This weeks recap comes as my wife and I spent the bye week in an Atlanta landmark, the Westin Peachtree Plaza. Make absolutely no mistake, I’m really glad we did it, because I’ve always wanted to stay here, but I do feel like the staycation is a weird concept. I’m pretty sure if I squinted and aimed some binoculars I could see my home from the Sundial. The Sundial, by the way, gave me such a different perspective of the city I’ve lived in my whole life. I could see where I went to college, where I’ve spent thousands of dollars having my heart broken by a baseball team that could never get hot in October, and let me see how traffic looks from almost 1000 feet above the ground.
Bye weeks are important for teams and for fans, especially in the case of my marriage. I love my wife more than anything in this world, but this is the week that I consider having 1-800-DIVORCE on speed dial just in case I need to “undo I do”. It’s tough to spend 12 weekends in a row dedicated to anything, even if you love it. Even cocaine addicts need rehab every now and then. This weekend gave my wife and I the chance to reconnect, show each other the fullest extent of our love, and remind ourselves that this weekends match-up should not have an impact on our feelings toward one another. Then on Sunday she put on a UGA shirt and I put on a pair of Florida socks. Hate week in our household always brings a different kind of marital stress.
Though I spent much of last Saturday without the desire for a TV to be on (thanks baby), I did get to watch a handful of games. I’m not going to bullshit you and say that I watched a second of Kentucky vs. Vandy, but here’s a recap of what I did watch last weekend!
Alabama vs Tennessee (58-21)
This game was destined for a Crimson Tide victory, but a couple of interesting things did occur. For one, Tennessee actually put up a couple of scores despite its starting QB going down with a broken collar bone. The Tide don’t look as overwhelming as they did in September, at least from a defensive standpoint. Alabama still hasn’t faced a team with a legitimate defense, meaning their annual match-up with LSU has the rumblings of a potential upset. The key, of course, will be to make Tua play a whole game. If he’s forced to come from behind, maybe a chink appears in the Alabama armor. Also, while I do agree it was ridiculous that a middle-aged man took it upon himself to throw a drink at Nick Saban, Alabama fans may need a reminder in classless fans lest they forget about my favorite Twitter follow in Harvey Updyke.
LSU vs Mississippi State (19-3)
Make that two straight weeks that the LSU Tigers dominated a set of Bulldogs, once again proving that inbreeding should be outlawed. This game was boring enough that I flipped the channel a couple of times, but kept getting drawn back in by those damn color changing helmets that LSU donned. They shouldn’t be a permanent addition to the LSU uniform scheme, but even though I’m not crazy about crazy combinations every week, I do think those helmets were cool as hell. Clearly they were distracting enough to force Nick Fitzgerald, once a Heisman candidate, to complete barely a third of his pass attempts. It may be time for Joe Moorhead to seek a different shelf to clear space on and give their backup that scored 7 touchdowns in week one a chance.
Michigan vs Michigan State (21-7)
Man, I couldn’t have given less of a shit about who started what, but I can assure you that Michigan State looked like a bunch of p***ies for not defending their own logo. As a player, bulletin board material might get you a little fired up, but in the grand scheme it doesn’t actually affect how a full game is played. Some asshole literally screwing up your field the day of the game, however, should absolutely affect the game. Michigan has certainly returned to form after a week one loss to Notre Dame, but the real story is that Jim Harbaugh has returned to being an asshole for not benching Devin Bush for at least a series. I’m still not sold on Michigan being a playoff team, and won’t be until they beat Ohio State (more on them in a minute), but the Wolverines do have a chance if they can get over that hurdle. Kentucky beat Florida this year, so anything is possible.
Clemson vs NC State (41-7)
So, like years past, Clemson seems destined to be a lock in the College Football Playoff. NC State was their toughest opponent (by record) left on the schedule, and I don’t see any ACC team going on a hot streak to end the year and challenge the Tigers in the title game. QB Trevor “Sunshine” Lawrence tossed the rock not named Howard (I’m going call this rock Sven) for over 300 yards, while the rushing attack found pay dirt four times despite not totaling over 100 yards. As per the advice of Dabo Sweeny, my BYOGut feeling on Clemson is because it hasn’t been completely easy for the Tigers all year, they’ll be better battle tested than Alabama would be should they meet in a playoff game, but the best teams in the country tend to run the ball at a better clip than they do. Speaking of…
Purdue vs Ohio State (49-20)
This was the game I happened to watch the most of because my wife was asleep for the vast majority of the second half. F*** you if you think that Ohio State deserves a berth in the CFP, even if they run the table. You can’t lose to Purdue by 29 points and still have a shot. If they lost to Michigan by a field goal, and that was the lone blemish, ok. I’d at least give that a little bit of credence, but get the hell out of the picture when you throw the ball 73 times. Texas Tech does that shit and still gets their ass kicked. At least Texas Tech will try a deep ball. This offense tried to completely replace a rushing attack with swing passes to the sidelines and never adapted. It’s not like Purdue has a renowned defensive tackle they were trying to avoid either. To be fair, Purdue had that Tom Rinaldi edge, as even Kirk Herbstreet had a tear thinking of that Tyler Trent piece. That said, if you’re a contender, you overcome that kind of shit and win. The Buckeyes didn’t, and should be banished from the playoff for another year.
This week I really couldn’t care less about what other games are going on, because the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (and f*** Jacksonville for trying to change it). I’m actually a little jacked up because Florida is trotting out the White helmets for this years match-up, and while the Gators don’t have the best record with them as part of their uniform, I know that 18-23 year olds get hyped up for changes in the status quo.
Last year, I knew damn well that Florida was going to lose, even if I wouldn’t admit it until later. You can’t tell me that fake death threats weren’t distracting to a team that was already sliding towards giving up. Throw in that Georgia was markedly improving on a weekly basis and I could barely watch as time after time Nick Chubb and Sony Michel pounded a deflated defense into oblivion. This years match up feels a hell of a lot different, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking and me using the transitive argument too much.
What I can tell you is that this is the most excited I’ve been for this game in years, and apparently the same goes for the national media with both College Gameday and SEC Nation gracing Jacksonville with their presence. Neither team is clearly better than the other on the whole, and it will come down to one match up. It’s the most boring of them all, but if Florida can dominate the interior line of scrimmage (between the guards), this has a Gator victory written on it. I trust the Florida edge players and secondary to force Jake Fromm or Justin Fields or Faton Bauta (LOL, remember that one time?) into poor decisions. I also trust the play calling of Dan Mullen just enough. Chris, I’m telling you now, take Florida and the points. This game has a last minute field goal in its script. Of course, I’ll spend a gut wrenching week waiting to find out for sure…