Each week, I'll try to convince myself I could give it all up and pick games for a living. And, each week, I'll learn that such a decision would eventually lead to me living in a storm drain in front of a bus station.
Last week: 1-3-1 (.200)
Season: 22-20-1 (.511)
I'm having to do these a couple of days early because I'm making my way to Oxford via Memphis later today. Assuming the crime and/or crumbling infrastructure don't swallow me up, I'll be in Oxford on Saturday. So, if you see me, no pictures please, but I will eat your food, drink your alcohol, and give you all the autographs you want.
And sadly, or maybe not, these are gonna be short because I'm trying to do 4.2 million things before I get on a plane to Memphis. Oh, and if the line at Central BBQ is out the door over the next two days, THERE'LL BE SOME ANGRY FIST-SHAKING AT THE SKY.
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Arkansas at Auburn (-9.5)
What do you get when you combine a program that has slipped into a coma with team that has no offense and a defense that has shown it can only outthink the ad wizards who run LSU's offense? The Jefferson Pilot Game of the Week, of course, with Dave Neal, Andre Ware, and whoever replaced Buzz Baker at a miserably early time, all in marginal HD!
I should have learned by now to always pick against Arkansas, but if you've learned anything by reading here over the years, it's that I rarely learn any lessons. Or, maybe I learn them, then choose to ignore them.
Anyway, even though Arkansas oozes terribleness, this is a pretty good matchup for them. Incompetent offense to go against their bad defense, and their offense, which isn't completely awful, going against a bad defense. It will also be a great evaluation of how bad Auburn's offense is, given the lack of everything in Arkansas' defense. Razorbacks and the points.
Mississippi State (-10) at Kentucky
Kentucky starter Maxwell Smith is out indefinitely with an ankle injury, most likely ending any serious run he could make at the Jevan Snead Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Quarterbacking Failure. It also means Kentucky will rely on freshmen Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles, which also means we're probably never gonna see Morgan Newton again at quarterback. ALL THE EMOTICON FROWNY FACES.
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Mississippi State to cover.
LSU (-2.5) at Florida
After Les Miles was informed that he hasn't gone for it on fourth down this year, he remembered that it was sunny last week and there is an old tennis ball in one of his shoes by the back door at home. And based on the death of Zach Mettenberger's ironic mustache, and that Miles will go for it on like five fourth downs now and get all of them as he always does, LSU to cover.
Vanderbilt at Missouri (-6.5)
Still waiting on the 1,000 or so "whoops, sorry about the James Franklin is turning it around angle we played up after he beat Houston Nutt" articles to be written. I, wait, what's that? Sportswriters rarely do such a thing? They just don't mention it again in hopes that he'll pull out another conference win so they can recycle that angle? KEEP WAITING, FELLAS.
Missouri to cover.
Texas A&M (-11) at Ole Miss
Based on years of experience watching, and mostly being disappointed in Ole Miss football, this game is either going to be a close one or Texas A&M will win by three touchdowns. Sure, the Ole Miss defense is, and should be, feeling good about itself after giving Alabama a game last week, but what they'll be facing this week will be much more difficult.
Alabama's offense is based on overpowering a defense, with a few shots at a big play mixed in. It's not overly complicated and doesn't force defenders to make quick decisions over several options. Texas A&M's offense does, which makes me A LITTLE TENSE that we're going to have to rely on sound judgment and quick reactions. Historically, just by putting on the Ole Miss jersey, those attributes drop dramatically in players.
For the Ole Miss defense to keep the score close, they're going to have to give Johnny Manziel the Florida treatment. This means our defensive ends can't get too far upfield and allow him giant running lanes or clear look at the field to throw the ball. The defensive line HAS to stay in front of him, keeping as many bodies in his way as possible, and the linebacker/safety spy must do his job very well.
If we're going to get pressure, it has to come from up the middle. He's too quick for outside pressure, but pressure in front of him will make things considerably more difficult for him, especially given his height.
Easier said by someone sitting at a keyboard than actually done, of course. Oh, and whoever gets snaps at quarterback, DON'T THROW ANYMORE INTERCEPTIONS. THANKS IN ADVANCE.
Ugh. Ole Miss and the points.
Georgia at South Carolina (-2)
I once spent about a million words saying that Mark Richt was the most mediocre coach in the SEC. My line of thinking being, with all the talent Georgia brings in and being the only school in a talent-rich state (don't kill me in my sleep, Paul Johnson), they consistently don't beat teams on their level, but feast on the weaker teams.
Based on an unconfirmed stat in found on the Internet, so it must be true, Richt, in his Georgia career, is 18-28 against teams that finish in the Top 25. For a school with so many advantages, they love to underperform and not win games like this one. South Carolina to cover.