A “trap game” has several different definitions for football fans. It is typically identified less with the pros and more with college and everyone has their own opinions on what constitutes a trap. Trap games also change as the season progresses. There are plenty out there in the SEC for the 2011 season.
Let’s run down a few examples of a trap game:
It’s the game against an opponent BEFORE a “big game”
-see Cincinnati before Florida this year for Tennessee.
Let’s call this a “brush off game.” Players, coaches and fans have a tendency to look past the game at hand in preparation for the following week.
It’s the game FOLLOWING a “big game.”
-see last year’s loss by South Carolina to Kentucky after defeating Alabama the
This is a “hangover loss.” The letdown game coming off the high of beating a tough or rival team.
The most rigid definition of a trap game is one played against a lesser opponent between two tougher ones. This “sandwich trap” can prove to be extremely hazardous to a win/loss record.
Some teams don’t play any trap games because they aren’t considered good enough to fall in the trap. (Wrap your head around that one....)
Here are just a few games to watch:
On October 1st, Arkansas has to play Texas A&M at home. This is the week after having traveled to Bryant-Denny to play Bama. They have to host the defending National Champs the next week. Considering Arkansas will be fighting to prove itself in the SEC West, this is an opportune time for Texas A&M to get a win in Fayetteville.
Tennessee is basically a trap game for any SEC opponent they play this season, Vandy and Kentucky notwithstanding. But Alabama could fall into that trap on “The Third Saturday in October” when the Vols might catch the Crimson Tide thinking about LSU the week following their bye.
Florida is not usually considered a trap game but Auburn must play UF at home the week after returning from Arkansas and the week before traveling to Death Valley for another SEC West showdown. The circumstances favor the Gators.
Tennessee might be able to set a trap for Les Miles and company when they come to Neyland after having hosted Florida the last week and preparing to have the Auburn Tigers visit the next. A dangerous sandwich trap for LSU considering the Vols will be coming in with a chip on their shoulders from last season.
A good example of what might become a “hangover loss,” would be UGA’s game against Kentucky on November 19th. If the Dogs are fortunate enough to beat Auburn the preceding Saturday they might allow the Wildcats a W in Athens.
Depending on the outcome of the LSU/Alabama game, it is highly likely that Mississippi State could set a trap the following week in Starkville for the Tide. The West will be a hard fight and there are plenty of traps to fall into for teams focused on other opponents. For instance, a rivalry game like the Egg Bowl may very well prove to be a trap for MS State.
Les Miles better eat his wheaties or some high octane grass before this season because LSU is looking to get tripped up every time they take the field. The September 24th trip to Morgantown, WV has the Mountaineers setting a trap for the Tigers at home after LSU has played a critical game at Mississippi State the week prior.
We all saw Boise State fall to Nevada at the end of last season. Riding a wave of hype and a crack at a National Championship, BSU overlooked the game right in front of them and destroyed any chances of making it to Glendale.
As there are no guarantees in college football, and as we in the SEC are painfully aware, anything can happen on Saturday. It is a treacherous landscape to have to traverse as a player or a coach or a fan. It should get interesting.
But for now we wait....