Week Eight SEC Picks: The Second Half Begins!

Let me begin by congratulating the University of South Carolina on its upset of the Trembling Chihuahuas ($1 to Jeff Schultz). Will Muschamp truly needed that signature win and now, maybe, he won’t have a stroke on the sideline, hopefully.

It’s a relatively benign docket of clashes scheduled for this weekend. The Third Saturday in October has become The Third Meh-Day in October. But, we down here in Dixie do love our glorious Sabbaths in the South. And thusly, let us make our 14 separate ways to the grand and glorious Cathedrals bathed beneath the sunkist skies, and some under the brilliant artificial lighting, for Week Eight of NCAA college football!

Alabama vs. Tennessee

As aforementioned, this once critical clash has become an October scrimmage for the the Pachyderms of Paul Bryant lineage. Whether it is played in the fall foliage of the Great Smoky Mountains or the, well, terrain of Tuscaloosa, it’s a snoozah. Here’s hoping there are no critical injuries, on either side, as Nick Saban’s Crimpson Tide marches forth toward the gargantuan showdown, in T-Town, with the Ferocious Felines of Red Stick. Alabama (-34.5) 48, Tennessee 13.

Florida vs. South Carolina

What do we have here? A hint of a scrap? Won’t be a nap. Could be a trap (channeling my inner Dr. Seuss). The Water Lizards are smartin’ (as is Kirby) from that defeat down on the Bayou last Satday. The Roosters are struttin’ coming off its massive upset Twixt the Shrubs of UGA. The game is in Columbia and the crowd will be at its barnyard best, but the egoless Danny Boy Mullen will have the visitors primed and ready and the hosts will return to reality. Florida (-5?) 27. South Carolina 14.

Georgia vs. Kentucky

The sun did shine quite brightly on the old the Kentucky home last Satday. It did not in Athens, GA. It will this Satday. Too bad for the, what will be reduced to, Kitties of Corn Mash. On a brighter note. The visiting squad has a favorable schedule, for the remainder of 2019, and it COULD run the table from here on out. Kirby may have to borrow some of Leonards’s “Smart Pills” if he hopes to get his Pups back to Hotlanta. This will be the first step in that direction. Georgia (-25) 37, Kentucky 16.

LSU vs. Mississippi State

This is the CBS feature game of the week. Say what??? That reinforces my assertion of Saturday being a Meh-Day. That’s what it’s come to. StarkVegas is the scene of the coming arse chewing about to be administered by Coach Ed “Yaw Yaw” Orgeron’s Bayou Bengals. Hit ain’t gone be purty! Joe Moorhead is now coming to the realization that “We’re not in Happy Valley” anymore. The SEC got game! And the Numero Uno Tigers, in my book, favored by 18.5 (not enough), will reduce the hometown Bullies into “Jambalaya, crawfish pie and a file gumbo,” quicker than you can say, Lagniappe! LSU 49, Miss State 20.

Missouri vs. Vanderbilt

It went from worse to “a whole damn lot worse” in Music City a week ago. The Commodewhores were routed by the Runnin’ Rebels of Sin City, 34-10! Say what deux ??? The Casino Kids only other victory, in 2019, was over Southern Utah. They have been defeated by Arky State, 43-17; Northwestern, 30-13; Wyoming, 53-17; and Boise State, 38-13. They am bad. Vandy am worse. I am not interested in this debacle unless George Jones rises from the grave, Jesus is coming soon!, and sings the National Anthem with Trisha Yearwood. Garth can harmonize. The West End Wonders will have to “take an ole cold tater and wait” until next year, when it will, quite possibly, have a new coach. Sorry Derrick Mason. I do like you a lot. Put the farm on the SEC’s third group of Tigers, -21. Missouri 45, Vanderbilt 13.

Texas A&M vs. Ole Miss

These Rebels did not run so well back on the twelfth of October. They dropped one out in the Show Me state to, don’t look now, the first place team in the SEC East. You heard that right! Numbuh one! Meanwhile, Jimbo’s Aggies were being subdued by them Elephants out thar where “the stars shine bright”, in Tejas. I do like the Black Bears, and The Grove is my favorite tailgate spot to visit in the conference, but I’m a thinkin’ the Agricultural and Mechanical school of College Station will prevail. Texas A&M (-6.5) 30, Ole Miss 20.

On to the big one! (In many of our eyes).

Auburn vs. Arkansas

Woo Pig Sooie!!! Our East Alabama Felines, helmed by native Arkansan, Gus Malzahn, will return RE-freshed and RE-newed for this battle, up in the Ozarks, Satday mawnin’! Gustav is 5-1 against his home state’s flagship program, should be 6-0, and his Tigers WILL be ready! Chad Morris’s Hawgs have yet to win an SEC clash since he took over the reigns from our good friend, Bret Bielema. ‘Ol Bert, as I was want to call him, really took the Fayetteville Flashes down the tubes. Good ole normal American football!

Auburn is now without the services of one Boobee Whitlow, but watch out for freshman DJ Williams! He is the real deal, and along with Kim Martin (lotta Cams/Kams in Tiger Town Lately), Shaun Shivers and Malik Miller, the ground game should Be in pretty good shape. Also expect Bo Nix to learn and improve from his lesson in The Swamp. Derrick Brown will lead a most fierce “D” and the special teams appear to be in order.

The Razorbacks gave both Texas A&M and Kentucky fits, so the Tigers better be ready. They will be! There should be minimal angst in this one and the visitors should return ti The Plains with win number six on the season. Auburn 42, Arkansas 17.

Please enjoy the featured image, “Tailgating in Little Rock, 1995.”

There’s your skinny for Week Eight in the SEC! Enjoy the games! Clean your plates. And don’t go dancin’ with the Devil. Take care out there and, ALWAYS, love your neighbor as yourself!

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Week Seven SEC Picks: Tiger Meat, Tiger Meat!

OK everyone! All together now! DAAAHHHHT da da da da da… Go Gators!!! Thank you very much! I hope you enjoyed that! Let’s congratulate the Water Lizards and move on to… Baton Rouge, where the above mentioned cheer will be nowhere as long and as loud, this week, because, the always humble and hospitable Dan Mullen, and company, will find in Red Stick a deafening cacophony of sound where its cheer will be drowned out by the strains of Hold that Tiger in Death Valley. More on that later.

Yours truly tallied a 4-1 week. Remember that talk of perfection? Oh well. Our East Alabama Tigers, obviously, provided the only blemish in Week Six. For the season we now stand at 47-10 with a solid .824 winning percentage.

We now attempt another run at perfection. Seven contests are on tap and a couple of them ar pretty darn large.

Alabama vs. Texas A&M

Nick Saban’s West Alabama Pachyderms will travel to College Station, TX as a 17 point favorite over the Aggies of Texas A&M. Jimbo Fishers gents will, no doubt, be well-prepared but the visitors have far too much fire power for the 3-2 hosts. It could be a pretty good game for awhile, but in the end, the Crimpsuns will have rolled once again. Alabama 35 Texas A&M 17.

Arkansas vs. Kentucky

Hawgs and Felines will be a scratchin’ and a clawin’ and a bitin’ in the Bluegrass Satday and it certainly should be one heckuva scrap. Mark Stoops troops are in desperate need of a victory and that they will find in the friendly confines of Kroger Field. Maybe Chad Morris’s Piggies will, at least, get a few fuel points for the trip east. Kentucky 31, Arkansas 23.

Georgia vs. South Carolina

Cock a doodle doooooo! Wake up Puppies! The Roosters are a headin’ your way for a 12 noon kickoff is “Between the Hedges”! By the time old UGA gets his blood boilin’ it will be feathers a flyin’ and hens a weepin’ in Athens, GA. Will Muschamp will be outsmarted by ol’ Kirby and the Dawgs move another step closer to being crowned champions of the SEC East. Georgia (-23.5) 34, South Carolina 14.

Mississippi State vs. Tennessee

“Wish that I was not on Rocky Top watching the Vols get killed…” The hometowners actually have a good chance at winning this weekend, as Joe Moorhead’s Bullies invade venerable Neyland Stadium. The Vowels are only a seven point dog Satday. This could turn out to be a really good clash, or, it could be a case of which squad is the least inept. In any case, I think another win will just elude the hapless homies. “We had a win on the tips of our fingers, but we let it slip right through our hands.” Miss State 27, Tennessee 21.

Missouri vs. Ole Miss

Matt Luke, and not Mark or John, and his Johnny Rebs will do battle with one of the three sets of Fighting Felines Satday. These Cats hail from Columbia, MO and they will be lying in wait for the Black Bears of Oxford. The Kitties are installed by the Vegas crowd as 12.5 point favorites. I would give the Land Sharks a better chance in Groveville, but not out there on I-70. Missouri 31, Ole Miss 20.

Vanderbilt vs. UNLV

More Rebels, you say? Yessiree bobbie! And these Runners will be making the flight from LAS Vegas to NASH Vegas. Hootie hoo! Sit down please! The Music City Commodores are a 14.5 choice to defeat the Runnin’ Rebels namesake oddsmakers. Say what? You read it right! And, AND, I do expect Vandy to win AND cover! You’re welcome! PSYCHE! Vanderbilt 34, UNLV 21.

Feature game time! Feature game time!

LSU vs. Florida

I hope all you Floridians have truly enjoyed basking in the glory of your well-earned victory over Auburn. But your joy shall be short-lived. The Swamp is a tough place to play, but LSU in Tiger Stadium, at night, is a tough tough TOUGH TUFFFFF place from which to return to the Sunshine State with a “W.” Ask anybody except Alabama. That chompin’ defense will keep the Water Lizards in the game, but hain’t no way Coach “Yaw Yaw” and THESE Cats are gonna lose Satday. LSU 30, Florida 21.

So run to your computers or phones, or to whatever device it is that you use to place your wagers. I have just given you a list to get rich by. Have fun! And also, take care out there and be sure to love your neighbor (as you do yourself).

Week Six SEC Picks: Giggin’ the Gators

Once again ladies and gentlemen, and children of ALL ages, the Auburn Tigers will participate in the primo game of the week in Southeastern Conference play. The first Auburn-Florida game I ever attended was on November 2, 1963. Highlights later.

Last week I predicted five of six games correctly, and that brought my season stats to 43-9 and a percentage of .826. Kentucky did not defeat USC East (That’s the University of South Carolina for those of you in the laity), and, therefore, I did not have a perfect week. I have yet to go 100% in any of the previous five weeks. We look to rectify that in week six.

Onward and upward!

The SEC squadrons that will not play football on Saturday, nor any other day this week, are, in alphabetical order, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, the Mississippi “Butthurt” Bulldoggies (yes, your words will always resonate in my heart and mind, Keith Jackson), South Carolina, and Texas A&M.

And now let us pick to perfection! Grin along if you like!

Georgia vs. Tennessee

Neyland Stadium, located in the Great Smoky Mountains of the Volunteer State, will be the site of the University of Tennessee’s next humiliation. It will be administered by Kirby Smart’s Pups. Jeremy Pruitt truly needs to win some football games but it ain’t happnin’ Satday. Break out the corn cobs and moonshine at the pregame tailgate because the only folks celebrating after this one will be those clad in red and black. Georgia 42, Tennessee 10.

LSU vs. Utah State

The Aggies travel to Red Stick with a 4-2 record and a quarterback, Jordan Love, that has been hyped for the Heisman Trophy. It’s athletic department sent me a spiral notebook containing his 2018 accomplishments, even though I don’t vote on the award. That was sweet of them. What won’t be sweet is the mangling inflicted upon them by those Bayou Bengals. Ed Orgeron’s Kitties will having a blast playing with the toys from the home of National Parks, such as Monument Valley, before they open up a can of gumbo on the visitors. LSU 49, Utah State 17.

Missouri vs. Troy

“Rah rah rammer jammer, best team in Alabama, Teeee-Roy Teeee-Roy!” That’s a cheer we used to do at Troy “State” football games back in the mid 70’s when yours truly was romping the fields of Pike County. And you better believe we wuz a ROMPIN’ there at 701 South Brundidge St. Then Jesus intervened and said, “Slow down boy!” Well, another story for another day. Praise the Lord and Punt the Pigskin! I would love to see my alma mater upset the Tigers, like they did a few years back on a Thursday night game, but I do not foresee it. Chip Lindsey’s Trojans will fall at the hands of Kelly Bryant and company. Barry Odom’s Felines are -24.5. Rubber men get drubbed! Missouri 45, Troy 13.

Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt

The Johnny Rebs are but a seven point favorite over the Commissioned Naval Officers of NashVegas. That doesn’t seem to be quite enough, in this prognosticator’s feeble mind. The Grove will be a bustlin’ and the home boys will be a hustlin’. The coach with two first names, Matt Luke (my son’s name is Auburn Luke, BTW), will have his troops ready, and Derrick Mason (Jar) will sail back to Middle Tennessee, drop anchor, and re-evaluate his team’s dismal season at the halfway point. Ole Miss 28, Vanderbilt 17.

Auburn vs. Florida

And now we continue what I promised at the beginning of this Pulitzer piece! Yes, it was 1963 and my father, brother and I sat in temporary bleachers erected in front of the south end zone permanent seats, what was then, Cliff Hare Stadium. Florida had a big time halfback in Larry Dupree, later to become a first team All American in 1964. They were picked to whip us. And here’s the beauty of the situation. It was homecoming on The Plains! Guess whose homecoming it is this week? Yes, it’s the Water Lizards’ call to ole grads and all that accompanies it, Gator Growl, etc. All this is an attempt to muster up an electric atmosphere in The Swamp which could lead to an upset of General Gus Malzahn and his seventh ranked Tigers.

But back to ’63. Auburn beat the hell out of Florida that autumn afternoon, beneath the sun kist skies, to the tune of 19-Zip, and all the points were scored in Little Tweetie’s end zone! Two field goals by Woody Woddall, one 25 yard run by Jimmy Sidle, and one pick six by sophomore linebacker Wild Bill Cody. It was glorious! Yes, the atmosphere will be electric and the Gators will be a chompin’, but the visiting Felines flatten the home team, going away, in the fourth quarter. Oh wait! The 1963 edition of the Water Lizards had a brash young freshman quarterback who later became the Head Ball Coach in Gainesville. But freshmen couldn’t play with the varsity back then. Steve Spurrier would have to wait until two years later to return to Cliff Hare Stadium and take his whipping, 28-17, administered by the heavy underdog Tigers in 1965. Yes, it was again a homecoming game. Later Gators! Auburn 30, Florida 17.

Next week… Batman vs. Mr. Freeze (as Auburn has an open week), and many other surprises right here on Bird’s Banter!

Take care out there and be sure to love your neighbor! But you’d better not covet his ox nor his ass!