I went 7-2 in last week's S.E.C. predictions, whiffing on Mississippi State's win and Mississippi's loss but correctly calling the Arkansas victory over Alabama.
My forecasting record for conference contests in 2006 now stands at 29-5, but any team can beat any other team on any given day, provided that I picked that other team . . . so, when deciding what weight to give to my prognostications for the forthcoming weekend, please bear in mind my usual warning: Don't Bet On It!
Me being right in my predictions? Never gonna happen, my friend! (Photograph from Zap2It.)
Here are this week's games involving S.E.C. squads. All games are scheduled to be played on Saturday, September 30, unless otherwise noted.
Central Michigan at Kentucky---This game is more interesting than it looks. Of course, it would almost have to be, wouldn't it? The Wildcats are 2-2 and acquitted themselves much better than expected in losses to Louisville and Florida. Following their date with the Chippewas, the 'Cats have games remaining against Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, and Louisiana-Monroe, all of which are winnable. With a victory over C.M.U., Kentucky can start thinking seriously about making the school's first bowl appearance since 1999. It seems to me that we were saying exactly the same sorts of things about Vanderbilt a year ago . . . right before the Commodores lost to Middle Tennessee State. I'm going with Central Michigan to sidetrack the Wildcats.
Temple at Vanderbilt---Speaking of the 'Dores, the resistible force will meet the movable object as 1-3 Vandy hosts the 0-4 Owls for what we can only hope will devolve into a math meet of some kind. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and picking the Commodores; the 'Dawgs could use the boost in their strength of schedule.
Mississippi State at Louisiana State---Just imagine how much of a beat-down this would be if the two teams swapped head coaches before the game. L.S.U. pummels M.S.U. into the middle of October.
Even this nimrod couldn't pull off a big enough bayou bungle to cost L.S.U. this game.
Tennessee at Memphis---A decade ago, the Volunteers took the field with Peyton Manning under center and a schedule that included nine games within the borders of their home state. A national title run was anticipated . . . but then U.T. went down the road and lost to the Tigers. The setback sent the Vols to their third Citrus Bowl in a four-year period. Somehow, I don't think Memphis is going to sneak up on Tennessee this time.
Auburn at South Carolina (Thursday, September 28)---Williams-Brice Stadium has a seating capacity of 80,250, so it is open to question whether there will be room enough in the building for Steve Spurrier's and Tommy Tuberville's egos. The two biggest S.O.B.s in the S.E.C. will be standing on the sidelines as the most insufferable pair of fan bases in the league pack the stands to watch what will not be a game, despite the Worldwide Leader's best efforts to promote the contest. The "S" in "E.S.P.N." may stand for Spurrier, but you can't spell "Auburn" without a "W." Well, not if you're a graduate of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, you can't. Anyway, Auburn will win this one in a walk.
Isn't there any way they both could lose?
Alabama at Florida---For the second straight Saturday, the Crimson Tide will go on the road to appear in the weekend's de facto marquee S.E.C. game . . . and, once again, 'Bama is facing a long trip home. The last time the Red Elephants traveled to Gainesville, Mike DuBose's squad pulled off a 40-39 upset that began an S.E.C. championship run and gave Warren St. John's book a much happier ending. Well, that was 1999 and now it's a whole new century with a whole new Mike, but they're the same old Gators and Florida will have its way with Alabama in the Swamp in a merciless revenge game.
Those are my forecasts for a fairly lackluster S.E.C. lineup this weekend. Be sure to look for my national picks soon, but, in the meantime, don't forget my admonition: Don't Bet On It!