It’s time for college football again, which means all is right with the world. Yeah, I know that’s a bit exaggerated.
I’ll be predicting the games played involving Southeastern Conference teams, along with the games of my school, the Charlotte 49ers. I’ve been an Auburn fan since I was young. Charlotte didn’t have a football team until 2013, so I kept my Auburn allegiance. So I have 2 favorite teams.
DEFINITIONS – for those of you who aren’t familiar with my level of ridiculousness, these definitions will be useful:
- ‘Bama – Shorthand for the U of Alabama Crimson Tide. As an Auburn fan, there is no team that I hate more. If the Russians or the Taliban formed a legitimate football team and scheduled a game in Tuscaloosa, I would root for the road team. Loudly.
- The Evil Empire – See #1 above. This is what I call them.
- WAR EAGLE – The rallying cry of Auburn.
- Misipi – The state just to the west of Alabama, as pronounced by the late, legendary Jerry Clower, who played on the defensive line for “Misipi State” before becoming a fertilizer salesman, and later a standup comedian.
- Ar-Kansas – the way I pronounce the name of the state between Missouri and Louisiana. I grew up in Ohio, where no one is very fond of silent letters. You put a letter in a word, we’re gonna say it.
- Fightin’ Chickens – My word for Gamecocks. I owe this one to my best friends and former roommate Vince, who said this one day when he came in and saw me watching a South Carolina football game.
- Big Ol’ Hairy Dawgs – My way of saying the nickname of the University of Georgia. Eons ago, when I was working in Duke Energy’s call center, I had a teammate who was a UGA grad. He took the football team very seriously. At the start of every game, he would place his ceramic Ugga (the mascot) figurine on top of his TV set, pointed in the direction the UGA offense was going. He would pet the figurine on the head and say, “Go, Big Ol’ Hairy Dawgs!” When the 2nd quarter started, he’s flip Ugga to the other side of the TV, facing the other direction. Swear to God.
- Clempson – Some of the more, uh, “rural” people in the Carolinas add a “p” when they’re saying the name of the university in Upstate SC between Charlotte and Atlanta.
- Briars – Residents of Kentucky are sometimes referred to as “briars.” It’s not a flattering term, but the family I have from there always shrugged it off. You’ll see me using this term in predicting University of Kentucky games.
- Pigs – Ar-Kansas calls its teams “Razorbacks,” but they are universally referred to as “the Hogs.” Razorback, hog, pig – it’s all the same to me. So I usually use the term “pigs” in predicting their games.
- Lizards – the Florida mascot is a Gator, obviously short for alligator. Just to antagonize my Gator-loving nephew, I like to refer to all reptiles as lizards.
If you aren’t aware, you need to know that there is no sports rivalry more intense than Alabama-Auburn. No rivalry, on any level, in any sport, comes anywhere close. Don’t @ me with any Ohio St-Michigan football, Duke-Carolina basketball, USC-UCLA tennis, or any other nonsense. My dad lived in Alabama for about 25 years, so I got to spend enough time there to know how personal it is. Absolutely NOTHING is anywhere near as hateful and personal.
OK, let’s get going.
‘Bama vs. Miami (Atlanta) – As an Auburn fan, this is the team I hate the most. The last 15 years of Saban’s domination have been hard to endure. And even though they lost a ton of talent from last year’s team, they’ll just plug in a new round of 5-star recruits and keep on rolling, especially against a top team from an inferior league like the ACC. The Evil Empire 35, “The U” 21
Bowling Green at Tennessee – DISCLAIMER: This game actually occurred on Thursday night. But I’m giving myself a Clinton pardon because no one would ever predict an upset on this one. Rocky Bottom 42, Bowling Green 3 (The actual final score was 38-6
Misipi vs. Louisville (Atlanta) – Lots of people are very high on Misipi after Lane Kiffin destroyed his in-state rival on the recruiting trail in talent-rich Misipi. Louisville is still rebuilding. This one may be close for a little bit, but Misipi should pull away late. Misipi 33, Lou-EEE-vull 17
Georgia vs. Clempson (Charlotte) – Very nice Saturday night brawl between 2 elite programs that plug in new 5-stars like ‘Bama does. Should be a dandy matchup. Clempson 20, Big Ol’ Hairy Dawgs 17
LSU at UCLA – Back in the ‘80s, Oakland Raiders punter Ray Guy made this joke: “Imagine LSU at UCLA on ESPN. No one can get a word in edge-wise.” Yuk, yuk, yuk. As for the game itself, UCLA is on the way back, but this is another level entirely. LSU 27, UCLA 14
Rice at Ar-Kansas – The I call these “paycheck games,” where a team from a lower-tier conference like Conference USA goes to a big power 5 conference member for the privilege of getting a huge cut of the gate receipts as well as the privilege of getting their brains beat in. Bowling Green at Tennessee is also one of these. Ar-Kansas 44, Rice 20
Louisiana Tech at Misipi St – I’d say this is another paycheck game, but LT is at the top of C-USA and Misipi State is rebuilding. This will be a close one. Jerry Clower U 23, LTU 17
Florida Atlantic at Florida – See Rice at Ar-Kansas above. Lizards 38, FAU 17
Louisiana Monroe at Kentucky –See Florida Atlantic at Florida above. Kentucky Briars 37, ULM 10
Central Michigan at Missouri – See Louisiana Monroe at Kentucky above. Mizzu 33, CMU 10
Eastern Illinois at South Carolina – See Central Michigan at Missouri above. Fightin’ Chickens 41, The School Somewhere Near the Illinois-Indiana Border U 7
Kent State at Texas A&M – See Eastern Illinois at South Carolina above. Texas A&M 52, Kent State 3
East Tennessee State at Vanderbilt – See Kent State at Texas A&M above. Vandy 31, ETSU 10
Akron at Auburn – See East Tennessee State at Vanderbilt above. – WAR EAGLE 41, Akron 17
Duke at Charlotte – This is year 9 of the program’s existence, year 7 at the highest level of FBS, and year 3 of the coach Wil Healy era. We’re considered a program on the rise. As excited as I am, I can’t bring myself to believe we’re going to beat a Power 5 team, even a rotten one on our field. It’s going to be closer than last year’s 59-13 debacle, but we still have building to do. Duke 37, 49ers 24