College football has nine weeks in the books, but there is still a long way to go. Each week more is learned about each team, even though not everything can be known. Putting the pieces together on college football each season is part of why fans love it. With that being said, here is College Football: 5 things learned from week 9.
1. Georgia at Kentucky will decide the SEC East
If anyone would have predicted that Georgia visiting Kentucky would decide the outcome of the SEC East, they’d be crazy. They would also be right.
Georgia routed Florida this week to move their record to 7-1 with their only loss coming at the hands of LSU. They have only two SEC games left, with the other being against Auburn. The Bulldogs were supposed to be at this point, as they won the SEC East last season and have a lot of talent. The real question was who would be their toughest competitors.
After beating Missouri on a last-second touchdown, Kentucky has continued their magical season. They are 7-1 and if they can pull off one more upset, will play for the SEC Championship Game. The Wildcats have beaten notable teams in Florida and Mississippi State. Either way for Kentucky this season has been a success, as they should be able to go 9-3 at the very least.
2. Florida is on the way back, but still has work to do
Florida lost to Georgia this week, but hung in with them for three and a half quarters. Dan Mullen has brought some life back to the Florida program, but they are still a year or two away from competing on a national level.
This is not to take away from Florida’s great season so far. They have been in the top 10 and still sport a great defense. Their offense though is what needs to improve for them to get where they want to be. They average 32 points per game, but haven’t scored more than 30 points against a good opponent yet this season. That is something Dan Mullen will want to change for the future, as he has a gifted offensive mind.
The Gators have the tools and the head coach to compete with Georgia in the SEC East and nationally on a year in and year out basis.
3. Trevor Lawrence is a future pro
Trevor Lawrence was a highly-touted recruit, who was eventually able to take the starting quarterback job from Kelly Bryant. Not all highly-touted prospects work out though, especially this early in their career. Lawrence has demonstrated that not only will he be a great college quarterback, but he is also a future high-end draft pick in a few years.
Lawrence has helped Clemson to an 8-0 record including their blowout win over Florida State this weekend. He has thrown for 1,490 yards, 16 touchdowns and two interceptions on 65% completion. The freshman has also shown the ability to understand defenses and coverages, as he makes great audibles and line adjustments. If he keeps improving, the sky is the limit for Lawrence.
4. Texas is a year away from being really good
Texas lost to Oklahoma State, which gives them two losses on the season. This is still a lot better than most people thought they’d do this season, especially after they lost to Maryland to start the year. They may not be ready for the national stage just yet, but they are very close to getting back to that point.
One of the main reasons for this is how much Sam Ehlinger has improved as a passer. Last season he completed 57.5% of his passes, while this season he is up to 63.5% completion. He threw seven interceptions in nine games last year, while this year he has thrown two interceptions in eight games. He can be one of the best quarterbacks in college football if he continues to improve as a passer.
Their defense will need some patchwork next season because they play so many seniors, but all of the Big 12 has issues on that side of the ball. Oklahoma and West Virginia, the other good teams in the conference at the moment, could be looking for new quarterbacks with Kyler Murray having the option to play baseball and Will Grier graduating.
There is still a lot to play for this season, but Texas has to be feeling good about their future.
5. The Big Ten West is really weird
With Wisconsin losing to Northwestern and Iowa losing to Penn State, the Big Ten West will be won by a team that has multiple losses already with a few weeks to go.
Northwestern currently sits in the driver’s seat in the conference with a 5-1 Big Ten record. They took advantage of Wisconsin playing a backup quarterback with Alex Hornibrook out with a concussion and won the game comfortably. They are 5-3 on the season with losses to Duke, Iowa and Akron, making them a tough team to figure out.
Iowa has two Big Ten losses, one to Wisconsin and one to Penn State. They still play Northwestern, which means they can get their way back into the Big Ten Championship Game. Wisconsin has two losses in the Big Ten as well. They’ve lost to Michigan and Northwestern, but they have beaten Iowa.
Whichever way it goes down the stretch, this hasn’t been the strongest year for the Big Ten West.