Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day Sept. 18

A few thoughts to jump start your Thursday morning...

Based on the fact that they’re Alabama, 82-15 since Nick Saban took over as head football coach back in 2007, and the Gators are those same guys who almost lost to Kentucky last week, the 15 points Bama is favored to win by Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa seems almost generous. It’s not that Alabama has actually played anybody – West Virginia might struggle with Kentucky the same way the Gators did and West Virginia did give Saban a tight sphincter in the second half in the season opener – but it’s the fact that it’s Alabama and the game is in Tuscaloosa and Nick Saban is Will Muschamp’s mentor. And on and on and on.

You get the picture.

If you listen to talk radio, the Gators have two chances to win Saturday – no way and no how. If you look at all those future NFL players who dot the Alabama two- and three-deep, then you probably tend to agree. On paper, Alabama should win this game and probably by more than 15 points.

You can make a case that Alabama is too strong for the Gators in the trenches. You can make a case that other than Vernon Hargreaves, the Gators might be shaky in the secondary and Bama throws the ball really well, particularly to Amari Cooper. You can make a case that Florida hasn’t seen anything close to T.J. Yeldon or Derrick Henry. And you can certainly make a case that Alabama’s defense is vastly superior to the ones the Gators faced against Eastern Michigan and Kentucky and that it will put more heat on Jeff Driskel than he’s seen in quite some time.

And the game’s in Tuscaloosa where folks will be lathered up and ready to scream until at least a rather hefty portion of the 204,000 lungs that will be in attendance are ready to be read last rites. That’s worth a bunch of points right there.

Everything you can think of says this is Alabama’s game and that the Gators have little to no chance to win. Maybe that’s true. Maybe the Gators are nothing more than slices of bread waiting to be plunged into the depths of a toaster that only has a burn cycle.


As bad as it seems for Saturday, it was worse back in 1963. Alabama had Joe Namath at quarterback and the Gators were 1-1-1 with the loss 9-0 to Georgia Tech in a game in which the Gators finished with negative yards in total offense. The only win was over Richmond and that was by seven points. Nobody gave the Gators a chance.

But Gene Ellenson did. The old warrior, Florida’s defensive coordinator, told the Gators war stories the night before the game including the one about how he and five other soldiers fought off repeated attacks by a force of more than 100 Germans at the Battle of the Bulge. Ellenson won the Silve Star for that heroism that night, pinned on him by General Patton himself. There weren’t many dry eyes in the room when he finished.

The next morning, Jack Katz smashed his helmet through the blackboard in the Denny Stadium locker and screamed “Let’s go!” after a short pep talk by Coach Ray Graves. On the opening kickoff Hagood Clarke hurled himself at Tide All-American Benny Nelson and nailed him in his tracks at the five yard line on the opening kickoff. Nelson was nearly decapitated.

That was the start. The Gators went on to win the game 10-6 in what was the biggest upset in college football that season, preventing Alabama from winning a second national championship in three years.

Nobody gives this Florida team a chance and maybe all the experts are right. Maybe. But maybe not. Stranger things have happened and in Tuscaloosa of all places.


Jameis Winston will miss the first half of Florida State’s Saturday night matchup with #22 Clemson at Doak Campbell Stadium after his latest off the field incident. As usual, Winston has issued an apology, stating, among other things, that was “selfish” and that he’s “not a ‘me’ person.”

Makes you want to barf, doesn’t it?

And Jimbo Fisher, the FSU head coach who has been all too accommodating the last three adventurous years in which Winston has proven he is a marvelous talent on the field and an imbecilic moron off, in describing Winston’s latest brain fart, said, “It was not a good decision.”

Really? Not a good decision?

We could say the same thing about Fisher’s decision to suspend Winston for only a half. It’s one thing to stand by your man when he’s made an uncharacteristic mistake. Kids will be kids and it really doesn’t matter about family background or pedigree, they’re still going to do stupid things. That’s what kids do. But when a kid keeps making the kind of mistakes that show no respect for women, for the law, for authority, for coaches, for reputation and a dozen other things that are important, a good decision is either a lengthy suspension or to boot the kind to the curb.

You could argue that no one was actually harmed by this latest incident. To paraphrase Peter Warrick, “It’s not like he raped someone or nothing.” That’s how it will continue to be spun all week and beyond in Tallahassee. If the Seminoles beat Clemson without Winston, you can only imagine where the spin will take you. And if the Seminoles remain undefeated and win another national championship, this incident will be swept under a rug or else dismissed as another futile attempt to derail the FSU football program.

Jimbo Fisher has a duty to protect the FSU football program. Maybe he thinks he’s doing that by going light on Winston and suspending him for only a half after all the mud he’s drug that program through, but reality is in the wisdom of that old southern saying: When you lie with dogs, you’re gonna get fleas.

The dog that is Jameis Winston has infested the entire FSU football program with fleas. He should have gotten a lengthy suspension or dismissed permanently from the program.

A half? Surely you jest, Jimbo.


Courtesy of Matt Hayes of The Sporting News: Since quarterbacking the Florida Gators to a 37-26 win over Florida State in November of 2012, Jeff Driskel has a quarterback rating of 126.6 with seven touchdowns and six interceptions.


Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen has a 39-28 record. If you eliminate games against Alabama, LSU and Auburn, Mullen and the Bulldogs are 39-14 with a 28-10 win over Auburn in 2012 as the only positive (Auburn went 4-8 in 2012). Mississippi State travels to LSU to face the 8th-ranked Tigers Saturday. The last four times the Bulldogs have faced LSU, the combined margin is 88 points.


Heading into week four, there are still 34 unbeaten teams in Division I. At best, there will be 30 unbeatens next week because there are four games pitting unbeatens this weekend including Florida at Alabama; Auburn at Kansas State (tonight); Mississippi State at LSU; and California at Arizona.

ACC (7): North Carolina (2-0); Pitt (3-0); Georgia Tech (3-0); Duke (3-0); North Carolina State (3-0); Syracuse (2-0); Florida State (2-0)

Weekend forecast: Georgia Tech will take a hit at Virginia Tech. Florida State’s 18-game winning streak is in jeopardy with Jameis Winston having to sit out the first half against Clemson. ECU is favored by three at home against North Carolina. Syracuse is a 1-point home dog to Maryland while Pitt is a 7-point home favorite against Iowa; Duke is a 17-point home favorite with Tulane and North Carolina State should win by 50 over D1AA Presbyterian.

American Athletic Conference (1): Cincinnati (1-0)

Weekend forecast: Cincinnati cruises past Miami (Ohio)

Big 12 (4): Baylor (3-0); TCU (2-0); Oklahoma (2-0); Kansas State (2-0)

Weekend forecast: Kansas State will take a hit against Auburn. Oklahoma is a shaky 8-point favorite at West Virginia.

Big Ten (2): Penn State (3-0); Nebraska (3-0)

Weekend forecast: Penn State (UMass) and Nebraska (Miami) are at home so they should survive.

Conference USA (1): Marshall (3-0)

Weekend forecast: Marshall should cruise past Little Terry Bowden and the Akron Zips.

Independents (2): Notre Dame (3-0); BYU (3-0)

Weekend forecast: BYU is a 14-point home favorite against Virginia. Notre Dame is idle.

MAC (1): Northern Illinois (3-0)

Weekend forecast: Northern Illinois is a 14-point road dog at Arkansas.

Pac-12 (8): California (2-0); Washington (3-0); Oregon (3-0); Oregon State (2-0); Arizona State (3-0); UCLA (3-0); Arizona (3-0); Utah (2-0)

Weekend forecast: The league will lose one unbeaten because Cal travels to Arizona. Utah is a 5-point road dog at Michigan. Oregon, Oregon State and Washington are all solid favorites.

SEC (8): Ole Miss (3-0); Auburn (2-0); Alabama (3-0); Texas A&M (3-0); Mississippi State (3-0); LSU (3-0); Missouri (3-0); Florida (2-0)

Weekend forecast: There are three games pitting unbeatens. Alabama is a 10-point home favorite over Florida; LSU is a 10-point home favorite over Mississippi State; and in an inter-league game, Auburn is a 9-point favorite at K-State tonight. Arkansas is a 14-point favorite to take out unbeaten Northern Illinois. Unbeatens Missouri and Texas A&M are strong favorites in non-conference games.


#5 Auburn over #20 Kansas State: Nobody, no matter what league, likes playing K-State in Manhattan, Kansas, and that will remain true as long as Bill Snyder is the head coach playing in a stadium that’s named after him. This has all the makings of a trap game and if Auburn falls behind early and trails at the half, it could be curtains. Snyder has the best record in Division I since 2000 when leading at halftime. The difference in this one should be Nick Marshall’s ability to run the option.


Georgia has offered a football scholarship to Elijah Holyfield, a junior running back from Woodward Academy in Atlanta and the son of former heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield … Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, speaking about his troops who gave up 38 points and 27 first downs to South Carolina, “It’s like I said the week before. It’s never as good as you think it is and it’s also not as bad as you think it is. It’s somewhere in between and that’s where we are. Somewhere in between”… Fifth-ranked Auburn will play K-Sate without starting safety Jermaine Whitehead, suspended for the game for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Whitehead had 12 tackles in two games and an interception … Wide receiver Von Pearson is out for Tennessee’s September 27 game at Georgia because of a high ankle sprain … LSU left tackle La’el Collins has graded out 100% in each of the Tigers’ first three games of the season … Arkansas hasn’t won an SEC game since October 13, 2012, a span of 13 straight games … Steve Spurrier has won 201 games while coaching in the SEC. If South Carolina beats Vanderbilt this weekend, Spurrier will be second only to Bear Bryant in SEC wins. Bryant won 292 so Spurrier would have to average 10 wins a year for the next nine years.


Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer is the latest NFL player arrested on charges related to domestic violence. The CBS Evening News reports that Dwyer has been charged with aggravated assault and preventing someone from calling 911. Per Fox Sports 1, Dwyer was involved in two separate incidents back in July with the victims a 27-year-old female and an 18-month-old child. Coming on the heels of the Ray Rice suspension and reports that Adrian Peterson has not one, but two child abuse incidents being investigated, the National Football League is suffering an image meltdown.

Although it might seem like the NFL suddenly has a bunch of thugs taking out their frustrations on women and children, this recent rash of domestic violence incidents is actually nothing more than the same old same old from a league that has always found ways to protect its thugs. The problem is there is TMZ and a bunch of investigative reporting going on and now it’s simply a whole lot more difficult than it used to be to cover things up.

If you go to the website, you’ll find quite a story by Louisa Thomas charting some of the NFL’s history of players and domestic violence. In her story, Thomas says, “The NFL calls itself a family. If that’s the case, it’s a family of fathers and sons but not wives and daughters. It’s a family that more closely resembles the mob than a family connected by blood or love.”


The dumbest statement of the week hands down belongs to Famous Jameis, who said he’s “not a me” person. The second dumbest statement belongs to FSU coach Jimbo Fisher who said Famous Jameis’ choice of words was “not a good decision.” The third dumbest statement belongs to Maryland coach Randy Edsall, who said after getting beaten by West Virginia 40-37 last Saturday, “I think there’s a problem in college football, I really do, with too many plays.”


The Gators are 15-point underdogs at Alabama this weekend. Do you give them even a slight chance to spring the upset or is this going to be total domination by the Crimson Tide?


Jameis Winston has been suspended for the first half of Florida State’s game with Clemson Saturday, which gives Clemson a chance – albeit slim – to spring an upset on the nation’s number one team. Today’s music is dedicated to Famous Jameis, who has somehow escaped rape charges and has shoplifted crab legs among other things in the last three years. It’s by the Brothers of Soul, a 1960s group out of Detroit whose best known song was “I Guess That Don’t Make Me a Loser.”

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