I managed to go 10-1 in last week’s SEC forecasts---thanks a lot for spoiling my week one perfect record, Ole Miss!---but there wasn’t exactly a lot of intrigue around the league last weekend, so you shouldn’t read too much into that won-lost record. Even a broken clock is right twice a day (unless it’s digital, but you know what I mean), so a stellar effort on Labor Day weekend usually serves as a harbinger of bad things to come. In other words, whatever you do . . . Don’t Bet On It!
This week’s Southeastern Conference contests will be played on Saturday, September 11, unless otherwise noted. Here are my picks for the upcoming slate of games:
Mississippi Rebels at Tulane Green Wave: Sympathy for a former SEC program that was all but wiped out by Hurricane Katrina was the only thing that prevented me from declaring this the national game of disinterest. Last week, Ole Miss lost to an FCS opponent and Tulane almost did. I’m pretty sure the loser of this contest will be eliminated from contention for the Division I-AA playoffs, but the Rebels need not worry, as I expect them to get by the Greenies.
ULM Warhawks at Arkansas Razorbacks: I’m pretty sure the last Warhawk-Razorback battle occurred in a Golden Age issue of All Star Comics in which the two combatants fought to a standstill while attempting to prove their worthiness for membership in the Justice Society of America. If memory serves, Doctor Fate and the Sandman told them they both lacked the maturity to be superheroes. This time, though, the Hogs should have the clear upper hand over Louisiana-Monroe.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Kentucky Wildcats: Fresh from a victory over the hapless Louisville Cardinals, the Blue and White hope to clinch this year’s Bluegrass State championship with a win over WKU. Yeah, all right, the Hilltoppers are only a couple of years removed from provisional Division I-A status, but, at U. of L.’s current trajectory, so are the Cards. The Wildcats make a clean sweep of their preseason slate and begin preparing for actual football.
LSU Tigers at Vanderbilt Commodores: I don’t know how good a football game this will be, but the Twitter battle between the two head coaches would be a joy to behold. (For the record, I believe "Woeojuwejhdjwe!" is the sound a turkey makes at the moment it experiences artificial insemination.) For the second straight Saturday, the Bayou Bengals will play a game that is closer than it ought to be and claim a sloppy victory over an undermanned team from a school to which Les Miles could not have gained admission as a student.
South Florida Bulls at Florida Gators: For the record, Tampa is about a 230-mile drive from Valdosta and about a 280-mile drive from Miami, so "University of South Florida" may be a bit of a misnomer. Another misnomer would be calling this gridiron outing a "game." After last weekend’s embarrassing performance by the Sunshine State Saurians, Urban Meyer will have his charges ready to put a whooping on USF. I’ll be cheering for the Bulls, but I’m picking the Gators.
Oregon Ducks at Tennessee Volunteers: This game represents a great opportunity for the defending Pac-10 champions. No, not to pick up a road win over an SEC squad . . . to take the field sporting the second-ugliest uniforms in the stadium! Also, I’m pretty sure the quarter-by-quarter game-tracker for the Vols will read: Duck, Duck, Duck, lose.
Auburn Tigers at Mississippi St. Bulldogs (Thursday, Sept. 9): Gus Malzahn’s offense and Ted Roof’s defense virtually assure that we won’t be in for another 3-2 effort. Perhaps this is just my crazy pick of the week, or maybe this is just my deep-seated disdain for the Plainsmen shining through, but, between last week’s defensive performance by Auburn, last week’s offensive performance by Mississippi State, and the thought of the cowbells ringing loud and long in the Starkville night, I’m calling the upset: Gene Chizik gets Mullen’d when Mississippi State wins.
Penn St. Nittany Lions at Alabama Crimson Tide: Somewhere, Daniel Moore is crossing his fingers and hoping for another goal-line stand. I think he’s going to be disappointed, because I don’t think the home team is going to need it. During the postgame handshake, Joe Paterno will congratulate former Michigan St. Spartans head coach Nick Saban on winning the last Land Grant Trophy after the Tide roll to victory.
Those are my picks of this week’s SEC games (minus the Georgia Bulldogs’ first test against the South Carolina Gamecocks, of course), which are offered for your entertainment but not your edification. Please be wary of taking my prognostications seriously; put more succinctly: Don’t Bet On It!
Coming Soon: National Games of Interest.