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Points Over Pints: Georgia, Michigan QBs Steal Spotlight

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Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, right, has earned a respite from big-game criticism after torching South Carolina in a 41-30 win. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images.
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, right, has earned a respite from big-game criticism after torching South Carolina in a 41-30 win. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images.

This Week’s Beer: Spaten Oktoberfest

I had to wear a jacket when I went out for the NFL opener between the Broncos and the Ravens last Thursday. When that happens, it’s time to change the weight of your beer. I also caught a surprising amount of flack for choosing a “trashy beer” with Miller High Life last week, so I decided to appease the beer snobs and class it up a little. 

Spaten is the Points Over Pints pick for three reasons: 

1. There’s no pumpkin flavor. I’ve always loved the smell of pumpkin but hated the taste. I also hate the taste of zucchini and all forms of squash. Maybe I just have something against gourds.

2. It’s versatile in its drinkability. You can drink Spaten Oktober out of the bottle, a pint glass, liter stein, or a giant glass boot. They’re all socially acceptable.

3. It’s the original seasonal beer (take that, Sam Adams!). Spaten Oktoberfest was first brewed in Munich in 1872, soon after the last time that Aaron Murray led No. 10 Georgia past a Top-10 team, if you asked some Bulldogs fans before Saturday's game against No. 5 South Carolina

Let’s top off that pint/boot/stein and talk some college pigskin.

The First Sips

There were two games with major national implications this week, but since I brought up Murray, let’s start there. 

The Georgia quarterback is now 2-6 against opponents ranked in the Top 10 after beating South Carolina, 41-30. The record doesn’t scream “big-game quarterback,” but the perception that Murray can’t win these games has subsided for now. 

The senior signal-caller completed 74 percent of his throws with four touchdowns and a total quarterback rating of 92.9. 

For those that are unfamiliar, ESPN’s QBR is a complex formula that grades quarterbacks on a scale from 0-100 with 50 being average. In other words, Murray wasn’t just sharp against the Gamecocks; he was stellar. He’s earned a breather from the criticism. 

In the other big matchup, Michigan’s Devin Gardner stepped into the national spotlight with an impressive performance in the Wolverines' 41-30 win over Notre Dame. Gardner completed 64 percent of his passes for 294 yards with four touchdowns. He also led Michigan with 82 yards and a score on the ground.

Michigan’s new star almost threw it all away — literally — with a head-scratching decision in the fourth quarter, however.  

The Wolverines' defense forced a turnover on downs in their own red zone to maintain a 14-point lead with less than 13 minutes to play.

On third-and-long, Notre Dame chased Gardner into his own end zone. With a safety imminent, he threw the ball up for grabs. Notre Dame intercepted the pass for an easy six points. 

It’s a play you wouldn’t expect a freshman — in high school — to make. The smart play would have been to surrender the two points and let the defense work with a two-score advantage at home and the clock as an ally. 

Michigan’s offense has the potential to impress this year, but thoughtless plays like that will take away wins. 

Mid-Pint Musings

• Don’t look now, but the ACC has beaten two “top-tier” SEC schools in two weeks after Miami’s 21-16 win over No. 11 Florida. The Gators killed themselves with three red-zone turnovers. 

• Baylor and Utah both put up 70 points this week. Utah had 628 yards of total offense while Baylor piled up 781. Get ready for the 2013 edition of “Why do we allow schools to schedule these games?”

• BYU RB Jamaal Williams said the Cougars could impose their will on the Texas defense before Saturday’s matchup. The 550 rushing yards BYU piled up suggest that he was right.

• Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M won big against Sam Houston State, 65-28. Letting Bearkat running back Timothy Flanders run for 170 yards on just 19 carries (an 8.9 yard per carry average) has to be concerning, though.

• This just in from the Potentially Unsustainable Statistics Department: Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater is on pace to throw for 4,512 yards and 54 touchdowns while completing nearly 77 percent of his passes. It is unsustainable .... isn’t it?

• LSU’s new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has the Tigers’ offense humming along nicely. They scored 37 against a quality TCU squad and followed it up with 56 against Alabama-Birmingham.  

• This just in from the Unsustainable Statistics Department, Part II: Wisconsin hasn’t played a team of note this year, but they’re outscoring their opponents 93-0. It’s the first time the Badgers have posted back-to-back shutouts since 1958.

The Last Gulp

This week’s last-gulp toast doesn’t go to a questionable coaching decision. Instead, it’s going to coaches that are questionable. 

In the loss to Georgia, South Carolina defensive line coach Deke Adams and linebackers coach Kirk Botkin decided to hash out their philosophical differences with a shoving match on the sidelines in front of 92,746 fans, television cameras and all of their players. 

Even more interesting was head coach Steve Spurrier’s attempt to play dumb about the donnybrook in his postgame press conference.

Way to set an example for the kids you’re supposed to be mentoring, fellas. 

The entire country would appreciate it if you could get your act together.

In the meantime…

Prost!

The Hangover

• Munchie Legaux from Cincinnati suffered a horrifying leg injury. He was held overnight in the hospital.

• Braxton Miller left Ohio State’s big win over San Diego State with an apparent knee and head injuries.

• TCU’s QB Casey Pachall required surgery after injuring his forearm against SE Louisiana, he’s expected to miss multiple weeks.

• Texas QB David Ash was shaken up in the Longhorns loss to BYU. He was being evaluated for a head injury.