Because it's football season again, and because it really hasn't been baseball season for four years, and because it was only basketball season for like, five minutes, once, until everybody good was told, "You're throwing off the curve, please leave," and because Bobby Petrino jokes, like watching Curly pivot and accidentally hit the shelf that drops the paint bucket on Moe's head, never really get old, and because for some strange reason you like this, and I'd worry about that . . .
Hello, I am back.
Your goal is to get rich, so you can buy a team and fire everybody, so we again bring you: "Weekend Predictions: Your Path of Totality To Financial Independence."
By now, you should know how this works. Every week, I give you the winners. It's your job to find them.
Some of the picks may be "wrong," but they are intentionally sprinkled in each week, like Trump Twitter bombs, only released Thursday afternoon, not at 1:30 a.m., because I'm tired and old and my wife already complains, "Your phone is lighting up again, I'm leaving you for somebody with no fake friends on Twitter, and who's ChooChooXXX?" and ... where was I? ... because the "wrong" picks are simply to throw off competing investment services.
You can differentiate the real picks from the fake ones by researching specific key words in the Weekend Predictions Decoder Book, which you should have received in the mail over the summer. If you didn't get yours, please send $25 to: $25 From Completely Clueless Guy, AJC, Atlanta, Ga.
You also should immediately enter the "Sack Schultz Contest" -- this is real -- where you have a chance to win up to $2,500. Go to AJC.com/sackschultz2017 for all of the details.
The contest is easier than the picks I do here because you don't have to pick against the spread. (P.S. You're going to lose any way.)
We lead off this week with Georgia-Appalachian State. Why? Because Georgia can lose this game. I'm sure of it because Kirby Smart keeps saying it.
Actual Smart quote: "They’re the fastest defense I’ve seen on tape, and that goes for every position."
It's true. App State once outran a pack of cheetahs. In full pads!
Football coaches can be so cute.
Yes. I know. App State upset Michigan in 2007. Not coincidentally, Lloyd Carr retired after that season to the nearest bass boat.
But the Mountaineers lost their next six games to power-conference schools by a combined score of 294-66. They almost beat Tennessee last season, but Volunteers coach Butch Jones also lost to Vanderbilt, so he seems on a mission to lift the spirits of the lessers and downtrodden inside state borders. (App State lost to Miami 45-10 two weeks later.)
You want to see downtrodden? Watch what happens if the Dogs blow this. The team with the fastest defense in the history of the world is getting paid $1.25 million to come to Athens. That's not because Georgia is expecting to lose. Dogs cover 14½.
*** Thursday Night Special ***
Tennessee State at Georgia State: The Panthers now have their own stadium. So they've effectively become the centerpiece of Kasim Reed's next campaign speech: "I didn't lose a baseball team. I gained a Sun Belt team! OK, time for lunch. Turn on the blue lights!" Panthers cover 14.
(Buy three games and win free tuition for the new "Go Gator MBA" program: Make fraudulent purchases in the bookstore, then sell the items for cash. Some felony purchases may be eligible for Ph.D.'s.)
Florida State vs. Alabama (Hypothetically Retractable Roof Stadium): No. 1 vs. No. 3 sounds a lot better than Alabama vs. Opening Flotsam or Nick Saban vs. Former Punk Assistants. The Crimson Tide is 10-0 in season openers under Saban (aggregate score: 410 to 120). Saban is 10-0 against four of his former assistants (aggregate score: 403-104). Jimbo Fisher, your table is ready. Tide covers 7.
Saban vs. ex-assistants always reminds me of...
Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech (roof: still closed): A sportsbook has issued odds on the first SEC coach to get fired. Butch Jones is tied at the top with Kevin Sumlin (roughly 3-2). This game could break the tie. Tech has to replace their departed starting quarterback (Justin Thomas) and their best running back (Dedrick Mills) was booted. If Paul Johnson has been a little more curmudgeonly than usual, he's excused. Fortunately, nobody seems to think Tech is going to be any good now, and isn't that when Johnson generally drives a backhoe through their pansies? Take the 3, but Jackets win in straight upset.
Michigan vs. Florida (Arlington, Texas): The Gators haven't played a game yet, and they've already suspended 10 players, most for credit-card fraud, but there have been no reported assaults or felonious eye-gougings, so when you think about it Jim McElwain has done a fine job cleaning up Urban Meyer's Program of Borderline Delinquents. By the way, how's Steve Spurrier working out as "ambassador and consultant"? Wolverines cover 5.
BYU vs. LSU (New Orleans): LSU has gone from Nick Saban to Les Miles to Ed Orgeron for head coaches. I'm not sure, but I think the next stop on the coach evolutionary scale is a cantaloupe. Tigers win, but I'll dance with BYU and 16.
Kent State at Clemson: Dabo Swinney won the title. He deserves a cookie. Tigers cover 39½.
Liberty at Baylor: Liberty, whose mission statement includes a "commitment to the Christian life, one of personal integrity, sensitivity to the needs of others (and) social responsibility," hired former Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw, who resigned in the wake of the Baylor sexual-assault scandal. I may be Jewish, but I think Liberty is reading from an entirely new testament. No pick. They're both going to hell.
Bethune-Cookman at Miami: What Kirby Smart does in his second season shouldn't be the only question in Athens. Here's another: Will he do better than Mark Richt in Year 2 at Miami? Flashback to his second season at Georgia: Richt was 13-1 and won the SEC title. The Hurricanes will look that good this game: But I'll take Bethune-Cookman and 51½.
N.C. State vs. South Carolina: Will Muschamp is only 20-1 on that SEC coach/Vegas line. He's considering putting $100 down. Kidding. Sort of. Wolfpack covers 5.
Georgia Southern at Auburn: The Eagles will make $1.3 million for this game and also receive 500 comp tickets, 150 seats for the band and 500 seats for re-sale. And Band-Aids. Definitely Band-Aids. Tigers win, but take GSU and 34.
Scorecard and Lilly's pick
"At the gambling table, there are no fathers and sons." -- Chinese proverb
Lock of the week: Deadbolt.
Lilly's pick: Weekend Predictions picked up the option of Lilly's contract, despite her won-loss record slipping last season. This week, we put salami slices on pictures of Jimbo Fisher (left) and Nick Saban (right). Lilly wasted no time. She likes salami. And she went left. She's going with the upset: Seminoles.
Subscribe to the, “We Never Played The Game” podcast with the AJC's Jeff Schultz and WSB’s Zach Klein on iTunes. Episodes also can be downloaded from on-demand link on WSBRadio.com.
Some recent ramblings
- Steve Sarkisian adapting to scheme but it's Matt Ryan's offense now
- Ryan's deal will eclipse Stafford's ($135 million) but not Rodgers'
- Weekend Predictions (sound check): 'Sack Schultz 2017' now open!
- @Twitter me this: Is it @UGAFootball's turn in the @SEC this season?
- Smart still growing as head coach, has some 'regrets' about first season
- Payne brought needed change to Masters and his exclusive world
- Tech gains apparel deal, loses a star, but Johns on says team will be fine
- Poll: How many starters do Braves have for next season? 1, 2 ... any?
- Falcons' history shows no correlation between preseason, regular season
- Falcons' defense should benefit from Poe's long journey to NFL
- Before football begins: 5 teams, 5 questions (and what about Chaney?)
- Thomas continues PGA's tour of millennials but Kisner gave it a run
- UGA's Kevin Kisner continues his rise to top of PGA leaderboard
- Are Panthers cautionary tale for Falcons or just team in decline?
- Among recent champions, Spieth looks better than Garcia in PGA
- Falcons ensure roster stability with Freeman contract extension
- In world of dollars and sense, will Braves raise player budget?
- Suspended Jalen Collins needed Falcons more than they needed him
- Braves likely to bring back Snitker; Freeman praises him to front office
- Not expecting much from Paul Johnson's team usually is a mistake
- Poll analysis: Jackets have tougher schedule than Bulldogs this season
- ESPN projects Hawks to finish with NBA's worst record (27 wins)
- For Braves, this year becomes next year: Albies and Sims in, Phillips out
- Welcome to 2018? Braves call up Albies, joins Sims vs. Dodgers
- Kirby Smart knows Georgia has to step up in his second season
- Falcons' Julio Jones is building dreams that stretch beyond football
- Falcons should be thankful Freeman keeping negotiations a non-story
- Tufant says injury, missing Super Bowl made him 'stronger, wiser'
- Freeman valuable to Falcons but maybe not as valuable as he thinks
- Digi-blog goes to Falcons' $1.5 billion potentially retractable roof stadium
- Dimitroff broke down on highway, but Falcons can avoid s ame
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.