The Talking Heads: Quin and Chase


Allie Karthaus | Lead Graphic Designers

Quin Norris and Chase Glover

 Quin: Over the weekend in college football we saw opponents on the Lions’ schedule go toe-to-toe when Southern Miss fell to Liberty 56-35. Knowing that the Lions will face Southern Miss on Nov. 7, what do you make of this match up for UNA? 

Chase: I said this in our last article and I am going to say it again, the University of North Alabama Lions is a top-tier Big South and FCS team already. The scores definitely do not show the significant changes that have been made from previous years. However, fans should remember this is a full slate of top-heavy opponents; three FBS level teams and one FCS powerhouse. Liberty is still undefeated, one of few teams to do so on that level, BYU is quickly rising under the unbeknown star power in Zach Wilson who is a Heisman Contender, and Southern Miss is a significant FBS team in years past. Anyone can look at a score from the North Alabama football games and think that the team has not made strides at all, but however the box score does not preach the toughness of this team. Two penalties in the Liberty game negated scoring drives (FG & TD), which would have made the score 28-17. JSU has only one loss on the season, and it is to Florida State, in which they also led until they crumbled in the second half. Southern Miss has struggled for most of the season but have been an amazing team in years past. Credit needs to be given to this coaching staff but also the resiliency of this football team and how they have come into every game so far. I might be reading too far into the games but I see this perception of UNA as a way that all fans should, how about you?

Quin: Going into this game I have a major question I would like to see the team answer. Can they close out a game in the second half? We talked about this last year and it is continuing to happen into this season. I am not disappointed in the losses by any means, in fact I view this issue as the difference between being a good Big South team and a good FCS team. What I have seen out of the Lions up to this point gives me confidence going forward in 2021 with Big South play, however I still am hesitant when it comes to the FCS picture as a whole. With the Southern Miss game in particular I think this is our chance to right the ship so to speak. Similar to UNA, Southern Miss has struggled to close out games often getting crushed in the second half of said games. On Nov. 7 the Lions will have their shot to get our first win over an FBS program which would do wonders for recruiting especially on a local level when we could say, “Yeah, you could go play for Troy or you could come to our program who can beat teams on Troy’s level while also having an opportunity to compete for an FCS crown.” That being said Southern Miss is still only Southern Miss, but you have to start somewhere and this is the best place to do so. This Golden Eagles defense has been scored on at will by almost all of their competition this season. I think if the defense comes out with a solid game plan and the offense shows the fire to win they showed against Southern Utah in 2018, for example, then do not be shocked if the Lions grab their first win of the season. 

Chase: The Lions have done a very good job thus far this season, but there is still enough college football to quench your desires. The BIG10 has come back to play finally in Week 8 of the college football season. Ohio State, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan had tremendous days against all of their conference opponents. However, there were teams that failed to meet their expectations for this season so far, such as Penn State, Minnesota and Michigan State. As crazy as this season has been, we did not think we’d see the kind of blunders that we witnessed in week one of the BIG10 season. Indiana held an OT thriller that beat #8 Penn State, Rutgers actually competed and won a conference game against Michigan State, Harabaugh had the Wolverines looking like a Top-5 team and Justin Fields proves to still be a sought after player in the next level. I have to ask Quin though, what was the most significant BIG10 game to you?

Quin: Easily that would be Michigan and Minnesota. Before the BIG10 started I had pitched Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Penn State as the upper teams of the conference. That being said, I had Michigan and Minnesota floating outside as potential big teams to watch out for. The way the Wolverines played this weekend gives me confidence that they can be competitive with anybody in their conference as long as Ohio State doesn’t start running away with the conference. Now another notable game in the conference this week was that Penn State loss. While it isn’t that big of a deal if they come out and beat Ohio State next week I do think it shows bad signs for the Nittany Lions going forward. Ultimately I think there is still a lot to be seen out of the BIG10 over the next few weeks before I start getting a full picture of the conference, but it was refreshing to see football back in one of the most storied conferences the sport has to offer. Chase?

Chase: For me, the biggest game was Indiana and Penn State in their OT Thriller. There are a lot of football teams that I see as teams that play but they are more focused on another sport such as basketball. Teams that fall in this category are Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana and a couple of others. This is not a bad thing by any means, it is more that their basketball programs bring in more revenue and are more important, such as Alabama with football, their basketball team is on the rise but for the longest time when you think Alabama, you think Nick Saban and football. That is how I have seen the teams I mentioned, however I was shocked when Indiana took down the #8 team in the nation. I never believed the Hoosiers would be winning against Penn State unless it was basketball, but Indiana came to play and converted a two-point conversion that led to a one point victory over the Nittany Lions. It was one of the most crazy games that I have ever seen in my life, and definitely a game changer for the BIG10 and how it will shake out. The Hoosiers jumped all the way up to spot number 17 in the rankings while Penn State tumbled to 18. In my opinion, there is no way the Nittany Lions make the playoffs now, even winning out the rest of the way. They play Ohio State this upcoming weekend and will look to bounce back but I am not sure if I can see that happening with the way the Buckeyes and Fields performed against Nebraska. The BIG10 has already been shaken up from top to bottom and allows 2020 to keep 2020’ing all of us. These were some interesting takeaways from the BIG10 but another big takeaway from College Football as a whole is one that stems from Baton Rouge, LA., in which Myles Brennan has been struggling for LSU but also has a slight injury. This gave way to True Freshman TJ Finley, the 6’6 240-pound quarterback from Ponchatoula, showed Tiger fans everything they were wanting from Brennan. My question has now become, is this the new LSU quarterback that will be heir to Joe Burrow’s throne?

Quin: After watching the game from this Saturday I think it is hard to not think TJ Finely is the next quarterback for the Tigers. I do not think that going into the game LSU expected to see him perform to this level, but he did. That being said I fully expect the Tigers coaching staff to move in Finley’s direction. Keep in mind this is a South Carolina defense that forced multiple interceptions on Bo Nix the week before and they got absolutely dismantled by LSU. When you look at the performance the Tigers have gotten out of Myles Brennan it just is not cutting it. He was forcing that team to play one dimensional football and looked like the late era Les Miles LSU, the issue with that is the defense for LSU still isn’t great. I understand they had shut down South Carolina, but the Gamecocks offense has left little to be desired all season. I need to see Finely play another caliber opponent which he will as they play multiple talented teams in this upcoming stretch and I think the right move for the Tigers would be to start him through this stretch of games to see what the freshman is made of when he plays perennial powers of the conference. 

Chase: A lot of great things are ahead for LSU and Finely, I believe. They played an amazing game this weekend, something that we had been looking for from the reigning champs all season. This year has led to a lot of ups and downs from a lot of teams and has helped plenty but has been destructive for others. Hopefully, LSU can right the ship now as we continue on to the second half of the season. The second half of the season will be extremely important for every team as the smell of playoffs waft throughout the air. I am looking forward to the rest of college football and the teams battling it out on who can make the playoffs at the end of the season. As always, thank you for reading what Quin and I think when it comes to sports, but if you do not like reading there is always a way to listen to us which is on our podcast ‘the Talking Heads Podcast’ which is out on Soundcloud, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. We hope you enjoyed the banter as usual and if you have any questions email them to us at ‘[email protected]’.