Monday saw a strange three way playoff for Florida's high school District 3-5A. Even after reading the account in the Florida Times-Union I'm not sure exactly how it worked. I do know that Bishop Kenny is the district champion and Westside (formerly Forrest) is runner up. They both made the playoffs and Ribault was eliminated. The Crusaders will host Palatka in the first round of the Region 1-5A playoffs on November 14th. First they have their final regular season game against Episcopal.
The second College Football Playoff Rankings (CFPR) came out on Tuesday, November 4th. It varies a little from the AP rankings. The most important difference is that the CFPR has Oregon at #4 and Alabama #5. This doesn't really matter at this point since #3 Auburn and #5 Alabama will play each other on November 29th. Alabama also still has to play #1 Mississippi State.
Watched a little of the Clemson at Wake Forest game that was on Thursday night. I don't normally follow either team but it was one of the few Thursday games. I also happened to be eating supper in a bar with my son and it was on one of the TVs. My only interest is that the Wake Forest QB is true freshman John Wolford. John was the QB at Bishop Kenny and he holds several Florida high school career passing records. Unfortunately he is not in high school anymore. He was only 11/29 for 88 yards and two interceptions. Clemson won 34-20.
Speaking of Bishop Kenny, they finished their regular season with a 31-14 win over Episcopal. The Saints were shutout in the second half. Kenny outgained them 353 to 227 yards. The Crusaders finish the season 8-1, 6-1 and now head to the playoffs. I have a correction about last weeks post. I stated that Baker County beat Kenny in the playoffs last year when in fact it was Clay County in the amazing 74-73 game (no overtime).
In an almost mirror image season to Bishop Kenny's, L.D. Bell also finished their season this week with a 38-14 loss to Southlake Carroll. That makes the Blue Raiders 1-9, 1-5 for the year. There will be no playoffs for Bell. The game wasn't as bad a defeat as I expected. I thought the Dragons would score 50 or 60 points and run up 500 yards. The actual yardage was 382 to 152. This season for Bell is best forgotten. Wait until next year.
The South Florida Bulls had the week off which prevented them from suffering another loss. They will be up the road in Dallas (technically University Park) next week to play the SMU Mustangs.
It was an exciting Saturday of football. As usual there were some upsets and surprises. As seems to be the normal situation for me, Both the Gators and Frogs played at the same time. Thankfully we have games streamed on the internet these days.
I'll start with the Vanderbilt at Florida game. Even though the Gators demolished Georgia last week I still didn't feel confident about the game. Florida has looked terrible a few times this season. Luckily, this was not one of those times. The game was tied at seven at the end of the first quarter but from then on the Gators took off and won 34-10 going away. Florida had an almost perfectly balanced attack with 214 yards on the ground and 215 yards through the air. More importantly, they held the ball over ten minutes longer than the Commodores. It showed late in the game when Vandy's defense was gassed. Jeff (Mr. Turnover) Driskel even played a few downs although it is now clearly Treon Harris's team. Florida didn't have any turnovers while causing four Vanderbilt miscues. This win takes the Gators to 5-3, 4-3 for the year. They are still mathematically in the race for the SEC East title. Next the Old Ball Coach returns to the Swamp with his South Carolina Fighting Chickens.
One of the big games of the day was #7 Kansas State coming to Fort Worth to play #6 TCU. This game had Big 12 (a ten team conference) and national implications. To my enjoyment it didn't turn out to be a very close game. The Frogs won 41-20 and K-State scored their last TD with 1:36 remaining then promptly had the PAT attempt blocked. TCU had 553 yards of offense. QB Trevone Boykin was 23/34 for 219 yards and one TD. He also rushed for 123 yards. That's a mere 342 yards of offense. Aaron Green rushed for 171 yards on only 18 carries. The Horned Frogs are now 8-1, 5-1. Will they move into the top four in the rankings? There is an opening. Next game is in Lawrence against the 3-6, 1-5 Kansas Jayhawks.
There were a few other big games this week. The biggest upset was the unranked Aggies win over #3 Auburn. It appears that the most dangerous spot on the college landscape is to be a highly ranked SEC team. There have been several upsets in the conference this season. Texas A&M started the year strong but have faded. They had lost to three good SEC West teams including a 59-0 drubbing at the hands of Alabama. So what do they do, they beat the Tigers 41-38 in Auburn. The War Eagle had a chance to soar and pull out the game twice late. Unfortunately for them they fumbled both times. Auburn has been charmed for two seasons pulling out miraculous wins several times. This day the magic failed them. Auburn won the statistical battle but as is the case so often turnovers were the difference. Who will take over their top four position.
Another big SEC game was #5 Alabama at #16 LSU. This was a knockdown dragout game. This time 'Bama was charmed. LSU scored the go ahead FG with :50 to go in regulation but on the ensuing kickoff they booted it out of bounds. This gave the Tide decent field position and no time ran off the clock. They managed to get close enough to kick the tying FG with :03 remaining and then win in overtime 20-13. That pretty much assures that Alabama will move into the top four. It also makes next week's #1 Mississippi State at #5 Crimson Tide game huge. Once again the SEC won their two non-conference games.
Nationally, the #14 Ohio State win at #8 Michigan State was a mild upset. #9 Arizona State beat #10 Notre Dame. ASU got out to a 34-10 lead at the half before ND got it to within three at 34-31 with 6:34 to go. Then the Sun Devils ran off 21 straight points for a 55-31 victory. #12 Baylor stomped #15 Oklahoma in Norman 48-14. The Bears remain tied for the Big 12 lead with TCU and K-State at 5-1.
In the week 12 AP poll there were a few changes. Mississippi State and Florida State remain #1 and #2. Oregon moves to #3 and Alabama rounds out the top four. TCU moves up a notch to #5. The SEC still has two teams in the top four, four in the top 10 and six in the top 25. There are still several big games left so don't fill out your playoff bracket just yet.
On to the pros. I was assured of at least one win this week (barring a very unusual tie) because the Falcons and Buccaneers played each other. I'll get to that in a moment.
For those hoping that a change of country would help the Jaguars you can forget it. Dallas and Jacksonville travelled to London to play a game at Wembley Stadium. The Jaguars have committed to playing a home game in England each year so they are the de facto London Jaguars for one week. Apparently the Wembley home field is no more an advantage than the EverBank home field. One difference is that they draw about 20,000 more fans in London than in Jax. The results on the field are the same. The Cowboys won 31-17. The score was 31-7 after three quarters before the Jags almost made a miraculous comeback with ten points in the fourth. They scored those ten points the hard way, a safety, TD and two point conversion. Statistics weren't terribly skewed in the Cowboys favor and Jacksonville actually had a few more passing yards. Once again though they had three turnovers. Bortles' numbers were OK at 22/37 for 290 yards with one pick and no TDs. The Jaguars continue their quest for the first draft choice in 2015. They are now 1-9 and have the next week off so they'll have time for the long swim from the UK to Florida.
As mentioned, Atlanta travelled to Tampa for the battle of the inepts and a lock on last place in the NFC South. It probably wasn't a terrible game to watch since the teams are pretty evenly bad. The Falcons won 27-17 and stats were fairly close except for the one phase of the game the Bucs excel at, turnovers. They had three and Atlanta had none. As usual the Buccaneers took the lead early in the fourth quarter but of course couldn't hold on or finish strong. This win propels the Birds to a 3-6 record and they next play at Carolina. Meanwhile Tampa Bay falls to 1-8 and are battling the Jags for that top draft choice. Next up they go to D.C. to play that team with the politically incorrect name.
Since my teams have no chance at the Super Bowl or even the playoffs I'll give you an update on the race for the worst record and therefore the top draft choice in 2015. At this point, slightly past the season midpoint, Oakland leads with zero wins. They are followed closely by Jacksonville and Tampa Bay wit one win each. None of these teams play each other so there will be no head to head tie breakers. It should be a close and exciting race for the rest of the season.
One last point. I watched a little bit of the Sunday Night Football game before it got very ugly very fast. My question is, what purpose do Hines Ward and Bob Costas serve? More importantly I'm still mad that they replaced Faith Hill with Carrie Underwood.