The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Monday, September 20, 2004

The Weekend in Review

Miami vs. La Tech
While the Hurricanes in a blowout (48 – 0) and did fairly well in containing Heisman hopeful Ryan Moats, questions still remain about the Canes offense. Miami did score four offensive touchdowns, but they weren’t going up against the Florida State defense this weekend (or even the Georgia Tech defense that they’ll face in a few weeks).

On their opening drive and their first pass attempt of the game Brock Berlin through an interception that appeared to be directly thrown to a Louisiana Tech player.

Luckily for Miami their defense appears to have not lost a step compared to last year’s defense, which lost seven starters, including four who went on to be NFL first round draft picks. After watching these past two games it seems like an appropriate name for the defense would be the “three-and-out” defense because the other team’s offense is lucky to stay on the field for more time than that.

Miami has to put it together quickly though this week, as they play Houston on the road on Thursday night in a nationally televised contest. Houston should not be the toughest of opponents for the Canes, but it’s a short week of preparation plus there’s travel involved (for the first time this year for the Canes). The Cougars also will likely provide a challenge to the Canes defense as they are much more heavily focused on the pass than anyone the Canes have come up against recently.

Florida State vs. UAB
The Seminoles rolled, as expected, but no one was happy with Chris Rix, as expected. Allegedly, Rix was booed throughout the game, as FSU fans were not quick to forget the role Rix played in his 5th consecutive loss to Miami a week before.

It would be fun to point out that Florida State gained more yards rushing on their first run from scrimmage against UAB than they did in the entire game against Miami and that they gained more yards on offense in the first quarter against UAB than they did in the whole game against Miami, but it would get tiresome to make those observations. Needless to say the speed and power of FSU’s offense and defense showed through on Saturday night and it would not be surprising to see FSU run the table and be ranked right around Miami come the end of the season.

Florida vs. Tennessee
Even though you could argue that Florida was hosed by a last-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty (it should have been offsetting penalties against the infracting Gator and Volunteer), you have to feel good for Tennessee’s kicker, Wilhoit, who, after missing a potentially game tying extra point with mere minutes remaining in regulation kicked a 50-yard field goal with only seconds left on the clock to seal the victory for the Volunteers.

It was a big shake-up day in the SEC on Saturday, with pre-season favorites LSU and Florida both losing on the road in close, hard fought ball games. Florida though is making an early run to stake their claim to being the best-one loss team in the country, or at least the best one loss team in the state of Florida, for the time being. As you’ll remember, the Gators are the two time defending national champions of being the best five-loss team in the country. It doesn’t appear likely for the Gators to take that title for a third straight year though, as they only have eleven regular season games and do not have Miami on the schedule.

It’s a tough road ahead for the Gators this year, with a road games against Florida State, , plus tough home contests against Arkansas and LSU. Still, the Gators look tough and are likely to be in the mix at the end of the season. Now they’ll just have to hope for Tennessee to slip up somewhere along the way.

Marlins vs. Braves
The Braves took two of three from the Marlins and it now appears that all hope is nearly officially lost from the Marlins hopes of reaching the post-season for the second consecutive year. The Fish made a good run at it though and it’s tough to be disappointed.

It is disappointing though to read the article in yesterday’s Miami Herald which talked about all the players the Marlins are likely to lose either due to free agency (Pavano, Benitez, etc) or arbitration (Lo Duca, Burnett, etc) and that it will be even more difficult to sign them because of all the money the Marlins owe to Mike Hampton (who never even wore a Marlins uniform) and Ivan Rodriguez (who keyed last year’s World Series run, but was guaranteed money for a few years after his one year contract). In the long run, this is a small price to pay for having won the 2003 World Series, but for fans who hope to see the Fish contend again in 2005 it’s a tough pill to swallow – unless of course Larry Beinfest can pull off some more magic with offseason deals.

Yankees vs. Red Sox
Well, the Red Sox didn’t take two of three or sweep the Yankees this weekend like I thought (at least hoped) they would. Instead the Yankees took two out of three and increased their division lead to four and a half games, which is a nearly insurmountable amount at this point in the season. It doesn’t matter though because both teams are going to make the playoffs and will likely square off in another best of seven ALCS this year. At that point all best are off, especially if the Red Sox can get four or five starts out of Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling in that series.


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