It was bad enough that I missed an obvious joke when composing the headline for my recent defense of Mark Richt (which, by the way, apparently makes mine the minority view). However, I also posted a 3-3 record in last week’s SEC forecasts to drop my 2010 prognosticating record in league outings to 26-6. That may put me on the hot seat, particularly since I can’t very well blame MaconDawg for being too predictable on Cocktail Thursday, but, for now, I will content myself with issuing my usual disclaimer: Don’t Bet On It!
This week’s Southeastern Conference contests all will be played on Saturday, October 2. These are they:
Alcorn St. Braves at Mississippi St. Bulldogs: It’s been a disappointing September for the folks who frequent SB Nation Atlanta, and no two teams in North Georgia have given their fans more frustration than the Atlanta Braves and the Georgia Bulldogs. Accordingly, many of you may find disconcerting the notion of having to watch the Braves and the Bulldogs play simultaneously. Don’t worry, though; this game features neither those Braves nor those Bulldogs. Instead, it features a group of Bulldogs who have proven they know how to win a game in Starkville.
ULM Warhawks at Auburn Tigers: Let me get this straight . . . Auburn’s football team is called the Tigers, but the fans’ battle cry is "War Eagle!", and the program’s mascot is an eagle named "Tiger." Does that mean that Louisiana-Monroe’s football team is called the Warhawks, but the fans’ battle cry is "Tiger!", and the program’s mascot is a tiger named "Warhawk"? Rather than try to keep all that straight, can I just say the Plainsmen are going to beat the Indians and be done with it?
Kentucky Wildcats at Mississippi Rebels: Between them, these two teams boast two of the conference’s top four scoring offenses and two of the league’s bottom three scoring defenses. I suspect the points put up by the ‘Cats and the Rebs are a bit of a chimera, given their respective schedules. (Georgia, for instance, averages over 24 points per game on offense, but 55 of the 97 points the Bulldogs have scored this season came against Louisiana-Lafayette, illustrating the point of the joke about the three statisticians who went hunting together and spotted a deer in a clearing. The first statistician shot at it, missing three feet to the right. The second statistician shot at it, missing three feet to the left. The third statistician jumped up and said, "I hit it!") I don’t believe in Kentucky, but I believe in Ole Miss even less, so I’m going with the Wildcats.
Vanderbilt Commodores at Connecticut Huskies: Every time I think of homespun Robbie Caldwell taking his team to the Nutmeg State, I find myself hoping that the Vanderbilt skipper will bring two members of his coaching staff with him to the pregame press conference and offer the local media an introduction that includes the phrase, "I’m Robbie, this is my assistant Darrell, and this is my other assistant Darrell." Unfortunately, there are no Darrells on the Commodore coaching staff, and there will be no Vandy victory over the Huskies in Storrs.
Tennessee Volunteers at LSU Tigers: The Bayou Bengals have scored 69 of their 106 points in the first half, while 31 of the 48 points they have allowed have been scored after intermission. The Big Orange has put 103 ticks on the scoreboard in regulation play this autumn, posting 59 of them before the break, and the 108 points Tennessee has spotted the opposition featured 81 tallied after halftime. Something’s got to give when two teams whose offenses and defenses both appear to decline after 30 minutes of play face off on the gridiron. Maybe it’s because I strongly suspect that Les Miles will spend the second half staring longingly across the field while thinking he wouldn’t have to wear such a huge hat if only he had hair like Derek’s, but I can’t shake the feeling that "Dooley’s Junkyard Vols" are about to score an SEC upset on the road. (Before anyone brings up the fact that Tennessee needed double-overtime to beat UAB, I’d just like to point out that beating the Blazers ought to be an achievement Louisiana State respects.)
Florida Gators at Alabama Crimson Tide: This is it! This is the showdown! This is the big one! This is the clash of the titans! This is . . . oh, for crying out loud, have you watched a football game since Labor Day weekend of last year? The Tide will roll.
Those are my predictions for this week’s SEC slate, but please bear in mind that I have no idea what the heck I’m talking about a good deal of the time, so, whatever you do, . . . Don’t Bet On It!
Coming Soon: National Games of Interest.