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Picks of the Weak: How hard is it to play a football game in this state?

Posted on Friday, September 15, 2017 at 2:48 pm

Osceola High hasn’t played a game since Sept. 1. Photo/Martin Maddock

By Rick Pedone

UCF is involuntarily taking a step back in time because it looks like the Knights are going to play a 10-game season.
The Knights had to cancel this week’s game against Georgia Tech because Spectrum Stadium is being used as a staging area for Hurricane Irma responders.
Last week, UCF scratched a game against Memphis as Irma approached.
So, the Knights’ football season has been downsized to 10 games, which was normal for all college football teams until the 1970’s and 80’s, when the seasons expanded to 11 and then 12 regular season games.
The Knights and several more state teams are looking at a three-week gap between games. The Knights, who beat FIU 61-17 Aug. 31, won’t play their first September game until next Saturday, at Maryland.
Florida State and Miami are also facing an extended hiatus. Their game, scheduled for today, was moved to Oct. 7. The Noles haven’t played since their opening weekend disaster in Atlanta against Alabama, Sept. 2. They won’t line up again until next week against NC State.
The Hurricanes are in the same boat, idle since beating Bethune-Cookman Sept. 2. Their next game is against Toledo next week.
The good news is, Florida is playing today against Tennessee in Gainesville.
At least it should be good news if the Gators coaching staff used the past couple of weeks to insert a little hurricane fury into their offense after the 33-17 loss against Michigan on Sept. 2.
State high schools are in the same scheduling quandary. Many, including Osceola High, may go three weeks between games.
In the NFL, Miami and Tampa Bay have to start their seasons a week late because of the hurricane. Jacksonville fans may have to row to the stadium for Sunday’s game against Tennessee after Irma caused record flooding.
Perhaps the moral of the story is this: Let the rest of the country start the football season in late August. In Florida, it’s probably better to wait until Halloween. Maybe Thanksgiving.
By the way, does anyone have any idea who won the games last weekend?

The Mighty News-Gazette Divine Nine:
No. 1: Utility line crews. No. 2. Chain saws. No. 3: Tom “The Mad Tracker” Terry. No. 4: Generators. No. 5: Plywood. No. 6: Canned tuna. No. 7: Propane. No. 8: Good neighbors. No. 9: Utility line crews.
To the picks:

Tennessee at Florida (-5.5): It’s a close call, but here is your SEC Game of the Century of the Week. C’mon, even FSU fans have to be hoping that the Gators can rep Florida today, right? OK, maybe we’re getting a little carried away. Gators by 4.

LSU (-7) at Mississippi State: Winner still has a chance to win the SEC West – until it plays Alabama. Tigers by 4.

Texas at Southern Cal (-15): The Longhorns hope to finish better on the west coast than rival Texas A&M did in the season opener a couple of weeks ago, when the Aggies blew a 34-point lead at UCLA. The way Texas plays defense, though, it could probably blow a 44-point lead with no problem. Troy boys by 14.

Clemson at Louisville (-3): Cardinals have the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, and the Tigers have the National Championship trophy. That’s a lot of bling for one game. Tigers by 4 in the “Big Bling” Upset Special.

Mississippi at California (-3.5): What’s with everyone from the South trekking to Pac-12 country this year? Hurricane fatigue? Bears by 1.

The paid professionals:

Tennessee (-1.5) at Jacksonville: So, who was that team playing at Houston last week and winning by three scores? The un-Jaguars? Titans by 2 in the “We Don’t Believe in the Jaguars Yet” Special.

Chicago at Tampa Bay (-7): The Bears almost upset Atlanta last weekend. They’ll almost upset Tampa Bay this week. They’ll upset their fans almost every week. Bucs by 7.

Miami at LA Chargers (-4.5): OK Irma, try to track down the Fins out here in La-La Land why don’t you? Relocated and Unloved Chargers by 2.
Green Bay at Atlanta (-2.5): Packers open tough. Seattle last week, Atlanta this week, Jose next week. Just kidding. Falcons by 4.

Dallas (-2) at Denver: Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to plant some of those big Colorado mountains around Florida to mess with these hurricanes. Broncos by 1 in the “We Don’t Worry About Hurricanes Around Here, Just Blizzards” Upset Special.

Petey “The Gators Are Going to Win” Covino says: The Gators must win, by 11.

Brian “Big Man” McBride’s Super Sniffer Upset Special: Green Bay over Atlanta by 3.

Ken “Young Jackson The Elder” says: Vols in the “We Got An Offense and Irma Took Your Mojo” Upset Special; Louisville Heismans over Crystal Football by 4; California Dolphins in “Irma This!” Upset Special; Packers by 7 while I thumb my nose at Jose and Cowboys by 6.