Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hobbitcore's College Football Corner (Week 3)

Last Week: 6-1
Overall: 13-2
Upsets Last Week: 1-0
Upsets Overall: 3-1







HEADLINES



-IT'S GREAT...TO BE...A MIAMI HURRICANE! IT'S GREAT...TO BE...A MIAMI HURRICANE! IT'S GREAT...TO BE...A MIAMI HURRICANE! IT'S GREAT...TO BE...A MIAMI HURRICANE! IT'S GREAT...TO BE...A MIAMI HURRICANE! IT'S GREAT...TO BE...A MIAMI HURRICANE! IT'S GREAT...TO BE...A MIAMI HURRICANE! IT'S GREAT...TO BE...A MIAMI HURRICANE! IT'S GREAT...TO BE...A MIAMI HURRICANE! IT'S GREAT...TO BE...A MIAMI HURRICANE!


-Honestly, if you would have asked me if I'd rather see the Miami Heat three-peat or the 'Canes beat the Gators, I would have had to think about it.  Not a lot of people really get that this is even a rivalry or why (particularly Gator fans who think the pre-Tebow college football universe is basically BCE and have the historical context of the common pet dog) but for those of us that KNOW our history, this rival is bigger than FSU--or at least far more bitter.  The reason being, as Lamar Thomas so eloquently put it: "I respect those guys (Florida State) because they kept us on the schedule...unlike the Gators."

I realized that I said last week that I've waited ten years for this--twice--and never explained what that meant.  I've been a 'Canes fan since I was about 5-6 years old (although my fandom has wavered in its intensity but, weirdly, in almost the opposite pattern of fairweather fandom).  I was there for the 1992 Orange Bowl in like the 4th or 5th row--which, it turns out, is the worst place ever to watch because the first 5 rows or so were all flat on the ground so we went home probably sometime in the third quarter when the game was already pretty well in hand.  I was there for Wide Right II.  I went to numerous games in the OB (many in the skybox since my mom worked for the official bank of the 'Canes, First Union) as well as numerous OB games in the mid-to-late 90s and early 2000s.  I was there when Edgerrin James racked up 299 yards to beat #2 UCLA in a 1999 season finale that had been postponed from early in the season due to an ACTUAL hurricane.  

I remember how that win springboarded the 'Canes into a surprising 11-1 record in 2000.  I was in the skybox for Wide Right III and I remember when FSU played for the national championship instead of us anyway.  I also remember that our consolation prize was a date with the Gators in the Sugar Bowl.  I hadn't been this excited for a UM game in years.  My dad raised my on UM football and he remembered the days when they played every year and he remembered when they took us off the schedule after getting pantsed by the 1987 UM championship team 31-4 citing a "demanding SEC schedule" or whatever.  I taped the 2001 Sugar Bowl (as in VHS).  I still have the tape somewhere.  I'll never forget the score: Miami 37, Florida 20.

  
It was a nice preview for a home-and-home scheduled for 2002 (in Gainesville) and 2003 (in Miami), the former dominated by the 'Canes 41-16 and the latter dominated by the Gators 33-10 until Brock Berlin woke up in the third quarter and completed 18 of his next 20 passes on the way to a 38-33 'Canes victory.  The last time they would play for a couple years was the 2004 Peach Bowl, which Miami won 27-10.  By this time, my fandom had grown dormant (starting at a performing arts high school in 1999 slowly eroded my interest in sports as time went on.  At least for a while.

In September 2005, for whatever reason, I randomly decided to start caring about UM football again.  They started the year against FSU, so that helped.  It wasn't long before they announced a home-and-home series with UF for 2008 and 2013.  At the time, it seemed like a lifetime away.  When 2008 rolled around, there was no question I was going to the game in Gainesville.  My dad and I had had season tickets for the final season in the Orange Bowl (2007; yes, I was there for the 47-0 stomping by Virginia in the final OB game) and we renewed them for 2008 in Sun Life Stadium which meant we got dibs on discount tickets to one road game.  So me and 4 of my good friends (2 Gators, 2 'Canes) took an awesome road trip up for the game.  It was actually a pretty tough game for a while--it was still 9-3 Gators going into the 4th quarter.  But then some calls started breaking for the Gators and it just got a little out of hand.  Urban Meyer kicked a FG to make it 26-3 with less than a minute left because of course he did.

Ever since then, I'd been waiting for this.  21-16.  5 turnovers.  Never Forget.


-Meanwhile, in non-Florida news: The futures of both Les Miles and Oklahoma State University football are in serious trouble right now.  At least if the exhaustive report by Sports Illustrated is to be believed.  Over the last few days, SI has slowly revealed allegations of pay-for-play schemesacademic misconductwidespread drug use and trafficking, sex between recruits and members of the school's hostess program, and  during the Les Miles era at Oklahoma State and beyond.  Granted, we've been here before with the whole Nevin Shapiro thing but this is different.  This is coming straight from the mouths of former Oklahoma State players.  If everything SI is reporting is true, it's hard to imagine how Oklahoma State avoids the death penalty or Les Miles keeps his job.  In fact, I firmly believe that if this leads the NCAA to investigate the LSU program and perhaps even some other programs in the SEC (which it really should), then there's likely to be a great tectonic shift in the landscape of college football.  The BCS conference commissioners are already seriously looking at a divorce from the NCAA in favor of a new legislative body--and they have the power and the money to do it, too.  If the Big XII and SEC are about to get blown up, it might just accelerate the process.  This is definitely a story to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

CLICK READ MORE FOR PICKS ON A&M/Bama, UCLA/Nebraska, and Oregon/Tennessee
#7 Louisville @ Kentucky -- ESPN -- 12:00pm
Yeah...not so much...


I'm sure that at some point Teddy Bridgewater will have an actual meaningful game.  That's what you get when you double-cross the 'Canes, douchebag.  You get to be in an already-weak conference picked even cleaner by the ACC you spurned and absent even one ranked team or even one team RECEIVING VOTES IN THE AP POLL (UCF received 6 and Rutgers 1 in the Coaches' Poll).  So keep racking up those stats in hopes of being the first Heisman trophy winner in many, many generations to ever not be seen on TV by anyone ever.  Those stats better really be something, though.

Hobbitcore sez: Louisville

#16 UCLA @ #23 Nebraska -- ABC -- 12:00pm

This should be an interesting one.  Neither team can stop the run so this should be a shootout.  Nebraska has been particularly atrocious against opposing ground games recently, including giving up 219 yards on the ground to Wyoming in their opener.  Unfortunately, Jonathan Franklin isn't a Bruin anymore, so I'm going with Taylor Martinez

Hobbitcore sez: Nebraska


Tennessee @ #2 Oregon -- ABC -- 3:30pm

On the one hand, the Vols' defense did have 7 takeaways last week (including 5 in the span of 6 plays) but Oregon isn't exactly Western Kentucky and Autzen Stadium isn't exactly...wherever the fuck Western Kentucky plays.  Some high school football field I assume.  Sorry, cousin Raul!

Hobbitcore sez: Oregon




#4 Ohio State @ California -- FOX -- 7:00pm

So far this year, California has lost to Northwestern 44-30 and beaten Portland State 37-30.  They're first in the nation in pass yards per game, but 98th in rushing and 106th in points against.  Kenny Guiton filling in at QB won't even slow down the Buckeyes, no reason for Braxton to play at all in this game.

Hobbitcore sez: Ohio State


Vanderbilt @ #13 South Carolina -- ESPN -- 7:00pm

South Carolina is pissed off and Vandy is rolling into Columbia untested.  You almost feel sorry for them.

Hobbitcore sez: South Carolina

Mississippi State @ Auburn -- ESPN2 -- 7:00pm

This could be an interesting one.  Both these programs have a ways to go to get back to where they were (especially Auburn) but both have the ability to get there.  I think Mississippi State may actually be closer but it's hard to pick against Auburn at home.  This really is a toss-up.

Hobbitcore sez: Auburn

#20 Wisconsin @ Arizona State -- ESPN -- 10:30pm

Sun Devil Stadium is not the easiest place to win but I really like Wisconsin's offense this year.  Jarrod Abberdaris is a beast and they've got a hell of a running game as always, plus a very good QB.  Watch out for the Badgers in the Big Ten.

Hobbitcore sez: Wisconsin

GAME OF THE WEEK

#1 Alabama @ #6 Texas A&M -- CBS -- 3:30pm

Big, BIG game.  Biggest of the year so far.  Winner gets the first big leg up on the SEC West title.  Johnny Football has looked every bit as much like Johnny Heisman as he did last year.  Last year, Florida came into Kyle Field early in the year and although the Aggies put up more fight than some expected, the Gators walked out with the win.  I think this one will be even closer than that one but the result will be similar.

Hobbitpick: Alabama 29, Texas A&M 27



Keys to the Game:
Alabama:
-Keep Johnny Football between the tackles
-RUN OVER 'EM, RUN T'RU 'EM!
-Protect A.J.
Texas A&M
-Don't stack the box but do stop the run (somehow)
-Get Johnny Football outside the pocket
-Don't make mental mistakes



Heisman Ballot
1. QB Tahj Boyd, Clemson
2. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
3. QB Aaron Murray, Georgia



Out-of-Whack Spreads
Nevada (+36.5) over Florida State
Mississippi (+2.5) over Texas
Texas A&M (+8) over Alabama
South Carolina (-13) over Vanderbilt
Ohio State (-14) over California

BCS Projections
AAC: Louisville
ACC: Clemson over Miami
(my confidence in the 'Canes has been restored but I still think the Tigers are much better)
Big XII: Oklahoma
Big Ten: Ohio State over Michigan
Pac-12: Stanford over UCLA
SEC: Alabama over Georgia

National Championship: Alabama over Clemson
Orange Bowl: Michigan over Miami
Sugar Bowl: Texas A&M over Notre Dame
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma over Louisville
Rose Bowl: Stanford over Ohio State

My Top 25
1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Stanford
4. Ohio State
5. Georgia
6. Texas A&M
7. Oregon
8. LSU
9. South Carolina
10. Michigan
11. Oklahoma
12. Miami (FL)
13. Louisville
14. Nebraska
15. Oklahoma
16. Florida State
17. Northwestern
18. UCLA
19. Florida
20. Notre Dame
21. Oklahoma State
22. Wisconsin
23. Baylor
24. Washington
25. Ole Miss