College football powerless rankings: Penn State turned Happy Valley into Sad Valley

In this week’s college football powerless rankings, Penn State remains winless, Michigan has a historic loss and the Georgia Bulldogs have no fight. 

Every team on this list share a common trait, limitations at quarterback. It does not matter what football level; the quarterback is the most important position on the field. For our Powerless Five this week, each team was limited because of the quarterback position.

In the SEC, the Volunteers were shutting out the Arkansas Razorbacks at halftime to get shutout in the second half and lose 24-13 to the Razorbacks. It was obvious before Jarrett Guarantano got injured that the Volunteer coaching staff did not want to put the game in the hands of any quarterback on their roster.

Not only was South Carolina’s offense ineffective, the defense got lit up by the Texas A&M Aggies in their 48-3 loss in Columbia.  Like Tennessee, South Carolina played three quarterbacks, all equally ineffective. The way the offense played, changing offensive coordinators is not the only issue for South Carolina.

Georgia losing to Florida was not a huge shocker; it was how they lost. The “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” was a referendum on the state of modern football. The referendum stated that a well-executed offense will always beat a good or even great defense any day.

In the Big Ten, youth is catching up with Michigan. Although offensive coordinator Josh Gattis is in year two at Michigan, the only receiver with any production from last season is Ronnie Bell. The offensive line is new, and the quarterback is new. Joe Milton was not awful against Indiana, but the two interceptions did not help in their 38-21 loss to the Hoosier.

The opt-outs and the injuries have caught up with Penn State who is the biggest loser of the week.

The biggest losers of Week 10

5. Tennessee Volunteers

From the first quarter to the end of the game, it was clear the Tennessee Volunteers were not interested in putting the game in the hands of quarterback Jarrett Guarantano. After Guarantano was injured, the Volunteers still did not want to throw the football. Running back, Eric Gray had 31 of Tennesee’s 50 carries.

The Volunteers could not expand on their two-possession lead in the second half. When the Razorbacks began to stack the box, Tennessee still refused to throw the football. It is hard to win without throwing a touchdown pass and throwing two interceptions. This game shows that Jarrett Guarantano is not the answer and the Volunteers have no one behind him to take snaps.

4. South Carolina Gamecocks

The British rock band “The Who” famously sang, “Say hello to the new boss, same as the old boss.” Those words could not be more appropriate when describing the South Carolina Gamecocks. Head coach Will Muschamp hired Mike Bobo to be the new offensive coordinator this season. This was supposed to be Muschamp’s best offensive coordinator since he’s been the head coach.

The Gamecocks are averaging 24.8 points this season, just two points better than last season. South Carolina has broken 30 points just twice — both wins. Against Texas A&M this week, just three points. What’s worse is the defense has been terrible. South Carolina has given up over thirty points four times, including 51 against LSU and 48 this week versus the Aggies. The offensive coordinator might not be the issue in South Carolina.

3. Georiga Bulldogs

Georiga losing to Florida should shock no one, but the way they lost has to be a wake-up call for Kirby Smart and the offensive staff. Coming into the game, Stetson Bennet’s limitations came as a surprise to no one. D’Wan Mathis’s limitations were no surprise either. You are not going to win many games in 2020, completing 9 passes for 112 yards.

If Georiga is going to attempt to play bully ball, they can’t give up 44 points. Georgia’s defense could do nothing against Kyle Trask and the Gators’ passing attack. Trask threw for 474 yards and four touchdowns. Trask completed passes to ten different receivers. The JT Daniels era cannot begin soon enough.

2.  Michigan Wolverines

There are no moral victories in the Powerless rankings. To stay off of this list, win football games. Michigan beat a depleted Minnesota team to open the season and followed that win with consecutive losses to Michigan State and Indiana. This is a young team with lots of new pieces in Michigan’s defense, including quarterback Joe Milton.

Their performance against the Indiana Hoosiers showed why continuity is so important. Milton is a first-year starter with new receivers. The issues at Michigan does not just reside offensively. The Wolverines gave up 460 yards to Indiana and did not sack Hoosiers’ quarterback Michael Penix once. Temper expectations this season for the Wolverines; this is a step back season.

1. Penn State Nittany Lions

For the first time since 2001, Penn State is 0-3. A couple of years ago, Penn State lost to Ohio State in a close game. Then starting quarterback Trace McSorely did not develop a couple of key plays in the close loss. Head coach James Franklin said that they were a good team, not a great team. That season, the limitation was the quarterback, and this season, the limitation is the quarterback.

While Penn State lost both Noah Cain and Journey Brown to injury and Micah Parsons opted to prepare for the NFL Draft, Penn State is not transformational at quarterback. When you lose the caliber player the Nittany Lions have lost, you need a difference-maker at quarterback. Sean Clifford is not that difference-maker. The Maryland game was typical Clifford completing less than 50 percent of his passes with two interceptions.

Clifford was ineffective for nearly a half, then threw a touchdown pass and went away until the game was out of hand.

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