Kelly Bryant is OK, right? Yes, of course. He has to be, doesn’t he?
But we haven’t heard anything official, have we? Well, no, but...
Shut up! He’s going to be just fine. Quick, let’s talk about something else...
What We Learned
Auburn Ohio State Might Be the Best Team in The Country (Right Now)
Trying to nail down exactly which team is most deserving of the No. 1 ranking in the country from week to week is an exercise in futility.
The de-facto No. 1 to open the season, Clemson, has held the spot the longest, but that grip began to loosen severely as the Tigers sleepwalked through the first few weeks, ultimately giving way and allowing Alabama to ascent to the top spot a couple weeks ago.
But the Tide has some chinks in the armor, most notably on defense, while Georgia may have the most impressive overall resume of anyone in the Top 10. You also could argue LSU - Week 2 winners at Texas - has the most impressive win.
Auburn looked prime to make a case coming into its showdown with No. 10 Florida on Saturday, but those Tigers finally succumbed to inexperience at quarterback.
Now, what of Ohio State? The Buckeyes have quietly done what they’ve needed to do, albeit in truly dominant fashion. After pounding previously ranked Michigan State 34-10 on Saturday, Ohio State – which now shares the No. 3 ranking with Georgia in the latest AP Top 25 Poll – has outscored its six opponents by a combined score of 296-53 and has not allowed more than 10 points since the season opener.
Quarterback Justin Fields, who threw his first interception of the season Saturday, is playing better than anyone at his position, and the Buckeye offense – averaging nearly 50 points per game – is ranked fourth nationally, as is the defense (8.8 points per game), led by defensive end Chase Young, who is second in the country with 8.5 sacks.
Like every team in the Top 5, Ohio State has its flaws – Fields, in particular, was exposed at times against the Michigan State defense – and it may be that a loss at No. 8 Wisconsin in two weeks brings the Buckeyes back down a notch.
For now, though, they look as dominant as any team in the land.
What We’d Still Like to Know
How Chip Kelly Plans to Keep His Job After the Season
For a fleeting second last weekend, I stewed over writing about how UCLA was somehow still in the thick of things in the Pac-12’s South Division. The Bruins, fresh off a most improbable 32-point, fourth-quarter comeback at then-No. 19 Washington State, led divisional rival Arizona by three heading into the final 15 minutes last week.
It had the makings of a different type of improbable comeback.
With a win in the desert, Kelly and UCLA would have latched onto shared possession of first place in the division heading into the softer part of the conference schedule – all but erasing memory of an embarrassing three-game stretch to open the season in which the Bruins lost very winnable games against Cincinnati and San Diego State before getting pummeled by Oklahoma.
Instead, UCLA folded at Arizona, losing 20-17 on a last-second missed field goal. And now, it appears, the Bruins are in the early stages of a mid-season free fall, which could ultimately cost Kelly his job.
UCLA was pasted at home, 48-31, on Saturday by Oregon State, which scored on its first three possessions to take a 21-0 lead six minutes into the game. As has been the case for just about every game this season, the Bruins didn’t appear interested in playing defense, and the offense (Kelly’s trademark) did not show any real signs of life until it was too late.
Kelly, once the hottest head coaching commodity on the open market, has now amassed a record of 4-14 in his one-and-a-half seasons in Westwood, and his Oregon glory days are becoming more and more of a distant memory.
With Saturday’s lifeless performance — and Arizona State, Utah, USC, and Cal still to come on the schedule — It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which UCLA is not playing for its head coach’s job by the end of the season – if not getting ready to welcome Kelly’s replacement.
What We’d Like to Forget
This … Obviously
Kelly Bryant just threw a TD to put Mizzou up 42-7 on Troy and this happened to his left knee as he got hit late.— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) October 5, 2019
He’s gone to the locker room. pic.twitter.com/wljIgprTdE
For a few brief moments just before halftime of Mizzou’s 42-10 win over Troy Saturday, a very Mizzou scenario took place that led to Mizzou fans thinking Mizzou thoughts.
Already on cruise control, the Tigers looked for more breathing room when quarterback Kelly Bryant threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Knox. With the score, the Tigers went up by five touchdowns heading into the locker room, and the game was effectively over.
As the cannons sounded and the fans cheered – not excluding yours truly, who was seated near the north end zone – Bryant lay crumpled in a heap near the 10-yard-line. From my vantage point, it was hard to discern anything other than the fact that a Mizzou player lay on the turf. My eyes fixated on following Bryant’s pass to Knox, I did not even see any part of Troy defensive tackle Travis Sailo’s submarine tackle job.
But once I was able to view a flood of video clips and gifs of the play, I was immediately reminded of Henry Josey’s horrific knee injury against Texas in 2011. That day, Josey tore just about every possible ligament in the knee there is to tear, and the most horrifying part Saturday, at least for me, is the angle and position at which Bryant’s knee buckled; it looked to be eerily similar to that which led to Josey’s long absence.
Alas, we, as Mizzou fans, may be able to exhale. What little we know as of late Sunday indicates that Bryant may have suffered only an MCL sprain and could be out as little as 1-3 weeks, although neither has been officially confirmed by anyone within the program.
So, for now, we still wait. And speculate. But it does seem like Mizzou fans were spared another gut punch.