My Saturday began at my cousin’s flag football game. Watching a five on five game played by nine year olds was a new experience for me so I was excited. The red team quickly sputtered on offense in Auburn-like fashion. The yellow team took over and as every coach at every level knows, first-down play action passes lead to big plays. Sure enough, the QB faked the handoff and moved to his right. He then launched a perfect pass towards the middle of the end zone, where a completely uncovered WR was waiting. With the ball in midair, I made the touchdown call to my family. Unfortunately the kid had other ideas and whiffed the ball as it hit him square in the chest. After a quick laugh/moment of sympathy, I forgot about it until later that day.
I’ve been telling everyone this year that the most important moment in any Miami game this season is the coin toss. The Canes defense struggles against every opponent and it is extremely important for them to play with the lead early. When the referee announced that Miami would receive the opening kickoff, my excitement began to build. On the first play from scrimmage, Stephen Morris executed a perfect play-action fake and set his sights downfield on a streaking Phillip Dorsett. As the ball sailed through the air, I made the same touchdown call because I saw how open Dorsett was. Then I had a case of deja vu. When he dropped a sure touchdown, my heart sank as I realized the omen I had seen earlier in the day. When Phillip dropped another sure touchdown later on the drive, the curse was confirmed. Hopefully the young Canes will bounce back this week against UNC, in a crucial game in the ACC race.
After two huge wins on Thursday, including Utah’s late miracle touchdown against USC, Syracuse came up one point short on Friday night. Still 2-1 heading into Saturday was a good feeling. A solid session of afternoon games left me 7-4 on the day as I walked out of Soldier Field with two games to play. Unfortunately I was let down by the Pac 12 once again, with both UCLA and Washington suffering blowout losses. My record for the weekend was a respectable 9-7, but still not the breakout week I have been seeking. My overall mark is 44-42-2, highlighted by a 12-6-1 record in SEC games and lowlighted by a dreadful 3-11-1 record in Pac 12 games.
Quick thoughts on Soldier Field – This is my suggestion to all American cities: DO NOT schedule a marathon and a major college football game 8 hours apart. As a result of the marathon setup, many areas around the stadium were closed off. It was bad enough sitting through a depressing loss in 45-degree weather. Being herded around an endless maze of a never-ending line like a Southwest Airlines passenger made the hour after the game even worse.
TV viewers have a variety of choices on Thursday night. Many will be watching Game 4 between the Yankees and Orioles or a possible Game 5 between the Tigers and A’s. Others will choose to watch the Steelers visit the Titans. Undecided voters and political junkies will be watching to see if Paul Ryan can capitalize on the momentum in his battle with Joe Biden. If someone flips on ESPN to see if a 30 for 30 is re-airing, they may be disappointed to find a college football game between Arizona State and Colorado. I know I won’t be able to convince you to watch this whole game given the Buffs 1-4 record, but at least give the second half a chance once the debate is finished. Once again – I’m due for a winner in the Pac 12.
Arizona State at Colorado +23 ESPN THURSDAY – 9pm
Ralphie running onto the field is always one of my favorite moments in college football. Boulder has been a tough place to play in the past, but current Buffs Coach Jon Embree can’t seem to have success at home. Both teams are coming off a bye, but Colorado benefitted more from the time off. The Buffs will get several key defenders back from injury and QB Jordan Webb will have the opportunity to show veteran leadership. Playing on ESPN means more to Colorado because Embree is desperate for media exposure to sell to potential recruits in his rebuilding process. His team will be ready. Arizona State’s offense is explosive and QB Taylor Kelly has been efficient so far in 2012. I expect the Sun Devils to win, but this 23-point line is far too big for a conference game on the road. Webb leads the Buffs to 21 points on the night, keeping the game a bit closer than most expect.