Monday, November 30, 2009

Did Meyer Call Off The Dogs? Final Regular Season Review

The crisp, chilly weather in Gainesville helped supply Florida fans with infinite energy Saturday morning and afternoon. Gator Nation is always excited on game days, but there was a different sort of contagious emotion circulating throughout the streets and lingering into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Timmy's last game.

Girls with their, "Marry Me, Tebow" signs flooded the sidewalks. Grown men wearing black eye-patches with biblical scripture written on them brought a tear to my eye. It was laughter, but a tear nonetheless. Profanity, followed by loud chants of, "Gator bait" echoed while Florida State fans bravely walked by the hordes of UF students. Pabst Blue Ribbon overflowed garbage cans, spilling out into the streets.

Ah, Gainesville...

So, did Urban Meyer call the dogs off against the 'Noles? Does Meyer know something we don't?

After rewatching the game, I'd honestly have to say yes on both counts.

I'm not sure if Meyer was trying to show the absent-minded Bobby Bowden compassion, but it certainly looked that way. The Gators could have easily won that game by 40, but the play-calling, on offense and defense, became very vanilla and conservative. Meyer has always been an advocate of breaking necks when your foot's on your opponent's throat, so why stop now? Why not annihilate and humiliate your in-state rival and send them away broken and disgraced?

I'm thinking Urban knows this is it for Bobby. You embarrass your enemies. Not legends.

Rumors have been circulating for some time about Bowden's departure and even recently a Florida State recruit spilled some beans by mentioning on a trip to Tallahassee that FSU will be switching to a 3-4 defense next season. To me, that means Jimbo Fisher has the reigns, but where does that leave Bobby? It's been mentioned that the aging coach will stay on as a consultant, but he has dismissed the idea. We'll actually know more by the end of today since Bowden is meeting with FSU's president, athletic director, and boosters.

Key notes from the game on both squads: Florida State sophomore linebacker, Nigel Bradham, has improved dramatically throughout the season. He'll be someone to watch out for next year. Bradham was the only 'Nole on defense to actually show signs of life.

Riley Cooper loves to catch the tough passes and drop the easy ones. Not exactly what you want out of an outfielder, but I wish that young man much luck in his future with baseball. He's from 20 minutes down the street from me and I like to cheer on the local guy.

Aaron Hernandez is a punk. He reminds me of a certain UM punk that acted the same way in college, and is now playing for the Bucs. Hell of a talent, but has a ton of growing up to do.

EJ Manuel will get it together. Some FSU fans are nervous about the young signal caller, but Manuel is a very bright, athletic kid. Fisher did wonders for Ponder and he wasn't nearly recruited the way EJ was.

I did not catch the USF v UM game, but I heard Miami just out-manned and beat down the boys from Tampa. Still think you're part of a "Big 4?"

With all of that said, I'm actually going to go out on a limb here and pick against the Gators in the SEC Championship game. It feels like a season of destiny for Florida and they've certainly got the wins to prove it. This will be an absolute brawl 'til the clock hits zero. 'Bama beats UF in a close game.

And because the ACC Championship game is in Tampa, I'll make a little prediction too. Clemson upsets Georgia Tech.

Should be a great weekend of college football. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Warning: Message Boards

Let me preface this with college message boards. Pretty much all message board users are nerds, but guys in professional sports are fair game. College athletes, in my opinion, are not, as long as they don't commit serious adult crimes.

I'm not going to lie, I used to be a message board knob. You have a few minutes to kill, hop onto a message board to read other fans opinion's on 'such and such' college team, and maybe once out of every 50 threads you get a riveting conversation where you actually get up from your sweaty seat feeling like less of a delinquent than a Star Wars loser.

Well, I had to stop and for an excellent reason: message boards are for honks to trash children, and yes, these are children. 18 to 22, sometimes 23 year old children and it's pretty pathetic to witness full-grown men anonymously and courageously dismiss and trash these student-athletes.

I'm not saying every message board contributor is a jerk. Maybe one out of every hundred is actually a swell guy. And I'm not saying one can't judge either. If you want to put an athlete down because he or she was busted smoking pot then be my guest. Weird, college kids smoking pot. I bet no one reading this has ever partaken in such heathenism.

I can't believe a student-athlete would talk his team up before a game or against a rival too. The nerve...

Reporter: "How do you feel about playing State this weekend?"

Athlete: "I think if we come out and play our game, we'll win."

Message Board Geek: "Oh man, did you read that? He's trashing my team! That kid sucks and I hope he breaks his leg! The team needs to use this as bulletin board material."

And then they end it with something cool like, "OMG" or "LOL," whatever that crap means.

And it's perfectly fine to discredit the kid because we all know he's wrong and the young man or woman doesn't deserve an opinion. Why're they talking 'smack' to the media anyway? Pffft, dumb kids...

I wonder if there's a Message Board-Aholics meeting somewhere. Like, they show up and try to keep their identities concealed by dressing as a Storm Trooper and only refer to themselves by their online handle.

"That's got to be PhearMySpear over there."

"How can you tell?"

"He's holding a giant spear."

One of my favorite message board tools is "Recruitnik Guy." You know, the guy that knows everything about anything in college recruiting and thinks he's a total bad ass when, in actuality, he's a tool that thinks he's genuine, but all he does for a living is follow kids around like some Dateline stalker. Following recruiting is fine and all, but get a life, dude. This guy's predictions come true 10% of the time. And don't rag on a kid because he chose a different school than your own. These kids are put in a position to make grown-up decisions and if choosing school A over B even though A is clearly the better choice, in your opinion, doesn't mean school B is crap. You should actually be happy that a child is getting a chance at an education. But no, you're miserable.

Then, of course, you have to rush online to let all of your buddies know that he made the wrong choice.

"I hope he likes losing for 3 years. What a loser! Okay, I'll talk to you guys later. I'm off to see Harry Potter."

"Internet Tough Guy" is awesome too. The guy that tells you he's sitting in section 204, row R, seat 11 and he'll be waiting to pummel you because he's actually 6'6", 270 pounds, ripped, and is an MMA fighter. This guy's a colossal imbecile and doesn't allow others to state their opinions without slamming his fists on the keyboard, poised to fight. He later hides his Frodo doll when his girlfriend decides to come over.

"You can't say that about my quarterback! Meet me out front of gate D after the game. I'll be wearing an Affliction shirt, 6 sizes too small, and I'm humongous. Come see me if you have the guts."

There are about twenty other glossed "Guys," like "Thesaurus Guy" who has to use massive words of the English vernacular to get his point across, but comes out looking like a super tool. "Has To Be Right Guy" that'll argue his point even though he's been proven wrong and again, but for some reason feels compelled to continue to debate. And "Just Wants To Be Annoying Guy" who, well, just wants to annoy everyone with incoherent banter.

Most of these posters make the internet message board experience a lame one and in some way or another each one of these dipsticks enjoys putting down college kids and the only explanation I see fitting is because they're such deplorable simpletons that it makes them feel better to crack on a rival team's student-athletes incognito.

Dog the coaches and staff. Leave the kids alone.

This rant has gone long enough and I'm pretty sure I've got my point across. Now, if you'll excuse me, I just rented "Star Trek."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Is This Really 'Rivalry' Week? Week 12 Review

It sounds cool and everything, but when I think of rivals, I think of two teams that absolutely despise one another. I think of contests that end in last second, game-winning field goals. I think of blood, guts, and mayhem.

I really don't think of that final aforementioned item. I thought it sounded cool.

Florida v Florida State is no longer a "rivalry." It's too one-sided. And it's not one-sided like Florida's been winning by 6 points or less. Florida has won the last five and has outscored the Seminoles 111-41 the past three games with the closest game being in Tallahassee back in '06, which ended 21-14. The 'Noles have embarrassed themselves the past two attempts by scoring one touchdown in 8 quarters.

This is a rivalry? This is an ass beating of epic proportions and it's not something I see switching anytime soon.

Regardless, the game will go on and I don't think FSU's just going to hand Florida anything. The Swamp will be electric and the Gators will want to win Timmy's last home game, but you have to wonder if Florida's looking forward to next weekend's SEC Championship game against 'Bama or if they decide to play to their level of competition like they have most of the season.

I know I just ranted on about how Florida's going to trash the 'Noles, but I honestly didn't watch much of the FIU v Florida game. Unless you're a major Gator honk, that game was boring. I understand why it's scheduled and I think it's the smart thing to do having a warm-up before the SEC Title game, but watching Tebow and Spikes spank the hapless just isn't fun to me.

Now the 'Noles game, on the other hand, was brilliant. Only Florida State can squeak by a 2 win Maryland team.

Defensively, FSU did their jobs. Maryland isn't exactly an offensive juggernaut, but they do have player-makers on the offensive side of the ball. Florida State didn't have much luck keeping Scott, Maryland's ace running back, in check, but they did enough to make sure he didn't break their spirits. After all, this was Mickey's last home game and his defense was not going to embarrass.

EJ Manuel had what appeared to be an awful game, but after further review, the young signal caller got hosed by his own players. Jarmon Fortson had a sure fire touchdown that he dropped. Two plays later, EJ throws a pick that almost went for six. Manuel's two other interceptions came on receivers either falling down or running the wrong route. You can clearly see Jimbo on the sidelines going nuts, not on Manuel, but on Bert Reed. The more these young guys play together, the deadlier they become.

Still, having to win at the last minute against the worst team in the ACC doesn't strike confidence in 'Nole fans.

Sweet fan base too, 'Noles. I couldn't tell if that was Doak or the Orange Bowl. Speaking of that dump...

Miami beat Duke. Barely.

Moving on...

The Bulls showed a ton of heart with their win over Louisville. The Cardinals have an explosive offense and it showed when they racked up 16 quick unanswered points in the second quarter. USF didn't do their lay down and die trick that they've been acting on this season. Instead, the defense rose to the occasion holding the Cardinals to 6 points in the second half and 144 yards of total offense.

I'll give credit to BJ Daniels, but it's seriously tough for me considering Louisville is horrible defensively. BJ had a monster game rushing for 141 yards and crossing the goal line twice as well as passing for 304 yards with 1 passing TD. This is a major confidence boost going into the game with the Hurricanes. Who knows, maybe we'll have another "rivalry" on our hands.

I truly believe the South Florida v Miami game will be a close one and either team can pull it out, but I think Miami's offensive line will be the difference as the 'Canes win a close one in Ray Jay.

The Seminoles will come out hard with a ton of energy in the first quarter, but will quickly breakdown due to zero depth on the defensive side of the ball. Florida will most likely have back-ups in to start the fourth quarter as the Gators easily makes it six in a row and conquer the 'Noles.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and enjoy "rivalry" week!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The "U" Is Back? Week 11 Review

Don't you love the media hype machine? Whenever the four letter network jumps on the "so and so team is back" bandwagon, they pray that it's true just so they can brag to everyone that they got it correct. "Oh, we called that during week 1 of the college football season." Notre Dame doesn't count because they get hyped up even during losing seasons.

The team I'd like to dog as a hyped up bust is Miami and that stupid "U" thing. Seriously, what is that? Aren't most schools the "U?" Like, University of Michigan or Auburn University?

Take it for what it's worth, but the 'Canes are not a good team. Jacory Harris, who was a Heisman candidate for some time, leads the nation in interceptions. Not exactly what I'd like to call "elite." Harris holds onto the ball too long and isn't quick enough in his decision making. The Tar Heels robbed him four times in their win against Miami.

Miami had two major staples when they were dominating teams back in the day: solid quarterback play and a ferocious defense. Neither is present. Perhaps next year, but we'll worry about that when the time comes.

Instead, we're left with the, "We're young" excuse for not winning the, what were they calling it when the 'Canes first changed conferences? The "All 'Canes Conference?" Yeah, that has worked out well, going a whopping 25-23 in conference play and never once playing in the title game since their ACC inception in 2004.

Is Shannon on the hot seat after losing to North Carolina? I'd have to say yes considering there is no consistency with this team. Miami wants to get back to the glory days and in a hurry. I'm not so sure Shannon is their guy.

Florida State came out with some fire under their tails Saturday afternoon against Wake. EJ Manuel, filling in for the injured Christian Ponder, did what he was supposed to do and that was distribute the ball to his play-makers and not turn the ball over. He did an excellent job of both.

Jimbo Fisher had a brilliant plan for his young QB. Simple out patterns, screens, play-actions passes out in the flats, and zone reads took all of the pressure off of EJ. The one interception Manuel did throw was a bad pass, but it's something to learn from. If he floats the pass over the defender's head, it's an easy score.

Jermaine Thomas was once again the day's hero, racking up over a hundred yards rushing for the third straight game. Wake's defense was so focused on Thomas that Manuel easily play-faked on multiple occasions and threw simple 5 yard passes that turned into 10 yard gains and on one instance a 50 yarder.

So, what about the defense? They must've been horrible, right? Yeah, but it was their best game of the year by far. They harrassed Wake's QB, Riley Skinner, all afternoon and picked him off twice, once in the endzone.

They could've done a better job considering FSU was up 31-7 at one point and the final score was 41-28, but we'll give Mickey and his D a pat on the back, just this once.

I want to like Florida. I really do, but when I see them struggle the way they did against an average team like South Carolina, it makes me wonder.

We all know the defense is amazing and defense most definitely wins championships, but this trying offense will hold the team back when it comes to the National Title game, and yes I believe they still make the big show. Now win it...?

UF's SEC opponents in conference play are an embarrassing 19-33. Only Georgia and LSU have winning records in the SEC on the Gators schedule. Those wins include a ten point win against 2-4 Tennessee, three point win over 2-4 Arkansas, and ten point win over 3-5 South Carolina. Are the Gators playing to their level of competition? If so, that's a recipe for major disaster. Or maybe Florida isn't as good as advertised.

The defense will hold the team together because it's too late in the season for the offense to figure things out. The dropped balls (I'll go ahead and smile for calling out that debacle) is killing this potentially ready to explode Florida offense.

Timmy will probably win the Heisman based on the dominating performances he'll have against FIU and a horrible Florida State defense and I'm sure the Gators will fix a couple of their offensive woes before the match-up against Alabama. If they don't and we continue to see dropped balls and missed assignments on offense, Florida's not going to Pasadena. Count on it.

Starters will be sitting down by halftime as Florida rolls FIU, Miami rebounds against Duke, USF crushes Louisville, and Florida State beats Maryland. Enjoy an astonishing college football weekend!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Are The Bucs Ready To Turn It Around?

I've been asked, "How come you haven't done a Bucs blog spot yet?" and my answer is simple: because they are an extremely bad team with little unity, no direction, zero leadership, and I'm seriously confused as to what this organization is trying to orchestrate and build upon.

Oh, and they're just not that interesting. Until a couple of weeks ago...

Look, I'm not here to bash Tampa. I've been an avid Buccaneer supporter since early high school (I was too much of a skater punk to worry about sports in middle school). I can go on and on about how Raheem Morris wasn't the right head coaching candidate, how Morris should have hired a Tampa 2 guru to be his defensive coordinator, and how it was a dumb move to dump Derrick Brooks. But why do any of that? That's all we read about and hear on talk radio. Are the critics wrong? No, because it was stupid to move away from the Tampa 2 and this team is begging for leadership, yet the Buccaneer's organization is too scared to admit they were wrong and won't bring Brooks back.

This team looked completely down for the count and Bucs fans should be embarrassed. A head coach who allows his players to walk all over him is pathetic. A team who plays competitively for about 15 minutes then lays down is garbage. Owners that want to focus more on a lavish soccer team in Europe than their local product is ridiculous. That's like some hoity toity, London Lord buying the Yankees and ignoring his English Premier team. I wish the Glazers would just sell the Bucs to the Outback guys. I digress...

My attitude has changed a bit. No, I'm not jumping on the, "Josh Freeman is our savior" bandwagon; although, I think the kid has great potential, as long as this distant organization builds around him and brings in solid athletes. My attitude changed when I witnessed this meager ball club clawing their way to a win over Green Bay and nearly beating Miami. I know moral victories count for squat, but the grit of the Bucs in the 4th quarter against the 'Phins, in Landshark Stadium, was impressive.

We can cry all we want about the horrible call at the end of the 1st half (and it was an awful call), but that game was in Tampa's grasp and they let go.

Not to get all nostalgic, but when Lynch, Brooks, Sapp, and Ronde were in their prime balling, it was lights out for opposing offenses, especially in those key situations where they needed to stop the opposition's game-winning drive. I'm in no way comparing this ragtag group to our legends, but legends are made. Brooks and Sapp did things to make their name's stand out above the rest. They didn't throw their cleats on, step out onto the field, and all of the sudden scare the jock's out of teams. They buckled down and got the job done by making memorable plays and heart-pounding stops.

Presently, this Tampa defense is trash, but they're on the brink of becoming a solid foundation. Forget being young. They're fast, hungry, learning quickly on the fly, and have evolved from their 1st game of the season. Miami's final drive was their opportunity, their chance to show the rest of the NFL that they are on their way and make a name for themselves.

They came up short though and, as atrocious a call the Bucs received at the end of the 1st half, the team overcame it and the defense should have stepped up and buried that game. I'm not blaming the D, but we had it.

I truly believe these kids are on their way. I think it's a matter of time before it all clicks for them and we start seeing a winning product again.

I'll go ahead and give Coach Morris the benefit of the doubt for the time being. The team seems to finally buy into what he's preaching. There hasn't been any incidents as of late and the players aren't talking smack. I think this team has a shock or two up their sleeves. Only time will tell.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Is FSU An Afterthought? Week 10 Review

In memory of a brilliant writer and great friend. I know she'll be critiquing this and laughing at me from heaven. Thank you for helping me become a better writer. Rest in peace, Mallory. Say, "Hi" to my pops for me.

I'm just going to skip over Miami this week. I'm sorry, but I don't find anything they do really compelling. They beat up on a horrid Virginia team in the second half. In the first half, the Cavaliers were keeping pace with Miami and that should definitely worry Hurricane fans. Harris wasn't spectacular and the run game is still missing. Why would I want to talk about them?

I'll give it to their young defense though. Way to keep the Cav's 119th ranked offense at bay.

I'm going to shoot straight from the hip and just say it: Florida did not impress me one bit this past Saturday. This, "play to your level of competition" thing is getting old.

Here's my question to you: hypothetically speaking, if Florida wins out in the regular season, but loses to 'Bama in the SEC Championship Game, do they deserve to go to a BCS bowl game over an undefeated TCU?

TCU has a harder schedule than the Gators and have been playing much better football than them too. As we all know, the BCS looks for style points, which, in my opinion, Florida is not racking up, struggling against teams like Vandy.

It's just a question. Don't get all huffy...

And can someone point me out to another receiver on this Florida team other than Aaron Hernandez? If defenses were capable of covering this kid, Tim would have no one to throw to.

Is there a more embarrassing spectacle than Florida State football right now? Mickey Andrews announces his retirement and you'd think something of that magnitude would motivate this lethargic ball club, but it had the direct opposite effect.

Christian Ponder, who was FSU's only beacon of light, is out for the season with a bum shoulder after having his worst game in a Seminole uniform. Part of the loss to Clemson falls on his shoulders. No pun intended. Yes, the defense was atrocious, but they've been awful all season.

Ponder's four picks, at least three of them with no pressure, and two of them directly to the opposition, are not Maxwell numbers. I've been hyping this kid up from day one and everyone is entitled to a bad game, but this was a devastating blow for the program. Win at Clemson and ACC Title hopes are alive. Now, we here in Tampa get to enjoy yet another empty stadium at Ray Jay. Absolutely embarrassing.

The highly recruited and talented, redshirt freshman, EJ Manuel steps in for the injured Ponder. I fully expect Jimbo to run the ball and throw a ton of short screens to help the young signal caller out. Good thing Jermaine Thomas has broken back-to-back 100 yard games. The 'Noles will need to rely on Thomas as well as the offensive line for help.

Bulls fans, after watching last night's game, I have come to the conclusion that, not only are you not part of any "Big 4," but you're not even a good football team.

Is Leavitt to blame? Yes. He's been out-coached and throttled by Schiano and Rutgers for two straight seasons. When will the athletic department at South Florida realize this guy will not get you over the hump?

If USF fans are satisfied with going 7-5, 8-4 and going to 2nd and 3rd tier bowl games every season then Leavitt is your man.

If I'm the AD, I try my tail off to hire Charlie Strong to get this Bulls team in the championship direction. Strong already recruits the hell out of Florida, especially the Bay area. With FSU down this season and possibly next, he'll get the kids that are wavering between the two schools.

You want to piss off Florida? Do everything possible and hire Charlie Strong.

Miami hasn't won in North Carolina and it doesn't start now, Florida State gets rocked by a bad Wake Forest team, and Florida cruises past Spurrier and the Cocks. Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Spikes A Leader?

The situation with Brandon Spikes has now turned into a full on circus. If you don't know what has happened, let me recap...

Senior linebacker Brandon Spikes was going to be suspended for a half against Vandy for attempting to eye gouge, and potentially fish-hook, Georgia running back Washaun Ealey. Now, Spikes, not wanting to be a distraction to his team, has imposed a self, full-game suspension against the mighty Commodores. Yeah, totally done discreetly and without distraction.

A few things here:

Spikes has been hampered by a groin injury for the past few weeks and it showed in his play against Georgia. Although the defense was beyond dominating, it was obvious Spikes was somewhat slowed. Are we even positive that this "self" suspension isn't a way to kill two birds with one stone. The lies and secrecy within college football runs deep and for all we know Spikes is trying to make himself look good and heal up for the championship stretch. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but it is rather coincidental.

I'm not going to give Spikes any props or recognition because he's doing what he's supposed to do. The young man probably should've gotten two games, but Meyer felt it necessary to discipline him for a half and the SEC agreed. I'm cool with that. But to say that he's a leader for applying a whole game suspension on himself is laughable. I'm supposed to do my taxes. I'm supposed to go to work. I'm supposed to obey the law. Why aren't I a leader? Why am I not celebrated for doing the things I'm supposed to do? Way to go Brandon for accepting your role as a true "leader." Men that don't cheat on their wives think you're a real inspiration.

Brandon Spikes is a tremendous athlete with limitless potential. He'll go in the 1st round of this spring's NFL draft and this will all blow over. No one will care. I think people miss the point. These student-athletes are held to a higher standard for multiple reasons. One of which is because children look up to them as a way to escape their current lives. They strive to be like a Brandon Spikes to get away from the broken down homes and bad neighborhoods that may otherwise discourage them from even wanting to go to school or college. Urban Meyer and the SEC missed a golden opportunity to prove that no one is higher than the other in college football. By suspending him for a half, Meyer shows that eye gouging is no worse than missing class or showing up late for practice.

There's no taking it back now. This distraction has gone from bad to ridiculous very quickly and it all could've easily been avoided.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How Will Andrews Be Remembered? Week 9 Review

It's official. Mickey Andrews will step down as defensive coordinator for the Seminoles and retire.

Many rivals will look at Andrews and see a man that coached dirty football. The old, "Play until you hear the echo of the whistle" phrase keeps popping up into my head, but is that really dirty coaching or just bad kids? Neither.

Mickey Andrews style of defense was meant to be aggressive and violent. If you didn't sell out on every play, you didn't deserve to be on this defense.

He was the architect to many of the finest defenses the college world ever witnessed. He had multiple consensus All-Americans and many of his players went into the first round of the NFL draft.

He's the man responsible for NFL greats like LeRoy Butler, Deion Sanders, Terrell Buckley, Marvin Jones, Derrick Brooks, and Peter Bouleware.

His legacy should not be seen as the poor product he's fielding now. I blame it on an old man being stubborn to adjust his defense to today's offenses. You have to evolve and Andrews refuses.

Hopefully this FSU struggling defense will wake up and play for something more than themselves. Something more than the university, the fans, the conference. Many of these kids see Mickey Andrews as their father. Honor him, play and fight for family. I'm not trying to pull a, "Win one for the Gipper" sentiment. I just hope these kids realize what good Mickey's doing for the team.


I guess I'll go ahead and start my rantings with Florida State's shoot out against lowly NC State. It's not like the Wolfpack are a bad team, but they haven't scored that many points all season. Struggling offenses must be salivating when they see FSU on their schedule.

Okay, okay, I'll stop considering I just had a fabulous moment writing about Mickey Andrews.

Offensively, the 'Noles had to play the "score for score" game and did so well. Ponder played hurt, but still had a good game. He wasn't the hero though. Jermaine Thomas, who has been quiet all season, racked up 186 rushing yards on 20 carries. The young man from Jacksonville had his best outing since last season and this should be the spark the FSU running game needs.

Luck was on the Seminoles side too. North Carolina State's defensive ends played back during FSU's swing passes to the wide recivers resulting in multiple batted balls. On one particular play in the 4th quarter, one of Ponder's throws was tipped and intercepted by a Wolfpack defensive tackle. I'm not positive who it was, but an FSU offensive player stripped the ball from the Wolfpack defender giving the ball back to the 'Noles. It was a heads-up, lucky play that most likely won the game for Florida State. If the Wolfpack defender just falls instead of trying to run with it, NC State wins.

How does a team score 45 points and almost lose? Oh, that's right. He's retiring...

Sorry, 'Canes, but I didn't care to watch your game over the Gators game. You won. That's good, right?

The Gators absolutely decimated UGA during the annual "Cocktail, Outdoor" thingy. Florida's defense is going to go down as one of the greatest of all time, without a doubt. It's basically a, "Pick your Poison" and it's not even fair for the opposition's offense.

Now, with that being said, Brandon Spikes, you're as dirty as they get. Like, Rodney Harrison dirty. That's not necessarily bad. Harrison is one of the greatest.

No one can defend what Spikes did. He didn't accidentally shove his mitts into Ealey's helmet. If he did, we clearly would've seen Brandon retract his paws from inside the Bulldog's face mask. Instead, he dug harder.

The excuses are laughable, to say the least. "He was retaliating for getting his helmet knocked off and being poked in the eye." Both of which were definitely accidental. I watched it over and over to help justify the excuse and there's no way.

"They spit in Brandon's eyes." I'm sure he felt it through his visor.

"That stuff happens in pile ons all the time." Pile ons, yes. Too bad Spikes jumped in late. Ealey was already down and that type of cheap play happens at the bottom of a pile on where the refs can't see. Not out in the open.

There is no justifying it. It was a cowardice move by a great player. There's no need for that type of garbage in this sport. I don't care if it is a rivalry, get your head on straight and play the game the right way.

I'm not trying to pile on the kid. He's a solid player that apologized for his actions and he has a bright future ahead of him. I'm just disgusted by the fans actually trying to justify the actions.

And Urban Meyer talking to the fans saying, and I paraphrase, Well, you've never played the game, so you don't know what goes on. Great, Urb. I'll remember to never have a logical opinion when hanging around you. I wouldn't want to offend Lord Meyer. Your half game suspension is a joke. The only reason I'm somewhat okay with it is because you're playing Vandy and the game will be over at halftime meaning Spikes probably won't play at all.

I was happy to see Tim look like Tim again. He was incredible with his passes and runs. He looked like the leader of old. And Riley Cooper, alligator arms, with that amazing grab in the endzone, truly broke the dropping curse for the receiving corp which played extremely well for the first time this season.

UF had it's first complete game against good competition this season and there's no way to slow this juggernaut down.

I was proud to see South Florida bounce back against getting drubbed by Pitt to take down a very good West Virginia team this past Friday night at Ray Jay. USF played a very sound, physical style of football. The defense contained the conference rushing leader, Noel Devine, and frustrated QB Jarrett Brown all night.

Offensively, they mixed it up with runs and passes keeping the Mountaineer defense off balance.

BJ Daniels development continues and the young Bulls QB looks like he's back on the proper football track.

Not much to say on the game. I thought USF played their best football of the season.

It'll be a cold one in New Jersey and I see USF losing to Rutgers, Florida running through ease at Vandy, Miami winning at home against Virginia, and Mickey's farewell tour starts in shame as Clemson annihilates Florida State in Death Valley. Have a great rest of the week and awesome weekend!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Week 8 continued...

Hate to do that to y'all, but I'm a busy man. Not really...

Florida State's win over North Carolina in Chapel Hill was a bit of a mixed bag of emotions. On one hand, you have a defense that is beyond awful and there's no way it'll be repaired by the end of the season. I've asked this question before and I'm going to stick with my original it coaching or talent?

To me, it's absolutely coaching. Missed tackles and assignments are basic fundamentals that should've been remedied after the first couple of weeks, and especially during FSU's bye week. I keep hearing how dumb the defensive ends were for crashing inside on every play. It's not the ends doing it on their own. You think Marcus White likes being flattened on his belly? The scheme called for the ends to crash in making monster lanes on the outside for the Tar Heel backs to run through. What exactly did Andrews see to continually allow his defensive ends to get killed still boggles my mind.

On the other hand is Christian Ponder. Yes, you're sick of me talking about him, but the kid put on a passing clinic against one of the best defensive teams in the country. And before you go crying, "Oh, but who has UNC played to make them one of the best D's in college ball?" remember, that's not FSU's problem that statistically the Tar Heels are good at defense. Just like it's not Florida State's problem that they have an excellent quarterback that isn't being recognized for anything when he clearly needs to be, but I digress... Ponder tore through them with ease in the second half.

UNC gave that game away though. They ran the ball willingly and decided to try and throw the ball late in the game giving FSU a chance to win. If you give a team with their back's against the wall with a chance to win, they'll capitalize.

I'm too disgusted to give my take on USF's "play dead" style of football against Pitt. The Panther's punched the Bull's in the mouth and USF never got up.

Great coaching, Leavitt.

Will the real Miami please raise your hand?

Unbelievable how inconsistent this talented ball club is. Even more unbelievable how inconsistent Jacory Harris is. The kid hits receivers in stride one play and directly to the opposition in another. It's almost as if he's constantly looking for the deep ball. The highlight reel, if you will. He misses his underneath routes and check downs, and by the time he notices that they're open, he's either sacked or a defender steps in front of his pass.

And with three or four highly talented running backs on that squad and a massive offensive line, why aren't they running it more?

Clemson used everything at their disposal on offense to win that game and their offense just out-skilled Miami's speedy defense. Reverses and screens worked to the tee against the Hurricane defense and there were little to no adjustments. They also struggled to slow down Harper, Clemson's athletic, but young, signal caller. On the game winning touchdown in OT, Harper threw a strike across the middle to his wide receiver, Ford, for the game winner. Ford blew by two or three defenders to victory.

Miami's defense is bad. Not FSU bad, but still bad. If the "All 'Canes Conference" wants to be taken seriously, play better defense.