Thanksgiving is almost upon us and it is time to look ahead at this weekend’s SEC action. I went 4-1 in last Saturday’s conference picks---I would have gone 5-0, but for Ole Miss MVP Les Miles’s game-saving play for the Rebels---so I now stand at 66-12 in league prognostications. If for no other reason than because I’m always wrong about the Rebs, you should heed my weekly warning: Don’t Bet On It!
All of this week’s games will be played on Saturday, November 28, unless otherwise noted:
Tennessee Volunteers at Kentucky Wildcats: Once this one is over, I suspect that crusty curmudgeons Monte Kiffin and Rich Brooks are going to sit down together over a couple of glasses of bourbon (or, if Tennessee wins, of sour mash whiskey) and look forward wistfully to the day they are able to retire and turn everything over to their understudies,
Lane Joker Phillips and Joker Lane Kiffin. With the Blue and White playing confidently, at home, and with an improved postseason position on the line, I like Kentucky to end the Wildcats’ long losing streak to the Vols.
Mississippi Rebels at Mississippi St. Bulldogs: One team is disappointed at being 8-3. The other team feels pretty good about being 4-7. That tells you all you need to know. Ole Miss will outlast Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. Now it just remains to be seen whether I will outlast my wife’s relatives around the deviled egg bowl tomorrow night.
Clemson Tigers at South Carolina Gamecocks: The Fort Hill Felines visit the Palmetto State Poultry looking to cap off a successful autumn and submerge a rival’s season as Steve Spurrier’s club circles the drain. While I recognize the extent to which the Gamecocks are a different team in Williams-Brice Stadium, the Country Gentlemen are not intimidated by having to travel to Columbia, where the game was played for years before Frank Howard brought the "Big Thursday" tradition to a close. The ACC championship game-bound Tigers will be reminded once more that Gamecock tastes like chicken.
Florida St. Seminoles at Florida Gators: I don’t think they should broadcast this game in color. At the very least, the contest should unfold in sepia tones so that it will look like what it is . . . namely, the scene in "The Godfather, Part II" in which young Vito Corleone returns home to exact his revenge on the aging decrepit don. That evisceration (metaphorically, at least) closely approximates what Urban Meyer is going to do to Bobby Bowden as the Gators cruise to an easy victory.
Alabama Crimson Tide at Auburn Tigers (Friday, Nov. 27): Were you aware that the winner of this game will be presented with the James E. Foy, V-ODK Sportsmanship Trophy? Isn’t that a bit like choosing between Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears to be the recipient of the Robert Downey, Jr.-WTF Personal Decisionmaking Award? Rivalry games often are tough to call, and I expect the Plainsmen to make a game of it in the Iron Bowl, but, at the end of the day, the Tide are methodical to the point of appearing mechanical and they will do what they have done throughout the season. Fear the middle finger! (Yeah, that came out wrong, didn’t it?)
Arkansas Razorbacks at LSU Tigers: The quirky nature of this rivalry took a hit when one of the series’ two quirky coaches bolted Fayetteville for Oxford, but Les Miles’s presence on one sideline should suffice. The Mad Hatter reminds me of something my brother-in-law told me when his wife was expecting. "You know how crazy women are regular?" he asked. "Yeah," I replied. "Well," he said, "when they’re pregnant, they’re crazy for two." Les Miles is crazy enough for two coaches, even if one of those two coaches is Houston Nutt (and that is saying something), but he’s not crazy enough to outfox Bobby Petrino, who has his offense operating at a very high level and will lead his Hogs to victory on the Bayou.
Those are my predictions, but, of course, I’m awful at forecasting football games even when I’m not suffering from a seasonal cold compounded by a sinus infection that makes the right side of my head feel like it’s stuffed with wads of throbbing cotton, so you’ll want to go to great lengths to steer clear of attributing any credence whatsoever to my picks. In other words, whatever you do . . . Don’t Bet On It!
Coming Soon: National Games of Interest.