Sprint Option: Week 6

This weekend marked the official bowl-eligibility point in the regular season. I went 8-2 on my picks (9-2 if you count my late pick of Baylor to cover a 42.5 point spread). Some teams have seized the opportunity through their first 6 games to make sure they’re playing an extra game at the end of the season. Many, on the other hand, have not. This season is absolutely ridiculous and predicting who will be left standing after the dust settles appears impossible. This weekend had some surprises, and a little bit of movement in the polls. But, we’ll get to that in a moment. I’ve also decided to add a component to the weekly Sprint Option, the Read portion which you’re familiar with, and a Pitch portion where I make a bold prediction going into next weekend

The option cometh!

Jim McElwain has returned the Gators to the top ten in six games as coach…

The Gators may still have the meat of their schedule ahead, but they have already overachieved under McElwain in his first year. The offensive line is patchwork and incohesive (at least those were the complaints going into the season), yet has somehow managed to gel and play decent. The offense, by all accounts a sputtering failure under Muschamp, seems to really have something under Nussmeier’s and McElwain’s tutelage. Florida fans will have to hold their collective breath, however, as the Gators have a brutal draw next week in a night game at LSU and then face Georgia in the Cocktail Party in Jacksonville. If the Gators get a split of those two, and win out. They’ll be in Atlanta playing for the SEC title, all in Mac’s first season. UF fans have to like this guy, but should temper the overreaction for a little while longer.

Florida State blows out the Canes in every department but scoring…

If you take away the stat lines, it looks like FSU must have run away with the game. But, several key mistakes and miscues cost the Seminoles a blowout they probably really wanted. Dalvin Cook did his thing and they cruised. But, several massive mistakes gave the Canes a chance at the end. This easily could have been a loss for the Noles.

Michigan is the best team in the B1G…

I cannot believe I’m even typing this. But, the Wolverines look like one of the best teams in college football, especially now that we know that Utah is pretty damn good themselves. Harbaugh is an incredible coach, he’s a lunatic in dad-khakis, but still an amazing coach. Don’t believe me? Take a look at some of the replays from the Utah game, then look to this weekend in the Northwestern game. Try to convince yourself that the Michigan QB, Jake Rudock, doesn’t look as different as night and day in those games. Harbaugh can flat coach quarterbacks. I’m a firm believer that if Michigan squared off with Utah again, Michigan wins by two touchdowns. Since dropping the game to Utah, the Wolverines have outscored opponents 160-14. Harbaugh has the offense rolling, and Defensive Coordinator D.J. Durkin (of Muschamp’s Florida) has the Wolverine defense out for blood. Bold prediction: Michigan is going to run Sparty out of the stadium next week, and then snack on the cupcakes in the B1G until Thanksgiving, when they will kill Ohio State in Ann Arbor. Teams should be very, very afraid of Blue.

Charlie gets his signature win in sound defeat of archrival Oklahoma…

The Red River Shootout (no, I am STILL not calling it the Showdown) is one of, if not the most severely underappreciated rivalries in college football. Sure, it’s because the Big XII has been smoldering garbage barge for years, and because Texas has been a ghost of its true self in the past decade or so, and because Baylor and TCU are the class of the BIg XII these days. The list goes on, but it’s a blood feud that goes back years. This game is always played at the Texas State Fair (mmm, fried butter), and the past few years, Oklahoma has owned Texas. I’m not sure if it’s because the rivalry game is played so early, but the game seems to lose its luster when the sports media talks about it. Regardless of the reasons, this year’s game was a classic. “Embattled” Texas coach Charlie Strong took on the 10th ranked team in the country and ate them for breakfast. Texas finally was able to execute better and put together an exceptional gameplan for Stoops and Co. Strong had plenty of breathing room going into this game, but getting this win, with this team, at this time is incredibly important to get some of the more activist boosters off the interim AD’s back. I’m a huge Charlie fan, as I am a fan of people who do it the right way. Everything about him seems to reinforce his public brand. Charlie Strong is good for Texas, he always has been. It’s just nice to be able to table the “lost the team” narrative for awhile.

Tennessee wins a meaningless game against Georgia, Dawgs lose much, much more…

Butch Jones tried to mismanage this game and give Georgia the game, but Georgia just wanted to go home. After getting abused by Alabama, the Dawgs sought to bounce back against the punchline that the Volunteers have become. But, fairly early in the game, star running back Nick Chubb went down awkwardly and didn’t get up. Additionally, the way the injury happened, there’s no way that Nick Chubb’s ACL is intact. His mom confirmed, on Facebook, that he tore 3 ligaments in his knee. 3 ligaments, out of a possible 4. Poor kid. He’s done for the season and so are Georgia’s hopes for winning the SEC.

Georgia Tech starts 2 walk-on A-backs, marches into Death Valley anyway, it goes as bad as expected…

The Jackets have been hobbled by injuries. I think the count is up to 7 lost running backs. I’m not sure any other team has 7 running backs on the depth chart. At this point, Tech could be starting backup kickers on offense, they’d be just as effective. The injury bug has run over the Jackets this season. So, as you can imagine, Tech’s tilt against Clemson could not really have gone any other way. The Tigers scored at will on the Jackets and then were able to commit 9 men to stop the option. They succeeded. The deepest of the Jackets’ problems stem from the sheer lack of any semblance of a passing attack, or any willingness to attempt a vertical pass (or any pass for that matter). Defenses cheat wherever they can, and if you’re a one-dimensional running team who doesn’t throw, you’re going to be run blitzed all night. Venables is the best coach Clemson has, he knows how to defend the option especially when he doesn’t have his players cover receivers.

BC’s defense crushes Wake, holds them to only a field goal, and loses…

No. That’s real. BC has a top 25 defense, but their offense is a heard of cats. This offense ended the game by not getting a snap off on Wake’s goal line at the end of the game. Yeah, it’s like that.

TCU engages in brinksmanship again with another unranked opponent…

Please point me in the direction of anyone who watches college football who isn’t a homer for TCU and who actually believes that TCU is a playoff team, especially over Baylor. The Horned Frogs have a good offense built on the “backyard football” staple, the Air Raid, and a piss poor defense. This doesn’t hurt them because they don’t actually play in a conference that plays defense. The most sickening part about this is that it seems that the committee has heard “so much outcry” over the TCU/Baylor snub last year, that it’s holding a spot open for either of these teams. TCU has not played well enough to be considered a playoff team; hell, they haven’t played well enough to be a top ten team. There are too many other teams playing better football than TCU to simply give Patterson’s team a free pass into the playoff.

Baylor beats the worst team in the Power 5, finally moves ahead of TCU…

Baylor has played NOBODY! But, they have made their opponents look as bad as they are reported to be. The Bears have just buzzsawed anyone they’ve played, but they look like they’re supposed to. Baylor still has the “tougher” part of its schedule ahead, but between them and TCU, I’m taking Baylor. I’ll leave Baylor in the discussion for the playoff for now, because they haven’t struggled mightily against their unranked opponents.

Sark and USC lose to unranked Washington, Sark takes a leave of absence…

So, the loss to the Huskies is hilarious. The rampant alcoholism and lack of control from USC are not hilarious. Sark was recently accused of being drunk in the Arizona State game. The Trojans administration has now forced him into an indefinite leave of absence in what has become the most recent case of how wins are the only metric that matters for college football coaches. While the release of info about the ASU game drunkenness is highly suspect and seemingly driven by an embarrassing loss, it doesn’t change the fact that it had to be addressed. My question: if USC actually was a power this year, would we just ignore Sark’s problem? Answer: yes, that’s what we do, and it’s pathetic.

Sparty barely outruns a dumpster fire…

College football needs a new rule. If it takes raw grit and determination to beat Rutgers, you probably need to be out of the top 25. Michigan State is going to get boat raced next weekend by Michigan and it’s going to be awesome. Sparty’s wins are only impressive if you use the preseason poll. This team is terrible. I had high expectations for Connor Cook, I have them no longer. Michigan State’s dream will come crashing down next Saturday in Ann Arbor. Maybe then people will start believing me about Harbaugh.

Iowa is undefeated and is the best team no one is talking about…

The Hawkeyes are quietly 6-0 and look pretty sharp in the B1G. Before Ohio State and Michigan State started looking awful, no one gave Iowa any chance. Now, they have a case for a podium finish in the conference. Iowa hasn’t played anybody, but they haven’t struggled either. Moreover, this team will not have to play Ohio State, Michigan, or Michigan State until the championship game. With a win next week, Iowa will have a pretty appealing path to the championship game and an eventual showdown with Michigan.

PITCH

Michigan will play Iowa for the B1G championship. Florida will play Texas A&M for the SEC title.

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