Giving Up on the Magic

2018 is here. The Magic are not. Tied for the worst record in the league, the former playoff-aspiration tweets of mine have faded to dust.

The trade deadline is nearing, so it appears the Magic will be looking to deal. Listen to hear who the three main targets are as well as the top Draft prospects as of now.

Florida Bowl Season: 5 Reasons to Watch Part 3

It all comes down to this, two Sunshine State teams play in New Years Six Bowls to wrap up the bowl season that featured six different Florida colleges (and not the one named Florida). One of these teams will be playing a home game and the other will be coached by an outgoing head man. Let’s have some fun looking at these.

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Orange Bowl: Miami Hurricanes (10-2) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (12-1)

When: Saturday, December 30, 8 p.m.

Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Fla.

Watch: ESPN

Five reasons why:

  1. Miami was absolutely dominant at home this year in its second year of resurgence under head coach Mark Richt. The Hurricanes went 7-0 at Hard Rock Stadium.
  2. Both teams are coming in after a loss in its conference championship team and are looking to reclaim some mojo. Miami actually lost its last two games of the season after starting 10-0.
  3. Will the turnover chain reappear? Miami finished second in the country in turnover margin this season and third in turnovers gained.
  4. Wisconsin has a pretty good defense in its own right, ranked number in total defense and number three in scoring defense. This could be a good old fashioned slugfest.
  5. While freezing temperatures grip most of the northeast and midwest, Miami will be pushing 70 degrees at kickoff. What a treat for Wisky fans.
  6. Bonus: Wisconsin went deep sea fishing earlier this week (how did they get approval for that?), but did catch this sweet shark.

Bowl swag: Gift suite, Tourneau watch, Lyfe Brand hat, Ice Shaker water bottle and shaker cup.

Bowl fun facts: Officially the Capital One Orange Bowl…second oldest bowl game in the country behind only the Rose Bowl…the last national championship played in the bowl was USC over Oklahoma in 2005

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Peach Bowl: UCF Knights (12-0) vs. Auburn Tigers (10-3)

When: Monday, January 1, 12:30 p.m.

Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Ga.

Watch: ESPN

Five reasons why:

  1. Scott Frost has one more game at the helm of the Knights. He has been pulling double duty the last few weeks, coaching UCF and recruiting for Nebraska, taking time only to switch polos. Can his finish out a perfect season?
  2. Auburn will be keeping its coach, with Gus Malzahn turning down advances from Arkansas to sign a contract extension with the Tigers. In an up and down season, can the Tigers finish strong?
  3. A fun QB matchup, with McKenzie Milton orchestrating the high-powered UCF attack and Baylor transfer Jared Stidham leading a resurgent Auburn offense this year. Which one will make more plays?
  4. Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson says he’s “100 percent healthy” and that’s great news for the Tigers. Johnson led the SEC with 1,320 rushing yards and a team best 17 TDs.
  5. Georgia used speed to roll Auburn in the SEC Championship Game, and that is something that UCF has in spades. That reason alone is why this game should not be dismissed as SEC vs. non-Power 5.

Bowl swag: $300 Vanilla Visa gift card by InComm, Ultimate Ears Wonderboom bluetooth speaker, Fossil watch, football.

Bowl fun facts: Officially the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl…first time the game will be played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium…ninth oldest bowl game in history…sold out 17 straight years from 1998-2013…back to being the Peach Bowl after eight years of being known as just the Chick-fil-a Bowl

Pick ‘Em Rogue: Temperatures Are Dropping, Picks Heating Up

One of the best overall picks week, with even the bottom feeders bouncing back. Can they keep it hot as the temperatures plummet for Christmas?

Note: Last week’s Steelers-Patriots game ended as a push. Lines set via CBSSportsline.com on Thursday morning.

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Jordan de Lugo’s Picks (Last Week: 4-0, Overall: 52-32, Lock of the Week: Wrong, Overall: 7-8)

Colts (+13.5) at Ravens

Rams (-6.5) at Titans

Jaguars (-4) at 49ers

Steelers (-9) at Texans

FIU (+7) vs. Temple in Gasparilla Bowl

USF (-2.5) vs. Texas Tech

Florida State (-16.5) vs. Southern Miss

Lock of the Week: Bills over Patriots

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MC Wale’s Picks (LW: 4-0, Overall: 51-33, LOTW: Wrong, Overall: 7-8)

Ravens (-13.5) vs. Colts

Rams (-6.5) at Titans

Jaguars (-4) at 49ers

Steelers (-9) at Texans

Temple (-7) vs. FIU in Gasparilla Bowl

Texas Tech (+2.5) vs. USF in Birmingham Bowl

Florida State (-16.5) vs. Southern Miss

Lock of the Week: Jaguars clinch AFC South before kickoff Sunday

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Alex Turko’s Picks (LW: 4-0, Overall: 43-41, LOTW: Wrong, Overall: 7-7)

Ravens (-13.5) vs. Colts

Rams (-6.5) at Titans

Jaguars (-4) at 49ers

Steelers (-9) at Texans

Temple (-7) vs. FIU in Gasparilla Bowl

USF (-2.5) vs. Texas Tech in Birmingham Bowl

Southern Miss (+16.5) vs. Florida State in Independence Bowl

Lock of the Week: Vikings over Packers

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Mike Yazigi’s Picks (LW: 3-1, Overall: 42-42, LOTW: Correct, Overall: 6-9)

Ravens (-13.5) vs. Colts

Rams (-6.5) at Titans

Jaguars (-4) at 49ers

Steelers (-9) at Texans

Temple (-7) vs. FIU in Gasparilla Bowl

Texas Tech (+2.5) vs. USF in Birmingham Bowl

Southern Miss (+16.5) vs. Florida State in Independence Bowl

Lock of the Week: Cowboys over Seahawks

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James Bussell’s Picks (LW: 2-2, Overall: 49-35, LOTW: Correct, Overall: 8-7)

Ravens (-13.5) vs. Colts

Rams (-6.5) at Titans

Jaguars (-4) at 49ers

Texans (+9) vs. Steelers

FIU (+7) vs. Temple in Gasparilla Bowl

USF (-2.5) vs. Texas Tech in Birmingham Bowl

Florida State (-16.5) vs. Southern Miss in Independence Bowl

Lock of the Week: Yannick Ngakoue gets two sacks this week

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Richard Miller’s Picks (LW: 2-2, Overall: 41-43, LOTW: Almost, Overall: 8-7)

Ravens (-13.5) vs. Colts

Rams (-6.5) at Titans

Jaguars (-4) at 49ers

Steelers (-9) at Texans

Temple (-7) vs. FIU in Gasparilla Bowl

Texas Tech (+2.5) vs. USF in Birmingham Bowl

Southern Miss (+16.5) vs. Florida State in Independence Bowl

 

What Happened to the Magic?

The Orlando Magic looked like a force to be reckoned with at the beginning of the season. Winning big games, closing out against mediocre opponents, and doing everything right to get to victory. Now, it appears that wagon has lost those wheels, axles, tongue, and everything else. What happened? My first edition of Manze’s Magic explains what I think happened.

I may start recording these regularly or adding them as a segment to Trust The Process episodes. Thanks for tuning in!

Florida Bowl Season: 5 Reasons to Watch Pt. 2

I’ll be previewing every bowl game involving a team from the state of Florida right here on RCR over the next few weeks. You can check out my early bowl preview featuring FAU & FIU here.

Next up: the mid-level bowls, featuring Florida State and South Florida.

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Birmingham Bowl: Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-6) vs. South Florida Bulls (9-2)

When: Saturday, December 23, noon

Where: Birmingham, Ala., Legion Field

Watch: ESPN

Five reasons why:

  1. Quinton Flowers is the best quarterback you’ve never heard of. Dynamic as a thrower and runner, Flowers is 300 passing yards and 28 rushing yards away from a 3K-1K season, which has only been done by eight players ever before.
  2. Flowers has also overcome significant personal tragedy in his life. The Bulls QB was featured on College Gameday earlier this year and last month was profiled in Sports Illustrated. You can read it here.
  3. Head Coach Charlie Strong’s first trip to a bowl game since his first season with Texas (2014, a loss in the Texas Bowl to Arkansas). Strong appears to be rejuvenated in his first season at USF after the Texas debacle. Could this be the start of something big in Tampa? Plus, no one looks better in a mock turtleneck.
  4.  This game should feature plenty of offense. USF is ranked eighth nationally and Texas Tech is 17th in total offense.
  5. Kliff Kingsbury may be an average coach (30-32 in five seasons at the helm of his alma mater), but was part of one of the greatest Tinder (remember that app that will probably be the cause of your thumb arthritis in a few years?) gags I’ve ever seen. A writer for EDSBS made a fake account and pretended to be a “Kliff Kingsbury-like person” named Griff Cheesman.
  6. Bonus: we also got this Christmas card from Kliff:

Bowl swag: Gift suite, Oakley sunglasses, beanie, Big Game football (I don’t know what this is either).

Bowl fun fact: This is the 12th edition of the game, formerly known as the Papajohns.com Bowl (2006-10) and BBVA Compass Bowl (2011-14). The bowl’s slogan is “Southern Hospitality. Serious Football.” Seriously.

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Independence Bowl: Southern Miss Golden Eagles (8-4) vs. Florida State Seminoles (6-6)

When: Wednesday, December 27, 1:30 p.m.

Where: Shreveport, La., Independence Stadium

Watch: ESPN

Five reasons why:

  1. In a wild and wacky year for Florida State football, from QB Deondre Francois going down with a season ending injury on opening night to Head Coach Jimbo Fisher skedaddling to Texas A&M, one solace is the bowl streak has continued to 36 straight appearances and a win would ensure 41 straight non-losing seasons.
  2. Also, there might be as much excitement around the program since Labor Day, and while new Head Coach Willie Taggert won’t be on the sidelines, his hire has reenergized the fan base, which will hopefully be more likely to head to Shreveport to support the Noles.
  3. The most accomplished running back in the game doesn’t wear Garnet and Gold. USM’s Ito Smith rushed for over 1,000 yards for the third straight season. At 5-9, 194-pounds, the senior is not as imposing as Jacques Patrick or as hyped as Cam Akers, but the All-C-USA selection will undoubtedly be ready to put on a show against a big name program.
  4. The Golden Eagles also feature arguably the best receiver in the matchup. Junior Korey Robertson hauled in 72 passes this year for 1,070 yards and at 6-foot-2, 210-pounds, the all-conference selection possesses good size and should challenge the FSU secondary.
  5. Both teams come into the game on three-game winning streaks, which makes you hope that they can parlay that into their best football in the bowl game.

Bowl swag: Gift suite, Timely Watch Co. watch, New Era skull cap, football.

Bowl fun facts: The 42nd playing of one of the nations oldest bowls, the game has had eight different sponsors since 1990, and is officially known as the Walk-Ons Independence Bowl this year. The bowl was originally named due to its founding in the nation’s bicentennial year.

Check back next week for the final update of the two Florida-based teams playing in New Years Six bowls. Hope your bowl pools are not shot yet!