“Hmmmm, Candida.” Just segueing from last week to the Thanksgiving/Iron Bowl week extravaganza we here at Bird’s Banter have planned for you, the reader. And evidently, there is not a plethora of you good folks out there reading these humble words. At least not last week. The numbers dropped precipitously. We’re going to write that one off (though I thought it was one of the better blogs). She did receive some great reviews but minimal readership. C’est la vie!
Interestingly enough, I did have a request for this special edition of SEC Picks. A dear friend of mine inquired as to the possibility of getting the column done by Wednesday, instead of Thursday. Great idea actually! Even if our family did celebrate the Giving of Thanks this past Sunday. We still plan to do lunch, or dinner, and a movie on Turkey Day. This has evolved into a tradition as we have to arrange schedules to suit the handful of families within our little sphere.
I bet you were just hanging on every word of that enticing introduction! Now we press on to the body and the conclusion.
The request line is open!
And our first request comes from “Nicky S” of Tuscaloosa. He asks, “Bird, in your infinite wisdom, how do you see Saturday’s Iron Bowl tuning out?” Thank you Nicky! I will get to that shortly. But first we have a little ditty to tell and we must predict all of the other rivalry games on the docket for Saturday. Patience please.
I attended my first Auburn-Alabama game on Thanksgiving Day of 1964. And it was also televised, nationally for the first time, on NBC. How bout dat!?
I wrote a column on that experience back in 2014, and, alas, it no longer exists in the College Football Roundtable archives. Gone. Kaput!
The essence of it, in a nutshell.
Alabama was 10-0, and Auburn, a preseason favorite to win it all, limped in with a 6-3 record. Limped would indeed be an apt descriptor of this Auburn football team. Jimmy Sidle, its All-American and first Tiger quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards, in 1963, was hurt and could only play wingback. Tom Bryan, a promising young sophomore, was now the signal caller and he was doing a pretty darn good job on that sunny afternoon at newly expanded Legion Field. A (cough cough) neutral site. (Rolls eyes).
Tucker Frederickson was in great form that day and had put Auburn up at the half, 7-6, with a dive, up and over, in the north end zone where my cousin Richard and I sat. Earlier, Alabama had scored its first touchdown when the ball was snapped over, Tiger punter, Jon Kilgore’s head and the Tide recovered it for a TD. David Ray missed the extra point.
But, alas, Ray Ogden took the second half kickoff to the house, north to south, 107 yards. Joe Willie Namath hit Ray Perkins, in the fourth quarter, on a 23-yard TD pass, and Bama went on to win, 21-14.
Also, someone stole my lucky hat, sort of a fedora, blue, with an orange feather in it, at halftime. I am convinced that is why Auburn lost the game!
Since that ’64 game I have attended 39 Auburn-Alabama games. My record stands at 18 wins and 22 losses.
Here’s to 19!
Rivalry Time!!! Hey the games begin on Thursday with the Egg Bowl! Thanks for the request. We gotta get busy!
Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State
The Black Rebel Sharks are +2.5 for the the game in lovely StarkVegas. Its record is 4-7. If it loses, then there will b e no bowling (tennis or badminton) for the Oxfordians in 2019. The Bullies are 5-6, making this a must win to absolutely insure a postseason clash for Joe Moorhead’s Canines. The question remains, will Joe depart after this season is in the books? A loss to the folks from the land of Faulkner could lead to the hastening of that process involving the decision. In a doozy. Ole Miss 28, Miss State 27.
Missouri vs. Arkansas
We have used the term “YOU-Gly” on multiple occasions here in 2019. That descriptor aptly applies to the horror show to take place on Friday in Pigtown. The homies are 12 point dogs, or swine, or whatever. The Columbia Felines can also lock up a bowl bid with a win, its sixth. Barry Lunney, Jr. does seem to have the Hawgs playing with some spunk. Could be a scrap. Missouri 31, Arkansas 21.
Clemson vs. South Carolina
Warm buttocks appear to abound in the good ole SEC, as we speak. Will Muschamp, reportedly, do indeed have a case of Burning Backside. I don’t know how much reality there is to that, or any potential pink slippages, in this day of staggering buyouts. The game will take place in the land of the Cockaboose. Dabo’s Felines are smokin’ (and, quite possibly, drinkin’ and cussin’, as well). They are also -27.5. I do not know about Clempson covering. I do know about them winning. Aw heck! And covering. Clemson 48, South Carolina 13.
Georgia vs. Georgia Tech
The Pups are an even a larger favorite than Cousin Clem. -28.5. The Ramblin’ Wrecks have shown a bit of spark in the second half of the season. They beat Miami and NC State. I have immediate family and several in my church who “drink my whiskey clear.” They better have a goodly portion of sour mash at their finger tips this Satday, at noon, for Smarty’s Dawgs will have their way with the Yellow Jackets. Georgia 35, Georgia Tech 9.
Louisville vs. Kentucky
Also a nooner. Mark Stoops’ Fightin’ Felines have secured a postseason game. Now they want to enhance the location of that impending bid. Isn’t Bobby Petrino no longer a Cardinal? Maybe Pope Francis will make him one again! Well, there is the matter of Easy Rider’s Catholicity and his struggle with the seventh commandment. But “we are all sinners”, right? One never knows! Speaking of Bobby P, I have also seen his name brought up as a passing coordinator candidate at Auburn by some badly misguided soul on a message board. What some folks will do for attention. Members of the troll community. No? Really!? Didn’t that ship sail exactly 16 years ago!? Kentucky 31, Louisville 23.
Vanderbilt vs. Tennessee
The Top will be Rocky, in Knoxville, for the visitors from Music City Satday at 4PM (3CT). The Corn Cobbers and the Anchors. Pruitt and Mason. Starsky and Hutch. Waylon and Willie. Ok, that could go on all day. Mary and Joseph. You get the snapshot. The Vowels are bowl bound! The Dores (“Come on baby, light my fire”) are not. Nor do they have the opportunity to accomplish that this weekend. They do not pass go. They do not collect $200. They do not win. Tennessee (-21) 34, Vanderbilt 14.
Texas A&M vs. LSU
Jimbo’s Aggies gave Kirby ( “How about them, BEEPIN’, Dawgs!”) “Potty Mouth” Smart’s Bullpups a bit of a fit this past weekend. Well, at least Buster B trumped “We beat the dog crap out of them”! All swearing aside, this one ain’t going seven overtimes in 2019. We pray. It’s in Red Stick. Thus the 17 point line which favors the Bayou Bengals. It’s also a night game and that spells “gloom, despair, and agony on me” for the Aggies. LSU 35, Texas A&M 20.
Florida State vs. Florida
The Taggertless Noles must travel to The Swamp for its final whuppin’ of the year. I guess there is the matter of a bowl game to consider, so I suppose I’ll amend my statement to read, “It’s next to last spanking of the season.” Danny, How much caffeine can one man consume?, Mullen will have his Water Lizards ready to chomp, on Satday, and the Tallahassee Tribe shall suffer its sixth thrashing of this campaign. Florida 34, Florida State 16.
Sound the trumpet! Honk the horn! Wake up the children. Read your bibles! It’s THE game of the weekend in all of her glory! Iron will be sharpened and bowls will be smoked down on the Plains of East Alabama on Satday!
Auburn vs. Alabama
This will mark my 41st time attending this classic event, and that is what she is, an event! Should be a barn burner! No SEC West title is at stake and only the visitors have an outside chance of making the playoff. Don’t let the absence of Tua misguide your thinking here. The Crimpson Tide will be one tough out. Or it might be an in. IMHO, this is a pick ’em. The visitors are, currently, a 3.5 point favorite. Vegas ain’t making Bama a dog. The money would be stacked sky high on the Pachyderms and Sin City don’t want no part of that. They like even betting on both sides. The Tigers defense is, as you well know, its strength. That unit WILL keep it close. Can the offense complement it enough to pull off, what would be considered, a mild upset? Can Mac “The Knife” Jones withstand the the pressure and the deafening crowd noise which will greet him in Jordan-Hare Stadium? Will Gus have a game plan that will allow his minions to score the necessary points to win the game? Can Anders Carlson clear out the clutter which has, evidently, come to reside within his noggin? These, and more, questions will be answered by around 7:00-7:30 PM (ET) Satday? My take? Auburn 24, Alabama 21.
Here’s to wishing for no blew gaskets, cut koners or the like this weekend in Auburn!
“Get your motor running, head out on the highway. Looking for adventure…”
God bless and a Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! Take care out there and be sure to love your neighbor as yourself. Peace out!