This weekend in college football should have been a special one in Orlando.
Each year, the city hosts the Florida Classic between Florida A&M and Bethune Cookman University. That doesn’t seem like that big of a deal in itself given that the two schools are not historical powerhouses–and the records may not always be stellar between the two schools. Make no mistake though, This game and the entire weekend that accompanies it are gems for the city of Orlando and one of the “must-see” events for anyone living in Central Florida.
Think of the Florida Classic weekend as a family reunion of sorts, as alumni from both of the schools come from across the state to reunite. All of the events that surround the contest are just as important as the game itself. The Battle of the Bands between the two schools routinely sells out the Amway Center with a capacity of more than 19,000. The two bands are tough to join, are among the best in the nation and always put on a fantastic show.
As game day comes, so does the street party. Tailgating for the Florida Classic starts on Friday but, by Saturday, the sights and sounds along Tampa Avenue next to the stadium are amazing. Vendors line the street hawking wares, especially shirts for the two teams. That smell? It’s one of your favorite foods being sold. I always focus on ribs you can find up and down the street but just about every variety of dish is offered. You may want to eat more than once.
Orlando will recover from the economic loss from this game of course. The game should return, hopefully, next year, but a small piece of what makes Orlando great will be missing this weekend. It’s a major loss for many of us.
Back to the teams on the field. What kind of world is this where Indiana and Northwestern are both 4-0 while Michigan is 1-3 and Penn State is 0-4? Could it be over for Jim Harbaugh in Ann Arbor? Look, the guy is an excellent coach who got San Francisco to the Super Bowl but something is horribly wrong with Big Blue. Perhaps Harbaugh is just not cut out for the coddling college game and the rigors that come with recruiting. If I were a bad NFL team (Atlanta, the NY Jets, Denver), I might give Harbaugh a call and try to let there be a graceful end to his tenure at his alma mater. It can’t go on for much longer like this.
The ax has already fallen elsewhere. South Carolina cut ties with Will Muschamp who many will remember as the former coach of the Gators. He leaves Columbia with a 28-30 record, not bad when you consider the history of the Gamecock program. It will be tough for Gamecocks to find a top name for this job. South Carolina will always be no better than third in the pecking order of the SEC East, especially when it comes to resources. Florida and Georgia will always have the advantage in resources. Tennessee likely would as well. Add in the instate rivalry against Clemson, it makes the job as tough as any in the nation. The only time the Gamecocks have been a contender, they had some guy named Steve Spurrier as coach. Not sure they make them like the Ol’ Ball Coach anymore.
TOP 25 FOR THE WEEK BEGINNING NOVEMBER 15
- ALABAMA (6-0) I have questions about whether the SEC can finish the season.
- NOTRE DAME (8-0) Boston College not a trap game after all as the Irish were ready.
- OHIO STATE (3-0) I still think the teams the Buckeyes have beaten are terrible.
- CINCINNATI (7-0) Looking forward to seeing them against UCF this week.
- TEXAS A&M (5-1) LSU, Auburn and Tennessee left on schedule.
- CLEMSON (7-1) I feel bad for FSU. Clemson is going to take their loss out on the Noles.
- INDIANA (4-0) That’s four in a row now. If you have not seen the Hoosiers, QB Michael Penix is for real.
- FLORIDA (5-1) Kyle Trask is a top-three Heisman candidate.
- BYU (8-0) Just North Alabama and San Diego State left.
- WISCONSIN (2-0) They can play their way into the playoffs if no more games are canceled.
- NORTHWESTERN (4-0) They were in control at Purdue but can they handle Wisconsin?
- LIBERTY (8-0) Played an FCS team–but whipped them to remain undefeated.
- OREGON (2-0) New QB Tyler Shough looks good.
- COASTAL CAROLINA (7-0) Get top Sun Belt team Appalachian State this week. Are they good enough?
- MIAMI (7-1) Down to the wire in the fourth quarter again–and another Canes comeback.
- SOUTHERN CAL (2-0) Cardiac kids against inferior talent so far.
- OKLAHOMA STATE (5-1) I was down on the Cowboys when they barely beat Tulsa. Turns out Tulsa is good.
- MARSHALL (7-0) Can we put them in a bowl game against Coastal Carolina?
- LOUISIANA (7-1) This week they buried an inferior opponent
- GEORGIA (4-2) Again, can the SEC finish?
- TULSA (4-1) Only loss is to Oklahoma State. Beat UCF and SMU.
- OKLAHOMA (5-2) Can jump way up by beating Oklahoma State.
- AUBURN (4-2) Might be the only team that can stop Texas A&M from making the playoffs.
- COLORADO (2-0) Karl Dorrell doing great so far, but it won’t last. Debated including Colorado or Washington here.
- SAN JOSE STATE (4-0) Three years ago, they were one of the worst FBS teams. What a turnaround!
Reach Mike Synan at email@example.com.