My recap of the only football games that matter.
Once again we get the week started early with a Thursday night game. This time it's the USF Bulls who travel to Houston to play the Cougars. A great start for the Bulls, Houston scores a TD with 12:49 left in the first quarter. It got a little better after that but not good enough. USF kept falling behind and then fighting back to get close. They never caught all the way up but did get to within five points in the fourth quarter. A questionable offensive pass interference call against USF in that fourth quarter negated a touchdown that would have put them ahead. The final score wound up 35-23 after a late score by the Cougars. The Bulls showed some life on offense but couldn't overcome two turnovers and 170 yards of penalties. There is a bright spot and a ray of hope. USF started true freshman Mike White at quarterback. White threw for 311 yards and two TDs in his first start. The Bulls now fall to 2-6, 2-2. They host the 1-6, 0-4 Memphis Tigers next.
Friday nights are usually the highlight of my football week and this week is no exception. With only one more week in the regular season, both my high school teams are assured of winning records.
Bishop Kenny beat the Baker County Wildcats to remain undefeated at 8-0 and clinch the district 3-5A title. Final score was 38-20. The statistics were close, but the Crusaders had three interceptions, two of which were returned for TDs. Kenny led 24-6 after three quarters then traded a couple of touchdowns with the Wildcats. Next up for the Crusaders is the last regular season game at home against non-district 2-7 Episcopal Eagles. Catholics vs Episcopalians, who will god root for? The Eagles are coached by former Jacksonville Jaguars QB Mark Brunell but luckily he is not allowed to play.
In the other Friday night game the Bell Blue Raiders got a victory over the 3-6, 2-4 Irving Nimitz Vikings 30-0. The Raiders improve to 7-2, 5-1. They play their last district and regular season game at the Colleyville Heritage Panthers who sport the exact same record. The winner will take undisputed second place in district 6-5A. This will be another local rivalry. The two schools are less than six miles apart and some kids who live in Colleyville attend Bell. The school districts and towns border each other.
Now we move on to sad Saturday. First was a matchup between the equally inept West Virginia Mountaineers and the TCU Horned Frogs. Both teams went into the game with identical 3-5, 1-4 records. TCU once led 17-3 then later trailed 27-17 then tied it at 27 in regulation and ultimately lost in OT 30-27. An exciting but sloppy game. TCU had 454 total yards but also had four turnovers. In Casey Pachall's first start at QB since the broken arm, he went 40-58-2 for just shy of 400 passing yards. The Frogs fall to 3-6, 1-5 and probably have no chance at a bowl game. Next game is at 1-7, 0-5 Iowa State to stay out of last place in the ten team Big 12.
Next on to Jacksonville for the interstate rivalry Florida-Georgia game. The Gators and Bulldogs have been playing each other since 1904 or 1915 depending on which team you ask. They first played in Jacksonville in 1915 and almost continuously since 1933. It's a big game for bragging rights and recruiting regardless of the records.This is an off year for both teams who entered the game at 4-3, 3-2. Despite the poor records, the winner still has an outside chance to win the SEC East. The game started out looking like a rout. The Dawgs got off to a 20-0 lead and a 23-3 halftime score. Finally the Gators showed some life and held Georgia scoreless in the second half while scoring 17 points including a safety. They also missed a couple of field goal tries during the game. Final score Bulldogs 23 Gators 20. It was a very sloppy game with many penalties. It's easy to see why both teams are having down seasons. This is the third straight lose in this game for Florida and Coach Muschamp. If I'm not mistaken, Muschamp has never been on a winning team in this rivalry game in seven tries. He was 0-4 as a player for Georgia and is now 0-3 as the Florida coach. The Gators fall to 4-4, 3-3. They are in jeopardy of not being bowl eligible this year. They need two more victories in their next four games. I'm going to predict they will lose to South Carolina and FSU. They should beat Georgia Southern, an FCS division team. The pivotal game is next week against the 4-4, 1-4 Vanderbilt Commodores in Gainesville. A win against Vandy would probably mean a 6-6 season for the Gators and some crappy bowl. All Gator fans are in a "wait til next year" mode or wait for basketball season.
Ten of the 14 SEC teams played this week, eight in conference games. The SEC won the two non-conference games. There were no big top rated conference matchups. The Florida-Georgia game is an old rivalry but had no national implications. All the favorites in the other conference games won so there were no significant changes in the standings.
Alabama is still number one in the BCS rankings and there are six SEC teams in the top 15.
In the biggest matchup of the day, the #7 Miami Hurricanes played the #3 Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee. Both teams were undefeated overall and in the ACC. The Noles still are as they won 41-14. FSU dominated and only two interceptions thrown by the Noles kept it from being worse. This game was definitively for the championship of Florida since the Gators and Bulls stink this year. FSU has a chance to cement that dominance in Florida when they go to Gainesville at the end of the month.
Because of their dominating win over the Canes, the Seminoles are back in the number two spot in the BCS rankings.
Best news for my pro teams is that Jacksonville has a bye week. The Jags next play at the Tennessee Titans
In games that were played, we had another perfect 0-2 week. In the early game the very disappointing Atlanta Falcons lost to fellow NFC South rival Carolina Panthers 34-10. The game was fairly close at the half then Carolina scored 20 unanswered points. The Falcons had four turnovers and were bested in every statistical category. Hapless Atlanta falls to 2-6 for the season. They escape the division cellar only because of the even worse Buccaneers. Next up the Falcons host the Seattle Seahawks.
Speaking of the Bucs, they continued their winless season with a 27-24 lose to Seattle. Tampa Bay almost made a mistake and won the game. They got off to a 21-0 lead and led 21-7 at halftime. Then the Seahawks outscored them 17-3 in the second half to tie the game in regulation, their last TD coming with less than two minutes to go. Of course TB lost in overtime. The Buccaneers have perfected the art of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory this season. In this game Seattle turned the ball over three times but even that was not enough to deny the Bucs their hard earned defeat. Tampa Bay falls to 0-8 for the year, tying the Jaguars for the worst record in the league. They next travel to the 4-4 Miami Dolphins to play the only Florida team with a victory.
Overall my teams went 2-5 this week which is about par for the course. Outside of the high schools, all my teams are at or below .500 this year, some very far below.