So, how was Week Zero for you? Weak? That’s what I thought. I have come to bring you good news of glad tidings and great joy! There are 14 SEC football games coming to you you over the next four days, and we here at Bird’s Banter are prepared to share our prognostications to one and all so that ye might find treasures and riches galore. Once again, we provide you the winners. It’s your job to find them. (And again, $1 to Jeff Shultz for that wee morsel of truth.)
Onward and upward my fellow gazers of the gridiron! The games are listed in the order in which they will be played. Movin’ On…
Ball State at Tennessee (-35.5)
Do it to it like Sonny Pruitt! (You must pay attention to the references. That’s half the fun!) He of 18 wheeler fame is the proper example of gittin’ er dun! And ex Vol head man, Jeremy Pruitt is not. “At McDonald’s, we do it all for you.” Dave Letterman’s alma mater stands zero, there’s that dang word again, chance of defeating the hometown Corn Cobbers. Actually, it stands a 4.9% chance of toppling the Rockies according to BSPN. Tennessee 52, Ball State 6.
LA Tech at Missouri (-20.5)
The second of two SEC Thursday night clashes. Now, this one could get very interesting. If Eli (has a) Drinkwitz you before the game then the Rustonites could pull of the first big shocker of the weekend. No, Northwestern’s upset of the Huskers, speaking of corn, was pretty much expected by this fearless forecaster. I said hello country bumpkin, Scott Frost’s butt is on the stumpkin. Yep! No false Natties to claim in Lincoln. Buh bye! Anyhoo… Missouri 37, LA Tech 24.
Sam Houston at Texas A&M (-29.5)
“Jimbo Jimbo!” That was a quote of Terry Bowden summoning Coach Fisher on the headset during Auburn’s 1993 National Championship season. Some source(s) did declare it! I claim it! (Hey! This is FREE!) Just like JJ and Joe Willie say! Back to College Station. I don’t know why the Aggies continue to get so much love each passing year in the preseason. Show me! Naw, that’s MIzzou. Name Sammy Houston’s mascot with proper spelling, without looking, and you win one free taco the next time we bump into each other. At what other site do they just give away free food? Homeys cover. Texas A&M 42, Sam Houston 7.
Oregon vs. Georgia (-17) in Hotlanta
The defending National Champions (“We ain’t defending nuthnin'”. Oh yes you is!) take on former UGA defensive coordinator Dan Lanning’s West Coast Groovies (Follow the references).Teacher/pupil, blah blah blah. Former Auburn Tiger Bo Nix is QB1 in Eugene. Oh Karma where art thou? Buster Brown has “elite” talent across the board. The Ducks will quack loudly for a bit. Pups have too much talent and firepower in this “neutral site” game. (Remember Legion Field!) I hope you don’t tire of parenthetical phrases. Tweetie loves em! Georgia 31, Oregon 20.
Cincinnati at Arkansas (-6.5)
Potential upset alert but I doubt it. Fun no less. The Beatles White Album song just raced and snorted across my aging mind. Remember Leather (Tusc)adero on Happy Days? More tacos if you can name the actors/singer who played her. Hawgs lost a few guys but ol’ Sam Pittman is getting there. Remember the visitors to Northwest Arky? The last time we saw them they were the Group of Five sacrificial lamb to the SEC Champions/eventual national runner up to Spanky and his gang. Arkansas 28, Cincinnati 24.
Troy at Ole Miss (-22.5)
Just spent three days with seven of my former Troy State Lambda Chi fraternity brothers at the Fourth Annual Gathering of the Cracker Box Buds. (See Steve Straughn for moniker explanation. He is our host extraordinaire and truly one of the good guys. As are all the buds). We spoke of this game and what a great road trip it would be. “Oxfud” would “nevuh” be the same. We might not bring it with the same ferocity as we did in the early to mid seventies, but there remains some fire in the bellies. Long live bourbon, bushwhackers, and beer! And NSAIDS!!! Stop there Bird! Oh for the Trojan upset. LSU Deux? ‘Friad not. Black Bear Land Sharks 35, T-Roy 14.
Utah (-3) at Florida
An SEC the underdog at home on opening day to a PAC-12 sissy??!! How dare you suh?! Da Utes won the conference in 2021 and are favored to do the same thing in 2022. Dandy Dan Mullen is gone. “Tuesday’s Gone, keep up!, with the wind.” Introducing former Louisiana Ragin Cajuns head coach, Billy Napier. He should restore law, order, and respectability to the Gainesville Water Lizards, although that might not occur fully in 2022. I haven’t heard much out of the “Head ball Coach” lately. Ye? In a mild upset/squeaker… Florida 24, Utah 23.
Miami Ohio at Kentucky (-16)
The sun shines bright in Lexington after the second 10 win season under Mark Stoops. Hats off to the Cats boss. Well, maybe except for John “Whine” Calamari. A hotbed of MAC coaching travels to Lexington for a whuppin’. Enjoy the bourbon and bluegrass! Kentucky 38, Miami Ohio 10.
Elon at Vanderbilt (-19)
Who the Sam Hill is Elon? Elon, among other fine things, was where my former colleague, and friend, Jan Fuller, was a chaplain until very recently when she retired. She was in campus ministry at Yale when I was doing the same at SUNY Albany in the capital of New York. “Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end…” Very good times in the mid eighties. That’s where I developed my addiction to Buffalo wings. We are returning to NY and New England for fall foliage in October. Paul retired June 1. “Look out mama there’s a white boat coming up the river…” I digress. More tacos for Elon’s nickname! Vanderbilt 45, Elon 10.
Utah State at Aaaaaaaalabama (-41.5)
A forty plus point favorite over a team that was ranked last season. And Nickidemus just signed an extension. Dear 9 lb 11 oz baby Jesus, please let coach Saban, who we all just love so much, retire very soon. We would like to play with the football too.
P.S. And please bring me an electric football game and a Tucker Frederickson jersey for Christmas.
Alabama 49, Utah State 3
Memphis at Mississippi State (-16)
I can’t remember who the head coach is at Memphis. Y’all? I can remember how much I love the ribs at Rendezvous and the house band at the Rum Boogie Cafe on Beale Street. My friend Tom Kimmel married the outstanding young woman who is now the pastor at the First Baptist Church of Memphis. Great BBQ, great preaching, and great music! Can’t beat it. But the game is being played in StarkVegas. What they got good to eat there? And music? And where is the Jesus hookup? Hey! This could be a good game. Or not. Pirate wins.They did have a Ruby Tuesday the last time I was in the City of Bully Dogs. “Who could hang a name on you?” Miss State 35, Memphis 17.
Georgia State at South Carolina (-12.5)
The Downtown ATL Panthers do not resemble the Carolina or Pittsburgh teams of the same nickname. Or do they? They almost beat Auburn last year. That was the emergence of T.J. Finley. AU QB numero uno. More on that later. The Cocks will rise to the occasion and defend the Columbia home turf well. Shane Beamer’s guys won the Duke’s Mayo Bowl last year. He was covered in the outstanding condiment after the game. Folks, I don’t make this stuff up. I’ll be 70 years old Saturday. I have seen the game I know and love so passionately evolve. Would that be that word? No no no! I have seen it Devolve. SMH. South Carolina 33, Georgia State 21.
Florida State at LSU (-3)
Jay-Sus! Can we get to the Auburn game??? Did y’all see new LSU top dog Brian Kelly doing the Batman dance behind one of the guys he was recruiting? Lights flashing, et al. Vincent Vega he ain’t. Bad at mocking a Cajun accent as well. A former Memphis head coach, Mike Norvell, now leads the Semi-Holes. I wonder if he ever went to Corky’s or the Rum Boogie Cafe? I don’t know if he can dance or talk Native American, but I know the great countrysiner-songwriter John Anderson had a big hit with Seminole Wind. Great song! Tempted to call an upset. But Tiguz win and cover. LSU 28, FSU 21.
Mercer at Auburn (-31.5)
Saved my boys for last even though it ‘s out of order in terms of when the games are played. T.J., as aforementioned, is the man. Bryan Harsin has been separating the wheat from the chaff and the man who hired him is gone. And some folks wanted Harsin gone. Sometimes I get so damn mad at what goes on at one of my three alma maters I could scream. But she’s mine and I love her (Beatles song reference). My .02? Harsin is a badass. Leave him alone and he will get this thing on track. Auburn will surprise people this season. In a good way. The first five games are at home. There is a distinct possibility of entering October at 5-0. There is talent and pretty good depth on this Lee County aggregation. Tank is primed for a massive year. The D is looking really good. The hunger is there in spades. The chip is planted squarely on the shoulder. Beware all ye who enter here! WDE! Auburn 44, Mercer 14.
So there you have it! Whew! We’re at 100% with the Commodores opening shellacking in Week Zero!
Y’all have a fantastic Labor Day weekend! Be safe! And as always, love your neighbor! Peace out!
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