Sorry about last week, loyal readers. I was a little under the weather, and not from an illegal high tackle that would now perhaps produce a yellow or red card. Get low, folks!
Posted on 1/20/2017 2:09:03 PM
The Winter (is there such a thing here?) Festival produced three D3 results I would have picked right, and one I wouldn't have (Pelicans beating Brevard). Tallahassee showed up with 12 or so, not exactly the way a team would want to start the season, and got smashed by Palm Beach. Gainesville cruised past Indian River and Sarasota held off Daytona by a couple of tries.
Now, this week we have four D3 teams and six D2 teams in action around the state, as well as all of the high school and youth action kicking off. Can't beat rugby in the high 70s/low 80s, no matter the quality!
Okapi Wanderers (0-1) vs. Jacksonville (0-1) - An early basement battle between the only teams with zero points so far this season. Okapi, however, fared a lot better than Jax did in their first game, only losing 14-3 to Boca. Jax, meanwhile, fell 38-12 to last year's runners-up Naples, and didn't fare much better at the WInter Festival, losing to UCF 38-17 in their opening game, before bouncing back to blank UF 40-0 in their second contest. Jax have the size up front to give Okapi fits, but the Weston youth and speed might be trouble for the road team. This one could go either way, but I like Okapi only just. Okapi 21, Jacksonville 17
Boca Raton (2-0) vs. Tampa (1-1) - Boca missed out on the playoffs last year thanks to a woefully slow start to the season, but are 2-0 so far this campaign. While their road win over Orlando was impressive, they've also been handed some kind opening few fixtures with games against newcomers Okapi, plus Tampa and Jacksonville, neither of which has been much of a title threat the last few years. Tampa picked up a somewhat impressive win against rebuilding Fort Lauderdale in their opening fixture before losing by 13 at home to defending champs Tridents. One has to think the Bucs realize they need to pick up as many points as possible in these easier early contests before their schedule gets very difficult in February and March. Boca Raton 30, Tampa 18
Naples (2-0) vs. Miami (1-0) - To me, the most interesting match of the three this weekend. Naples are off to a solid start again after losing in the title game last season, knocking off FTL by four and rolling past Jax by 26. Miami, however, could be a dark horse this year after a very disappointing couple of seasons, and opened their season with a nice three-point win at home over the winless Knights. I think this one might come right down to the wire, and I'm going to go with a upset win by the road team for some reason. Miami 25, Naples 22
Tallahassee (0-1) vs. Daytona (0-1) - This one's a tough cookie to pick, as was Tally's pathetic showing last week in Orlando just a fluke, or are they really struggling for numbers? Daytona brought a full 23 to Orlando and hung in there with state champs Sarasota until the last half hour or so. They will have the confidence going into this contest and if they travel well, should take care of the Conquistadors, who haven't conquered much of anything since joining the FRU. Daytona 19, Tallahassee 8
Palm Beach (1-0) at Pelicans (1-0) - This game got a little more interesting with the Pelis upsetting Brevard last week in Orlando. Palm Beach rolled over short-handed Tallahassee, but that doesn't really tell us much about their prospects for this season. I expect them to be in the playoff mix once again in 2017, however the Pelis might really want to prove they belong in that discussion too with a win in this one. Can't see it happening, though. Palm Beach 32, Pelicans 20
Last Week (12/10/16): 2-1
All Time: 207-65-1 (75.8%)