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: 5-2 (.714)
Season: 45-38-1 (.535)
Since the majority of the SEC decided to take the second to last week of the season off (not you, Auburn, every week is a challenge for you), there aren't many lines this week, which, while making for a boring weekend, means it's gonna be a little more difficult for me to screw up an above .500 finish. ALL THE MONEY FOR ALL THE PEOPLE.
Arkansas at Mississippi State (-6.5)
In its three-game losing streak, albeit against good teams, Mississippi State's defense is bleeding out points and yards with the same degree of ferocity as those people hit by the Predator's triangle laser blast. And that's good news for Arkansas because, while most once-functioning parts no longer function, their passing game remains in operation.
That gives them the ol' puncher's chance against State. Of course, when a boxing announcer says something like that (IF BOXING STILL EXISTS), it usually means some poor bastard is about to have his skull pounded in for eight rounds until the referee gives him a referee hug and says it's all over.
We should see something similar on Saturday. Arkansas' passing game, though still dangerous, turns it over too much (5 INTs in the last 3 games) to keep up with the other team's offense, which is busy rampaging through the Arkansas defense.
But, the passing game is competent enough to keep Arkansas hanging around. Unfortunately, all this means is that Arkansas fans won't be able to stop watching and leave to go do something else (like find out what Houston Nutt is up to). Tyler Russell should enjoy playing against the league's worst pass defense, as he has done very well against bad defenses this year, and we'll probably see the return of the State running game.
However, be on alert as we've yet to see a genuinely insane game from John L. Smith this season. It seems more fitting it would take place against Les Miles, but it remains a possibility here. Mississippi State to cover.
Ole Miss at LSU (-18.5)
A team that looks like it's running out (or already out) of gas, can't run the ball, and is employing the scarecrow pass defense against a team that has depth, can run the ball, and whose quarterback has figured the one skill usually missing from LSU quarterbacks. VERY MUCH NOT GOOD TIMES ON THE IMMEDIATE HORIZON.
Ole Miss' only chance to win HAHAHAHA NO. Ole Miss' only chance to cover involves an unmotivated LSU team, bad Zach Mettenberger, many LSU turnovers, and Hugh Freeze getting his team to put up a well-executed and yet another maximum effort game.
As frustrating as parts of this season have been (Texas A&M and Vanderbilt), it has been very enjoyable to watch a team that cares, plays EXCEPTIONALLY hard, and goes through periods of very good football, offensively and defensively. It has really helped reinforce just how bad at his job Houston Nutt was (but the PERFECT man to lead Kentucky football).
Anyway, it was an unexpected good run, considering expectations before the season, but all signs point to the run ending with no dramatics or a December in Shreveport/Birmingham/Memphis. LSU to cover.
Syracuse at Missouri (-4.5)
Missouri Associate AD #1: "IF ONLY WE COULD EXPAND OUR PRESENCE IN UPSTATE NEW YORK."
Missouri Associate AD #2: "Are we talking meth or football here?"
#1: "Hadn't considered the meth, but that's thinking on your feet!"
#2: "What about Syracuse? Seems like a methy kind of place."
#1: "It's perfect. We'll invite them here and we can cook INSIDE THE CARRIER DOME while they're gone."
#2: "Seems like an unnecessary logistical nightmare."
#1: "NO, IT'S PERFECT. MAKE THE CALL."
Missouri to cover.
Tennessee at Vanderbilt (-4)
Some might say this game offers nothing interesting, but those people would be SO in the wrong. If Derek Dooley loses, he's probably fired on Sunday or Monday. But, in order to win, he needs Tyler Bray, who drives him insane and vice versa, to play an game filled with non-mistakes and non-bad decisions.
Bray strikes me as someone who has just enough awareness to do the math that says if he stinks this game, Dooley is done. I'm not saying he'd throw a game, but I'm not saying he wouldn't either. As you may have gathered by now, those with back tattoos of their last name in stars, beer bottle-throwers, and offenders of jet ski safety laws are often hard to predict.
Most importantly though, Tennessee's defense has to play in this game, which will most certainly not do Dooley any favors, as they remain in a steady state of dumpster fire. However, while Dooley has done very little right in almost 3 seasons at Tennessee, he has beaten Vanderbilt both times he's faced them, accounting for 50% of his SEC wins (Houston Nutt accounts for 25%).
Ignoring all the really important details, like a horrible defense and an unpredictable quarterback, and focusing on the mystical gut feeling, Tennessee and the points.
2012 Jevan Snead Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Quarterbacking Failure Update
With just two weeks to go, what an exciting battle we have for this year's trophy. A three-way tie for first and a host of players within striking distance. Anything can happen, but the winner will most likely come form this group:
1. Tyler Bray 10
1. Bo Wallace 10
1. Tyler Wilson 10
4. Kiehl Frazier 8
5. Aaron Murray 7
5. James Franklin 7
7. Johnny Manziel 6
7. Connor Shaw 6
Sadly, Kiehl Frazier won't have a chance to win unless every other quarterback on Auburn's roster is injured or suspended (you never know with Auburn; SUCK IT, PRIVATE SECURITY FIRM). Looking at the schedules, Bo Wallace and Tyler Wilson have to be the favorites, as they both play LSU and Mississippi State to close out the year, while Bray has Vandy and Kentucky.
If Wallace wins, that will be 3 out of 4 for Ole Miss and shine another light on why being an Ole Miss fan is so taxing on one's sanity.
*Chances of doubling your paycheck IFFY at best