Sunday, October 27, 2013

Football 2013 - Week 9

by Bill Holmes

My recap of the only football games that matter.

The pro week got off to an early start with a Thursday game between the Carolina Panthers at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Unfortunately the change of playing day did not change the outcome for the Bucs. The teams shared the same digits in their final scores, a 1 and a 3, but Carolina won 31-13. TB has now given up 31 points in each of their last three games. The overall statistics weren't skewed as bad as the score but TB only had 48 rushing yards in another lackluster effort. The Bucs are in a race to futility with the Jaguars, both teams are 0-7 and are the only winless teams in the NFL. Will Greg Schiano be the first NFL head coach fired this season? Next game Tampa Bay travels cross country to play the Seattle Seahawks.   
The only Buccaneer winners
In another Thursday night game, the Bishop Kenny Crusaders beat the Yulee Hornets 42-7. Again Kenny dominated the game with 400 total yards vs 150 yards. The game was 35-0 at intermission and Yulee didn't score until it was 42-0. The Crusaders remain undefeated at 7-0, 6-0. They next play at home against the 7-2, 5-1 Baker County Wildcats for first place in district 3-5A. This should be the toughest test of the season.

Under the Friday night lights in Texas, the LD Bell Blue Raiders got back on the winning track with a 30-8 victory over Irving MacArthur Cardinals. Bell dominated the game with almost 400 total yards to just over 100 yards for MacArthur. The Cardinals did not score until the last quarter after it was 30-0. The Raiders are now 6-2 overall and 4-1 in district play. Next up they are at home against the 3-5 Irving Nimitz Vikings.

The Gators have a bye week to try to figure out what kind of team they are before playing the Georgia Bulldogs at the big party in Jacksonville. Both teams are no longer ranked and have identical 4-3 overall records and 3-2 in the SEC. Neither team is going anyplace this season so the game will be strictly for bragging rights and maybe a recruiting advantage. Florida will be the home team this year at the neutral site. 

First up Saturday was the #20 Louisville Cardinals visit to Tampa to play the South Florida Bulls. USF amazingly went into this game tied for the lead of the new American Athletic Conference (AAC) and actually above the 6-1 Cardinals despite a 2-4 overall record. That will probably turn out to be the high mark of the Bulls season. Louisville completely overwhelmed USF 34-3. Their lone score was in the first quarter. Total yardage was 485 to 133, time of possession was a miserable 41:43 to 18:17. Those same old Bulls from the beginning of the season seem to have reappeared. USF falls to 2-5, 2-1. They next play on Thursday at the 6-1, 3-0 Houston Cougars. That doesn't look too promising.

The once all-powerful Texas Longhorns came to Fort Worth to play a Big 12 game against TCU. Texas has had a couple of down years and came into this game at 5-2, 4-0 off their big upset of Oklahoma two weeks ago. They dominated the Frogs 30-7. It might have been worse except Texas QB Case McCoy threw two interceptions. For their part the Frogs had three turnovers. Their first string quarterback Casey Pachall did return after missing several weeks with a broken arm. Maybe with some more practice time he'll be able to help TCU generate some offense in future games. The Horned Frogs fall to 3-5, 1-4 and next host the West Virginia Mountaineers who sport the exact same record.

There were seven games in the SEC. Teams were 3-0 in non-conference games, 7-4 overall. The big contest was between #5 Missouri against #21 South Carolina. The Fighting Spurriers pulled off the only SEC upset 27-24 in two overtimes. The Chickens fell behind 17-0 then scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to tie the game in regulation. The last SC TD in the fourth quarter came with 42 seconds on the clock. The Old Ball Coach pulls another one out. With the exception of Alabama, SEC teams seem to have a letdown once they get into the top ten. There are now no undefeated teams in the SEC East although Mizzou still controls their destiny in that division. Johnny Manziel, who was injured last week, did play in the #16 A&M 56-24 romp over Vandy. He threw for over 300 yards so I guess the shoulder is OK. Using the BCS rankings, Alabama remains #1 by a big margin and only Missouri joins them in the top ten. Overall there are six SEC teams in the top  15.

I must report that the #2 FSU Seminoles easily beat NC State 49-17 to improve their record to 7-0, 5-0. The Noles scored 35 first quarter points and led 42-0 at halftime. They have to travel to #7 Miami next week for an important ACC game. If you've followed the Noles or the Canes over the years, you know anything can happen when these two Florida schools meet. Watch out for that last second field goal attempt. FSU dropped to #3 in the BCS rankings despite the big win over unranked NC State. Oregon leapfrogged to the #2 spot because of a 42-14 romp over #12 UCLA. A win over the #7 Canes next week will certainly help FSU in the rankings.

Sunday's pro schedule starts with a trip across the pond where the 0-7 Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the 5-2 San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium. I guess the Jags are the home team because Jacksonville is closer to London than San Francisco. This is actually a break for the Jaguar season ticket holders. They only have to pay for seven home games and seven loses rather than the usual eight. Jax returns to London again next year too. Apparently the Jaguars can lose in other countries just as easily as in the USA. Final score was 49ers 42 Jaguars 10. The Round trip from Jacksonville is over 8,500 miles. That seems like a long way to go to score just 10 points. The Jags are now 0-8 half way to a perfect season. They didn't play terribly and were close in the statistical game. They just don't know how to score or play defense, a deadly combination. Jacksonville gets a week off now so they can paddle home. They are now a true international loser.
To close out a very bad week, the Atlanta Falcons lost to the Arizona Cardinals 27-13.  This is the most disappointing team of the year. Touted as a Super Bowl contender, the Birds are now 2-5. Future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez must be wondering why he decided to stick around for one more season. Atlanta scored first and last. It was the part in between that was the problem. They go to 4-3 Carolina for a NFC South game next.

My teams went 2-5 with a bye this week. Both wins were at the high school level. That's the norm. There will be no NFL playoffs or BCS bowl games for my teams this year. My NCAA teams may struggle to make one of the several thousand lesser college bowls. My only hope is that Kenny and Bell continue to play well. I'm mostly in the "wait 'til next year" mode. I'm now going to have to maybe celebrate, reluctantly, another BCS trophy for the Crimson Tide. A team and a coach I hate unless they are the SEC representative in the big game. 

I'm really hoping that FSU wins out and gets to the BCS championship game. I would then be fully rooting for the Noles regardless of who they are playing. I have several family members and friends who are Noles fans, I'd like to see them happy and salvage a little self respect for the state of Florida football. 



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