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: 5-4 (.555)
Season: 21-17 (.552)
Arkansas at Texas A&M (-14.5)
If you enjoy watching Arkansas suffer, and who doesn't, the great part of this Arkansas sewage plant fire is that it hasn't hit rock bottom yet. For that, I'm looking at the Auburn, Kentucky, and Ole Miss stretch, which starts next weekend.
A loss at Auburn is nothing over which to hide in shame, but double-digit losses at home to Kentucky and Ole Miss most certainly are. They probably won't lose to both that badly, because, you know, KENTUCKY AND OLE MISS, but one of those will signal that everything has finally burned to the ground. PLEASE LET IT BE OLE MISS.
As for this game, it should be noted that the Arkansas defense currently sits at 99th in total defense, 107th in scoring defense, 58th in rushing defense, and 111th in passing defense. Normally, I would use that information as one of my key points in explaining why Texas A&M is going to cover. But that would be wrong. I just wanted to visually soak in the disaster in Fayetteville.
Because I have no trust in Texas A&M to hold it together in the second half, at least until I see evidence it's possible, I'll take Arkansas and the points.
Missouri (+3) at Central Florida
My lone experience with Central Florida came when I was in high school and went to the Ole Miss/Central Florida game in Oxford. The game went to overtime, with Ole Miss scoring first. Central Florida, quarterbacked by Daunte Culpepper (yes, THAT Daunte Culpepper) scored on its first play, then lined up to go for two.
I was sitting in that end zone on the fifth or sixth row, in line with the mark where they put the ball for extra point/two-point conversion attempts (is there an actual name for that line?). UCF came out with four wide receivers and a running back behind Culpepper. The back went in motion and with him went our middle linebacker.
I turned to my friend and said, "Quarterback draw." About two seconds later, Culpepper, who was under center, took the snap and started dropping back, then stopped and started to run forward. Quarterback draw.
I believe myself and my friend were the closest Ole Miss defenders to him. Fortunately, they were Central Florida and Culpepper tripped over a lineman's foot and fumbled into the end zone, where the ball was recovered by Ole Miss. Game over.
So the lesson here is, always assume the Central Floridas of the world are going to screw it up in the end. Missouri and the points.
Tennessee at Georgia (-14)
It would be one of the great Georgia moves of all the Georgia moves to lose a game in which they enter playing pretty dominant football and their opponent is playing the opposite of that. The outpouring of "Mark Richt has lost control" jokes would be like nothing we've ever seen.
But, this is a conference game involving Tyler Bray, whose favorite targets in these games are the ground, the sideline, his head coach, and the other team. And I hope he throws one to Todd Grantham on a third down, because the idea of Grantham catching the ball, raising in the air while letting out a tribal-like yell, and then ripping the ball in half with his teeth just ran through my head.
Tennessee's only chance is if their defense gets a few turnovers, they get some kind of a running game going, Mark Richt loses control over the things he can't control, and Tyler Bray plays like someone who doesn't like throwing beer bottles at cars or stunt jet skiing. Georgia to cover.
South Carolina (-21) at Kentucky
Allegedly, Maxwell Smith will start for the Wildcats, which is worth noting only for point spread purposes. If Morgan Newton was getting another opportunity to make everyone sad, this would be free money.
But with Smith, there's at least a slight pause to be made here. And there it is. South Carolina to cover.
Towson at LSU (-2.5 billion)
DID YOU KNOW: Towson knew a guy who was friends with a guy whose neighbor was an extra in The Wire.
Ole Miss at Alabama (-30)
Amazingly, the spread in last year's game was only 26, which can probably only be attributed to the winds of despair and gross incompetence not yet adding blasts of oxygen to the Houston Nutt dumpster fire. While the spread is a little higher this year, this Ole Miss team is staggeringly better than the one last year, achieving the level of "not that bad," which helps demonstrate just how bad they were last year.
But, barring the sports gods wanting to have some fun, Ole Miss will once again be crushed by Alabama. Ole Miss fans know this, but one area of curiousity is how Hugh Freeze's offense will fare against the country's best defense.
Obviously, it won't do well enough to win the game, but can it produce stretches of success that could give Ole Miss fans the slivers of glimmers of hope we so desperately need? If Ole Miss can do a decent job at avoiding third and longs, thus avoiding pass blocking, which we do not do well at all, there's a decent chance they could crack 20 points on the scoreboard.
It's an offense that's different from anyone Alabama has faced, it can go really fast at times, and it uses lots of misdirection and the whole field, all of which make it a pain in the ass for which to prepare. However, there's still the severe talent gap, which is MILDLY IMPORTANT and doesn't give a damn about your schemes and such. Alabama to cover.