I'm pinch-hitting for Spears this week, though honestly I'm not sure exactly why. All I know is that he called me at 3:00 a.m. and asked where a fellow who took Akron and the points in Tuesday night #MACtion should go if he needed to dodge bookies looking to collect money, or in the alternative, knee caps. At any rate, enjoy Phuket, buddy. Oops. I mean Missoula. Missoula in November is the Paris in the springtime of the northern Rockies.
Speaking of which, I had sort of a rocky time figuring out what this week's National Game of Interest is. Let's be honest, it's sort of hard to focus on any game taking place outside of Athens this weekend. Georgia sits at #15 in the latest college football playoff committee rankings, meaning that we're 23 utterly ludicrous upsets and Marcus Mariota being kidnapped by aliens away from the playoff. The only game that directly affects the Bulldogs' postseason chances is the SEC Game of Interest that Spears profiled yesterday, so that one's out.
After some soul-searching, my choice for this week's National Game of Interest is....Florida State at Miami.
Florida State -1 and a1/2
Why You Should Care
Jimbo Fisher recently united America in rooting for Bobby Petrino. Let that sink in. Between Karlos Williams and Jameis Winston, Fisher has managed to convince America that "Free Shoes U" is back with a vengeance. Throw in a fan base whose collective Internet persona is a cross between the worst elements if Auburn's and Georgia Tech's (redneck leanings and ACC little brother syndrome all in one neat package!!!) and you've got a team no one seems to like these days.
I haven't talked to any Vegas oddsmakers to find out why the undefeated defending national champions are only a point and a half favorite against the Hurricanes. It's obviously not because of Miami's famous home field advantage (there isn't one), injuries on the Noles' part (there aren't any major ones), or fear that Jameis Winston's legal luck will finally run out (LOL, he could kill a clown and two Publix seafood clerks on the steps of the state capitol in Tallahassee while Craig James watched without repercussion). I think the reason the Seminoles have a razor-thin margin is that the oddsmakers watched the first half of the Louisville game and wonder when Jimbo Fisher's team is going to sleepwalk again. Next time they might not be lucky enough to have Todd Grantham on the other sideline to help them out.
This inconsistency probably also explains FSU being jumped by one-loss Oregon in the playoff poll. If you watched the Fighting Jimbos come from behind to beat Clemson, NC State, and Notre Dame before that Louisville game, you too could be forgiven for just deciding that this Seminole team frankly just ain't that good. I expect that FSU's coaches will take advantage of this perceived slight to motivate the Garnet and Gold on Saturday night. The Noles have been epically bad against the spread this season, bad enough that some have wondered whether their players were shaving points. I don't think that's the case. I just think Jameis Winston isn't particularly careful with the ball and that the FSU defense is good, but not great.
Miami is coming off a bye week, and has won three in a row by solid margins. But it's going to take more than wins over bad ACC competition to convince me the Hurricanes can win against the Seminoles, which is very close to what the odds dictate. FSU covers, America shudders, and #FSUTwitter once again fills my mentions with grammatically bankrupt, profanity-laden adolescent chest pounding. And if they really pound the Hurricanes into oblivion, they just might jump Oregon in next week's rankings. Se la vie. Until later....