On a weekend otherwise lacking in successes upon which to hang my hat, I managed to go 10-1 in my first set of SEC picks, which sounds impressive, until you pause to consider that, really, only one of those outcomes ought to have been in doubt, so, yeah, it was really more like 0-1, which is why I warn you: Don’t Bet On It!
Here are this week’s SEC games, each of which will be played on Saturday, September 10, because we’re not the WAC, dadgum it:
Northwestern St. Demons at LSU Tigers: When I first heard the Demons were visiting Baton Rouge, I became concerned about safety . . . for the Demons, I mean. Hordes from Hell are one thing, but they’re no match for crazed Louisiana State fans, I gar-on-tee. Fortunately, these aren’t real Demons, they’re just a football team, and they’re going to be torched by the Tigers.
New Mexico Lobos at Arkansas Razorbacks: Instead of playing this game, how ‘bout if they just let an actual lobo and an actual razorback fight it out at midfield? No? All right, then just let the Hogs carpet-bomb the visitors into the Stone Age; see if I care. Call me when Arkansas schedules a team with a pulse.
UAB Blazers at Florida Gators: Do you know the difference between these two head coaches? Neil Callaway admits that he used to be a Georgia guy. Oh, the other difference is that one of them is much better at his job than the other one, which is why Florida is going to win this game handily, unless, of course, Janoris Jenkins transferred to UAB because he completely misinterpreted the team’s mascot; then, the Gators could be in some trouble.
Southern Illinois Salukis at Mississippi Rebels: "Hi, we’re the Rebels." "Hi. Where’d you get the nickname ‘Rebels’?" "Our nickname was inspired by the Old South." "I see. What’s your mascot, then?" "Our mascot is a bear." "A bear? There were bears fighting for the Confederacy?" "No. We just have a bear for a mascot. Don’t try to make it make sense." "Oh." "So, what are y’all?" "We’re the Salukis." "Oh. What’s a saluki?" "It makes even less sense than a Confederate bear." "Oh." "Yeah." "You know the Rebels are going to whip the Salukis, right?" "Yeah." "All right, cool. Here, have a mint julep. Here’s an extra one for you to take to that pretty sorority girl standing by that tree over there." "Which pretty sorority girl by which tree?"
Connecticut Huskies at Vanderbilt Commodores: I would go with a basketball joke here, but I’ve got one of those ready to go for the Tennessee game, so, instead, I’ll focus on the revenge factor. Don’t forget that James Franklin was the head coach in waiting at Maryland until he elected to become the head coach in Nashville, causing the Terrapins to poach Randy Edsall from UConn. I’m guessing the Huskies are pretty ticked off about that. Well, as ticked off as anyone in Connecticut gets over football, at any rate. I look for the Huskies to win this one.
Central Michigan Chippewas at Kentucky Wildcats: I don’t want to give Kentucky too much of a hard time; we in the Peach State are kindred spirits with the folks in the Bluegrass State, really, now that we’ve both decided to bag football season and start counting down to Midnight Madness. Nevertheless, I must admit that the ‘Cats really stunk it up against Western Kentucky last week, as a result of which I doubt their ability considerably. Enough to call the CMU upset? No, not that much, but I doubt Kentucky considerably.
Cincinnati Bearcats at Tennessee Volunteers: Bruce Pearl’s club will get an early-season test from the Big East visitors to Thompson-Boling Arena, but . . . what’s that you say? Coach Pearl was fired, and this is a football game? Actually, if you’ve ever listened to the lyrics to "Rocky Top," you know that, from a Tennessee fan’s perspective, a bear-cat is a date. Either way, it’s going to be a Volunteer victory.
Mississippi St. Bulldogs at Auburn Tigers: Dan Mullen’s crew went on the road and skunked a really bad team. Gene Chizik’s club stayed at home and nearly lost to a really bad team. That pretty much tells you everything you’d need to know about the difference between Dan Mullen and Gene Chizik, but here’s one other distinction that matters: Coach Mullen’s starting quarterback from 2010 is still his starting quarterback in 2011. I expect the Bulldogs to beat the Plainsmen. (I do not anticipate getting to type the foregoing sentence again this season, however.)
Alabama Crimson Tide at Penn St. Nittany Lions: What a battle this series used to be, back when Bear Bryant and Joe Paterno were still living! What? Joe Paterno’s still alive? Well, I’ll be danged. Anyway, you know what I meant; it was a big game back when Bear Bryant and Joe Paterno were still coaching. What?!?! That can’t be right, can it? All right, I’ll go look that up, but, either way, ’Bama is winning this ballgame.
Those are my conference prognostications, but, once again, I am really, really bad at this, so take all of my forecasts with a grain of salt the size of Stone Mountain. Feel free to call out my more off-the-wall predictions in the comments, but, in the meantime, whatever you do, . . . Don’t Bet On It!
Coming Soon: National Games of Interest.