Week Three SEC Football Picks

Last week I was dang near perfect. The lone miss was my upset pick of Vandy over IMG_3292.jpgPurdue. That’s ok. You gotta pick upsets. My season total now stands at 22-4. That computes to an .846 percentage. I’ll take it and let’s rock! No time to tarry as Week Three is up-on us! But, first of all, this… AT&T/Direct TV/Uverse is making noise about not carrying all the ESPN channels tomorrow, that includes the SEC Network, unless some agreement isn’t met with Disney or whoever. I can tell you one thing, if some Mouse wants to attempt to come between Southerners and their football, GOOD LUCK! You will have stepped in it then, Mickey! Tread there at your own peril!

Alright! FOOTBALL!

Arkansas vs. Colorado State

This rumble presents somewhat of a dilemma. Both teams are really bad! The Hawgs are a 9.5 point favorite. It’s a home game. Can the Rams actually be that inept? A good-sized road dog to the worst team in the SEC? I don’t think so. Not only do they cover, they win. Colorado State 27, Arkansas 23.

Florida vs. Kentucky

At Kroger field in Lexington. The Swamp Lizards will find out what they are made of this weekend. The Wildcats will push them to the limit, but Mullen, Franks, and company will find a path to escape the upset. Florida 28, Kentucky 21.

Georgia vs. Arkansas State

Another wax job for the Pups. Blah blah, yak yak, the Red Wolves won’t get cut no slack. Georgia 45, Arkansas State 10.

LSU vs. Northwestern State

I looked it up. The visiting Demons hail from Natchitoches, LA and they are an FCS squad. And these poor boys have to play in Tiger Stadium at night. On top of that, they are a 51 point underdog. They won’t cover. YayHeee! The Red Stick Felines in a Mass-a-creeee. LSU 66, Demons 0.

Mississippi State vs. Kansas State

The Bullies traveled out to The Little Apple (Manhattan, KS) in 2018 and came away victors. It will be more of the same in 2019. The Wildcats are dangerous, to be sure, but Joe Moorhead will have his troops ready and awaitin’! Mississippi State 31, Kansas State 23

Missouri vs. Southeast Missouri State

The Red Hawks may not be in any condition to fly back to Cape Girardeau after they are mangled by the hometown Tigers. Notable alumni of the visiting school include Rush Limbaugh, Cedric the Entertainer, and Roy Thomas, comic book writer and former editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics. The things one learns here, huh? Missouri 48, SEMO 17.

Ole Miss vs. Southeastern Louisiana

I’m truly having to brush up on my geography as I languish through this litany of laughers. That’s enough! Bring on SEC league play! Ok, the guests are the Lions, they make their den in Hammond, LA and play their games in Strawberry Stadium. “Let me take you down cause I’m going to…” Come on! Sing along! Anyway, where’s Daniel when you need him? Probably out frolicking around with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo. A long way from Oxford, I hope, for this one  could get ugly. Ole Miss 35, SELA 6

Tennessee vs. Chattanooga

I just don’t see any way the Vols can muck this one up. Do you think? The Rocky Toppers are a 28 point favorite, but they were lined as -25 over Georgia State. And you know what occurred in Neyland Stadium back on September 1, don’t you? The old upset tick bit Smoky square on his fanny. Not this time. Tennessee will finally experience the sweet taste of victory! Tennessee 31, Chattanooga 16

Texas A&M vs. Lamar

Lamar Young was our school bus driver back when I was but a wee lad at Camden Elementary School in LA. That’s all I got. Lamar (not Mr. Young) is in the same state as the Aggies. That is where the similarities end. What a god awful set of matchups for Saturday. I want to finish this column and go get a beverage to wash the taste out of my mouth. Texas A&M 56, Lamar 3.

Vanderbilt Open

No, not a golf tournament. The Commodores will be off and licking its wounds Satday.

Home staters!

Alabama vs. South Carolina

The Mighty Tidey doesn’t want to play at noon, or during the day, or whatever. Don’t cry for them, Argentina. Columbia, SC will be the site of the Crimpsun Tide’s next victim. Cocks, Gamecocks that is. Will Muschamp’s corps will be clobbered by Saban’s soldiers. Will Bama cover the minus 25.5? Hmmmmm… Alabama 38, USC East 13.

Aaaaaaand!

Auburn vs. Kent State

The Golden Flashes will make its way to the Loveliest Village of the Plains Saturday evening as a 36 point underdog to Gus Malzahn’s Tigers. Can Auburn score 36? Will the O line get some push and open holes for Boobee and others? Please! Others! Like Cam Martin, Shaun Shivers, Malik Miller, and DJ Williams (Seth Williams will not play). Will Hastings will see action in spite of that brutal, vicious low-belly hit he took last week. Eli Stove is ok, too, we hear. Give Bo some protection and dial him up a few zone reads so he can use his fleet feet. Yes, he is faster than Gatewood. And speaking of Joey, let’s see some more of him. Boom ’em high Arryn, and cover ’em special teams. One more tune up before the journey to College Station and another night in Tejas! Auburn 42, Kent State 3.

That’s a wrap, folks! Peace, love, and football! Take care out there and be sure to love your neighbor!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Week Two SEC Football Picks

I was 9-3 in Week One Picks last week. That’s 75% but not great for what is, typically, a 85% to 90% week, as there are always more than a few mismatches on opening weekend. Tennessee-Georgia State (that powerhouse from downtown Atlanta which has only been playing football for about 10 years) was, on paper, was one of those games. The mighty Panthers threw a monkey wrench into those predictions and defeated the 25 point favorite Volunteers. Poor old Rocky Top. Wow! Also South Carolina got popped by North Carolina, but that was really no big surprise. I did pick Ole Miss as the only SEC loss and, yes, they were toppled buy the favored Memphis Tigers.

So much for the past. Let us press on into Week Two of Southeastern Conference football!

Arkansas vs. Ole Miss

The wounded Rebels (-6) are back in Oxford and will be “Grove-in’ on a sunny afternoon.” The home team showed some improvement on defense, as compared to the 2018 edition of Land Sharks. Arkansas did win last Saturday, but it was an escape over FCS opponent Portland State, 20-13. From here, it appears Matt Luke’s boys are primed to garner its first win of the 2019 season while roasting some piggies in the process. Ole Miss 20, Arkansas 13.

Florida vs. UT Martin

I spent one night in Martin, TN back in the 90’s. I stayed at an Econo Lodge and ate at the Huddle House. It was slim pickins then and it will be more of the same for the visiting Skyhawks down in The Swamp on Saturday. The Gators are a 44.5 favorite, by the way. Whether or nor they cover will be the biggest mystery involved in this mismatch. Florida 48, UT Martin 6

Georgia vs. Murray State

The mismatches continue as Kirby Smart’s pups host the Racers of Murray, KY (Yes, I spent one night there, as well), and the most exciting event to take place, for all the fans, will be the naming of the field which resides Between the Hedges. Vince Dooley is the honoree, and I would like to congratulate the former head coach, athletic director, and Auburn quarterback! As for the game… what “game”? The slaughter will play to the tune of something like… Georgia 56, Murray State 3.

Kentucky vs. Eastern Michigan

Surprise! This one is not considered to be a mismatch. Mark Stoops and his Fightin’ Felines are only a 15.5 favorite over the Visiting Eagles. The Cats disposed of another MAC team last weekend, Toledo. (I keep wanting to refer to them as the Mud Hens. $1 to Maxwell Q. Klinger of M*A*S*H fame). That contest was a bit of a scrap. This one could be, yet I do expect the home team to prevail. Kentucky 30, Eastern Michigan 14.

Mississippi State vs. Southern Miss

Another set of Eagles are set to fly up against an SEC team Saturday. This group hails form inside the Magnolia State in Hattiesburg. The Golden Eagles could prove as sticky as syrup to the the Bulldoggies. Southern Miss will give State all it can handle, but the Starkville crew will win as predicted. Mississippi State 31, Southern Miss 17.

Missouri vs. West Virginia

Dana Holgorsen has departed as head coach of the Mountaineers and now prowls the sideline of the Houston Cougars. Troy’s Neal Brown, losers to James Madison in Week One, now leads the visiting squad which will make the jaunt to Columbia, MO. I think the Tigers (-13.5) will show us last week’s surprising upset, at the hands of the the Wyoming Cowboys, was an aberration. If not, it’s going to be a very long year for Barry Odom’s gang. Missouri 38, West Virginia 20.

South Carolina vs. Charleston Southern

I have spent time in both Charleston and Columbia and fared much much better than in Martin, TN and Murray, KY. Charleston is a beautiful place with great food, drink, and sights to see, but its football team is also a 40.5 underdog to the wounded Cocks of Carolina. Will Muschamp will have the hosts ready to rebound after the disheartening loss to the Tar Heels. South Carolina 42, Charleston Southern 10.

Tennessee vs. BYU

What does one have to say about the Vols and their total embarrassment at the hands of Georgia State? Questions abound, like WTF? and WTH? and Really? SMH. Rocky was not just topped, but also smothered, covered, and chunked. SMH again. The Cougars bring a better team to Knoxville than the one that bested Jeremy Pruitt’s timid Tennessee (-4) on August 31. More questions. Can the Ole Smokies turn it around? Will they get more effort this week? No and yes. In a smaller upset… BYU 24, Tennessee 23. 

Vanderbilt vs. Purdue

The Commodores will drop anchor in West Lafayette, IN (never stayed there) Saturday for what should be a boiler in the making. Purdue is a seven point favorite, but I expect Derrick Mason’s Music City boys to pick apart the hometown hosts and come home with its first victory of the 2019 season. Vanderbilt 23, Purdue 21.

And now on to the Monster Games of the Week.

Texas A&M vs. Clemson

Hoo Hoooo, MEERCY! (A call I remember from an Ole Miss announcer back in the 60’s). The biggest game of the week and one the very few regular season’s true challenges, in 2019, for Auburn With a Lake. The defending National Champions (-16.5) will have its hands full, for awhile, with Jimbo Fisher’s aggregation from Aggieland. In the end, the Tigers will be too much for the College Station crowd, and will come out on top after it all is said and done. Clemson 34, Texas A&M 20.

LSU vs. Texas

I have also stayed over a handful of times in Baton Rouge and spent a few weeks in Austin. I absolutely love these two lovely college towns! The eyes of Texas will be glaring down on the Bayou Bengals (the pregame singing of that Texas tune is one of college football’s great traditions as is Mike’s entry into Tiger Stadium) Satday night and this one should be a humdinger indeed. When the clock ticks down to zero, I predict visiting Louisiana State (-6.5) will squeak by the Longhorns. LeCroy’s Loser… Texas! LSU 27, Texas 24.

And now we shall conclude with my home state’s games of Week Two.

Alabama (not much versus at all) New Mexico State

Another traveling team of Aggies, these from Las Cruces, NM, will make its way eastward. New Mexico is truly the Land of Enchantment. I have wonderful friends and family out there and I long for the day we can return and enjoy more time to spend in that wondrous state. The New Mexico State team will have a LONG trip back home after it is completely and totally annihilated. The Red Elephants have a 0.1% chance to lose. Just where is that minuscule of hope supposed to come from? From this angle, there is a zero percent chance of Alabama (-55.5) losing. Green chiles. Red chiles. No matter. The Tide will ROLL and Doug Martin’s (no relation to UT Martin) gents will be the worse for wear at the hands of Nick Saban’s not so gentle men. Alabama 63, New Mexico State 0.

Auburn vs. Tulane

The team closest to my heart returned home triumphant from deep in the heart of Texas! It was a glorious time with good friends and the Auburn Family out in the Lone Star State! And a quick run through Cowtown with my bride was so sweet and emotional, as we spent the first three years of our marriage there. Our son, Auburn Luke, was born there. And a big pieces of our hearts will always remain Ft. Worth. Thank you, Lord, for the time spent there back in ’77-’80 and our two nights, last weekend, near Arlington!

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. That happens when you age and memories become ever so much more precious. I digress.

Football!

The first thing I would like to say about Saturday night’s game in Jordan-Hare Stadium, is do not overlook the Green Wave! Yes, Auburn is a 17 point favorite, but Tulane is a very well-coached football team. Willie Fritz has them rolling as they have won six of its last seven games dating back to the 2018 season. The Greenies know it will be an uphill battle, but I assure you that they won’t back down ($1 to Tom Petty). The Wave rushed for 350 yards in a 42-14 victory, over Florida International, in a game in which it was favored by only three. And quarterback Justin (two Justin QB’s in a row) McMillan, an LSU transfer and a dang good one, has been the field general in that 6-1 run. Its beginning was his first start.

You are all well-versed on what transpired at Jerry World last Saturday night. Bo Nix was successful in his debut and he should only continue to improve. But, there will still be lapses with the true freshman signal caller. Also, the Tigers O line looked far too much like the O line of 2018. And what happened in the kicking game? Siposs can boom ’em, but someone has got to learn to cover punts! The same goes for kickoff coverage.

And Gus doesn’t need to get cute when you have the ball first and goal from the three!

Here’s hoping the Tigers will make great strides from game one to game two, as is typical in college football. Get that running back rotation fluid and not put too much on Boobee. Get some separation from the wide receivers and hope Anthony Schwartz doesn’t have to continue as a decoy for much longer.

I was very impressed with the new set of linebackers, particularly KJ Britt and Owen Pappoe. Studs, the both of them. The D line and D backs are both very good groups, as well, and the overall D should be one of the best, if not THE best, in the country as the season progresses.

I think the potential for a special season still remains a strong possibility but progress has to continue occur, this week with Tulane and next week with Kent State. This is a perfect opportunity to fine tune things for the trip to College Station on September 21.

The game shouldn’t be a runaway, but I foresee the Tigers getting to where they should be and taking care of business on Pay Dye Field Saturday night. Auburn 38, Tulane 14.

So, until next time, take care out there and be sure to love your neighbor!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week One SEC Football Picks

We got a little taste of SEC football last weekend when Florida squeaked past Miami in one of the YOU-gliest football games I have ever seen. It actually hurt my eyes to watch that debacle. One team won, Florida, and one team lost, Miami, and that was about all you can say about it. The final tally was, Gators 24, Miami 20. I had the Gators 24-21, so I was about as close as you can get on it. It rarely happens that one picks the exact score, or that close to it, because picking college football games is a highly inexact science. Now, let’s wipe the dust off our collective feet and move away from Week Zero to what will actually be dubbed Week One of the 2019 NCAA Football Season. And, specifically, the Southeastern Conference.

Texas A&M vs. Texas State.

My bride and I will, be making our way to the Lone Star State this weekend, but certainly not for this mismatch. The Aggies will bother with nothing more than tuning up for next week’s monster game at Clemson. Jimbo & Co. won’t show much of anything and this one could easily eclipse the -33.5 line if they so desire. I think they will.
Texas A&M 45, Texas State 7

Arkansas vs. Portland State

Don’t chuckle just yet. North Texas State walloped the Razorbacks by a score of 44-17 last year, but that is where the similarities end regarding this particular game. Chad Morris is slowly building a competitive team out thar in them Ozarks and Arkansas should not struggle too very much with the visiting Vikings.
Arkansas 38, Portland State 16

Tennessee vs. Georgia State

The home team Vols are a heavy favorite, as are the great majority of conference teams, this weekend. Jeremy Pruitt’s Rocky Toppers, much like the aforementioned Hawgs, are a little bit better in 2019 and should readily dispose of the Panthers from downtown Hotlanta. LeCroy’s loser… Georgia State!
Tennessee 40, Georgia State 14

Miss State vs. Louisiana Lafayette

This is one that will be tougher for the Cowbellers than one would think, at first glance. They ‘ll tee it up in the Big Easy, but nothing will be easy for State down on Poydras Street..The Rajin’ Cajuns will be ready and it’ll be hotter than that sauce they make down there in NOLA, but the Bulldoggies should eventually outdistance the home team away after an early struggle.
Miss State 31, Louisiana Lafayette 20

LSU vs. Georgia Southern

We’ll keep it down on the bayou with the next contest. Coach Ed “Yaw Yaw Yaw football!” Orgeron has the makings of a fine team this year in Red Stick. The Bengal Tigers appear to have the potential to challenge Alabama in the SEC West. Things will begin to take shape along that line Saturday as the boys from Statesboro will return home with a case of the blues.
LSU 42, Georgia Southern 10

Kentucky vs. Toledo

The Rockets finished first in the MAC in 2018 and should bring a talented and well-prepared team to Kroger Field in Lexington. And even though the Cats lost some heavyweights off its 10 win, 2018,  team, it will have too much talent in its arsenal to allow for the upset.
Kentucky 34, Toledo 23

Missouri vs. Wyoming

This game will take place in Laramie. The Cowboys will be ropin’ and wranglin’ on its home sod. But Mizzou will be up for this rodeo with grad transfer Kelly Bryant, formerly of Clemson, leading the way. He knows a thing or two about winning. Couple that with a solid running game and a salty defense and the visiting Tigers escape the noose with a victory.
Missouri 35, Wyoming 17

Ole Miss vs. Memphis

This could very well be one of the most exciting games played, Saturday, with an SEC team involved. Mike Norvell picked right up where Justin Fuente left off with the Beale Street Bengals. Matt Luke epitomizes the ferocity, tenacity, and passion typical of one who is fortunate enough to coach his alma mater. In the end they’ll be toasting the home team at Rendezvous, Corky’s, and the like on the shores of the mighty Mississipp! The home field advantage will be just enough to put the Tigers over the top. In a close one that could easily go the other way.
Memphis 34, Ole Miss 33

South Carolina vs. North Carolina
Another of the early season “bowl” games. Will Muschamp’s Gamecocks take on the Tar Heels in Mack Brown’s return to Chapel Hill. This game, in Charlotte, holds the possibility of turning out to be a very close clash. I like South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley’s skill, leadership, skill, and experience to be enough for the edge here.
South Carolina 28, North Carolina 24

Georgia vs. Vanderbilt

The game is to be played in Nashville, but look for the visiting Bulldogs to provide more fans and make more noise than the hometown Commodores. Country music will be ubiquitous down on Broadway when all is said and done on Saturday night. And the Georgia fans will be howling at the moon as they take the first (two) step toward another SEC East title.
Georgia 37, Vanderbilt 16

Alabama vs. Duke

The Crimson Tide has been rolling in suspensions and injuries in the preseason. But don’t cry for Nick Saban and his reloaded gang of future NFLers. Alabama will win and it will probably win going away. David Cutcliffe is one of the the best in the business. No matter. Saban is the best in the business. The Devils will, indeed, be blue (and black) when this one is completed.
Alabama 41, Duke 13

And on to the marquee game of Week One…ESPN’s College Football Gameday…

Auburn vs. Oregon
Deux. Outside of Ole Miss, this is the game where the SEC has the best chance to come up short on Saturday night. From Jerry World in Arlington, TX, it’s the number 11 Ducks and the number 16 Tigers. Mario Cristobal has a most talented assemblage he is bringing to the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, especially on the offensive side of the football where he sports, arguably, the top O line in college football.

Gus Malzahn, whose seat is not as hot as the average football fan would like to think, has three potential first round NFL selections on his D line. And Kevin Steele has had that group in the top 15 in scoring defense in each of his three seasons on The Plains. This is a matchup made in heaven for we fans who are now salivating for some seriously scintillating football.

That gives me pause to consider that an equally important matchup will be Auburn’s O line vs. Oregon’s D line. Gus himself has said that that gang of big uglies was one of the strong points of preseason camp. Hmmmm…

Oregon’s wide receivers and secondary could be chinks in its armor. Auburn has some stud horses in its wide receivers and secondary aggregations, and it is deep in those areas, as well.

Ok, Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert is a bona fide Heisman candidate and potential NUMBER ONE NFL draft pick. Bo Nix, and backup Joey Gatewood are freshmen. The former a true freshman and the latter a redshirt freshman. And one thing I would like to remind people of, is, that Nix was the NUMERO UNO dual threat quarterback in the country coming out of the 2019 class. He is also one of the most “football ready” QB’s to come along the pike in some time.

Oregon has a solid ground game. Auburn has a talented stable of SIX (Boobee Whitlow, Kam Martin, Shaun Shivers, Malik Miller, DJ Williams, and Harold Joiner who is someone to keep your eye on Saturday night).

Also watch for Jay Jay Wilson, an Arizona State transfer. He is said to be a great weapon, both blocking and receiving, at the H-Back position.

Although the Ducks have a good front seven, Auburn’s is quite talented and should be extremely stingy on the defensive side of the ball.

Arryn Siposs is, purportedly, on the verge of a breakout season. And our Aussie mate wasn’t too shabby in 2018. Anders Carlson should be rounding into the form his older brother took during his record breaking four years at Auburn.

When the dust finally settles, it will, most probably, come down to turnovers, penalties, and whichever team wants it most. I think Auburn is the biggest, fastest and most athletic of the two teams, and I think it’s extremely hungry to do something special for the Auburn family in 2019. This game will be the first step in that journey.

Look for the game to be very hard fought with the Tigers holding a one score lead entering the fourth quarter. And look for Carlson to salt it away with a late field goal.
Auburn 27, Oregon 17

So, that’s it for my Week One forecast in Week One in the SEC! Take care out there and be sure to love your neighbor!

And War Eagle!!!

SEC MEDIA DAYS – RANDOM TAKES

SEC Media Days have now come and gone. I listened to all 14 coaches, their spiel and the questions they answered, and I was impressed with every coach and what he had to say about his team. They all seemed to have a vision and a master plan for their respective squads. And the league’s coaching fraternity appears to be a very strong group, top to bottom.  That being said, most of the hullabaloo and hype at the event is much ado about nothing.

Same Old Same Old

Georgia and Alabama are the favorites to win the East and West, and they should be. Both are, once again, loaded to the gills and both are stacked deep with premier level talent chomping at the bit to get to “The League.” That’s is THE goal for today’s kids. They are kids, by and large, and we should keep that in mind when tempted to speak, not so flatteringly, of their real or perceived failings and errors.

Up and Coming

I came away truly impressed with Barry Odom and his Missouri Tigers. Kelly Bryant should give Mizzou some great talent and leadership at the quarterback position. I like who it has returning, across the board, and the schedule is quite manageable.

Quick Takes

In the West. Chad Morris will be getting Arkansas rebuilt in time. You’ll se a LOT of improvement from the Razorbacks this fall.

You just gotta love Coach “O” at LSU. “Yaw yaw yaw FOOTBALL.”

Joe Moorhead has State headed in the right direction but they Bullies lost a lot to graduation.

I also love Matt Luke at Ole miss but they’re fighting an uphill battle in the West.

I believe Jimbo will do a good job in College Station, but I don’t get all the love for the Aggies.

In the East. Dan Mullen has restored the passion at Florida. I do not believe they’re ready to overtake Georgia.

Mark Stoops has really done well at Kentucky as has Will Muschamp at South Carolina. The fact is, though, these teams are not going to win the East. Ever? I don’t know.

And Tennessee. Jeremy Pruitt has a monumental task rebuilding Tennesse. Will the Vols ever return to its former glory? Probably not any time soon. You will see this team fight and claw and scratch each week. ($1 to Pat Dye).

AND! I was hoping this was not going to happen, but it did. I wanted to keep my expectations low and make as little noise as possible going into the 2019 campaign, but Auburn, IMHO, is locked and loaded. There is great talent and experience in the two sets of trenches. The D line could be the best in the country. The linebackers could wind up being better than last year’s senior laden group  and the secondary is also very talented and pretty darn deep with great experience returning.

The offense returns ALL seniors on the line and that group was healthy and vastly improved by the time the bowl game rolled around. They should be a strength. Also, they more than held their own against the D line in the spring.

Boobee Whitlow should be poised to have a breakout season at running back and the stable is deep there. Kam Martin, is back for his senior season and provides excellent leadership. Malik Miller is a solid role player. Shaun Shivers has blazing speed. And DJ Williams could be a future star.

The wideouts are excellent. Eli Stove and Will Hastings return from injuries. Anthony Schwartz had an incredible freshman season and should onlyget better. Sal Cannela is formidable. Seth Williams is a beast. Matthew Hill had an eye-popping spring and A Day game. Marquis McClain is also due to breakout, and Shedrick Jackson will hopefully continue to come along nicely.

The tight end position is moving toward being a strength. John Samuel Shenker leads to pack at this point and is following closely by Tyler Fromm (Jake’s brother. UGA QB) and Luke Deal.

Ah! Quarterback. Bo or Joey? Joey or Bo? One is a true freshman and the other a redshirt freshman. I asked Arryn Siposs which the team preferred. He said it didn’t matter which one started. Either would do very well. (As an aside, I also asked him how many games AU would win this fall. He, unhesitatingly replied, “Undefeated!” I love his passion, confidence, and enthusiasm.)

Speaking of Siposs and special teams. Top notch. Siposs is going to turned loose to kick 70 yard spirals and Anders Carlson provides great strength at the placekicker position.

I also feel very, very good about the intangibles and hunger this team seems to be blessed with. They want it badly and the eight guys who opted to return, led by Derrick Brown, form a tremendous nucleus on which to build. And, I do think Gus calling the plays and taking control of the team, in a big way, again will work out extremely well.

Okay! I let my newly found hope and optimism  get the best of me. But I’m really “feeling it” here in late July.

On to my picks for the divisions order of finish and who should win it all.

EAST

  1. Georgia (a lock)
  2. Missouri
  3. Florida
  4. South Carolina
  5. Kentucky
  6. Tennessee
  7. Vanderbilt

WEST

  1. Alabama
  2. Auburn
  3. LSU
  4. Texas A&M
  5. Mississippi State
  6. Arkansas
  7. Ole Miss

SEC Champion

All together now…

Alabama!!!

The Tide is an easy pick to win the West, but I do think Auburn and LSU have a chance. A real chance. I do not think anyone will unseat Georgia in the East. The Dawgs WILL WIN THE EAST.

Ok folks, buckle up! Football season is, unofficially, HERE!!!

Take care out there and be sure to love your neighbor!

 

Dare We “Ramble” Once More?

I haven’t written anything for a long while. I did not do much writing during football season. Just a handful of articles. I made an attempt to pen a column before the Auburn-Georgia SEC Championship Game. I got two paragraphs in and quit. Motivation at an all time low. And I didn’t care. Bone dry.

So here we are.

It’s January 24th and me and my wife, Melodye, have been battling this sinus infection/upper respiratory thing for weeks. It gets better. It comes back. I think we’re moving toward complete recovery now. I certainly hope we are. Many of you have experienced this. I’m sorry. As you well know, it’s exhausting.

(Jonny Lang’s “Lie to Me” playing on a Genius created setlist, Mannish Boy 1. There is no Mannish Boy 2. Hmmm…)

I suppose we’re “Ramblin.” Last one was May of 2017. Yep, bone dry.

I completed James Lee Burke’s latest novel, just released on January 2nd. It’s entitled “Robicheaux” and continues the life and times of his beloved Dave Robicheaux character. It’s marvelous. Sunday it was number five on the New York Times best seller list for fiction. But now, the problem is, I’m all out of James Lee Burke books to read. I have devoured them all.

I began reading Burke’s brilliant prose as a road into fiction. I’ve always been a non-fiction guy, primarily biographies and auto biographies, and I truly wanted to get lost in some great fiction. Bingo!

Burke is done. Now what? Well, as fate would have it, Pat Conroy has received the nod as my next potential obsession. (Whiskey and Wimmen’, John Lee Hooker, now doing the boogie).

Ok, Pat Conroy. I’ve seen the movies. Now it’s time to immerse myself in the books.

I was In Rome, GA, back late in the year 2017, and wandered into Dogwood Books after I completed my lunch at Harvest Moon Cafe. Be sure to check it out if you’re ever in Rome. Anyway, almost a soon as I entered this marvelous old bookstore, a small copy of Conroy’s “The Prince Of Tides” practically leapt off a table of paperback novels and into my awaiting hands.

Oh my! The hands of fate, destiny, God, or what have you, have touched my soul once again! The question now is, will I obsess over South Carolina the way I have over Louisiana and New Orleans? I don’t know, but I am prepared if that be the case. It’s lowcountry time! Shrimp and grits anyone?

War Damn Eagle! Auburn reeled off a 14 game winning streak recently, in basketball no less, and now stands at 17-2. They are ranked number 19 in both the AP and Coaches polls and are neck and neck with Florida for the SEC lead! ESPN Bracketology  has the Tigers as the number four seed in the South region and playing number 13 East Tennessee State (16-4). That is, obviously, subject to certain change. But ain’t this fun?! Mizzou tonight in Columbia!

Seen any movies lately? If not, ramble on over to your nearest cinema and take in Steven Spielberg’s “The Post.” A shoo-in for Oscar nominations, it tells the story of the Washington Post’s rise into the big time of the newspaper worlds with its coverage of the Pentagon Papers. Wow! Yes! Go!

Sad though. I fear we’ve seen the last of great journalism along these lines. The Post. The New York Times. The Boston Globe, et al. Heck, we’ve actually seen the death of true journalism, I fear. Studying journalism at Troy, I was mesmerized with the tales of William Randolph Hearst, Horace Greeley, Joseph Pulitzer, and the like. There remains some decent investigative reporting out there, but the halcyon days of great newspapers are behind us.

This just in! Oscar nominations out! The Post HAS been nominated for Best Picture! Spielberg and Hanks snubbed!

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

 

 

 

 

Ramblin’ 5/10/17

I’m currently working on a Dum Dum. The sucker! Some call these tasty treats lollipops. We did not refer to them as such in Lower Alabama when I was growing up, We called them suckers. That’s what they shall remain in my frame of reference.

We did not call our tasty carbonated beverages soda or, God forbid, pop, either. They were “Co-Colas.” It didn’t matter if the drink was a Pepsi, RC, Dr. Pepper, or “Big” Orange. It was a “Co-Cola.” I will have to admit that I picked up on the term soda while we were residing in the beautiful Hudson Valley area of Upstate New York. My fellow Southerners can penalize me for that.

Speaking of colloquialisms, as some of you know, I have immersed myself in the crime mystery novels of the incomparable James Lee Burke. And I will continue to lavish praise on his brilliant prose and stunning imagery every chance I get. “Hit” don’t get no better.

Anyway, the Louisiana and Cajun colloquialisms I’ve learned in his Dave Robicheaux series are just wonderful. “Podna,” “Cher,” “Making groceries,” “Dat,” “Dem,”  “Neutral ground,” and “Fais do do” among them. (Look, ’em up, you!)

The omission of the letter “H” in Cajun speech is something I love. Thing becomes “t’ing” and mouth becomes “mout’,” for instance.

And now we have Canned Heat’s “Goin’ Up the Country” playing on this setlist composed by Apple Music.

It takes me back to an early scene in the Woodstock movie. When that song comes on  my mind immediately see’s  thousands of hippies descending on Max Yasgur’s farm in New Bethel/White Lake, New York. Volkswagen vans, peace signs, tie dyes, head bands, joints, and nuns flashing peace signs.

The power of association.

By the way, BTW in today’s texting/desrtuction of the King’s English world, the setlist is entitled “What are Earth’s Favorite Songs?” Some of its features… “Mother Nature’s Son,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Green River,” “After the Gold Rush,” and “Paradise.”

The one that really struck me, thus far, is one by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. It is a medley of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” with “When You Wish Upon a Star” and some other stuff thrown in there. He plays the ukulele. And it brought tears to my eyes.

The power of association. Words. Tunes. Sounds. Smells.

Let’s play some “first word(s) that come to your mind.”

Okay! I’ll provide the words and you make the association.

Music… Love… Hate… Sucker… Rain… Work… Bun… Peace… God.

How’d you do wid dat, you?

Is it summer at your locale yet? It is here at 116 Sundown Way in beautiful Acworth, Gawja. The high is expected to hit around 86 today and 89 tomorrow. 80% chance of rain Thursday, though.

And last weekend? The most miserable night I’ve ever attempted to spend outdoors at an event. And it wasn’t Legion Field in December. It was Hotlanta in MAY!

A dear friend came up from Alabammy, got the four of us a driver for the evening, an Escalade SUV, and took us to see Chris Stapleton. It was 40 something degrees (don’t know what it was with wind chill) with swirling winds and rain that cut us down to the bone!

We got there at the end of the second opening act’s last couple of songs and could only make it through one song by Chris and his band. “Might As Well Get Stoned.” Tell me about it.

But, we wound up at Wild Wing Cafe, in Alpharetta, and then back to 116. A good time was had by all in spite of the brutal “cold and damp” ($1 to Simon and Garfunkel).

Wow! There’s a song I wouldn’t have necessarily thought I would like. It was will. i. am’s “S.O.S.”

And now here’s one by the Friends of Distinction! For all of you out there in radioland. “Grazing in the Grass!” Can you dig it?

That’s my last one for you good folks!

Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Peace out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ramblin’ 4/20/17 (And the Summer of ’73)

Have mercy! It’s been far too long since we rambled! The truth of the matter is that I have been doing a whole lot of reading (James Lee Burke) and very little writing. I need to do both. We shall strive to do better.

It’s April 20th or 4/20. 4/20 is a huge day for many who partake of cannabis sativa. Here is an article that seeks to trace the origins of  this “high” holy day.

*Disclaimer*  The editorial staff at Ramblin’ in no way condones the use of mind altering substances. But if one chooses to do so… be cool. My apologies to Jeff Sessions.

And what has Apple Music conjured up for us today? Rock Hits: 1973.

1973. Whew! That was the year that was. It started with my second attempt to master an academic agenda at Auburn University, which also failed for a second time, and ended with the University of Alabama being upset by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Sugar Bowl on 12/31. Yes, the Tide was a 7-point-favorite and there were many of us in Wilcox County who lost a goodly sum of money on that contest. I won’t name names but you know who you are.

Sigh.

From mid-March through mid-September of ’73 I was a disc jockey at WMFC AM radio in the “Hub of Southwest Alabama”, Monroeville. Six days a week. Sunday through Friday. I went on the air at 6AM and completed my shift at “high” noon.

We opened with gospel music and a Church of Christ preacher and then news, weather, and sports. At 7:08 AM we went to pop music. Suffice it to say, the powers-that-be did not care for Led Zeppelin at 7:08. Fine. Next day, ‘Shout Bamalama’ by Wet Willie. They didn’t like that either.

They also didn’t like me smoking cigarettes in the control room, speeding away, while I drummed my fingers and waited for the preachers to conclude their devotionals. There was also a Southern Baptist minister at 9 AM. I don’t think he liked me. His daughter did, though.

I was summarily dismissed from my position in September. I won’t go into details. You’ll have to speak to me personally about that little “misunderstanding.”

Sigh.

To my knowledge there was no official “4/20” celebration in the “Hub City.” If you came to 328 Lazenby St. during those days I can assure you there was one. There would have been on 4/21, 6/22 and 7/23, as well.

Also there were cattle owners in Peterman and Tunnel Springs that were puzzled by a few “long hairs” so interested in their pastures in those times.

Again, details will have to be obtained form moi.

The Psychedelic Summer of ’73 she was.

*See disclaimer above*

Some of those songs from that eventful time? Money, Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting, We’re an American Band, Kodachrome, Live and Let Die, Tie a Yellow Ribbon, and Stuck in the Middle With You.

And so, late September found me running hard on my $35 per week unemployment check, falling for a young lady down there, and, then, back to Camden, AL and reuniting with my homies. As one, now prominent citizen, said as we were riding around and sipping Schlitz one October afternoon, “Welcome back to society.”

Auburn went 6-5 that fall. It was the year they went to an 11 game schedule. It was also the first year that freshman began to play, again, on the varsity. I attended the Chattanooga, Ole Miss, LSU, Houston, and Florida games. They went 3-2 with the losses coming to LSU and Florida.

My mother talked me into going back to school at Troy and I applied there and was accepted late that autumn.

It was there, in the dog days of the summer of ’75 (which was becoming far too similar to the summer of ’73) that I found myself, late on the night of August 1, prostrate at the altar of the Episcopal church in Troy begging God to forgive me and come into my life.

He did.

I was, five years later, ordained as a Southern Baptist minister. As one of my fraternity brothers told me several years after the ‘event’, “Bird, they still talk about it down in Troy.” I wonder what those long-suffering preachers who, patiently, tolerated my presence in the WMFC control room would think about that. God bless them.

Amazing Grace… truly.

May that same grace be yours today.

 

 

 

 

Time to Let It Ramble

Sit down, turn on the computer, and write. That’s the system today. I have no preconceived course, agenda, or axe to grind.

Just be.

“Let it grow, let it grow,
Let it blossom, let it flow
In the sun, the rain, the snow,
Love is lovely, let it grow”

This from the Eric Clapton ‘461 Ocean Boulevard’ album. ‘Let It Grow’.

That record released in 1974. Great record. ‘I Shot The Sheriff’, the Bob Marley song, was my intro to it.

And this train of thought leads me to, ‘Let It Be’.

“When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be”

We, too often, want to force the action don’t we? Push, shove, cajole, manipulate, etc. We generally see time or a timetable as liner. That is a Western concept. Eastern thought sees time as cyclical.

But, what is time? Here you go.

Ecclesiastes has this to say.

War Eagle! I like that!

And how about this one from Chicago?

“As I was walking down the street one day

A man came up to me and asked me what the time was that was on my watch, yeah
And I said

Does anybody really know what time it is (I don’t)
Does anybody really care (care about time)
If so I can’t imagine why (no, no)
We’ve all got time enough to cry

And I was walking down the street one day
A pretty lady looked at me and said her diamond watch had stopped cold dead
And I said

Does anybody really know what time it is (I don’t)
Does anybody really care (care about time)
If so I can’t imagine why (no, no)
We’ve all got time enough to cry

And I was walking down the street one day (people runnin’ everywhere)
Being pushed and shoved by people (don’t know where to go)
Trying to beat the clock, oh, no I just don’t know (don’t know where I am)
I don’t know, I dont know, oh (don’t have time to think past the last mile)
(Have no time to look around) And I said, yes I said (run around and think why)

Does anybody really know what time it is (I don’t)
Does anybody really care (care about time)
If so I can’t imagine why (no, no)
We’ve all got time enough to die

Everybody’s working (I don’t care)
I don’t care (about time)
About time (no, no)
I don’t care”

Let it grow. Let it be. Let it all hang out. Let it go. Let go and let God.

let1
let/
verb
  1. not prevent or forbid; allow.
    “my boss let me leave early”
    synonyms: allow to, permit to, give permission to, give leave to, authorize to, sanction to, grant the right to, license to, empower to, enable to, entitle to;

    archaic suffer to
    “let him sleep for now”

I would love to stay here and chew the fat with you this afternoon, but, “Time won’t let me.”

Grace and peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ramblin’ 1/19/17

I found myself “Googling” the nutrition information of Krystal products the other day. And AFTER my next round of blood work was completed, yesterday, I stopped by one of those franchises to chow down on two or three of those 130 calorie, 2 grams of saturated fat babies. It would have been my first “cheating” episode since our trip to the Big Easy.

As fate would have it, they were still in breakfast mode and it would have taken too long to put together those little square devils to suit me. Solution? Down the street to Hardee’s and a smoked sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit combo. War Eagle!

Back to being “good” last night, split pea soup courtesy of our dear daughter, Leah.

And this AM? Multi grain toast with a bit of honey cinnamon spread.

The life of a heart patient, should be impatient, wrestling with food demons.

Funny, today’s scripture passage was from Luke 4. Jesus was just beginning his ministry and was in Capernaum casting out demons and healing folks, droves of folks.

Come out of there you mean ole Krystal demon! Come out of there potato chips, hot dogs, rib-eyes, pizza, and fried chicken! Come out! (In my best Ernest Angley).

In the verses prior to his work in Capernaum, Jesus preached his first sermon in Nazareth and was run out of town on a rail. The “church people” even tried to throw him off a cliff. You don’t hear about that one too often.

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga on Apple Music. “Anything Goes” “Cheek to Cheek” “Let’s Face the Music and Dance”, etc.

Music recommendations. Margo Price, Maren Morris, Iry LeJeune’s cajun music, Lukas Nelson (yes, Willie’s boy) and The Promise of Real, and Doug Sahm.

I’ve mentioned it before on Facebook but’s it’s worth another promo. James Lee Burke’s series of Dave Robicheaux novels. I’m on number seven and I can’t stop. Latest obsession. Seriously considering attending the Dave Robicheaux Literary Festival In New Iberia, LA (where most of these books are set) on March 31-April 2.

Gobble gobble, yum yum, slurrrrrrrrp! Eat everything on your plate. Listen to John Prine’s “Fish and Whistle” for more on that.

Follow the thread, exhaust your possibilities, retain or summon your curiosities, and follow them wherever they may lead. God is in the little things. You are you for a reason.

National Signing Day for college football is February 1.

Also on 2/1… In 1861, Texas voted to secede from the Union. Puccini’s opera “La Boheme” premiered in Turin in 1896. 1900, Eastman Kodak introduced the $1 Brownie camera box. And Grand Central Station Opened in New York City in 1913.

Birthdays on 2/1 include Ronda Rousey, Clark Gable, and Lisa Marie Presley.

Setlist change. ‘Inspired by Beatlemania’. “I’m a Believer,” The Monkees, was first up. Mercy! I love that song! Do you know who wrote it? Jeopardy theme song. Time’s up! Neil Diamond. Neil is embarking on his 50th Anniversary Tour. Go if you’ve never seen him. Red, Red Wine is my favorite of his.

Mony Mony was just on. I saw Tommy James and The Shondells at the Big Bam Summer Spectacular back in the late 60’s. Neil Diamond was also there, oddly enough. I miss those shows. Lightnin’ Lou Christie, The Beach Boys, Tony Joe White, Boyce and Hart, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and Porter Wagoner were just a smidgen of other acts I caught there in the Garrett Coliseum. Saw a few rodeos and the circus there too. Also Disney on Ice.

64° here in beautiful Acworth, GA. temperatures are expected to rise to 69 with mostly cloudy skies. A l0w of 58 tonight. The chance of rain rises to 85% at 11 PM. Winds SE at 8 MPH.

I’ll never stop my DJ and play-by-play yammerings. Melodye is one patient soul. And my breaking into a song and/or dance with no perceptible provocation. God bless her sweet soul.

And now Nirvana’s “About a Girl.” Sweet!

Their “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is an all-time favorite. What genius lyrics!

Well, I’ve got a column I’m struggling to get completed due to technical difficulties. It’ll publish next Friday. ‘The Best and Worst of 2016 – SEC Edition.’

Lunch? Oikos Triple Zero Yogurt. Wheeeeeee…

Reading Buddies at 2:30 today.  There is not much that warms the heart like Josue, pronounced Ho-sway, running across the library, with his arms outstretched, yelling, “Mr. Bird!!!!”

Yes, God is in the little things.

Grace and peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November Rain

Weep, oh weep November Sky

December darkens and earth doth lust for thee,

Parched land and blades of grass

Now lift brittle arms to thy blessed plenty.

Sing sweet droplets upon this hallowed home

Cleanse our hearts and souls,

Winds to follow usher forth winter,

Frigid frost our companion,

Thoughts then shift to Spring’s resurrection.