If you’re unfamiliar with the rules of No Limit Hold ‘Em, click HERE
Believe it or not, there are parallels between sports and no limit hold ‘em poker. Every offseason fans ante up to purchase tickets and new paraphernalia in support of their team. Every offseason fans take to the water cooler, message boards, social networking sites and online gambling sites to literally and figuratively place bets on their teams.
Once the season starts, fans continue to “push chips” to the middle of the table even though they’re only holding a seven-deuce off suit. Despite a terrible flop, fans refuse to leave the hand because in their heart of hearts they just know the turn and the river will both be 7’s.
The most intriguing part in our sports / poker comparison is when teams bluff their fans. The 2011 Philadelphia Eagles appeared to be holding aces after their offseason spending spree and their fans pushed all their chips to the middle of the table. 6 months later they were on the rail watching the playoffs.
On the flipside, the 2010 Auburn Tigers appeared to be lost in the shadow of the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. They quietly smooth called every bet. When it was time to show their cards, they flipped over two aces (Cam Newton and Nick Fairley) and won their own National Championship.
Now let’s get to today’s game
The Game: No Limit Hold’Em Sunshine State College Football
The Flop: Top 10 Recruiting Class, Game Tested Quarterback, Questions At Running Back
Miami Hurricanes – A 6-6 season, a self inflicted bowl ban and over 25 players leaving the program hasn’t dampened the excitement from Hurricane fans. They feel like Al Golden has the program going in the right direction in terms of discipline, toughness, strength and conditioning. With the 2012 signing class, fans feel like there’s been a major upgrade in talent. Tracy Howard and Duke Johnson headline the class and are expected to contribute immediately.
With that being said, there are a lot of questions that will surround the 2012 Miami Hurricanes Football Team: Is Stephen Morris ready to be the full time starter at QB? Will Stephen Morris win the starting job? How much will the early departure of Lamar Miller affect the running game? Can Mike James, Eduardo Clements and Duke Johnson carry the load? Who will emerge as playmakers at the receiver position? How much will the defense improve? How many incoming freshmen will be ready to contribute from day 1?
So many questions, not enough answers yet.
The Bet: Win Your Division
FSU Seminoles – The 2011 season started with a pre-season top 5 ranking but ended with a disappointing 9-4 record that included losing 3 straight games to Oklahoma, Clemson and Wake Forest. A myriad of injuries derailed the 2011 season but another top ranked recruiting class and no early departures has expectations high once again in Tallahassee.
The Seminoles offense led by EJ Manuel will feature one of the top receiving corps in the country. Rodney Smith, Rashad Green, Willie Haulstead, Kenny Shaw, Christian Greene and Jarred Haggens have a nice blend of size, speed and versatility. Sophomore Devonta Freeman will begin the season as the feature back with James Wilder, Jr and Mario Pender backing him up. All the aforementioned talent means nothing if the offensive line play doesn’t drastically improve in 2012.
The FSU defense that led the ACC and ranked fourth nationally should be even better in 2012 with nine starters coming back. That defense will feature arguably the best defensive line in the country and NFL talent on every level. Brandon Jenkins, Bjoern Werner, Tim Jernigan, Christian Jones and Xavier Rhodes will all be drafted within the first 2 rounds of the NFL Draft.
Action: Raise – Win The ACC Conference Title
There are no more excuses for the FSU Seminoles. It’s time to win the conference and return to a BCS Bowl Game
Florida Gators – 2011 was a transitional year for the Gators. Florida did not have the personnel to run Charlie Weis’ pro-style offense, most notably a larger running back to run between the tackles. Charlie Weis is now gone and Brent Pease comes over from Boise State to take over the offense. He vows to be “multiple in our offensive formations and have a balanced attack with tempo.” First, Pease has to figure out what he as at the quarterback position. Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskell each saw action last season, but neither separated themselves as “The Guy” going forward.
Defensively, the Gators should continue to be solid. Dominique Easley and Sharrif Floyd lead a stout defensive line. Jon Bostic and Matt Elam are becoming forces at linebacker and safety respectively.
When you go 6-6 at Florida you’re job isn’t safe and while I can’t envision another .500 season for Will Muschamp, I can’t envision a conference championship either.
The defense should be solid and it will keep the Gators close in a lot of games. The transition of offense will be too much to overcome.
Miami Hurricanes – Action: Fold
With the amount of youth and inexperience, a conference championship is unrealistic for the 2012 season.