Joe Medley: Sunday roundup: Ranked for the moment
by Joe Medley
Oct 13, 2013 | 3455 views |  0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Auburn’s Tony Stevens (8) celebrates a 22-yard touchdown catch with fellow receiver Marcus Davis (80) and  quarterback Jeremy Johnson (6). (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Auburn’s Tony Stevens (8) celebrates a 22-yard touchdown catch with fellow receiver Marcus Davis (80) and quarterback Jeremy Johnson (6). (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Smile and say “cheese” for this snapshot moment of the college football season. Even if only for a day, Alabama, Auburn and Jacksonville State are ranked.

Alabama (6-0) remains the consensus No. 1 after a 48-7 rout of Kentucky on Saturday. No shock there.

Auburn (5-1) moved into the top 25 after a 62-3 handling of Western Carolina, notching up to No. 24 in The Associated Press poll.

Jacksonville State (5-2) was No. 24 in The Sports Network and Football Championship Subdivision Coaches polls headed into Saturday, when the Gamecocks lost 31-15 to Tennessee State. JSU will likely drop out of both polls but not until new polls come out Monday.

Hey, at least we have Sunday.

Alabama: Are we having fun?

It’s yet another blowout and yet another unhappy postgame for top-ranked Alabama.

The Crimson Tide compiled 668 yards, allowed just 170 and dominated one of the SEC’s bottom-rung teams as expected, but one wouldn’t know it from the postgame tone.

Defensive leaders such as C.J. Mosley focused on Kentucky’s meaningless touchdown and the lack of turnovers for Alabama’s defense. On offense, there was talk about fumbles by running backs T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake, and receivers dropped passes.

There have been a few postgames like that this season, usually after victories of 25 points or more.

It’s been said that Alabama’s program has advanced under seventh-year coach Nick Saban to where only the Tide can beat the Tide. Hard to say, but it sure seems the Tide can beat the Tide up.

Even Saban, who touts the elusively perfect beast called “the standard,” seems concerned about its weight coming back to his players through the external world. He defended his running backs on questions about fumbles.

Quarterback AJ McCarron seemed to see overreaction in questions about dropped passes.

Unbeaten Alabama has one losable contest between now and the SEC Championship Game, and the Tide should be favored at home against No. 6 LSU. Assuming Alabama beats LSU and wins in Atlanta, the chance for a record third straight national title comes next.

Until then, maybe Alabama needs some Dr. Phil. The Tide really should enjoy this whole pursuit-of-history thing more.

Auburn: Shakespearean tale

There are those who decry games like Auburn-Western Carolina. They call it a disservice to season-ticket holders and buy-a-wins.

Such games are all of those things, but they’re also chances to players like Oxford product Chandler Shakespeare to live the dream.

The senior running back and former walk-on who received a scholarship before this season got the first 10 carries of his college career and ran for 61 yards, all in the fourth quarter.

He was part of Auburn’s 511-yard rushing output, the third largest in school history.

Talk about degrees of separation? The last time Auburn rushed for 500 yards, a guy named Bo Jackson was on the team.

Yes, Auburn and Shakespeare did it against a bottom-rung Football Championship Subdivision opponent. The Tigers matched Samford’s point total against WCU, but who cares?

At a time when so much focus is placed on what’s wrong with college football, a graduate-school student finally got to run the ball. A picture of No. 42 toting the mail will look real nice on a shelf, next to his Master’s degree in adult education and his bachelor’s in business management.

JSU: Game changer?

Sunday’s word on injuries in Jacksonville State’s loss to Tennessee State casts a pall on the remainder of JSU’s season.

Wide receiver Markis Merrill is likely out for the rest of the season because of a hip injury. Wide receiver Dalton Screws hopes to get back on the field by season’s end but suffered a broken collar bone, requiring surgery.

Quarterback Max Shortell has an injury to his right knee, bad enough to end his day Saturday and leave his status uncertain as the Gamecocks head into an open date.

The injuries are bad enough from a human perspective. Screws’ father acknowledged his son is “pretty down” about the injury after breaking into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman. JSU coach Bill Clark acknowledged that he prayed over Merrill, who was carted off the field on a stretcher.

From a football standpoint, JSU’s passing game took a big hit, and it comes at a time when the offense was starting to click. Saturday’s game against FCS’s top defense notwithstanding, Shortell was starting to play like one would expect of a top-division transfer.

Even if he mends in time to play JSU’s Oct. 26 game at Tennessee Tech, he’s like to be missing two starting receivers.

A one-dimensional offense changes the picture of JSU’s possibilities this season.

Sports columnist Joe Medley: 256-235-3576, On Twitter @jmedley_star.
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