Panic time? Checking on Texas, Alabama, Notre Dame and more

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Two weeks into the 2022 college football season, fans of some teams are sitting pretty, while others are finding significant reasons for worry.

Which teams are right to be concerned? Which should take a deep breath and try to relax?

Joel Klatt broke it down on his podcast, “The Joel Klatt Show.”

Panic time? A look at Texas, Alabama, Notre Dame, more

Joel Klatt addresses the fan bases of the Texas Longhorns, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Texas A&M Aggies, Alabama Crimson Tide and Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Notre Dame

Record: 0-2

The Irish, who started the season ranked No. 5 in the nation, played No. 2 Ohio State tough in their opener in Columbus before falling, 21-10. But they followed that up with a 26-21 loss to Marshall at home.

Starting quarterback Tyler Buchner suffered a severe AC sprain in that game and is expected to miss the rest of the regular season. That means Drew Pyne, a 5-foot-11 sophomore, will be expected to hold the reins and guide the Irish through a brutal schedule that includes games against North Carolina, BYU, Clemson and USC.

Panic or relax? Panic!

Klatt’s thoughts: “It’s panic time, folks. Marcus Freeman was a coordinator two years ago at a Group of 5 school. He gets the job largely based on the sentiment of the players. That’s fine, but … 0-3 to start [Freeman coached the Irish in their Fiesta Bowl defeat last season]. That’s not good. They haven’t played nearly as well as they need to moving forward. Then they get their quarterback hurt.

“They’ve got to win, and they’ve got to win now. Why? Look at the rest of their schedule. They’ve already lost two games. I see them losing three, maybe four more games. That’s a lot. That’s potentially six losses for the Irish, in Marcus Freeman’s first year, after Brian Kelly had that wild run of success.”

Texas A&M

Record: 1-1

The Aggies opened their season well enough, with a 31-0 win over Sam Houston State. But their stunning loss to Appalachian State in Week 2 set off some alarms, especially when you consider that A&M managed only 186 yards of offense and the 17-14 score was only that close due to a touchdown on a kick return.

The schedule isn’t easy either, as the Aggies face No. 13 Miami this week, followed by an SEC slate that includes Arkansas, Alabama, Florida and Ole Miss

Panic or relax? Panic!

Klatt’s thoughts: “Why is it panic time? You have to win this week against Miami, or else, where do you go? There is nowhere else to look. A&M has invested in facilities — as well as anybody out there, by the way. 

“This fan base has stepped up in a huge way and supported this program. That stadium: incredible. Facilities: incredible. NIL: probably the best in the country. At least most aggressive. … Recruiting: as well as anybody. They just signed the best class in the history of recruiting. So the players are there. … and they’ve recruited at a high level for a number of years.

“Mario Cristobal is bringing a [Miami] team that is better than App State. This is as big a game A&M has had in a number of years.” 

Texas

Record: 1-1

The Longhorns’ only loss was a 20-19 defeat against No. 1 Alabama, a game many have cited as a sign the Longhorns are on the right track. The problem? Starting quarterback Quinn Ewers went down with a sprained clavicle and backup Hudson Card was also banged up.

Panic or relax? Relax 

Klatt’s thoughts: “This is a relax, only because it’s about the quarterback. … You’re probably going to lose a game that you don’t want to in the next month, because of injuries. Quinn Ewers being down with that injury is no good. Why? Because he played great in the first quarter [against Alabama]. I loved the way they played. I loved the plan they had. So Texas fans, you’re just going to have to relax and bear with it. This is the long game.

“Why is it different than Texas A&M? Because Sark’s only in his second year, it’s totally different. And Texas didn’t just lose to App State.

“You’re going to get your quarterback back, hopefully by Red River [Oct. 8 vs. Oklahoma], and I still think this is a team that likely is in the Big 12 Championship Game. I think they have a chance to win the conference. I don’t feel that way about A&M.”

Texas’ takeaways from loss to Alabama

Joel Klatt gives his takeaways from the Texas Longhorns’ close loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide in Week 2.

Alabama

Record: 2-0

The Crimson Tide were looking to make a statement after a 2021 campaign coach Nick Saban has described as a rebuilding year, even though they reached the national championship game. But worry has surfaced after Bama’s narrow escape in Austin last week. Is there reason to panic?

Panic or relax? Relax

Klatt’s thoughts: “Nick Saban has adjusted and evolved better than any coach in college football. He’s evolved on offense, and he will evolve this season. They will be better at running the football. They will be better at wide receiver. And even if they’re not more dynamic running downfield, they will find out what those guys can do and they will get very good at it.

“I think Alabama is going to be just fine. Are there some concerns? Yes. But guess who’s most concerned about that? Nick Saban.

“So Bama fans, relax. You escaped with a win. Your quarterback [Bryce Young] put a cape on his back. Bama is going to be just fine moving forward.”

Why No. 1 Alabama might be overrated

RJ Young talks about why he thinks that Alabama might be at risk of having a disappointing season.

Nebraska

Record: 1-2

Scott Frost was already on the hot seat to start the season, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the team’s 1-2 start cost him his job on Sunday. Mickey Joseph has been tabbed to run the team on an interim basis while the school begins to plan a nationwide search for a permanent coach. Should the program’s long-term prospects have fans worried?

Related: Top candidates to replace Scott Foster at Nebraska

Panic or relax? Relax

Klatt’s thoughts: “I’ve heard a lot of people say that Nebraska is no longer a great job. I think that it is. But here’s why: Not in the sense that it is what it used to be, which is a premium power in college football, but that it’s positioned perfectly in the current landscape of college football. … 

“Here’s what’s going to help Nebraska hire its next coach: No. 1, USC and UCLA went to the Big Ten, which made them a power conference. So now, everybody realizes, to play at the highest level you’re likely going to need to be in the SEC or the Big Ten.

“Nebraska is going to be one of the rare, really good jobs out there.”


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