Each Saturday night time, Ari Wasserman and David Ubben react to the weekend’s slate of video games on “Till Saturday.” On Mondays, they revisit the most important takeaway from Saturday night time’s on the spot response. This week: Ari and David study the ten fan bases that needs to be most disillusioned with the beginning of the 2023 season.
School soccer Saturdays will be full of happiness. However not for everybody. The great thing about the game is that horror is ready across the nook for quite a lot of groups each fall, too.
It doesn’t matter what Ted Lasso says, it actually is the hope that kills you. And for a lot of fan bases, preseason hopes have given option to the crushing actuality of the 2023 common season. Which fan bases are most disillusioned with what they’ve seen?
We examined the highest 10.
Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman and the Irish are coming off a loss at Louisville. (Jamie Rhodes / USA Immediately)
Name the Tigers overhyped in the event you should, however coach Brian Kelly and the Tigers beat Alabama and received the SEC West in his first yr on the Bayou. Kirby Sensible performed for a nationwide title in his second yr at Georgia, so why couldn’t Kelly see the yr two bump that coaches like Sensible, Alabama coach Nick Saban and former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops have seen previously?
As an alternative, LSU gave up a 38-3 run to Florida State in an embarrassing Week 1 loss that was solely a preview of what was to come back. Ole Miss scored 55 in a Week 5 win over the Tigers, and LSU wanted a 15-point comeback to outlive a visit Saturday to Mizzou. And celebrity defender Harold Perkins’ misuse all through the primary month of the season has been maddening for anybody watching.
In a season that started with nationwide title chatter, the Tigers look sure to take a step again this season underneath Kelly and want one thing borderline supernatural simply to win the division once more. Quarterback Jayden Daniels has improved, however the protection ranks an embarrassing 127th nationally in yards per play allowed.
2. Texas A&M
Possibly Texas A&M wasn’t speculated to win the SEC at this level in its construct. In any case, it spent your complete offseason making an attempt to repair its dysfunctional offense, and it moved to a brand new quarterback. However we entered the weekend with many pondering the Aggies might (or ought to) win at residence in opposition to Alabama.
With a win, Texas A&M would have earned the notch on its belt groups get for beating Alabama, and it will have been the favourite to go on to win the SEC West. Texas A&M has been dying to get to the SEC Championship Recreation, and this yr ought to’ve been a chance to get there.
As an alternative, Texas A&M performed the precise recreation it needed to play and misplaced. Now, the Aggies have two losses — one to Miami in nonconference play — and we’re heading into mid-October with extra of the identical stuff from coach Jimbo Fisher. Due to Fisher’s huge buyout of round $77 million, making a change in management is extra sophisticated in School Station than it will be at different locations. The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman has reported that A&M will “discover that cash” if Fisher doesn’t get issues going.
Notre Dame practically had Ohio State. It was the Irish’s time to exit and beat a staff loaded with expertise, one thing they have been incapable of doing underneath Brian Kelly. For almost all of the sport in South Bend, Ind., Notre Dame was in management. However Ohio State mounted a comeback and received on the final play of the sport. Infamously, there have been solely 10 gamers on the sector on the ultimate two performs of the sport. Ohio State barely acquired the ball into the top zone operating to the realm the place the defender was absent. Torture.
Two weeks later, Notre Dame’s offense appeared utterly damaged in a loss at Louisville. Coach Marcus Freeman should be within the constructing portion of his tenure, however there are actual questions on his capability to handle the sport on Saturdays. If Notre Dame can’t do it with Sam Hartman at quarterback, what’s it going to take?
GO DEEPER Sampson: Notre Dame, Marcus Freeman should do extra to assist Sam Hartman
Clemson has been sliding out of the identical tier as Georgia and Alabama for the previous few years, however this season appeared to vow a return. Coach Dabo Swinney employed Garrett Riley to run his offense, the Tigers boasted some of the gifted rosters within the nation and quarterback Cade Klubnik got here in with some recreation expertise.
Clemson started the yr with an embarrassing loss to Duke — one the place its offensive deficiencies from a yr in the past have been nonetheless current — and the season started in a manner that was too much like the previous two years.
After Clemson misplaced a hard-fought recreation to Florida State at residence, the Tigers are sitting with two losses and are out of the School Soccer Playoff image earlier than October. It additionally has a head coach who appears to have a basic misunderstanding of how vital the switch portal is in 2023 and past.
The Purple Raiders have been a stylish decide to contend for his or her first Huge 12 title and ship Texas and Oklahoma off to the SEC trying up at these in Lubbock. As an alternative, Texas Tech misplaced at Wyoming after racing to a 17-0 first-quarter lead and dropped to 0-2 with a house loss to Oregon per week later in a recreation it led by 9 within the fourth quarter.
It fell to 1-3 two weeks later with a highway loss to West Virginia wherein it mustered simply three factors within the first three quarters and by no means led. And making issues worse, quarterback Tyler Shough may be out the remainder of the yr with a damaged fibula.
The offseason was stuffed with such promise, however Joey McGuire’s staff didn’t want to attend lengthy to be humbled.
It’s by no means an excellent signal when the top coach deletes his social media and the first-year offensive coordinator on his second run on the program will get in scorching water for sending snarky emails in response to indignant fan mail.
However that is the place Arkansas presently resides. The Hogs have been changing each coordinators this offseason however nonetheless had quarterback KJ Jefferson and operating again Rocket Sanders returning, top-of-the-line and most skilled one-two punches amongst any offensive backfield within the SEC. Coach Sam Pittman had received 16 video games and two bowls in his final two seasons, however the Razorbacks’ large step again has put loads of sudden warmth beneath Pittman’s seat.
Arkansas misplaced at residence to Liberty final season, misplaced at residence to BYU this yr and is mired in a four-game shedding streak because it prepares to journey to Alabama. The Hogs coughed up a winnable recreation at LSU, too. Regardless of all of the expertise and confirmed capability on offense, Arkansas underneath coordinator Dan Enos ranks final within the SEC in offensive yards per play, partially due to main struggles alongside the offensive line. That doesn’t play properly with followers when the top coach is an offensive line coach by commerce. Arkansas’ solely FBS win is over a depleted Kent State staff that hasn’t crushed an FBS staff this season. A loss to Alabama would mark Pittman’s first five-game shedding streak in Fayetteville.
Two years in the past, Dave Aranda was hoisting a Sugar Bowl trophy and celebrating a Huge 12 championship. Now, the Bears have a case because the Huge 12’s worst staff. Uncompetitive losses to Texas Tech and Texas adopted a lopsided loss to Texas State and a fourth-quarter residence debacle in opposition to an injury-riddled Utah staff. It’s already been a nightmare on the Brazos, however the gradual decline of this system has been curious — and a priority, particularly in a yr Baylor was picked to complete sixth within the 14-team league.
In the one win over an FBS staff this season, Baylor wanted to erase a 35-7 deficit in opposition to a UCF staff that has but to win a Huge 12 recreation and is in its first yr within the league.
Baylor has missed bowl video games solely twice since 2010, within the first seasons underneath former coach Matt Rhule and Aranda. However this Bears staff seems to be loads like a number of the Baylor groups that grew to become accustomed to being the Huge 12 doormat within the early years of the league and didn’t play in a bowl recreation from 1994 to 2010.
The Roadrunners received 23 video games the previous two years and have been a stylish decide to compete for a New 12 months’s Six bid after transferring as much as the AAC this season. Star receiver Zakhari Franklin’s late defection to Ole Miss got here as a shock and an enormous blow, however Jeff Traylor’s staff is 2-3 with losses to Houston and Military and a 31-point loss at Tennessee the place the Roadrunners have been barely aggressive. Star senior quarterback Frank Harris missed the Military and Tennessee video games, and the explanations the yr has gone awry are simple to pinpoint. However this was a younger program’s first and finest shot to interrupt by to mainstream success, and it’s clear it received’t be occurring this yr.
Can somebody clarify how coach Mario Cristobal had a hard-fought win over Georgia Tech within the bag and single-handedly blew it for his staff and fan base? As an alternative of taking knees to finish the sport, Cristobal ran offense and handed the ball off. His operating again fumbled the ball with fewer than 30 seconds remaining. Georgia Tech recovered. Just a few defensive breakdowns later, Georgia Tech discovered the top zone and a win.
Miami began 4-0, which included a win over Texas A&M, and it was about to go to 5-0. However basic misunderstanding of how the QB kneel works (he hasn’t kneeled all yr) price it a win and derailed all of its momentum.
Miami is dying for a winner. It could have been on the way in which to getting one. Then its head coach misplaced a recreation in inexcusable vogue.
GO DEEPER Miami’s mind-numbing loss to Georgia Tech defies clarification. Now what?
Former Notre Dame and Boston School quarterback Phil Jurkovec got here to Pitt to reunite with offensive coordinator and QBs coach Frank Cignetti Jr. As an alternative, Jurkovec is exploring a transfer to tight finish.
Coach Pat Narduzzi had received 20 video games and an ACC title previously two seasons and completed within the High 25 in each seasons. It was a bit lofty to count on to compete for an ACC title this yr, however nobody anticipated the Panthers to be flirting with the basement of the league. The Panthers don’t have an FBS win however did lose to first-year Cincinnati coach Scott Satterfield and rival West Virginia. Additionally they suffered a pair of 17-point convention losses to North Carolina and a meager Virginia Tech staff.
Pitt skidded into its idle week on a four-game shedding streak, however this system’s face plant has been laborious to consider. The ACC preseason media ballot had Duke and Pitt tied for sixth place.
Dishonorable point out: USC
USC is 6-0, what do Trojans followers must be upset about? Nicely, they know the bear is coming for them.
They might really feel a little bit sense of consolation in the truth that USC is undefeated, however after barely skirting by Arizona in triple time beyond regulation late Saturday in Pac-12 After Darkish motion, it’s clear but once more that the Trojans don’t play protection. Heck, if Arizona coach Jedd Fisch would have gone for it on the finish of the primary time beyond regulation, there’s a legit likelihood Arizona would have received.
Go take a look at the again half of USC’s schedule. 5 of its final six video games within the common season are in opposition to opponents that got here into the weekend ranked. Notre Dame, Utah, Washington, Oregon and UCLA are all ready. And they’re salivating watching coordinator Alex Grinch’s protection surrender large play after large play.
Everybody loves to speak about how superior Lincoln Riley is with quarterbacks, and it’s true. However is there a much bigger waste of expertise than what USC is certain to do with Caleb Williams? He’s a generational quarterback prospect, and he’s probably going to overlook the School Soccer Playoff in each years in Southern California.
Williams received a Heisman Trophy and would be the No. 1 decide within the NFL Draft, however what might USC have been this yr or final with a semi-functional protection?
(Picture of LSU coach Brian Kelly and quarterback Jayden Daniels: Michael Chang / Getty Photographs)