped 80 just once in that stretch, and 60 just three times.

What it tells us is Watson has been an average quarterback over his last 10 starts. The Texans invested heavily in an offensive line to protect him. They have added depth at WR but a net loss without Hopkins. Elite quarterbacks turn in performances like that roughly half the time. Getting more consistent has always been an issue for Watson. But since that Baltimore game, he has not been close. And he is being paid to be elite.

In the end, O'Brien is still the main culprit. He has hand picked all the players around Watson, he designed the offense, and he controls everything.

But it's time to quit giving Watson a pass. Right now, he is part of the problem.

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