SEC Football: Week 10

I do hope y’all had a Happy Halloween. Auburn was pretty darn scary but we have hit the reset button, down on the Plains, and WE COMIN’!!! Trust me on that. Oh Lane, where art thou? Oh Prime, we need that recruiting machine to crank back up. I hear Coach Cadillac is doing that with ferocity. More on all that later. Yes, Halloween. We didn’t have a lot of visitors so I put the Twix bars on top and the fun size Snickers on the bottom of the bowl. Strategy worked! I only gave out the Twix and the Snickers were all left for Me & Paul. Everyone was happy!

We have ourselves some big ol’ fat stem-winders coming down the pike this weekend. Two games will decide who the leaders are in both the East and West divisions of the Southeastern Conference. Haw!!! And besides the monster clashes in Red Stick and Hedgeville, we have highly competitive games all over the SEC.

I got my Swami hat on, so let’s do it!

Kentucky at Missouri (A pick em)

Can’t get more competitive than a pick em. Both teams will sport 5-4 records if the Tigers win. I don’t think they will. I believe the Cats are getting back on track and will find a way to escape Columbia intact. There remains the possibility of a 10 win season for Mark Stoops and the Bluegrass Boys. Kentucky 24, Missouri 21.

Florida at Texas A&M (-3)

We continue to burn barns down in College Station. I do believe they have a big yell thing going on somewhere near the Aggie campus Friday nights for home games. Billy Napier’s Water Lizards better have their tough hides greased and ready. Speed talkin’ Jimbo got some much better offensive production last Satday and here’s saying he’ll get enough out of the O to pull out a win over the visitors. A 3-5 record ain’t sitting well with the fans in Texas. And that huge contract Coach Fisher has? WHEW!!! Texas A&M 27, Florida 23.

And now we move away from the also rans to the contendas. The Big Boys. Number One versus Number Three! Haw Deux!!!

Tennessee at Georgia (-8.5)

Mercy me! Mercy me! Hit don’ get no better! Twixt the Hedges. ZERO losses between the two of them. Whoa Nellie! We have a dandy in the making! I wish Keith Jackson was there to call this Monster Match. Brad and Gary will be there. Don’t you just love Gary? All sarcasm aside, I wouldn’t be surprised if the ghosts of Larry Munson and John Ward came down to haunt this huge, juicy plum of a football game. I think there will be multiple leads changes and the last team with the ball will win. That would be… Great Corn Cobs! The Rocky Toppers! In an upset! Tennessee 35, Georgia 31.

Liberty at Arkansas (-14.5)

The Fighting Falwell Freezer Flames and the Razortuskbackhawgs! Another dandy? Most assuredly there will be fireworks. Hugh and Sam. The Escorter and Old Cold Beer.Yes, we are hearing Freeze to Auburn as well as many others. Ain’t nobody supplanting Coach Caddy until, probably, after the Iron Bowl. And what if he wins out? No, I’m not drinking.Yet. Ok, back to Fayetteville. There used to be a place called the AQ Chicken House where I loved to eat when my travels took me to Northwest Arkansas. A great big honky tonk I liked as well. K K! Football. Arkansas 38, Liberty 24.

Alabama (-13.5) at LSU

Yay Heeee! Baton Rouge at night. Death Valley. Blah blah blah. Not what it once was. The Crimpson Tide has fared exceedingly well down on the Bayou. Hey! We broke the hex down there last year. It is soooo very tempting to pick the upset. It could happen. I wouldn’t be surprised at all. But I think Nickydemus will have his squad ready to roll. Another nail-biter. Alabama 30, LSU 27.

Auburn at Mississippi State (-12.5)

I’ll take the points yet again. Unless you’ve been spelunking heavily, you know what has happened in the Loveliest Village this week. It was a Bloody Monday. Roberts and Cohen working hand in hand to right the ship and get this thing pointed back in the right direction. I think their plan will succeed. Mightily. Sooner than later. You can rest assured that they have already been in talks with agents and the wheels are turning rapidly. And the guy might come out of left field as has happened so often in the past at AU. I’d love to have the Lane Train or Deion, but who knows. I do trust our admin this time. I also trust Carnell Williams to take a relaxed yet fired WAAAAY UP group of Tigers to StarkVegas. The Tigers will play with great passion and find a way out of the second half malaise they have been in since the State game last season. They intend to go to Mississippi and win. And win they will. Auburn 28, Miss State 26.

South Carolina (-6.5) at Vanderbilt

Live from Music City. Another potential upset. Clark Lea’s Commodores and Shane Beamer’s Fighting Cocks. I honestly cannot remember the last time Vandy won an SEC game. Decent chance here. Mizzou put an end to the USC East momentum that had been gathering steam and had these Columbians ranked in the AP top 25. Roosters get their swagger back but not without a real fight from the Dores. South Carolina 30, Vanderbilt 23.

Y’all have a great weekend! Enjoy yoselfs! Be safe. Love your neighbor. and peace out!

Photo Credit Pexels Free Photos


Basketball. Yes, Basketball!

I was in the fourth grade, in Miss Nell Jones’ class, and my brother, Jerry, would have been in the eleventh grade, when daddy put up a basketball goal in our backyard. This was 1961 or 1962. Jerry was on the high school team and I was a tiny little fellow who had, most probably, never shot a basketball. And when I say I was tiny, I mean I was very little. Earlier that year my mother had even taken me to a doctor in Selma to check out why I was having headaches around the same time every day at school and to see if he could determine why I did not seem to be growing. The headaches stopped, but I didn’t really start growing into the size I am now until the ninth grade. That was the year I was the manager of the basketball team and played church basketball for the RA’s. The Royal Ambassadors.

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ…” Two Corinthians (wink) 5:20. And truly I was not an an ambassador for Christ until I had a “Damascus Road” conversion experience in the summer of 1975. I even went to two different seminaries and entered into the ministry. Blogs discussing this can be found right here on Bird’s Banter and were written back in the summer of 2014, if you are interested.

Anyway, back to basketball. I attended my first college basketball game in that same winter of the fourth grade,1962, at Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery, AL. Auburn vs. Alabama. The “Iron Bowl” basketball games were played exclusively in Montgomery back in those days. The first one I saw on a campus was in the old Foster Auditorium in Tuscaloosa back in the winter 1967-68. Freshmen didn’t play on the varsity back then, and the freshman game was played before the varsity game in a double header. Auburn great, John Mengelt, was on that freshman team and I was quickly taken with him and his style of play. He remains my favorite Auburn basketball player to this day. (Sorry Sir Charles. I do love you but you’re number two). Auburn won the freshman game. Unfortunately, Alabama won the varsity game on a last second score by Mike Nordholz.

Back to Montgomery. My close friend, Tommy Ratcliffe, went to that first Auburn-Alabama game with daddy and me and Auburn did win that game as well as the freshman game. Herbert Greene led the freshmen to their victory. The names I remember from the varsity were Layton Johns, Billy Tinker, and Larry Chapman (who later became a legendary coach at AUM). Joel Eaves, as in Beard-Eaves Coliseum, was the coach. The Tigers had a very good team that year. 18-6 and 11-3 in the SEC. and some of you folks will remember The Barn (Auburn Sports Arena) that they played in at home. That was the building that infamously burned to the ground during the Auburn-LSU football game in 1996. My son, Luke was a freshman at Auburn at that time.

And we return to our backyard. As I said, I was a wee lad and couldn’t even get the basketball to the goal then. I had to shoot it ‘Granny Style”, with two hands from under my legs. I became pretty good shooting in that manner, but Rick Barry didn’t, later, have anything to worry about. I think he shot about 90% on his free throws using the “Granny Style” during his time with the Golden State Warriors.

Years later our backyard became a serious hub of neighborhood roundball. I even put up a spotlight in a pecan tree and ran an extension cord through a window in my room so we kids could play anytime, day or night. I became quite proficient shooting the ball at that goal over the years. I could just about shoot it with my eyes closed and make shots on that goal. The backboard was dead as a stump and you could hit a bank shot with ease. The goal also bobbed up and down a bit when you shot one that didn’t “strip” it.

I went on to play on the “B” team in the 10th and 11th grade and was on the “A” team as a senior. That 11th grade team went 17-0. Also on the team were Frank McGraw, Johnny “Stick” Dunnam, Steven Terry, Billy Ray Hughes, and five other guys that I cannot remember. Some of the dads of the players and a few other men in Camden, including beloved Mayor, Johnny Mott, had a celebration catfish and oyster dinner for us at the Legion Hut. Johnny Mott tried to get me to eat a raw oyster which I declined to do. Later I did learn to sho nuff love raw oysters.

After high school I played some intramural basketball in college, at Troy, and at seminary in Fort Worth, TX. I believe “String Music” was our team’s nickname in Fort Worth. Also played church league ball in Selma when I was the pastor of the Shady Grove Baptist Church in Burnsville. It was all great fun. And no “Granny Style” anymore!

Yes. Basketball. I have had a passion for the game for 60 years now. And I say all of the above to say this. War Eagle!!! The Auburn men’s basketball team is now NUMBER ONE in the nation and all of creation! ($1 to Big Daddy Lawler). That is according to the AP Poll released today (1/24/21) at noon. The team would also probably be the number one seed in the NCAA Tournament if it were to begin shortly.

Yes! Auburn has the deepest, 11 deep, and best basketball team in all of college basketball. The team is supremely talented and coached by the best in the business, in my estimation. Bruce Pearl has taken a program without a pulse and made it into a perennial power. At Auburn. I think most experts would have told you, over seven years ago when Coach Pearl took the reins of the program, that that would be a virtual impossibility. Yet… here we are. TODAY. “Simply the best, better than ALL the rest.”