Thoughts of the Day: September 6, 2019

GETTING SOME PT FOR TRASK AND JONES

If you're one to linger at the tailgate and make your way into The Swamp a little late, you might not see a whole lot of Feleipe Franks Saturday evening when 11th-ranked Florida (1-0) makes its home debut against Paycheck Tech, also known as UT-Martin (1-0). The visiting Skyhawks, who are something like 45-point underdogs, are in Gainesville to collect a $500,000 paycheck and to leave as healthy as possible since they might actually have a decent season against their D1AA Ohio Valley Conference opponents. As for the Gators, the goals are simple and threefold: (1) Let the first team guys break a sweat before giving way to the backups; (2) don't get anybody hurt; and (3) get a decent amount of playing time for Franks' backups, Kyle Trask and Emory Jones.


With an SEC roadie to Kentucky next week the very last thing Dan Mullen wants is to go to Lexington with a pair of backup quarterbacks who haven't sniffed the field. Winning an SEC game is tough enough without a starter going down, forcing a backup quarterback to make his seasonal debut on the road. While Mullen hasn't – and won't – tell anyone his plans for splitting up the QB minutes Saturday, don't be surprised if Franks only plays about 20 minutes before putting on a ball cap and piloting a clipboard on the sideline. Against a defense that gave up 387 passing yards to a D1AA team last week, Franks should light the Skyhawks up as should Trask and Jones.


Mullen advised Wednesday not to think too hard on which of the backup quarterbacks sees action first. Mullen said, “I will say this: if we do get a second quarterback in the game, whoever that first is to come in, you guys are going to make way too much out of it already.”

The Sayer Says Sooth: FLORIDA 62, UT-Martin 7


THE SEC SOOTHSAYER

#1 Clemson (1-0) 33, #12 TEXAS A&M (1-0) 24: If this game were at Kyle Field the Soothsayer might be tempted to call the Aggies in an upset. They'll make it close but won't win in Death Valley.

#2 ALABAMA (1-0) 70, New Mexico State (0-1) 7: Alabama is favored by 55-1/2. Figure the Tide will score at least seven first half touchdowns.

#3 GEORGIA (1-0) 56, Murray State (1-0) 7: Georgia might run for 500 yards in this one.

#6 LSU (1-0) 28, #9 Texas (1-0) 17: There will be Jeaux Burreaux for Heisman signs in Baton Rouge after he lights up Texas although the best player on the field will be safety Grant Delpit who will state an early case for National Defensive Player of the Year.

#10 AUBURN (1-0) 28, Tulane (1-0) 14: This will probably be close for a half, at which point Bo Nix will start figuring things out and Auburn will begin pulling away.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (1-0) 38, Southern Miss (1-0) 21: Mississippi State isn't all that good, but then again, neither is Southern Miss. Close for a half.

KENTUCKY (1-0) 34, Eastern Michigan (1-0) 14: With Florida coming to Lexington next week, goal number one for the Wildcats will be to win this game without getting anyone hurt.

MISSOURI (0-1) 31, West Virginia (1-0) 21: The Soothsayer would be tempted to go with West (By God) Virginia in this one if the Mounties could only run the football. Any team that can run it is going to beat Mizzou this year.

OLE MISS (0-1) 21, ARKANSAS (1-0) 17:One of these teams will depart Saturday night knowing it won't do a reverse run of the SEC table. It's in Oxford, so that team will be Ole Miss.

Purdue (0-1) 34, VANDERBILT (0-1) 23:The Purdon't folks are wondering how they gave up the last 20 points of the game last week to lose to Nevada. As for Vandy, they're just wondering. They will wonder some more when this one is over because they get LSU next week.

TENNESSEE (0-1) 20, BYU (0-1) 17:The Vols could very well lose this game and probably would if they were playing a team with a decent offense. The losing coach has a very good chance to get fired before the season is over.

SOUTH CAROLINA (0-1) 54, Charleston Southern (0-1) 7: True freshman Ryan Hilinski gets to go live against a homeless shelter this week. Next week he gets to stare across the line at Alabama defenders. They're already drooling.


COUNTDOWN TO FIRING DAY 2019: EDITION TWO

We start week two still without a member of the Extinct Species List although buzzards are circling the football ops buildings in places like Knoxville, Blacksburg, Tulsa, Albuquerque and Champaign-Urbana.


ON LIFE SUPPORT

Phil Montgomery, Tulsa: Last week Tulsa running back Corey Taylor II predicted the Golden Hurricane would run for 200+ yards on Michigan State. He only missed by 273 yards – as in a net rushing day of -73. The 28-7 loss could have been worse except that MSU coach Mark Dantonio did his best not to run up the score. Tulsa probably can run for 200+ this week. Do you know the way to San Jose (State)?

Kalani Sitake, BYU: This is a guy who should have heeded the Dirty Harry proverb: “A man's got to know his limitations.” He was a fine assistant coach. He should have stayed a fine assistant coach. If he loses to a Tennessee team that just got brutalized by Georgia State, then he needs to start interviewing real estate agents in Provo to find one to sell his house.

Bob Davie, New Mexico:He's on life support. Literally. He had chest pains after the first game and has no clue when he will be back coaching again, the perfect out for the school. They can boot Davie upstairs to administration and hire a new coach and base it all on concern for his health.

Lovie Smith, Illinois:Lovie should start the season 3-0 thanks to scheduling an assisted living facility (Akron, won that one), a homeless shelter (UConn this week) and a team from the Big Mac (Eastern Michigan). Then reality will set in and the Fighting Lovies will get hammered on a regular basis in the Big Ten Plus Four.

Chris Ash, Rutgers: Rutgers fans were downright giddy last week when they beat a bad UMass team by 27 points. That gave Chris Ash something to smile about. He won't be smiling after the first quarter Saturday at Iowa.


ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST

Clay Helton, Southern Cal: They would be writing Helton's coaching obituary Sunday morning if Stanford were coming to town with a healthy QB but K.J. Costello is out and Helton has a chance to go 2-0 even with something called Kedon Slovis at QB.

Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee: If Pruitt emerges from this weekend encounter with BYU 0-2, it's going to give the ultimate football wedgie to Phattus Maximus. Pruitt is his guy but his athletic department is cash-strapped and boosters might bail like rats on a sinking ship if Fulmer elects to stay the course.

Matt Luke, Ole Miss: Nobody wants to fire Matt Luke, but if he loses to Arkansas this weekend he will have one foot out the door.

Randy Edsall, UConn:Edsall would already be gone if the school could afford to fire him. He compounds his coaching issues by being so difficult to like.

Brent Brennan, San Jose State:Okay, so it was D1AA Northern Colorado. When you coach at San Jose State and you get a win, you take it even if it's against the Santa Clara County 12-year-old Pop Warner champs. Tulsa comes to town Saturday for a battle to see which coach will get fired first.

Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech: Unless the bottom falls out completely, he's probably safe for another year. That's a big unless. It could fall out.

Mike Bobo, Colorado State: If being gainfully employed had anything to do with being likable, Bobo would be coach for life. He's got to win and he won't this year

Tony Sanchez, UNLV: Some genius thought that because Sanchez recruited all the good football players in Nevada when he was a high school coach that he could do the same thing as a head coach at the college level. He's 17-32 and headed for another losing year. Maybe he can get his old high school gig back next year.


SAVED BY THE BUYOUT

Willie Taggart, Florida State: Oh, how they'd love to pink slip Willie but there are $17 million reasons why they won't. With that buyout, Willie's probably a fixture in Tallahassee for at least two more years. Maybe more.

Chad Morris, Arkansas: If Frank Broyles were still alive he wouldn't have a job now. There are boosters who would pony up the $12.25 million to buy him out, but he'll get another year as long as he doesn't go 2-10 again.

Chip Kelly, UCLA: The school is still paying off Jim Mora Jr. ($12 million) and couldn't afford to pay the $8 million it would have taken to buy out the contract of TCU basketball coach Jamie Dixon. To fire Kelly would take $9 million they don't have.

Will Muschamp, South Carolina:AD Ray Tanner has Muschamp's back, but even if he didn't, the buyout does. If they fire him during the 2019 season it would cost $22 million, just $18.6 if they bought him out after the season.


GOOD QUOTES FOR FRIDAY

From Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence sounds an awful lot like a certain former Florida QB when it comes to his faith:


“I don’t think anyone has abilities for no reason. I don’t think anything is coincidence. God gave me these things for a reason, not just talent on the field, but other opportunities to be a light to people.”


From Zac Jackson of The Athletic on how Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is motivated by the fact he had to walk on twice in college – once at Texas Tech, the second at Oklahoma where he won the Heisman Trophy:


“By now, the stories of his light recruitment, of his one-year stop at Texas Tech, of how he still swears he didn’t think he would go No. 1 to the Browns because he’d never been anybody’s first choice, are all well known. By now, it’s known he’s stored every slight in his memory bank, that every put-down was (and is) personal, that he knew of the Browns’ rancid recent history and still wanted the challenge in Cleveland. He listens to the doubters and naysayers (and challenges them) because he’s always had rabbit ears and they’ve always been a part of who he is.”


RANDOM THOUGHTS:The Green Bay Packers opened the NFL season with a 10-3 win over the Chicago Bears. Somehow I was immune to the excitement … Michigan State will pay a $4.5 million fine for failing to deal with complaints about former team doctor Dr. Larry Nassar, who is serving 60 years in Club Fed for child pornography charges and could be sentenced to more than 100 additional years for sexual assaults … Team USA hardly broke a sweat in beating Japan, 98-45, at the FIBA World Cup in China. Next up for the Americans is Greece in the first game of the second round. The point guard for Greece is former Gator Nick Calathes … Serena Williams will play for the US Open championship Saturday after beating Elina Svitolina, 6-3, 6-1, in the 38thGrand Slam semifinal of her career … Former Gator A.J. Puk got the first win of his Major League Baseball career Thursday with two innings of relief in the Oakland Athletics' 10-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

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