Finally, something productive to fill Saturdays with!

For those new to the site, the background: Several years ago, the Charlotte Observer started a blog called “SEC Expats” where the paper’s writers who went to/rooted for SEC teams here in the heart of ACC country could have a place to gather. There were reps for ‘Bama, Auburn, Georgia, Florida and Misipi originally. Staff turnover reduced the number of contributors, and I think I (Auburn fan, UNCC attendee) posted more comments than all other readers combined, under my screen name of “J.” Observer writers Michael Gordon (‘Bama) and Peter St. Onge (Auburn) and I were pretty much the entire blog after a few years. Every Friday came the post, “Who ya got?” with predictions of that week’s games. I’ve kept doing it privately, and now I’m going to do it publicly here. UNCC didn’t have a football team when this all started. Now they do, so I will include my alma mater’s schedule along with the other SEC tilts. You will notice my gross misspelling of the state just to the west of Alabama. That’s how native son and legendary comedian Jerry Clower pronounced it. To me, it’s even funnier in print. I also have nicknames for other SEC schools, and generally, a smart aleck attitude toward everyone. Let the mayhem begin.

Charlotte at Louisville (Thur) – We made the jump to the top level after 2 years, and got torched most of the time – worst of all against also-ran Kentucky. This return to the Horse State will be no better. CBS Sports has us ranked 125 out of 128 at the FBS level. It’s about patience and building. Cards 51, 49ers 7

South Carolina at Vanderbilt (Thur) – One fearless prediction has these 2 teams making up half the contingent of SEC teams that will not make a bowl (Misipi St and Mizzou being the others). SC just got a new coach, Vandy desperately needs one. Don’t think this will be a thing of beauty. Fightin’ Chickens 13, Vandy 7

‘Bama vs. Southern Cal (Arlington) – It’s now becoming an annual tradition to match the Tide up with some power school in the hopes they can be knocked off. It’s also becoming an annual tradition for that team to be one that ends up being grossly overrated, and the game ends as a blowout. Pete Carroll may have thumbed his nose at the rules, but USC has been an absolute train wreck since he left. Clay Helton tries to get them back. Starting next week. The Evil Empire 38, Trojan Ponies 17

Louisiana Tech at Ar-Kansas – Lots of preseason love going the Hogs’ way. This game won’t tell us much, other than that the middle of the SEC is better than the top of the AAC. Pigs 31, LTU 13

UMass at Florida – The Kings of Cream Puff Schedules begins with the team CBS Sports ranks 128th out of 128. Tradition – that’s what we love about college football! Lizards 70, UMass 0

Georgia vs. North Carolina (Atlanta) – UGA decided their 15-year coach that wins 10 games every year wasn’t good enough and ran him off to The U and hired an alum who is much more famous for working with the Crimson Elephants. Larry Hat and the Heels are highly regarded. It will be interesting to see what happens on Overreaction Sunday if this gets sideways. Tar Holes 28, Big Ol’ Hairy Dawgs 27

Southern Miss at Kentucky – UK appears to be on the rise. USM scores in buckets. This one could be very interesting if you like tons of offense. Briars 38, USM 24

LSU vs. Wisconsin (Green Bay) – The home team is good, but there’s no way they can deal with all this speed. LSU 34, Rodents 10

South Alabama at Misipi St – Jerry Clower U is getting no love this year. They start off with an up-and-coming team from an up-and-coming conference. Don’t think they’re quite there yet. Misipi St 23, USA 13

Missouri at West Virginia – If you believe the press clippings, Mizzou has quickly sunk to the ocean floor after all the on-campus unrest and the ousting of the long-time coach. WVU is just like every other team in their conference – the goal each week is to get 800 yards of offense and 50 points. They’re probably off to a good start. WVU 49, Mizzou 17

Appalachian State at Tennessee – So is UT really that good? This is a decent test against a team that is building a lot of momentum in its early FBS years. Vols 30, The Other Mountaineers 14

UCLA at Texas A&M – At this rate, A&M is going to have to ask the loser of the presidential election to play QB. And both candidates would say no – not because they were born in the 1940s, but because NOBODY wants to play QB for A&M these days. Bruins 28, Aggies 23

Misipi vs. Florida State (Orlando) – I’m not buying on the Frozen Coach’s bunch this year. But I’m also not buying on Jimbo. It should be close, if not compelling for any reason. FSU 27, Frozen Rebels 24

Clemson at Auburn – Not a fun way to open. Clempson is loaded, and Auburn is on its third DC in 3 years. Another starter got thrown off the team, and what’s going to happen at QB is anybody’s guess. I think my boys are under-rated, but this is a monster they’re up against. Clempson 48, war eagle 21