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Don't Bet On It!: Around the SEC

As I first began looking ahead to another lackluster weekend of college football action in the SEC, it occurred to me that there’d probably be more good games if there weren’t so many mediocre teams. Take that for whatever it’s worth as you consider the fact that I went 5-1 in last week’s league prognostications to improve my conference record for the season as a whole to 62-11. Since it’s essentially inevitable that the bottom will fall out sooner or later, now’s right about the right time to drop any trust you have reposed in my forecasting skills, so remember . . . Don’t Bet On It!

The following games will be played on Saturday, November 21, because the SEC may be down, but we’re not the MAC, dadgum it:

Chattanooga Mocs at Alabama Crimson Tide: The Tennesseans are still smarting from their near-miss in Tuscaloosa last month and this is the chance for UT to pay back its longstanding rival on a rare "third Saturday in November" rematch. Wait, hold on . . . the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga? Oh, well, then ’Bama ought to roll them up and smoke them.

Fla. International Golden Panthers at Florida Gators: Local pride is on the line as the Sunshine State Saurians look to wrap up a perfect regular season as well as in-state bragging rights against their fellow Floridians in a barn-burner in Gainesville. You think I’m kidding, right? The situation at FIU hasn’t gotten so desperate that the wife of the Panthers’ head coach is openly declaring that the university needs her husband more than he needs the institution, has it? Well, all right, then. Despite the import of this game, I like the Gators to sneak by the Panthers and claim the state championship before taking on next week’s patsy.

Vanderbilt Commodores at Tennessee Volunteers: 2008 was the first year since 1955 in which Vanderbilt went to a bowl game in a season in which Tennessee didn’t . . . yet, even then, the ‘Dores couldn’t get the better of the Vols, falling to the Big Orange in Nashville by a ten-point margin. (Incidentally, in their 1955 Gator Bowl season, the Commies also lost to Tennessee.) What would possibly make us think Vandy could pull out a victory in Knoxville in a year in which the Volunteers are better and the Music City Sailors are worse?

Mississippi St. Bulldogs at Arkansas Razorbacks: Don’t look now, but the Hogs are sporting their first three-game winning streak since winning ten in a row between season-opening and season-ending losses to top ten teams in 2006. I wouldn’t read too much into the Razorbacks’ resurgence---that trio of triumphs came against winless Eastern Michigan (which tied its season-high point tally against Arkansas), fading South Carolina, and perennial SEC schedule fodder Troy---but, until Dan Mullen gets the horses into Starkville that will enable him to translate "improvement" into "wins," I’m going with the Hogs in Little Rock.

LSU Tigers at Mississippi Rebels: Go ahead. Root for the Rebels. You know you want to do it, so go ahead. Give in to the temptation. You want to cheer for Ole Miss, and we all know why. I’ll go ahead and say it: Dexter McCluster. Right now, wherever you are, utter the name aloud: "Dexter McCluster." It’s just plain fun to say, and you know it. Games like this one make you wish Larry Munson would come out of retirement to call this game, just so you could hear him say, "Oh, you Dexter McCluster!" or, "Run, Dexter, run! Dexter McCluster! Dexter McCluster! Dexter McCluster!" or, "We just stepped on their Dexter with a hobnailed boot and broke their McCluster!" Cheer for Dexter McCluster as he almost (but not quite) carries the Rebs to victory over Louisiana State.

Hopefully, you are not even considering lending the least bit of credence to any portion of the foregoing, but, on the off chance you may deem my prognostications so compelling that you are inclined to place wagers based upon my predictions, please take a moment to reconsider and remember the most crucial piece of advice I give you each week: Abandon All Hope and Expect the Worst! Don’t Bet On It!

Coming Soon: National Games of Interest.

Go ‘Dawgs!