Bohls, Golden: How much a Texas win — or loss — will tell us about the Horns in the SEC
American-Statesman columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden weigh in on 10 topics of interest from this week's college football slate of games:
1. Is Arkansas a proper SEC measuring stick for Texas?
Bohls: Sure, why not, even if it might be two years early. The Razorbacks are picked to finish last in the SEC West, so if the Longhorns can’t handle them, it will send a loud alarm of just how far Steve Sarkisian’s program still has to go before joining that league.
Golden: Of course not. The Hogs aren’t exactly setting the SEC on fire and are in rebuild mode under coach Sam Pittman. Last I checked, this game is in Fayetteville and not Tuscaloosa, Athens or College Station. The Horns should be good enough to go into Fayetteville and win 33-24, but let’s save the SEC stuff until it really matters.
2. Is this game more of a referendum on Bijan Robinson or Hudson Card?
Bohls: Card. Easily. Robinson’s already ready for prime time, but Card has to prove he’s primed for the big stage with his second start and first in a hostile arena. You just know Arkansas will load up against the run and force him to throw 40 times to win. Says here the Hogs will get a favorable call and a friendly bounce and upset the Longhorns 24-21 to welcome them to the SEC.
Golden: Neither, because Robinson has already shown in the last handful of games dating back to last season that he has the goods while Card is just getting started. It’s a nice little test for the offense, but it’s nothing the Horns shouldn’t be able to handle.
3. One week later, is the Big 12 up for grabs?
Bohls: Come on now. Didn’t the Sooners start 0-2 in league play last year? Lincoln Riley will figure it out, so any Big 12 opponent better catch ‘em before Oklahoma puts it all together. The Sooners are still running things until someone knocks them off.
Golden: It’s still Oklahoma’s championship to win or lose. The near stumble in the opener against Tulsa should be a wake-up call for Spencer Rattler and also for Alex Grinch’s defense. If anything, second place — previously thought to be Iowa State’s domain — might be more competitive, but the Sooners are still the class of this league.
4. Is everyone just playing for second place behind Alabama?
Bohls: I’m going to say no, but only because injuries like the one that's sidelining Crimson Tide linebacker Chris Allen and because some teams may come out of nowhere. But Alabama’s win right out of the box with eight new offensive starters spoke volumes, and Nick Saban has signed six outside linebackers in his last two classes, all ranked five or four stars. Maybe Georgia will find an offense, but Alabama currently has no peer in September as it preps to play Mercer for some reason. (Hint: a $600,000 paycheck for the Bears.)
Golden: Not with my championship pick Georgia coming off a 10-3 win over Clemson in a real street fight. The Bulldogs are talented on both sides of the ball and will be a huge threat if this upper body injury to quarterback JT Daniels isn’t serious, and also if they can cut down on the COVID-19 cases.
5. Is the wrong team favored to win the Iowa-Iowa State game?
Bohls: No. The Cyclones, 4.5-point favorites, are historically slow starters, but the Hawkeyes have their own issues with a passing game that produced just 145 yards, albeit in a win over Indiana. Breece Hall had best make a statement if he harbors any Heisman ambitions.
Golden: No, because the home team is good for three points from Vegas. Matt Campbell’s bunch escaped with a 16-10 win over the Fightin’ Kurt Warners of Northern Iowa, but Iowa smothered Indiana quarterback Michael Phenix Jr. and will have plenty of confidence on the road.
6. Which top 25 team goes down this week?
Bohls: It’s a pretty skimpy list of ranked teams versus unranked teams, so we’ll say Appalachian State and former Clemson quarterback Chase Brice challenges Miami’s secondary and knocks off the No. 22 Hurricanes 31-27.
Golden: The Cyclones looked very average in the second half last week against a team that scored 22 points in only one of its seven games last year. Iowa State coach Matt Campbell has knocked off nine ranked opponents during his Ames tenure, but he drops to 0-5 all-time against Iowa after the Hawkeyes' 21–17 win.
7. Which FCS team will pull off a shocker over a FCS team this week?
Bohls: Behind quarterback Cole Kelley — who threw for 263 yards and three scores last week — Southeastern Louisiana knocks off vulnerable Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs gave up 370 yards passing, and tailback Marcus Williams Jr. averaged just 1.6 yards a carry in Week One.
Golden: It won’t be a surprise if Kennesaw State takes out a troubled Georgia Tech crew. KSU is 39-8 over the last three seasons and Tech won by one point last week against Northern Illinois, which went 1-10 in 2020.
8. Is Clemson in trouble?
Bohls: Take a breath. No one in the ACC, save Notre Dame and they don’t meet, will threaten the Tigers. Dabo Swinney will rely on muscle memory and a killer defense to turn things around quickly.
Golden: Clemson’s post-Georgia blues are nothing that a visit from South Carolina State won’t cure. The Tigers aren’t the juggernaut from last season with Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne now in the league, but they’re still plenty good enough to run the table in the ACC. That said, the lack of a great opponent on the remaining regular season schedule could work against them when it comes time to hand out those four CFP bids.
9. Which head coach's trajectory is trending the wrong way?
Bohls: Whatever happened to Stanford’s respected David Shaw, who has really slipped of late. Consecutive four-win seasons have stalled the momentum he had built up, mostly because he hasn’t had elite quarterbacks for a while now.
Golden: Besides Connecticut’s Randy Edsall, who was booted into early retirement after losing to Holy Cross? New Mexico State's Doug Martin wasn’t offered an extension in the offseason and is coaching on a one-year deal. He’s 23-66 in eight seasons. The Turk will be visiting his office soon.
10. What two college football road trips are left on your personal bucket list?
Bohls: I would put the Big House and West Point high on my to-do list. I have others like Georgia, Florida and Tennessee, but I’d love to catch a game at Michigan and at Army.
Golden: My friends who went to LSU have been trying to get me to Baton Rouge’s Death Valley for years. The tailgating is supposed to be the best on the planet. I would also love to see a game at the Big House in Ann Arbor. Maybe one day after the Wolverines fire Harbaugh and hire someone who can give Ohio State a game.