Friday, October 10, 2008
Can't spell Clemson without lemon
A lot of questions start to get settled in college football this weekend, but one is already resolved. The biggest flop in all of college football 2008 is Clemson. Watching the Tigers play offense last night was the visual equivalent of when I was a kid and would play a 45 single at 33. Everything was incredibly slow developing, their offensive line was dreadful and injuries only made everything worse. Clemson has gone from number nine in the preseason polls to ninth in the ACC standings. They're 1-3 against D-1 opponents and might miss a bowl altogther. Thanks to a 3.5 million dollar buyout Tommy Bowden might not pay for this fiasco with his job - it's probably 50-50 right now. Current Clemson offensive coordinator Rob Spence, the sketchy looking guy to the right of this, will definitely be available for parties and bar mitzvahs very soon though.
LSU is a good football team, and UF is still banged up. This is a hard game to get a great fix on. The fact it's in the Swamp at night should be a significant help, and if you look at who LSU's played the fact both sides of the MSU-Auburn 3-2 game (which set offense back decades) got into the 20s against the Tigers tells you UF should be able to make plays against them. My instinct tells me UF will find a way to win this - we'll be discussing it extensively from 5 to 7 on the Star 99.5's Gator Nation Tailgate show live from Emerson Alumni Hall.
Quick takes on other big games: I think Oklahoma soundly beats an overrated Texas. Mack Brown does not beat Bob Stoops unless he has vastly superior personnel. This year, he doesn't even have an edge in that category. Missouri should be okay against Oklahoma State despite the "sandwich game" effect of an emotional Nebraska win last week and a huge Texas game awaiting them next week. Wisconsin is either going to play their best game of the year and make Penn State sweat, or they're going to throw the towel in on their season. We'll know pretty quickly - my vote is the towel.
I should feel foolish picking UF to win, considering they just lost to Illinois 34-7 in Gainesville. At least that's what happened in the delusional world of Cleveland Plain-Dealer Ohio State beat writer Doug Lesmerises. He's doing a weekly imaginary Big Ten-SEC challenge. The SEC has been able to "win" just two of six so far, which makes lots of sense considering how the Big Ten dominates when they play in real life. Why wouldn't UF lose at home by four touchdowns to a team that beat Louisiana-Lafayette 20-17? It's so obvious when you compare the two rosters! If you've ever wondered how Big Ten fans sustain their seemingly never ending supply of delusional superiority, this series of stories is Exhibit A.
With the SEC so clearly inferior to the Big Ten, I'm sure Joe Paterno will lead his Penn State team to victory in their pretend football game with Tennessee. How much longer he will do it for real is beginning to look like a settled question to some. Paterno's no longer coaching from the sideline, and his health apparently has declined a lot this year. Bobby Bowden's strategy of outlasting Paterno rather than outcoaching him may pay off yet.
One of the cities being hit hardest right now by the declining economy is Las Vegas. My email box has special rate offers from the hotels out there literally every day, because fuel costs had already taken a huge toll on the number of people traveling to the city. With all the uncertainty now, gambling doesn't seem too appealing either. And now, on top of everything else, the stage version of the Keanu Reeves-Patrick Swayze motion picture epic Point Break has shut down. How much more can one city take? See you back here Monday - have a great weekend.