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.
Week: 4-2 (.667)
Season: 34-27-1 (.548)
Kentucky at Missouri (-13.5)
Thanks to this game, one of these teams is guaranteed to not go 0-8 in the conference this season :( Which is unfortunate because Missouri has lost all 4 of its conference games by an average of 19.5 points, and Kentucky checks in at 23.8 per loss (5 losses). The other two winless teams in SEC play are Tennessee (16.25 average margin of loss) and Auburn, who is somehow leading the pack of winless teams by losing its 5 games by only 12.4 points.
As wonderful as it is that we're halfway through the season and we still have four winless teams in league play, Tennessee/Kentucky and Tennessee/Missouri will be played, making it very unlikely more than two of those teams will remain perfect in defeat. However, Auburn has A&M, Georgia, and Alabama to come, which, barring God-things breaking out everywhere, is a lock for an 0-8 effort.
Anyway, this will be a horrible game and is far more fitting for the JP game than the Ole Miss/Arkansas game. Do not watch unless you want to see football's interpretation of the potato famine in Ireland during the 1840s. Kentucky and the points.
Tennessee at South Carolina (-14)
Nothing provides sweet relief for an offense that has achieved wobbly jalopy status like the Tennessee defense. The Vols lead the conference in worst total and scoring defense (and that includes a conference with the Arkansas and Kentucky defenses), as well as defensive coordinator who screams and sweats the most without getting any results. Sal Sunseri probably has a clock in his office that counts down the days until the average temperature is in the 50s.
Speaking of physical issues with Tennessee coaches, in last Saturday's game against Alabama, Derek Dooley, fresh off a hip surgery, had a graduate assistant follow him around on the sidelines with a stool for the moments he got tired of hobbling around on his crutches. This made me wonder why more coaches don't have a stool on the sideline to begin with.
Do you remember the last time you stood in the same general area for three hours? When you went to sit down after that, on came the LOWER BACK AGONY. If I were a head coach, besides winning like 8 straight national titles and 200-ish straight games like I do in EA's NCAA Football, I'd have a cushioned stool and the most technologically advanced orthopedic shoes available, which my contract would require the school to supply because I'd imagine the going rate for those things is in the range of 1/5 of a Tempur-Pedic mattress.
Anyway, unrelated to my physical comfort for a job I'll never have, this game reeks of Tyler Bray either bouncing back or going all in on the interceptions and the introduction of Justin Worley to the starting quarterback job. How I long for MORE MORE MORE interceptions, but I'm not sold on it yet.
Tennessee and the points.
Ole Miss at Arkansas (-6)
Both teams are coming off bye weeks and both have Auburn, at least partially, to thank for giving some form of a spark to their seasons. For Ole Miss, it was some desperately needed momentum after 16 straight conferences losses (two this season) and created hope that they could find their way into a bowl game.
For Arkansas, it allowed them to remember they don't have to lose every game they play the rest of the year, which then turned into a thorough destruction of Kentucky. And at least for the moment, Arkansas looks like it kinda has itself together as a team wrestling with mediocrity.
Arkansas lives on a diet of Tyler Wilson's arm and ignores everything else in the offense food pyramid (patent pending). Ole Miss' secondary isn't a good secondary, but they're not exactly awful (39th in pass defense, 74th in pass efficiency defense). But, as any good Rebel knows, you never trust the Ole Miss secondary against a good pass offense.
Fortunately for Ole Miss, the defense as a whole isn't that bad. And when a one-dimensional offense plays against a defense that knows what it's doing to a certain degree, the yards and points can be difficult to generate at times. If the Ole Miss offense avoids a football giveaway day, they should get enough out of their defense to get a win.
Ole Miss and the points.
Florida (-6.5) at Georgia (in Jacksonville)
Mark Richt Florida Jacksonville. Florida to cover. Also, this is awesome.
Texas A&M (-15) at Auburn
More Auburn pleas for calm and order, this time not via Facebook or a coach's wife, but by the school's president and coloring book-orderer, Jay Gouge. A few excerpts from the letter:
"The Auburn spirit is part of everything we do -- in the classroom and beyond."
LIES. FACT: There are no classrooms at Auburn. Only professor's offices where sociology majors can complete 18 hours of coursework in 45 minutes.
"For everything there is a time, and now is the time to support. The young men and women -- our students -- who make up Auburn University are grateful for the dedication of their extended Auburn Family. So am I."
Though it's not from a coach's wife, we still get a reference to a Bible verse. Sounds like a desperate attempt to produce a God-thing this weekend. Only Gene Chizik can properly call for such an event, and I believe in one last push by Auburn before being obliterated by Georgia and Alabama.
Auburn and the points.
Massachusetts at Vanderbilt (-32.5)
SURELY YOU JEST, LAS VEGAS. UMass and the points.
Mississippi State at Alabama (-24)
Unless Alabama turns it over with the frequency of State's Sun Belt brethren when those teams played State (+8 in those games for State) and Tyler Russell has been sandbagging and is actually way better than he is, Alabama will win the game. But, as much as I enjoy getting 200,000 miles out of Sun Belt jokes, State isn't the weak team, weak schedule label they've gotten this week.
They've lived on turnovers, but you tend to generate those when you build a lead and make the other team throw against future NFL corners (12 INTs this season). And Tyler Russell hasn't given the ball away in bunches, while also looking sharp against defenses against which he should be sharp.
Unfortunately for State, Alabama doesn't get behind (EXCEPT AGAINST OLE MISS, Y'ALL) and has a running game that can pretty much do what it wants (EXCEPT AGAINST OLE MISS, Y'ALL; State is 47 against the run). Then there's the Alabama defense, which pretty much wrecks the ideas and excecution of whatever stands in front of it.
If the State offense can avoid disaster in the beginning of the game as they adjust to seeing a defense with speed that dwarfs (NOT A NICK SABAN JOKE) the fastest defense they've seen this year, they should be able to hang around in the 10-14-point range, maybe even within a score. But if a disaster wave strikes, Dan Mullen's claim for the championship of Highway 82 will vanish in the first quarter.