We have reached the end of the regular season already! How does this go by so fast every year???? At any rate, welcome to Hate Week.
I must give props to the color commentator of the Indiana-Michigan game on FOX last Saturday. As Indiana rallied to keep the game close in the second half, he said, “This is why you play a conference matchup the week before your big rivalry game.” My man Gus Johnson, through a chuckle, said, “Is that a shot at the SEC?” The reply? “Yes.” OK, I’ll give you that one. The Big 14 conference also has 9 league games, a move the SEC needs to make yesterday – it would prevent atrocities like TWO teams from the FCS on Florida’s schedule.
With my alma mater, Brad Lambert was fired on Sunday, although he will coach this week’s game. New AD Mike Hill said he did it this way because “I didn’t want to hide and do a coaching search behind Brad’s back this week.” That’s pretty classy. I don’t believe the move was warranted, as the team is much better than last year. I chalk it up to a new leader stocking the pond with his own fish. The baseball and women’s basketball coaches, who haven’t been to the NCAA tournament in years, should start preparing their resumes.
On to the last week of regular season matchups. Lots of juicy ones here.
Misipi State at Misipi – Known as the Egg Bowl. The Rebels pulled a major upset last year, and this year they are at home with a chance to get bowl-eligible. MSU is definitely more talented, and that will help stem the tide of emotion. Jerry Clower U 31, Misipi 30
Ar-Kansas at Missouri – It’s been tough sledding for the Hogs in year one of a new regime. There are some promising players, beginning with the QB. That being said, they’re weaker on D and the home team is all offense, all the time as Lock continues to make his case as a top-10 NFL draft pick. Mizzou 41, Pigs 17
Florida at Florida State – Like the Egg Bowl, the home team needs the win to get to 6 wins and go bowling while the road team is clearly a level higher in pure talent and stands to land a NY6 bowl game with a win. Both teams being so motivated will make this a tasty early-afternoon matchup. Also like the Egg Bowl, the team that is in dire need of the win doesn’t get it. Lizards 27, FSU 24
Georgia Tech at Georgia – They call this one “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.” The problem with hate is, it has no speed, which is something UGA has in abundance that can slow down this triple-option thing. Tech is really extremely average, which won’t cut it against a team trying to get into the CFP. Big Ol’ Hairy Dawgs 33, Ga. Tech 24
Tennessee at Vanderbilt – I call this the “Disappointed Again Bowl.” Every year, talking heads prop up both these teams as being better than they really are. UT I understand, Vandy I don’t. I guess everybody just likes the head coach a lot. This year, the winner goes bowling and the loser stays home. I suppose Vandy can use the image of the hated rival dancing on their midfield logo as motivation for next year. Rocky Bottom 23, Vander-still-not-bilt 17
South Carolina at Clemson – My long-time friend and fantasy football commissioner is an SC grad. He takes it seriously – he told his 4 daughters that if they attend Clempson, he’s not paying a dime of their tuition. So these years post-Spurrier have been very hard for him. See the Iron Bowl preview below for how I can empathize. But there’s no getting around it – another bloodbath is coming. Clempson 55, Fightin’ Chickens 17
Kentucky at Louisville – The re-birth of Bobby Petrino is now a re-death. Kentucky finds itself behind Florida in the pecking order despite beating them in their place. This is the perfect avenue to air their frustrations before being sent to a minor bowl. Briers 33, Lou-EE-vull 10
LSU at Texas A&M – Another juicy matchup, this one that should result in a quality football game. A great LSU defense and a good A&M offense. There should be multiple lead changes. In the end, I think the Cajuns are just a tad better. LSU 28, A&M 27
Auburn at ‘Bama – Ever since the Tennessee loss, I have known what this game was going to produce. My one glimmer of hope was for the Tide to score a third straight shutout last week, about 77-0 or so where nobody who is actually on scholarship played in the second half. They would be full of themselves and perhaps they would sleepwalk through the first half, allowing Auburn to take the lead and for Coach Clinched Butt-Cheeks to have an aneurysm in his halftime tirade. Unfortunately, the sleepwalking occurred in the first half of last week’s game, leaving them tied 10-10 with The Citadel. Coach CBC has surely been destroying his players in practice all week, they’ll come up firing on all cylinders, and the result will reek of the 2012 game that ended the Gene Chizik Era. The Evil Empire 54, war eagle 7
Charlotte at Florida Atlantic – Well, that C-USA preview I read in August was right after all. We will be starting over in 2019. The future is bright, especially on offense, with Chris Reynolds, Victor Tucker and a slew of good running backs. The team should be more motivated than any week since week 1 in 2013, the first game in program history. But Reynolds is injured and the backup QBs haven’t impressed. It will be entertaining, but not enough. The C-USA East Division Owls 28, 49ers20
Last week’s record: 11-1