Monday, November 3, 2014

Football 2014 - Week 10

My recap of the only football games that matter

The football week started on Thursday again, this time with an exciting game. I'm not talking about the NFL game which I'm sure was thrilling when one team won. I'm talking about the FSU at Louisville game. Before I start, a note on the college rankings I use. In the past weeks I typically used the AP poll. Last week the new College Football Playoff Rankings (CFPR) came out for the first time. Since this is the one that will determine the four playoff teams, I will use it for the rest of this season on the synopsis of the games. I will still us the AP rankings when referring to the updated weekly rankings in general since the new CFBR don't come out until Tuesday evening and I usually publish this blog on Mondays. On to the game recaps.

A trip by #2 FSU to #25 Louisville shouldn't be much of a contest. Besides the rankings disparity, FSU is the perennial ACC top dog and Louisville is the new team in the conference. As they say "that's why they play the games". The final score was a 42-31 FSU win but that is very deceptive. The Seminoles were losing 21-7 at halftime and fell behind 24-7 early in the third quarter before they began their comeback. It would have been 21-0 except for a last minute first half TD by FSU. The Noles didn't lead until the 3:46 point of the fourth quarter. FSU's reigning Heisman Trophy QB and campus idiot, Jameis Winston, didn't look very good. Although he threw for 401 yards and three TDs, he was only 25/48 with three interceptions. The Noles will probably remain #2 but they have had some shaky performances this season. Next is a home game against unranked Virginia.

On the high school gridiron (what the hell is a gridiron) we only had one game. Bishop Kenny defeated Baker County 35-14. This was a payback victory as the Wilcats eliminated Kenny in the playoffs last season. The Crusaders ran up a 35-0 lead before Baker Co. scored a couple of fourth quarter TDs. This was the final district game for BK. They improve to 7-1, 6-1 and are in a three way tie for the District 3-5A lead. There is some kind of three way playoff on Monday, 11/3, at Bishop Kenny. Their final regular season game is against the Episcopal Eagles at home.
Bell had the week off, but it won't help. They play Southlake Carroll next week. The Dragons are undefeated at 9-0 and ranked #2 in Texas. Southlake beat Haltom 62-0 this week.

It was a big week in the college ranks. Let's start with a pleasant surprise. I had no confidence that the hapless Gators would beat #11 Georgia in the big party in Jacksonville. Well, they not only won the game, they dominated. It was the Bulldogs who were hapless on this Saturday. Final score was 38-20, but Georgia scored their last TD with 0:03 remaining, well after the game was out of reach. It was a tight game at the half with the Florida leading 14-7. Then the Gators built a 31-7 lead early in the final quarter. What was the difference in the heretofore offensively challenged Gators? Jeff (Mr. Turnover) Driskel remained on the bench as freshman Treon Harris got his first start at QB. He only threw six passes, one in the second half, for a grand total of 27 yards but no interceptions. The story was the Gators dominance on the ground. They rushed for 418 yards and all five TDs were scored on the ground. They had two backs who ran for over 190 yards, Kelvin Taylor with 197 and Matt Jones with 192. I guess this game at least assures that Muschamp will finish out the season. I'm not a fan of his so I'm still hoping he's gone after this year. The Gators are now 4-3, 3-3 and amazingly still have a chance to win the SEC East. Next up is Vanderbilt in Nashville for an SEC East battle.

The #7 TCU at #20 West Virginia game turned out to be very exciting although very stressful. TCU trailed most of the game but pulled it out with 00:00 on the clock. Final score was 31-30 on a last second 37 yard FG by TCU. As you might expect, the stats were very close with the Frogs holding a slight edge in yardage and the Mountaineers holding the ball about six minutes longer. The big difference is that West Virginia had five turnovers to TCU's two. The Mountaineers got out to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter. The game was close all second half with the Frogs holding the lead for only about two and a half minutes in the third quarter until the final FG. Bet TCU wished they had banked some of those 82 points they scored last week. The Frogs improve to 7-1, 4-1. Next week they host the #9 Kansas State Wildcats which may decide the winner of the Big 12 (10 teams).

Just to make sure I didn't have a totally successful Saturday, USF played their usual lackluster game and lost 27-3 to Houston. The impotent Bulls scored a single field goal this game. They can't pass and their ground game is even worse. The defense isn't terrible but they need a little help from the offense. USF is now 3-6, 2-3. They have a week off before coming to Dallas to play SMU. 

The week's big game was #3 Auburn at #4 Mississippi. This was a terrific game that had SEC title and national playoff implications. The game went back and forth all night. Auburn took a 35-31 lead with about 10 minutes remaining. In the final minutes Ole Miss drove down the field and appeared to score the winning TD with 1:30 remaining. It was called a TD on the field but on review it was determined that Rebels receiver Laquon Treadwell fumbled prior to crossing the goal line and Auburn recovered the ball in the end zone. It was a nasty looking hit. So, Ole Miss lost the game and Treadwell was injured, a broken leg, on the play. It was a deflating end to the game for the Rebels.

#1 Mississippi State had a tough game at home against Arkansas but managed to win 17-10. The Razorbacks play the good teams tough but can't quite get the win.

In the SEC there were five conference games and two non-conference which were of course wins for a 7-5 overall record. 

The new AP poll reflects the Auburn win over Ole Miss but doesn't change the makeup of the AP top four. Mississippi falls to #12. Auburn and Alabama swap the #3 and #4 positions so there are still three SEC teams in the top four, six in the top 25. TCU moves up to #6. We have to wait until Tuesday night for the official CFPR poll. 

The Jaguars went to Cincinnati to play the Bengals in the battle of the big cats. It wasn't a terrible performance but it also wasn't a win. Cincy got out to a 12-3 lead in the first half but the Jags fought back and got the score within three at 26-23 halfway through the fourth quarter. Then, on the first play after the ensuing kickoff, the Bengals ran 60 yards for a TD to go up by 10. That's how the game ended, 33-23. Jags QB, Blake Bortles, actually had a little better statistical day than Bengals QB Andy Dalton. Bortles threw for 247 yards with 2 TDs and 1 Int. It was the little things that doomed Jacksonville. They had a punt blocked that resulted in a safety and the above mentioned long run. Cincinnati also had a short field 23 yard 2 play drive for a TD. Jacksonville falls to 1-8 for the season. Next week they play host in their home away from home in London against Dallas. The Cowboys didn't look good this week without Romo at QB. Maybe an upset? At least the game will be televised here in D/FW.

Tampa Bay traveled to Cleveland to get beat this week. The Bucs led at the half and after three quarters but as usual couldn't hold on. They lost 22-17. The stats were pretty even but the Buccaneers just don't know how to win. They are now 1-7 and next host the almost equally inept division rival 2-6 Atlanta Falcons.

We are nine weeks into the NFL season and my teams have a total of four victories. They have considerably more loses.

Just a quick note on the local Dallas Cowboys. I don't root for them and I don't root against them, but it is impossible to avoid them. They dominate the local sportscape. It is more pleasant for many friends and around town when they are winning which hasn't happened for quite a few years. A couple of weeks ago they were 6-1 and a shoe in to win the Super Bowl. Now that they have lost two in a row and are 6-3 people are jumping off the bandwagon. My take is that this is just their midseason adjustment so they can once again finish 8-8. 

The Gators and Frogs wins make it a successful week. Anytime Florida beats Georgia it is a somewhat good season. The TCU win keeps them in the hunt for the Big 12 title and maybe the four team playoffs. 

More big games next week especially in the college and high school ranks plus a trip to the UK.


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