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Don't Bet On It!: Around the SEC

First things first: I posted my weekly BlogPoll ballot draft and received a fair amount of feedback, particularly with respect to the Cincinnati Bearcats and the UCLA Bruins, and I modified my top 25 accordingly; viz.:

Rank Team Delta
1 Alabama
2 Texas
3 Florida
4 Virginia Tech 9
5 Southern Cal 5
6 Ohio State 5
7 Boise State 1
8 Oklahoma 1
9 TCU 9
10 Oregon 14
11 LSU 6
12 Iowa
13 Cincinnati 3
14 UCLA 2
15 South Florida
16 Nebraska
17 Miami (Florida) 13
18 Houston
19 Georgia Tech 4
20 Oklahoma State 1
21 Brigham Young 2
22 Georgia
23 South Carolina
24 Wisconsin
25 Michigan
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Mississippi (#7), California (#8), Penn State (#14), Florida State (#15), Washington (#17), North Carolina (#20).

I neglected to mention this previously, but I watched the Ole Miss-South Carolina game on Thursday, the second half of the Missouri-Nevada game on Friday, and portions of the Michigan State-Wisconsin and Louisiana State-Mississippi State games on Saturday before attending the Georgia-Arizona State game that evening.

This brings me to my real reason for writing this evening, which is to bring you this week’s Southeastern Conference prognostications. My 7-0 record in last weekend’s SEC picks boosted me to 29-2 for the fall in league outings, which merely proves that even a broken clock is right twice a day. This trend is bound to end, and this week is as likely as any to be the one on which my inevitable stumble occurs, so please don’t say I didn’t warn you and remember . . . Don’t Bet On It!

Here are this Saturday’s SEC outings:

South Carolina State Bulldogs at South Carolina Gamecocks: You can tell October is almost upon us, can’t you? The mornings are chillier, the leaves are starting to turn, and certain in-state rivalry games are starting to show up on the slate. In the Great Lakes State, Michigan will be squaring off with Michigan State, and, in the Palmetto State, South Carolina will host South Carolina State for yet another battle royal in the storied series pitting . . . no, wait, that’s not right. The Gamecocks’ in-state rival is Clemson. Who’s South Carolina State, then? I could say something snarky about how these Bulldogs are a lower-division opponent and we should all roll our eyes at the idea that the Big Chickens would schedule such a lightweight, but---seeing as how my recent remarks regarding various SEC East rivals have garnered accusations that I completely missed a joke, that I should get over myself, and that I wrote the most ridiculous, absurd, and idiotic sentence in the long and vast history of sentence-writing---I think I’m just going to say South Carolina will win and leave it at that. Also, my team just signed a deal to play Idaho State next year, so I’m not really in a position to talk. Move along, people; nothing to see here. . . .

Mississippi Rebels at Vanderbilt Commodores: Remember last year, when these two teams won bowl games? Yeah, that was cute, wasn’t it? The Ole Miss bandwagon, which largely was a chimera to begin with, had fairly well emptied by sunup last Friday, so now the burden of expectations has been lifted from the collective shoulders of Houston Nutt’s club. That ought to be good enough for a Rebel win over Vanderbilt.

Alabama Crimson Tide at Kentucky Wildcats: Nick Saban will be taking an SEC West team into Lexington for a game. How badly could that possibly go for the ‘Cats?

Oh, yeah, right. Well, then I guess I’m going to go with Alabama, then.

Arkansas Razorbacks v. Texas A&M Aggies: I understand the potential recruiting benefits to taking on a Big 12 opponent at a neutral site in the Lone Star State, but Arkansas has had bad luck where encounters between agrarians and bacon on the hoof are concerned:

The live mascot tradition dates back to the 1960s. A number of hogs have proudly represented Arkansas through the years. In addition to their presence on the sidelines, some also gained a reputation for their activities off the field.

Big Red III, for instance, escaped from an animal exhibit near Eureka Springs in the summer of 1977 and ravaged the countryside before an irate farmer gunned him down.

It sounds like it’s high time the Razorbacks took out their revenge on the Aggies.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Mississippi St. Bulldogs: I’d love to be able to tell you that Dan Mullen’s bunch, having played toe-to-toe with LSU, will be able to put the Engineers in their place, but facts are facts: MSU’s defense ranks 56th in the nation, eighth in the conference, and third in the Magnolia State against the run. All the Western Division Bulldogs have proven this year is that they can almost beat a halfway decent team. The Ramblin’ Wreck is a halfway decent team, and Mississippi State will only almost beat them.

Auburn Tigers at Tennessee Volunteers: I can picture it now. Gene Chizik and his team will ride up to Neyland Stadium in white stretch limousines with fluttering Auburn flags and a striped orange tail sticking out of the trunk. Ed Orgeron and his coevals will rip off their shirts on the sidelines before the coin toss and begin directing provocative dance moves at the visitors. Lane Kiffin will smirk inflammatorily. Yeah, this ought to have all the subtlety of a Vince McMahon-produced wrestling match or a Jimmy Clausen signing day announcement. I would say it’s time to put up or shut up, but I think we all know that’s a false dichotomy, as the Plainsmen will put up, but Coach Kiffin fils will not shut up, even after Auburn wins.

As always, my forecasts are offered for the purpose of being entertaining instead of edifying, and all warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, whether express or implied, are hereby disclaimed. In simpler language . . . Don’t Bet On It!

Coming Soon: National Games of Interest.

Go ‘Dawgs!