Sprint Option: Week 7

So, this weekend saw me go a delightful 5-5 on my picks. I’m still over .500 on the year, but again, I’m not better than a lucky coin this week. I’m only counting the 10 I picked in Bet the Board. Anyway, we have another week in the books, and another set of polls out. We had a great slate of games this weekend and many managed to live up to the hype. I whiffed completely on Michigan this weekend, but I still think they’re the team to beat in the B1G, if only because Michigan State has looked like a pretty crappy team. Still, Michigan will play Ohio State in November, and I’m still taking Harbaugh in that one. But, who knows at this point? This year is shaping up to be a pretty crappy year for the committee. It’s going to be a huge mess when the undefeateds lose. I also completely whiffed on the pitch last week; my B1G championship is still possible, but A&M was all but mathematically eliminated with a loss to Bama (ESPN puts them at a 4% chance).

More on that later, let’s get to the Option.

Gators defense arrives at halftime, is too late to effect a change in the outcome in Death Valley…

Florida is overachieving this season for sure, but they played two distinctly different halves of football in Baton Rouge. The Gators gave up 28 points in the second quarter and looked lost on pass coverage early (which is something I never thought I’d see). They also gave up over 100 yards in the first half to Heisman-hopeful Leonard Fournette. LSU’s offensive line is incredible. It’s so good that you wonder whether he would be as dominant if he switched places with Dalvin Cook or Zeke Elliott. Florida made incredible adjustments and only allowed a touchdown in the second half (it was on a fake field goal). I don’t know how you don’t play every scrimmage kick from Les Miles safe, but they didn’t. The big story was Florida on offense. Treon Harris showed up and played very good football, but flamed out down the stretch. Still, his stat line was impressive and he quieted many doubters Saturday. Florida now has a defacto SEC East championship game against Georgia in Jacksonville in two weeks, and LSU looks ahead to the meat of its SEC West schedule. The likelihood that these teams meet again in Atlanta for the SEC Championship is pretty high. But, with the demolition of A&M, I think Alabama has the best shot to come out of the West. Also, I don’t know what LSU has to do to be in the top 4. 3 top 25 wins and they’re still not there. It’s just wild.

Michigan saw Texas idle this week, opted to challenge for the heartbreaking loss award…

Good Lord. I picked this game to be a blowout, I was wrong. I picked Michigan to win, thanks to a miserably timed special teams gaff, I was wrong. I wasn’t going to get my Michigan cover anyway, but the loss at the end was completely unexpected. Dantonio has sold his soul to beat Michigan, I’m convinced. He is the Les Miles of the B1G. The player who scored for Michigan State shattered his hip doing it and is out for the year. Poor kid. Michigan could not string its offense together late to save its life and D.J. Durkin had his hands full with Connor Cook (another prediction I got completely wrong, jeez). The top teams in the B1G seem to play up or down to their competition worse than any other league this season. I’m not sure of anything anymore, but I get the feeling the Michigan has more upside. Something tells me that MSU has a random loss headed their way. But hey, don’t listen to me about these teams.

Georgia Tech making strongest case yet to fire their coach…

Let’s be clear, I obviously don’t think Tech is going to can Johnson, but that’s not saying they shouldn’t either. Georgia Tech lost to Pittsburgh in a tough fought game, but failed to execute in the fourth quarter and got outcoached (again) on the way to a loss. This puts Tech at 2-5 for the season and 0-5 in conference. Tech fans are proud of their team, in general, and this fanbase considers Tech to be an upper tier ACC team that is in the same class as the leaders in the Atlantic division–we won’t address that belief on its merits in this article. The past few years, this has not been the case because of Winston’s FSU teams in 2013 and 2014 and the consistently hearty Clemson teams. Obviously, many people don’t believe it necessary to even talk about firing Johnson because of his past success. But, no coach for a power 5 team who fancies itself a perennial contender should go winless in conference play and keep his job. Tech still has games at home against FSU, Virginia Tech, and Georgia; they have road games at UVA and Miami. I’m not sure they win any of those games. Georgia Tech failed to execute and proved that they do not have the recruits necessary to man a vertical passing threat to help balance the run-dominated offense. The 11 win season last year was overachievement to be sure, but Johnson’s teams have struggled to play with the weight of expectation. This season is a case study in that before you even get to the injuries. I am starting to get a feel that Paul Johnson has a limited upside, the question is how much longer to Tech fans want to put up with it?

Texas A&M forgets how to play football, gets buzzsawed by an Alabama team that still hates Manziel…

Honestly, the score on this game was a lot closer than it was played. I don’t know if that’s because of garbage time points or what. But, the Aggies got embarrassed by the Tide at home, which wasn’t completely foreign as Alabama demolished them 59-0 in Bryant-Denny last season. Alabama is still pissed about losing to Johnny Football, so they have made it a point to punish A&M annually since his departure. Texas A&M put a nice shine on their play, but just aren’t quite ready for the sharks in the conference. I think A&M bounces back, but I don’t know what they think they’re going to do against LSU’s offensive line and Leonard Fournette. You can’t hide a bad rush defense in the SEC West this year, and A&M’s is pretty ghastly. ESPN’s statisticians give A&M a 4% chance to win the division; subjectively, it should not be that high. Aggies will probably find their way into a pretty decent bowl this season, but they’re not quite there yet.

Georgia holds off the bloody onslaught of Mizzou’s offense, wins 9 to 6…

Yes, that’s a real score. No, I’m not kidding. Yes, I am having trouble writing due to laughter. No one scored a touchdown in this game?! How?! Mizzou’s defense is good, but it’s not that good. And, losing Chubb is a big deal for Georgia, but Michel is not a terrible running back. This is just bizarre. Georgia losing would have all but handed Florida the East. Now, both head into a bye week before their showdown on Halloween. If Georgia loses that game, I wouldn’t be surprised if Richt was shown the door at season’s end. The Bulldog fanbase is restless with Richt because of his seemingly capped upside. One thing for sure, Georgia will have a tougher time with Florida’s defense than Mizzou, so they had better figure it out on the bye week, else it’s only going to get more painful.

Ohio State whoops Penn State, Buckeye fans talk about their death machine of a team…

Let’s be clear, Penn State is bad. Penn State lost to Temple. Ohio State should have won this game big. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure fans are finally excited to see the team win games they’re supposed to win by comfortable margins. I’m not sure OSU fans have much pucker left this season. Meyer has got to run the damn ball; he’s got one of the top 3 running backs in the country in Zeke Elliott, FEED HIM. Ohio State has a very palatable schedule for easing into the season, and maybe they’ll start playing with cohesion after this, but I’m not so sure. They have until the end of November to cruise and work out the kinks, then they get MSU and Michigan back to back. I’m not sure Ohio State as they look right now wins either of those games. But meanwhile, I saw a comment from a Buckeye fan saying “Ohio State is the best team in the country and it’s not close.” Here’s the thing, that dude wasn’t trolling. He was that delusional. I just can’t. Ohio State will out-athlete almost everyone on their schedule until Thanksgiving, then we’ll see what kind of chops they’ve got.

Memphis beats Mississippi, local paper cashes in on concussion and spends every last cent of goodwill banked by the team…

Memphis is undefeated and the best team in the state of Tennessee this season. Additionally, head coach Justin Fuente will not be coaching in Memphis next season. Sorry, Tigers, but someone is going to back up the money truck to get him (I’m thinking either of the USCs). Memphis controlled every single aspect of the game and dominated Ole Miss. Additionally, Hugh Freeze mismanaged this game out of reach for his team early. They stood no chance in this game after Memphis put up a 17 point second quarter and pulled away. This was a great win for a team that has been largely ignored because they aren’t a Power 5 team. Then came the following day. The regional paper in Memphis ran a huge picture of the play where Robert Nkemdiche for Mississippi was concussed (it was the play where he was twitching from slamming his head on the ground) with the headline “Smash Hit.” I understand that the Memphis paper isn’t sure what to do when they have a winner of a football team, but that isn’t it. Come on, guys. You’re either assholes or incompetent, neither are good traits for a newspaper. All that extra crap notwithstanding, this was a big win for Memphis and I’m excited for their upside this season.

Pissed off Oklahoma obliterates KSU, spells major trouble for TCU and Baylor…

Stoops lost to Texas in the Red River Shootout. As a fan of Charlie Strong, I found it incredible and exciting. But, I can see how Oklahoma fans would not think that. So, the Sooners went on the road to Manhattan and crushed Kansas State like they were Kansas. TCU struggled mightily with the Wildcats and Baylor is built the same as TCU. Neither team plays defense, but Oklahoma does. I think Oklahoma is the most complete team in the Big XII. We will see as the weeks progress if the Sooners can win the big games against powerhouses TCU and Baylor in November.

Pitch

Iowa will be undefeated when they play for the B1G championship. AND, undefeated Iowa will make the Playoff.

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