Yessiree bobby! There will be two games, involving SEC teams, in which both teams are ranked. Number three Georgia will host number seven Notre Dame and number eight Auburn travels to College Station to battle Texas A&M. I will get to those two picks later on. Let me update you on how proceedings have gone through three weeks of the 2019 college football season. Last week I correctly assessed nine games while whiffing on two, Colorado State-Arkansas and Mississippi State-Kansas State. My season record goes to 31-6, for an .837 winning percentage. Good enough!
Alabama vs. Southern Miss
Let’s get the Bama weekly scrimmage behind us. The Golden Eagles downed my alma mater, Troy, last week. That’s too bad. What will be too bad this week is the whipping the hometown Tide will will administer to the unlucky guests from Hattiesburg, MS. Alabama (-38.5) 49, Southern Miss 17.
Arkansas vs. San Jose State
The Piggies have been truffling up the points thus far in 2019. 55 of ’em last week in that pasting of the boys from Fort Collins, CO. Chad Morris’s Hawgs will smoke the Spartans bee-hinds. Arkansas 52, San Jose (I know the way) State 20.
Florida vs. Tennessee
The Water Lizards are back in The Swamp in what one would think will be a serious chomping of the Vowels. I think it could get more interesting than most folks believe. The 14 point underdogs will make it fun for a bit, but Dapper Dan Mullen’s crew will find a way. Florida 34, Tennessee 23.
Mississippi State vs. Kentucky
Mark Stoops’ Fightin’ Felines have to be smarting after another brutal loss to the aforementioned Gators. I had it 28-21 and the final tally was 29-21. Purty close! Now, the K State Wildcats taking a “W” back to Manhattan from Starkville was a surprise, at least in this part of the woods. One team is about to lose 2 in-a-row. I’m thinking it will be the visitors. In another barnburner. Mississippi State 27, Kentucky 24.
LSU vs. Vanderbilt
Have y’all been watching the 150 Year Anniversary of the SEC special on the telly? (No, I’m not coming to you from ‘across the pond, I just like the word Telly). Speaking of Kojak, I sure could use a Tootsie Roll Pop. I handed them out after the Children’s Sermon in church last week and the little boogers took them all. Oh! Football! 150 years and all that! On that show we have learned a great many things, one of which is that Vanderbilt used to be the standard bearer in SEC football. I think that was during my daddy’s childhood. Great town for music and food, but a terrible town for football now. LSU (-24) 38, Vanderbilt 7.
South Carolina vs. Missouri
In Columbia. Oops! You need mo info. Columbia, MISSOURI! Muschamp’s Roosters exposed some vulnerabilities in the number two team in country last week in Columbia, SOUTH CAROLINA. (Follow the bouncing ball, boys and girls). Can they win a big SEC East road game with their newly found true freshman quarterback, Ryan Hilinski? Great, touching storyline there involving Hilinski and his brother. It seems to me Barry Odom’s troops have found their sea legs. Missouri 35, South Carolina 24.
Ole Miss vs. Cal
Bet the overwhelming majority of y’all didn’t know I spent a good deal of time on the Berkeley campus in ’86-’87 as a campus minister/chaplain. Yep! Bet even fewer didn’t know I spent time, out there, at San Quentin prison. No no! Not as an inmate, but recruiting people to come visit inmates at the prison. M-2, Match two, a caring community member with a forgotten inmate. Charlie Manson was housed there at the time, and he applied for participation in the program, but he was on 23 hour lockdown and not a part of the mainline population, thus, he was not eligible to participate in M-2. I really enjoyed the job and chatting with the inmates. Some with tales of Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard. Ok ok, football. The Golden Bears make the LONG trek to Oxford. Tailgating at the Cal-Stanford game is quite different from that in The Grove. More on that some other time. The Black Bears are a shade darker than their counterparts and a tad of a favorite in this game. I’ll take it. Ole Miss 28, Cal 27.
And NOW! Back to those clashes which feature two ranked teams!
First, the game in Athens.
Georgia vs. Notre Dame
I also spent three years as a campus minister/chaplain at The State University of New York-Albany. That was just prior to the time I did (wink) in California. Point being, there were a boatload of Catholics students there at SUNY. Not many had never seen a Baptist, much less had the chance to interact with one, and, especially, one from the Deep South. I told them that Baptists outnumbered Catholics in the South about like Catholics outnumbered Baptists in the North and that you couldn’t sling a dead cat without hitting a Baptist in the South or a Catholic in the North. My priest friends up there still use that illustration to this day. One of my colleagues, an Episcopalian priest, was greatly amused when we had to leave the home we were renting and into an apartment in Presidential Estates, near the campus. Our address became 7 Grant Court, Guilderland, NY. Yes, THAT Grant! The one-time chief exec. He said it could only be more hilarious if we had been on Sherman Street! It was a great time. Never had three better years in our lives! Football! Football! Catholics. Bulldoggies. I love Pope Francis but the Irish don’t stand a chance Between the Hedges. Georgia 34, Notre Dame 17.
Auburn vs. Texas A&M
Our favorite regular season road trip, ever, was the 2013 game at Aggieland in 2013. Back when Johnny Football was king. I’m sure you remember that HUGE game. Two highly ranked teams doing battle at Kyle Field. Dee Ford sacks Manziel. Nick Marshall, Tre Mason, etc. Auburn’s coming out party on the way to a shot at the Natty, and we won’t go there. The situation is not dissimilar in 2019. Other than we won’t be there to experience that wonderful hospitality and the victory steak in Houston. I really like how Auburn is progressing. Kent State provided the much needed format to hone/polish our game. If Auburn can attack the perimeter successfully, and open up the zone read and the inside power game it will be huge. The main focus in this one, IMHO, is Auburn’s O line. They absolutely must keep pulling those guards and run the ball well. That will open it up for Bo Nix, who went 12 for 16 (two drops, two misses) against the Golden Flashes. The D will do its job and keep it close, and somewhat low scoring, giving the Tigers a chance to win in the fourth quarter. And win they will! Auburn 23, Texas A&M 20.
Alright people! Hitch up! Take care out there and be SURE to love thy neighbor!