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: 4-2 (.667)
Season: 26-22-1 (.530)
Auburn at Ole Miss (-5.5)
Part of a coach's job is to have a clue how to interact with the media and general public. This usually involves saying very bland things to media people and things that get your fans excited, without really saying anything of substance.
So far, despite facing cries of anguish and general outrage, Gene Chizik has handled the heat fairly well. He hasn't said much, denying he feels like he's on the hot seat, and going about lording over a bad football team. His wife, however, is, to put it mildly, NOT DOING SO WELL.
"We have fans all over the US and I think it is time that they RISE UP and snatch back what satan, himself, has stolen.
We serve a God who recovers ALL that "has been stolen" from us and there are times that He requires the efforts of His people to accomplish this truth."
If my math is correct, that would make the Carolina Panthers Satan and it's up to Auburn fans to go get what used to be theirs, who now resides in Charlotte. Road trip, Auburn family!
Anyway, as for this game, this is one you hate to call a must-win for Ole Miss, but that's only if you're of a weak disposition. This is a must-win game for Ole Miss if they want to break the SEC losing streak and want a shot at spending late December in Memphis or Shreveport.
And it's a game they should win. They're more organized, have an identity, and don't look like they're doubling as a cat herding ranch. If we lose this one, put back-to-back 0-8 seasons on the big board. Ole Miss to cover.
Alabama (-21) at Missouri
DID YOU KNOW: When Nick Saban plays NCAA '13 on his PS3 AND XBox, he customizes the play clock setting to 95 seconds. Alabama to cover.
Florida (-8.5) at Vanderbilt
According to Houston Nutt's Theory of Vandy Is Tough Early in the Year, this is about the time the Commodores start to wear down. However, you may recall that theory being blown apart when Georgia ripped the Commodores limb from limb a few weeks ago, 48-3.
While Vanderbilt will probably not receive such a thrashing this week, they don't have anything on offense that can overcome the Florida defense, which reeks of excellence right now. And, unfortunately for Vandy, Florida does not have laying-on-the-ground tractor tires for its offensive line like Missouri does, so they'll face the same physical pounding all previous defenses who have played Florida have seen.
Florida to cover.
Kentucky at Arkansas (-18.5)
I know Kentucky is awful and will play one or two freshmen quarterbacks, but there is no way on God's green earth Arkansas is 18.5 points better than anyone. Does anyone remember the games before the Auburn game? I PROMISE, AUBURN REALLY IS THAT BAD.
Kentucky and the points.
South Carolina at LSU (-3)
Until we see the LSU offensive line dominate like it did last year, there is no reason to assume LSU can cover or win. South Carolina has a legitimate defense, which means they won't wilt under the attempted pounding of LSU's Houston Nutt/David Lee-based attack.
LSU's only chance is if Connor Shaw turns into bad Stephen Garcia, LSU's special teams destroy everything in front of them, and the Sports Gods decide HAHAHA, WATCH THIS. BOOM, VISOR THROW.
Tennessee at Mississippi State (-3)
The Bulldogs step out of Sun Belt Conference play this week (don't be alarmed, they'll get right back in next week against Middle Tennessee State) to play a team in the vicinity of their talent level, and go against a coach in need of a golf cart, much like a certain former State coach who enjoyed quoting Winston Churchill.
Though, it must be pointed out that Derek Dooley needed a golf cart this week in practice because he had hip surgery for, you know, A BROKEN HIP ON WHICH HE'D BEEN WALKING FOR A FEW WEEKS, and not because it was pretty damn comfortable (which they are). However, in Crooked Hat's defense, if people would give one to me, I would use a golf cart all the time.
Moving on to non-lazy transportation topics, if Tennessee can get some kind of running game going, they'll have a chance to put up some points. But so far this season, they've only managed to really get it going in one game, two weeks ago against Georgia, which is allegedly a good defense, so there is no pattern that suggests that might happen this week.
As for Mississippi State, they'll go through periods of inactivity on offense, not totally due to Tennessee, but because that's kinda what they do. On defense, their aggressive and talented corners could have a field day against Tyler Bray if he's exceptionally reckless, OR he could out-reckless them and hit them for some big plays.
In case you haven't figured it out by now, I have ZERO feel for this game. State could win by three touchdowns or Tennessee could win on a last-second play with 15 people on the field. Who knows. FEEL THE INTRIGUE. Ugh, Tennessee and the points.
Texas A&M (-7.5) at Louisiana Tech (in Shreveport)
Seriously, HOW DID OLE MISS NOT BEAT TEXAS A&M? SPORTS GODS, YOU ARE UNRELENTING IN YOUR PERSECUTION OF MY EMOTIONS.
A&M to cover.
*Chances of doubling your paycheck are IFFY at best