Sprint Option: Week 10

Well, I went 7-4, got beat down mightily by the Gainesville sun (not the newspaper), and struggled to stay awake past 9 p.m. on Saturday. When it’s dark for four hours, that usually means it’s time for bed. I am personally at war with daylight savings time. Just because Benjamin Franklin came up with some great ideas does not mean that all of them are great. DST most certainly falls into the latter category. I digress. This weekend was really something. An ongoing and special thanks to Ole Miss for pissing off Alabama and ruining everything this season. 

It’s time for the Option. 

Florida coughs, sputters, and grinds out a win against lowly Vanderbilt…

I’m opening with the longest analysis I’ve got since I endured the sun to watch this awful game. I’ve said it for most of the year, Vandy has a very talented defense that is being wasted by its offense. The Gators, meanwhile, looked lost on offense with Treon Harris under center. The fans knew they were going to be in for a long one when Antonio Calloway returned the opening kickoff to the Vandy 25 and Florida died at the 3. Florida scored on the next drive (again, they had great starting field position). The Gators defense suffocated Vanderbilt’s offense and looked like the defense you’d expect on a Playoff-hopeful team. The D took literally 1 play off in the waning seconds of the first half and allowed Vandy to break off a 74 yard run to take the lead at half. Florida struggled mightily and managed to grind out a field goal at the end of the game and hold the subsequent Vandy drive to win. The way Florida played cast serious doubt on winning out, and paints a bleak picture for Gator fans of the Atlanta Championship Game. Florida should drop in the CFP poll on Tuesday, but that should not be troubling. The Gators are still in the driver’s seat. If Florida manages to win out and go to Atlanta as an 11-1 team and they draw 1-loss Alabama or LSU, then the winner of that game is going to the Playoff. Period. It’s a tall order for Florida, but for perspective: Florida was hoping just to be bowl eligible in Mac’s first year. 

Alabama trampled LSU, took Fournette’s Heisman, and has ruined everything…

Dammit, Mississippi! This is your fault. Alabama looks like the steamroller of old. And just like old times, Alabama’s great defense is propped up by a solid offense with a feature running back and a game manager quarterback with solid pass catching options. Derrick Henry, for my money, traded places with Fournette in the Heisman conversation. But, if Alabama loses next week to Mississippi State, then the Heisman race is wide open. LSU couldn’t do ANYTHING against the Tide. Fournette was handed the ball 19 times for 31 yards and a touchdown–less than 2 yards per carry. If you’re going to win the Heisman as a running back, you can’t be shut down like that. Meanwhile, Henry and Alabama’s offense had themselves a day at the expense of what appeared to be a pretty good LSU defense. Alabama has not clenched the West by any measure of the imagination, despite what people may think. But, they’re back in control of their destiny now that Mississippi has lost again. 

Ole Miss has lost again, and it was in spectacular fashion…

Arkansas played lights out football against the Rebels, and in return, Ole Miss also played incredibly well. This game went to overtime. In the top half of overtime, Ole Miss took no more than five plays to score a touchdown. It looked bad for Arkansas. Then the Hogs were tackled for loss and sacked back to the 40 yard line. On 4th and 25, they threw to a tight end short of the line to gain. As he was being tackled, he through the ball like a hand grenade. It was picked up by his running back and ran for the first. Arkansas then scored and had the stones to go for two to win. They got it. It was awesome. Ole Miss played well enough to win most weeks, Arkansas just had luck on their side. 

TCU gets whalloped by the first challenging team they faced, as expected…

Wait! Hold on! You mean to tell me that the only reason TCU was a top ten team was because they were ranked second in the preseason poll? And the only reason they kept those rankings is because the Big XII is trash and TCU doesn’t play anyone? I’m shocked (shocked to find gambling going on at this establishment)! TCU has a middling high school defense and they run a spread air raid which can be summed up as, “hey, everyone just get open.” Trevone Boykin is a tremendous talent, but his game Saturday against the Cowboys may have cost him the Heisman. It was ugly. Also, as I was watching OKST pound the ball on TCU, the camera kept showing Gary Patterson. He was sending in signals…to the defense. Why the hell is Gary Patterson calling defensive plays?! He is touted as an offensive genius, he has no business calling the defense. No wonder they’re so bad at defending. On the other side, OKST is not-so-quietly-anymore undefeated, and the Bedlam game is set to possibly be for the Big XII, as I believe OKST and Oklahoma are the two best teams in the conference. 

Clemson outlasts FSU, looks mediocre in the process, rushes the field after winning a game as the number 1 team in the country…

Yes, Florida State put on a good show for the number one team and clearly punched above their weight on defense for most of the game. But, Clemson now has to play with the weight of the number 1 ranking on their back, and they did not appear up to the challenge. Clemson has the feel of a paper tiger right now. They ought to be in the playoff, but they seem to play to their competition’s level every game. Dabo is a little too rah-rah for me, but he should be able to get his players focused. Also, I had a conversation on Facebook with people about this, and I now know that it’s a Clemson thing to be on the field every game. But when you rush the field after winning a game as the number one team in the country and fail to cover the spread, you look ridiculous. Why is this a tradition (since 2003 apparently)? This is like the participation trophy in little league. Rushing the field should be special, this tradition flies in the face of that notion. 

Michigan State loses on controversy to Nebraska with Spurrier on hand…

That last part is no joke, Nebraska invited Spurrier out there and then they won on a last minute heave. Here’s the controversy: the Nebraska receiver was out of bounds, came back in, and caught the pass for a touchdown. This is illegal, unless he was forced out. The officials ruled he was forced out and then reviewed it. The play stood as called. Most of Twitter was caping up for Michigan State, and decrying officiating. Honestly, I do not care about either of these teams, and I didn’t have a problem with the call. If you watch the replay without trying to see something, you cannot tell me unequivocally that the Nebraska receiver was or was not pushed out of bounds. The officiating mantra is: if in doubt, it is NOT a foul. I’m just not sure it’s definite either way, and I’m not sure it was definite the closer you get to it. I’m fine with the no call, and the ruling for it to stand. Don’t get bent out of shape people, Dantonio was eventually going to be on the wrong side of one of these. 

Pitch

Bedlam on Thanksgiving weekend will be for the Big XII championship as TCU and Baylor will both have been eliminated. 

Bonus Pitch:

If Derrick Henry plays well against Mississippi State AND Alabama wins, he will win the Heisman. 


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