The college football that matters is entering the final month, the NFL season is halfway finished and the ledger is looking good for Weekend Predictions. There’s no need to stop the count. I’m not afraid to be judged on my record. I’m confident that when the final returns come in, I’ll still be a winner.

My picks were 7-5 against the spread last weekend to end a two-week losing streak. I was 6-2 against the spread in games not involving the local teams. And that’s with Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence being ruled out against Boston College after I picked the Tigers to cover.

It seems the more familiar I am with teams, the less I understand them, which sounds like a lot of relationships. I don’t need counseling. I just a need clue about the Falcons.

No. 8 Florida (+3) vs. No. 5 Georgia

The SEC fined Gators coach Dan Mullen for his clownish behavior during a brawl between teams at halftime of the Missouri game last week. Mullen was even rebuked by ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, who I assumed was contractually obligated never to criticize a coach. Steve Spurrier also got on people’s nerves, but that was fun, not dumb.

The Gators have been a very efficient rushing team this season. Not even Alabama could run much against Georgia, but Bulldogs nose guard Jordan Davis (elbow) likely will be limited against Florida if he plays. UGA safety Richard LeCounte is out. The Gators win straight up, and Mullen becomes even more insufferable.

Broncos (+4) at Falcons

Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley acted a fool on Twitter this week. The disappointing pass rusher isn’t happy because he’s still on the team after requesting trades in each of the past two seasons. McKinley ended his tweet with clown emojis, which presumably wasn’t his signature.

The Falcons (2-6) have won two of three games with Raheem Morris as interim coach. It might be three victories if Morris had ordered Matt Ryan to take a knee to set up a field goal against the Lions. The Broncos (3-4) have won three of their past four. They are healthier and better on defense, so I’ll take them to win a low-scoring game.

Georgia State (-18) at Louisiana-Monroe

Georgia State is trying to forget its 51-0 loss to Coastal Carolina last week. I’m trying to do the same after picking the Panthers to lose by less than a field goal and then watching them fall hopelessly behind by halftime. Louisiana-Monroe might be the worst team in FBS, but I’m taking the Warhawks and the points while hoping for the best.

Other college games of interest

No. 1 Clemson (-5½) at No. 4 Notre Dame

Lawrence is out because of a COVID-19 infection. According to the QBR formula, Lawrence has been worth about seven points more per game than an average quarterback this season. According to my eyeballs, there’s nothing average about backup D.J. Uiagalelei. Plus, Clemson’s Travis Etienne is better than most NFL running backs right now. But Notre Dame’s defense is good enough to keep this close, so give me the Fighting Irish to cover.

No. 7 Texas A&M (-10) at South Carolina

The Aggies (4-1) could win out and still miss the playoffs because they lost to Bama. That’s going to be a recurring theme for them in the SEC West. LSU shellacked South Carolina two weeks ago. Will Muschamp is 4-0 after bye weeks as Gamecocks coach, including that weird victory at Georgia last season. I’ll take the 'Cocks to cover.

No. 9 BYU (-3½) at No. 21 Boise State

This is a prime chance for BYU to earn a quality victory that ultimately will do nothing to secure a CFP bid. I’d love it if a Group of Five team crashed the playoffs in this mess of a season, but it’s not happening. The Cougars eventually will have to settle for taking out their frustrations on some indifferent Power Five opponent in a bowl game. I like BYU to cover.

Stanford (+9) at No. 12 Oregon

The Pac-12 begins its season this weekend with six scheduled games for each team plus the league title game. They won’t play any nonconference games, so the conference’s CFP chances depend on its sterling reputation. The league last sent a team to the playoffs during the 2016 season, when Washington was stomped by Alabama in the Georgia Dome. Oregon is the pick.

No. 23 Michigan (- 3½) at No. 13 Indiana

Michigan lost at home to Michigan State last weekend as a four-touchdown favorite. The Detroit Free Press got right to the point in grading the game: “Here’s how many F’s we gave the Wolverines.” Coach Jim Harbaugh has gone from unable to win a big game, to unable to beat a depleted opponent that lost to Rutgers. Hoosiers cover.

Tennessee (-2) at Arkansas

I checked in with Rocky Top Talk to see how things are going for Tennessee and saw this headline: “Suddenly, the Arkansas game becomes one of the most important in Jeremy Pruitt’s tenure.” The sad thing is that’s probably true. The Volunteers (2-3) still have Texas A&M, Auburn and Florida left on their schedule. I like Arkansas with the points.

Other NFL games of interest

Saints (+4) at Buccaneers

Wide receiver Antonio Brown has landed in Tampa Bay after three other teams got rid of him. Brown said he’s “seen the light” about his future thanks to motivational speaker Tony Robbins, who was introduced to him by teammate/wannabe self-help guru Tom Brady. All of this makes sense in the context of 2020. I’ll take the Saints and the points.

Panthers (+10½) at Chiefs

Three weekends ago the Charlotte Observer was explaining how Panthers coach Matt Rhule turned around the team so quick. Carolina (3-5) has lost three consecutive games since. That proves the adage that NFL turnaround stories must be done quickly before they expire. The Panthers are OK, but the Chiefs are a machine. Kansas City covers.

Last week against the spread: 7-5 (47-36-2 season)

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