There were two nightmarish scenarios — one football-related, one far more serious — that played out for two of the nation's premier football programs in the last 24-plus hours.
On the field, Clemson looked lost Monday night.
Lost. Duke pushed them around in a 28-7 win, and Clemson only got on the scoreboard because of a muffed punt deep in Duke territory.
(Side note: Yes, we picked Clemson in our Plays email. And yes, our list of theories had more wrong assumptions on any document since Chris Washburn turned in his SAT.
But big picture, that is three painful losses — rivalry gift-wrapper to South Carolina, Tennessee blowing their doors off in the Orange Bowl, and getting shoved around by Duke — in the Tigers' last four games.
And while we are a long way off from anyone even suggesting this, as someone who was 100% on the Gus Bus at Auburn, when a guy who reached the apex — Gus deserved almost all the credit for 2010 and was one play from winning it again in 2013 — when the wheels on the bus don't round and round, the crash is painful.
Dabo best find some answers, because UNC is coming. Miami is coming. And FSU looked the part of heavyweight contender. And in truth, Dabo needs to start by looking in the mirror. You either adapt or die, and Dabo doesn't use the transfer portal. Duke had a slew of transfers including a DB in his seventh season of college football.
(Side note: Remember when Lord Saban railed against run-pass-options and the hurry-up for "player safety," and it fell on deaf ears and then Alabama switched to the spread and has used Jalen Hurts, Tua, Bryce Young and Jalen Milroe since? Yeah that's called adapting, Dabo.)
As for the other — and far more serious matter — Georgia had another legal issue with excessive speeding and reckless driving.
The line items of this issue are numerous and have proved to be tragic.
And in truth, it's hard to see Kirby not firing Jarvis Jones, the former UGA star player who is now the player coordinator for the Bulldogs.
The speeding/driving issue first came to light with the deaths of two in the program after a wreck caused in part by drag racing and speeding.
There have been several other incidents before or after, and Jones' arrest Friday night that came to light Monday is just the latest.
It also came after Kirby Smart spent a chunk of the summer saying into every open microphone that they are aware of the problem and they are taking measures to address it.
And that's the reason Jones needs to find some boxes and meet security in his office.
Look, firing people stinks. It really does, and it stinks even when they deserve it.
Getting fired stinks. It really does, and it stinks even if someone may have deserved it.
And if you have done either you know; if you have had both land in your lap, you really know.
But whatever measures Smart and Co. have put in place simply are not working and clearly do not have enough bite for these big Dawgs.
Plus, Jones is a member of the staff. This is far from a player-loyalty issue or a 19-year-old doing something dumb because he's 19, which is by definition part of being 19.
Despite his All-American, Jones is a relatively easy call.
Because the ol' "internal measures" punishment is clearly not working for Smart.
What internal measures, are those? Are they running extra sprints after practice?
College football week 1 takeaway
I could go on a diatribe about the new UT uniforms. I will handle that in a moment.
I could be the 43,031st media member to fawn over Colorado and Deion Sanders. (Side note: TCU has now allowed 108 points in its last 120 minutes of action. There are NBA teams who have better points per minute stats.)
I could rave about the QB play, but we already covered that.
I could rant about how I extremely overvalued the preseason hype for LSU and Clemson. But we have covered that, too. (Side note: Both those teams are out now, right? LSU got smoked and will need to FSU to lose twice to pass them. And without looking it up, I am going to go on a limb and say in the modern era no team has ever lost by three TDs to Duke and played for the national title.)
I could speak to the ever-growing divide between the haves and the have-nots — look, Oklahoma just scored again — and the avalanche of blowouts that filled Saturday.
I could preach on the growing college QB free agent market. (Side note: Carson Beck was the lone player from the top 20 quarterback recruits in 2020 to be QB1 Saturday for the school with which he originally signed. Three of those dudes are in the NFL and Tyler Van Dyke will start Saturday for Miami. The rest done R-U-N-N-O-F-T.)
But no, I will save my angst for this on this beautiful September morn on which college football is here, the NFL is close and playoff baseball is around the corner.
As great as this weekend was in so many ways, the new college football clock rules suck.
Yes, and not because of the rules themselves, but because of the clear duplicity with which the NCAA has crafted them.
I am the first to say the rules changed in MLB have worked. The pace is better. The games are quicker. The intrusion to flow was minimal. The outcomes have been universally applauded by both sides.
So I was hopeful that the college football clock rules would have a similar effect, especially on the CBS SEC game, which now runs longer than Forrest Gump after three Red Bulls.
But every meaningful metric I have seen on social media has a telling stats about the length of games with the new rules, which no longer stops the clock after first downs as well as a few other items.
Barstool Sports reported the results show there is 7% less plays but games are only 1% shorter. Why could that be? Hmmmmmmm.
Bingo — more commercials.
Now comes the critiques from pace-happy coaches like Chip Kelly and Lane Kiffin blasting the changes. And to be fair, that's a huge part of their offense — a game-balancer for teams with less talent than some of the power programs in several ways — so it would be like telling Mike Bobo he can only get the ball to Brock Bowers once a possession. Or after Saturday's sluggish start in Athens, maybe they made that chance too.
I am open for change. But changing the rules to get less college football and more time with the AFLAC duck and hanging in the Heisman House or visiting Fansville may be the worst thing the NCAA has done in recent memory.
And that's saying something.
Wow, got a little long there. It happens.
So let's move this part a little more quickly, shall we? I think we shall.
Five quick questions and answers heading into the much-anticipated NFL season:
— Will the Jets be boom or bust? In truth, hard to see any other answer, and with the addition of a one-year-contract-motivated Dalvin Cook, I really lean toward the former. And I'll add this: I have a small taste on Aaron Rodgers to win MVP — star player, bounce-back possibility, major buzz and media market — at plus-1600.
— Which area team has the better chance to make the playoffs, Tennessee or Atlanta? In truth, I think they both could win what is clearly the worst divisions in their conferences. But I lean toward the Falcons and Bijan Robinson having a monster year.
— Will the Chiefs repeat? Not unless they get Chris Jones back on the field.
— Who will be my biggest surprise team? Jacksonville. They have assembled years of lofty draft picks, and I would wager Calvin Ridley will be right there with Ja'Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson in talks about first team All-Pro. (As long as he doesn't make a bet on that, of course.)
— If you had one QB for the Falcons for the next decade, who would you want? Lots of folks will say Patty Mahomes, and that's fine and understandable. I'd take Joe Burrow. As long as he can stay healthy, that is. Dude is a baller and has an MVP and a Super Bowl in his future. Even in Cincy.
This and that
— I appreciate the gesture to honor Conredge Holloway, the barrier-breaking former Tennessee football star. I also appreciate sliding away from the Smokey Gray unis since anything that was hatched between Fulmer's demise, Kiffin's energy and Heupel's well-deserved hype is assuredly forgettable for all Johnny Vols Fans. And I also get the need to change the unis up for the young people in the program who want different looks and pizzazz. But these new throwback unis the Vols unveiled are nowhere near as cool as the regular UT outfits in my view. And for all the changes, if you have to change an iconic helmet to make it work, then it doesn't work.
— Man, we mentioned this in Plays Monday, too: How strange was it that the Braves did not play on Labor Day? I know college football has grabbed control of this weekend, but MLB scheduling needs to be better. Every team should play on Labor Day, and almost all of the games should be in the day.
— You know the rules. Here's Paschall on Alabama getting ready for Week 2's highest-profile game as the Tide host Texas. Buckle up Longhorns. The trains coming.
True or false, it's Tuesday.
True or false, Clemson looked like a 7-5 team last night.
True or false, Kirby should fire Jarvis Jones.
True or false, you like the new UT uniform.
True or false, you noticed the huge increase in commercials this weekend.
True or false, Alabama boat races Texas on Saturday.
True or false, the Jets win the AFC East.
You know the drill. Answer some T or Fs, ask some T or Fs.
As for today, Sept. 5, let's review.
Wow some true greats born on this day. Raquel Welch would have been 83. Bob Newhart is 94. Freddie Mercury would have been 77.
The London Fire happened on this day in 1666.
Rushmore of "fire" and be creative.