As another successful financial season winds down, and by successful I'm not including the one or two or possibly 47 picks that I was slightly less than perfect on, though in reality I wasn't serious and they were thrown out there for entertainment purposes only, like a knock-knock joke, or a presidential candidate, or when John Hart or John Coppolella are asked whether they would ever trade a star player and they feign shock and disdain, SHOCK AND DISDAIN, I SAY, that you ever would suggest such a thing, and what's the Liberty Media stock price today, and I swear the first Braves' official who says in spring training, "We're here to compete for a championship!" gets a pie in the face," and ...
Where was I?
Oh yes. Fantasyland. It's near the end for Weekend Predictions and the week before Rivalry Week. That means many programs have scheduled opponents from Fisher-Price. Auburn plays Idaho. Florida State plays Chattanooga. Florida plays Florida Atlantic. Alabama plays Charleston Southern. Clemson plays Wake Forest.
Oh wait. Wake Forest is in a major conference.
Georgia faces Georgia Southern. Coach Mark Richt warned the masses, "They are not a good football team. They are a great football team!"
I'm wondering if any opposing coach has made the same declaration about Georgia this season.
This is when big tough coaches from power five conferences tell us these cupcake opponents are sneaky awesome and, besides, they're just providing "opportunities" for FCS or Sun Belt schools, as if FSU-Chattanooga is part of a jobs program.
By the time Nick Saban finished his weekly rant, "This week, we play Godzilla. Chapter 11," he had everybody convinced Charleston Southern was about to conquer eastern Europe.
"You all don’t remember the Georgia Southern game, do you? They ran through our (rear) like (poop) through a tin horn and we couldn’t stop them!"
A tin horn?
Thanks. I'll pass on the Alabama halftime show.
Non-power-5 conference administrators love these games. I'm not sure how much the players do. Georgia Southern was guaranteed $1.7 million to be offered up as sacrifices twice this season for games against West Virginia and Georgia. The officials cashing the checks will be in the comfort of a luxury box munching on finger sandwiches and shrimp cocktails Saturday. The players will be on the field, losing bicuspids and their sense of direction.
Any chance the Georgia Southern school president or athletic director can be forced to take a snap?
The Dogs are favored by 13½. The line dropped from 16. So much for wins over Kentucky and Auburn converting critics. I'm with the wise guys on this. Dogs win but give me the Eagles and 13½.
Nick Saban on Charleston Southern, The Great Destructors
Grading on a Curve
Georgia Tech at Miami: How far has Miami fallen? It's an underdog at home to a team that has lost seven of its last eight and is 1-6 in the ACC. If that doesn't get the Hurricanes cheating again, nothing will. Meanwhile, why is Charlie Strong's name on the pass list? Jackets cover 2.
Tennessee at Missouri: Missouri athletic director Mack Rhodes said this week: "I really believe you can win a national championship at the University of Missouri." Everybody is still waiting for the punchline. Vols cover 8.
LSU at Mississippi: Somebody reported that Les Miles is coaching for his job. Makes sense. I mean, how many other coaches in the last eight years have been to the national championship game twice, won a national title and two SEC titles since 2007, beat Alabama five times, and then got fired? Welcome to Baton Rouge: brain-cell-challenged central. Take the Tigers and 4 and in an upset.
Forecasting the next four games: Godzilla vs. Bambi
Sacrificial Lambs at Florida State: Jimbo Fisher says playing FCS opponents like UT-Chattanooga-Choo-Choo provides “an opportunity for those schools to have equal opportunity..."It's a complete coincidence that Florida State is providing this opportunity a week before the Florida game. Seminoles cover 30½.
Florida Atlantic at Florida: Chattanooga and FAU meet in the dismembered losers' bracket next week. Gators cover 31½.
Charleston Southern at Alabama: CSU lists former Tulsa Talons arena quarterback Darren Swiggett on its short list of notable alumni. So take that. Bammy covers 38.5.
Wake Forest at Clemson: So when does Wake Forest start demanding an appearance fee like Sun Belt schools? Clemson covers 29.
Kennesaw State at Presbyterian: After losing two games by 73-27 in the last two weeks I'm not sure Kennesaw State has enough Spackle and duct tape left for another win. But it's a long-standing policy of mine to never pick a team called the Blue Hose. (Back off, I'm a professional.) Take KSU and 5 and in a straight upset.
South Alabama at Georgia State: The Panthers have a chance to win two straight for the first time since beating Savannah State and North Carolina Central (MEAC) in 2010 and everybody asked, "Wait, does this count?" GSU covers 1½.
Pros and Ex-Cons
Colts at Falcons: Andrew Luck is out and the Falcons are decided favorites, and that hasn't happened since the last two games, both of which they lost. It's not time to jump ship on the Falcons. But if you have time in the next day or two, you might want to take a stroll on the main deck to check out where the paddle boats are. Falcons cover 6.
Cowboys at Dolphins: Dallas has lost seven straight. Clearly, the feeder system from Leavenworth and San Quentin has dried out. Dolphins win a pick 'em.
Broncos at Bears: Peyton Manning last week: 5-for-20, 4 interceptions, 0.0 passer rating, benched. Nationwide released a statement this week: "We've switched sides." Bears cover 1.
Manning gets the Blutarsky treatment
D.C. at Panthers: A Tennessee mom wrote a letter to Cam Newton admonishing him for his touchdown dance against her beloved Titans, which she framed him as a "spoiled brat" fueled by "egotism, arrogance and poor sportsmanship." And then she left for her weekly book burning. Carolina covers 7.
Rams at Ravens: St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher reportedly went on an epic rant at halftime last week in hopes of firing up his team, which trailed Chicago by two touchdowns. The Rams lost 37-13. Time for a new speech. Take the two but Rams win in a straight upset.
Fisher: Next time, try this one
Packers at Vikings: Green Bay has dropped three straight. Note to Aaron Rodgers: If Olivia Munn wanted to date a losing quarterback, she could go to Jacksonville. Last week, the Packers lost at home to a 1-7 Detroit team that had just lost to Kansas City 45-10. Degenerate gamblers' logic: "OK, now they're really, really, REALLY mad." Packers win, take the 1.
Bucs at Eagles: Tampa Bay nearly hired Chip Kelly three years ago but at the last minute Kelly decided to stay at Oregon. So there's one memory for Bucs' fans to look back on fondly. But: Eagles cover 5½.
Bottom line: 98-47 straight up; 71-72-2 against the line.
Sack Schultz update: Two more weeks until the grand prize winners are decided. Last week's winners were Michael Burgess (12-3) and Butch Roos (13-2). There are eight contestants within one pick of the overall lead at 120 and 119 wins. I'm not one of them. More info at AJC.com/go/sackschultz2015 .
Lilly's Pick: The mutt fell to 7-4 with the Auburn pick last week. This time, the choice was salami'd pictures of Freddie the Falcon and Blue (Colts mascot). Lilly went right. To Blue.
•Recent ramblings • Coppolella tired of being roasted, says, 'We are not tanking' • Roddy White has survived far worse things than reduced role in offense: tragedy • Why are those Freeman T-shirts included in Braves' clearance sale? • Overreaction Monday: Richt's ploy, Falcons' bye, Braves' salary dump • Jeremy Pruitt's defense is salvaging Georgia's season • Short takes on Georgia's win over Auburn • Simmons gone, and Braves' offseason already looking like last one • Weekend Predictions: It's not a good time to invest in Georgia • Former Georgia player Faloughi at center of Missouri protests • Overreaction Monday: Kyle Shanahan, have you met Roddy White? • Latest Falcons' embarrassment is on Dan Quinn • Short takes: This Falcons' loss is on Dan Quinn • Weekend Predictions: Dogs in middle of Dysfunction Junction • Georgia's finish, Eason status shouldn't tilt Richt decision • Richt should take over Georgia's struggling offense • Overreaction Monday: Loss-loss-loss means chaos all around • Mark Richt has failed too many big moments -- it's time for a change at Georgia • Falcons may be 6-2 but they don't look the part • Short takes: Sloppy Falcons gift-wrap game for mediocre Bucs • Matt Ryan: 'It comes down to me being better' • Weekend Predictions: Jacksonville on Halloween? Ooh, scary: Gators over Dogs • Georgia's quarterback problems fall at Mark Richt's feet • Budenholzer can coach but can he build a champion? • Overreaction Monday: Ryan's off, Tech's alive and Georgia... • Georgia Tech has unforgettable moment in otherwise forgettable season • Short takes on Georgia Tech's miracle win over Florida State • Weekend Predictions: Falcons win, Jackets lose, ACC miserable • (Full column) Rick Pitino should lose job, culpable for Louisville mess • Rick Pitino may not survive latest claims regarding strippers, recruits • Overreaction Monday: Would Richt give Ramsey another look? • Misery like this shouldn't happen at Georgia Tech • Short takes: Tech's run of bowls, non-losing ACC seasons will end • Falcons flash some of their ugly past in loss to Saints • Short takes: Falcons still plagued by poor pass rush, turnovers • Weekend Predictions: Spurrier, Cubs, Playboy...and Georgia can still win SEC East! • Spurrier changed face of SEC, and then he walked out the back door • Health would be Spurrier's only good excuse for retiring in middle of season • Florida quarterback suspended for PEDs -- and claims of, 'I didn't know' ring hollow • Overreaction Monday: Chubb's loss isn't Georgia's only problem • There goes Chubb, there goes a loss, there goes Georgia's season
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