SEC Football: Week Zero (Say whaaaaaat?)


Week Zero, what a concept huh, was kind to the lone SEC team to see action yesterday as mighty Vanderbilt hammered host Hawaii like a ten penny nail, 63-10.

Jethro Bodine, aspiring “Double Naught Spy”, was elated at college football’s first weekend having incorporated “Zero” into the weekend’s title. Miss Jane Hathaway was rumored to be instrumental in the name selection process of the season’s unveiling.

Jed Clampett responded with an enthusiastic, “Welllll doggie!” when informed of the SEC team’s first game victory. Miton Drysdale was not available for comment. And Granny Clampett was last seen out by the family’s cement pond nipping on some rhuematiz “medicine” late Saturday evening.

And now, on to how Vegas views the activities scheduled for what is being termed “Week One” of NCAA football, oddly enough. Chuck Negron, of Three Dog Night fame, was highly influential in the decision making for an apt moniker of contests to be played September 1-5.

Ball State at Tennessee (-34)
LA Tech at Missouri (-19)
Sam Houston at Texas A&M (-29.5)
Oregon at Georgia (-17) Atlanta
Cincinnati at Arkansas (-6.5)
Troy at Ole Miss (-22.5)
Utah (-3) at Florida 👀
Miami Ohio at Kentucky(-16.5)
Mercer at Auburn (-31.5)
Elon at Vanderbilt (-19)
Utah State at Alabama (-41.5)
Memphis at Miss State (-15)
Georgia State at South Carolina (-12.5)
Florida State at LSU (-3)

Predictions coming soon!

(Photo courtesy of Openverse)


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.”


SEC Football: Week 13 Picks

I just lost my opening paragraph, again, when I thought I “saved draft” on my computer. I’ve been starting these masterpieces (LOL!!!) on my phone in many instances this 2021 college football season. The computer has been more reliable in saving the blasted things but it certainly did not cooperate this time. So, now, these words constitute my opening paragraph. Speaking of not cooperating. Many years ago, 1988 maybe, I heard Melodye and Leah going at it in Leah’s room one morning before school. The typical wrangle over what Leah wanted to wear. Things quieted down a bit before I heard this shout of declaration, “I will cooperate! I will cooperate!” Wise choice of words darling daughter. Miss Mel has a very long fuse, but when said fuse is burned to a nub, you done went and did it. I tend to have a very, very long fuse when it comes to Auburn coaches. The next game I coach will be my first. I have no idea of the complexity of the intricacies these gents deal with and I cannot imagine the pressure that they operate under. That being said… Well, I’ll just leave it at that for now.

Ole Miss (-2) at Mississippi State

First game of “Rivalry Week.” Ye olde Egg Bowl. I forgot the origin of how this game came to be know as the Egg Bowl. I do know it can get really nasty when these two go at each other. And now, with Kiffin and Leach, we have ourselves a full blown circus. Ah! The potential quotes just waiting to be verbalized! And a tough one to pick. Home team? Highest ranked team? Both teams can sling it around with the best of them. Will Rogers, great philosopher and grassroots statesman. Matt Corral, no shootout at the OK, and no wisecracks like Doc Holiday, but quite the gunslinger. I think State has the better defense. That, coupled with the home field advantage, moves the needle to… Miss State 34, Ole Miss 31.

Missouri at Arkansas (-14.5)

Tigers and Tusks. Live from beautiful Fayetteville, AR. And they have a Friday time slot. Should be another entertaining test. Piggies are 7-4 and ranked number 25 in some poll. If it’s not the CFP poll then it’s, basically, irrelevant. Hey! Eli’s coming with a bowl eligible 6-5 team. The visitors can pull even with Sam Pittman’s crew, record wise, if they can pull the upset. I have a story about going to one of those huge honky tonks that used to be prevalent across the nation’s landscape many years ago. I’ve been to Billy Bob’s Texas on multiple occasions. I went to one somewhere in Silicon Valley before it REALLY became Silicon Valley. It was the largest one west of the Mississippi, so I was told. That was 1993. Anyway, I was at the one that was popular in Fayetteville, Arky in ’94 or ’95. It was ok except for the line dancing, which I truly loathed back then, and still do. I’ll relay the story at a later date. The home team will be doing the dancing in the locker room Friday. Arkansas 38, Missouri 24.

Georgia (-35) at Georgia Tech

First game of the day! Nick nick nick! A game? Really. The Bees lost 55-Zippo to the Fighting Irish last week. I don’t expect anything radically different Satday. Grant Field. Legion Field. Sally Fields. No matter. You know the line in I’m A Rambling Wreck From Georgia Tech? “Like all other jolly good fellows, I drink my whiskey clear.” That is my advice to the supporters of the North Street boys. Start early and finish late. It will all be over before dark. And how about TWO italicized lines in this blurb? Georgia 49. Georgia Tech 3.

Florida State at Florida (-2.5)

Just like last week. Water Lizards favored!? Again, somebody in Vegas is drunk. Dapper Dan could be. He’s free and easy with his buyout and Darth Vader outfit. Eli Drinkwitz (you) trolled Danny Boy pretty good with his Star Wars outfit and this comment. “My father is a farmer and there’s an old saying that you reap what you sow. If you sow kindness, you reap kindness. If you sow jackass, you reap jackass.” Wise words. You might want to take them to heart Dan-0. Noles will drain the Swamp. Florida State 31, Florida 27.

Vanderbilt at Tennessee (-31.5)

That’s a big ole line. The Dores have been getting pretty frisky lately. I don’t know if the Rocky Toppers can lay it on that thick. Ok, they can lay it on that thick. But will they? Nope. Tennessee 45, Vanderbilt 20.

Texas A&M (-6.5) at LSU

Red Stick in the evening. Upset? Maybe. Yaw Yaw remains the coach. Jimbo is, most assuredly, a better coach. And I do believe that the Aggies are a better team. The air will be wafting the smells of bourbon, corn dogs and gumbo. What a trifecta! The guys from Texas play better defense and, well, better offense. It all adds up to… Texas A&M 28, LSU 17.

Clemson (-11.5) at South Carolina

Will Roosterville be as rude to Dabo’s minions as it was to Harsin’s gang? The Felines have been playing well of late, as have the Fowl. Clempson certainly has the better team. I thought Auburn did too. No to the Tigers last week. Yes this week. Clemson 27, South Carolina 17.

Kentucky at Louisville (-3)

Is the Cardinals stadium still Papa John’s Palace or whatever it was? The pizza is falling out of the sky! The pizza is falling out of the sky! ($1 to Larry Munson.) Cats have the better record but they sure have been stumbling around here in the mid to late autumn. They have rebounded from that three game losing streak to pound a couple of much lesser opponents. The Redbirds have also walloped their last two lesser opponents. Home field advantage looks good from here. Extra cheese and pepperoni, if you will. Papa John’s or no Papa John’s. Louisville 24, Kentucky 21.

Alabama (-19.5) at Auburn

I love reading that. AT AUBURN. At Auburn has been very good to the Tigers in Jordan-Hare. They are 10-5 here versus the Crimson Tide. Strange things have happened during this game at Jordan-Hare, also. There is most definitely some mojo for the home team in this venue. I’ve never seen anything like it. Folks can talk about any other rivalry that they care to, and none of them come close to what has been dubbed The Iron Bowl. This will be my 41st Auburn-Alabama game to attend. I prefer that to Iron Bowl. (Having more fun with italics.) Alabama has the better team. And that point is enhanced by Auburn losing Bo Nix, Anders Carlson and Owen Pappoe to injuries. Part of the game boys and girls. All of that puts the visitors at a distinct advantage. It would take a monumental effort form Finley, Tank and the others on offense. The defense would have to play lights completely out and have Bryce Young running for his life. I think some of that will happen but not enough to put Auburn over the top. Alabama 34, Auburn 20.

Auburn also kept me from having a perfect tally last week. I was 9-1 and that upset did me in. Please fool me again this week Tigers! How did President W put it? “Fool me once. Fool me twice. Fool me with some beans and rice.” I don’t know. I’m 81-23 on the year and that is a .778 pct. No more locks. Done with that, although I do like Leach’s squad and the points. Go eat some turkey. Have you a tasty beverage. Live out of gratitude. Be careful. Shake a tail feather. And love thy neighbor. Peace out!

SEC Football: Week 12 Picks

Oops! It is almost 6:00 PM ET and I forgot to do my picks. Getting old is, well, you know the drill, getting old. We’ve got Auburn basketball at 7 o’clock, so, boys and girls. You are going to get an abbreviated version of SEC Football Picks this week. When you see the slate of games you’ll be happy things turned out that way. Onward!

Charleston Southern at Georgia (No line)

Dawgs by 49

Prairie View at Texas A&M (No line)

Aggies by 45

Tennessee State at Mississippi State (No line)

SEC Officials Favorite Team by 50

New Mexico State at Kentucky (-36)

Cats by 38

South Alabama at Tennessee (-28)

Corn Cobs by 30

UL Monroe at LSU (-29)

Kitties by 31

Now we get into some serious SEC football.

Arkansas at Alabama (-20.5)

This could be a very good ballgame for a spell. The Pigs come to play. Alabama is pretty good at this too. The Tide will ultimately roll. Alabama 35, Arkansas 17

Florida (-8.5) at Missouri

The Water Lizards are favored. Somebody’s drunk in Vegas. Eli should have a Drinkwitz him. Missouri 42, Florida 35

Auburn (-7.5) at South Carolina

Somebody got sober in Vegas. T.J. Finley is ready to roll and will have a solid game. Auburn needs redemption in the worst kind of way. It should find that in Columbia, SC. Auburn 31, South Carolina 21

Vanderbilt at Ole Miss (-36.5)

Whassup with all the .5’s? Geez! The Grove Gang puts a drubbing on the Anchormen. Ole Miss 45, Vanderbilt 13

Was really hoping for a perfect record last week but the two Mississippi teams screwed that up royally. 6-2 on the week. Forgot to pick a lock. Failing miserably in my life as a thief. The season tally now is 72-22. That be a pct. of .765. Be safe. Love thy neighbor as thyself. Next week is Rivalry Week! YeeeHaaaw! “She played tambourine with a silver jingle and she must have known the words to at least a million tunes…”

SEC Football: Week 11 Picks

Here we are at Week 11 of NCAA football. In less than two weeks we’ll eating turkey and giving thanks. The giving thanks is the most important of the two. The great Ray Wylie Hubbard wrote in one of his songs, “And the days that I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, I have really good days.” May it be so. Last week was a bit of a struggle in the ole pickin’ department. I was 4-3 and I also missed my lock, Auburn +4.5 at A&M. That makes me 5-4 in the locks category. My season record is 66-20 and that comes to a pct. of .767. Come on! Let’s hit 90% this round!

New Mexico State at Alabama (-51.5)

I think we would all enjoy this game more if it were in Las Cruces, the home of the Aggies. It is absolutely beautiful out there in southern New Mexico. No offense to those who love T-Town. Bend over and grab your ankles, NMS. Alabama 49, New Mexico State 3.

Mississippi State at Auburn (-5.5)

Both this one and the Bama game are nooners ET. Fine. AU returns to the friendly confines of Jordan-Hare Stadium. It won’t rock like it does at night but the crowd will still be a factor. The O line, along with Bo Nix and company will be serious about some redemption. The D will do a good enough job against Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense. Auburn 28, Miss State 20.

Samford at Florida (No line)

No pole. Therefore we cannot go down to the crawdad hole. The Baptist boys from Birmingham will wish they had gone fishing once Dapper Dan’s crew is finished with them. Dan needs the reprieve badly. His fanny is hotter than (you fill in the blank). Florida 45, Samford 10.

Georgia (-20) at Tennessee

I’m watching Tim Tebow with Paul Finebaum, on Pawl’s show, as I type this on my phone. Tim was making a case that Tennessee could win if certain things fall the Vols’ way. As my son, Luke would say, ”No.” Georgia 35, Tennessee 17.

South Carolina (-1) at Missouri

How bout dem Cocks?! They put a whoopin’ on Dapper Dan’s Water Lizards last week. Haw! It’ll be a scrap between Beamer’s Roosters and Drinkwitz (you’s) Felines. The line strongly suggests this. Might be one of the best games of the day. Missouri 31, South Carolina 27.

Texas A&M (-2.5) at Ole Miss

Another potential dandy! Jimbo was pissin’ and moanin’ about Auburn players simulating his team’s precious snap counts. Really! He whined about Dameyune Craig stealing FSU’s signals in the BCS National Championship Game. Craig was on the FSU staff the previous year. Shut up and and take your wins graciously Butthead. I wish Lane would hang 50 on you. No such luck. Texas A&M 28, Ole Miss 24.

Kentucky (-21.5) at Vanderbilt

The Cats lost a heartbreaker to the up and coming Rock Toppers last Satday. Said Cats will not have that happen two weeks running. The Anchormen, $1 to Will Ferrell. I have a Will Ferrell encounter story I’ll tell next week. Gotta keep the hook in y’all to stay with me. $1 to Rod Stewart. But no story of me and Rod. Back to the point. The Anchormen will put up a fight early, but the Bluegrass boys will pull away in the second half. Kentucky 35, Vanderbilt 13.

Arkansas (-2.5) at LSU

Mercy! $1 to Roy Orbison. I’m going broke handing out all these George Washingtons! Anyhoo, there will likely be many a pretty woman at Tiger Stadium Satday night. Can’t pull the mild upset trigger on this one. Arkansas 30, LSU 23.

Y’all enjoy the clashes this week! Having to sell my tickets again. Still can’t make the long walks it takes to attend a game on the Plains. Going in two weeks if I have to go on crutches. Iron Bowl baby! But, there is the matter of one more “regular” week in 2021 before we get to “Rivalry Week.” See you right here next Friday! Enjoy life and love your neighbor! Peace out!

SEC Football: Week 10 Picks

It’s time to separate the men from the boys, the contenders from the pretenders, in the SEC and across the entire college football landscape. Yes, we are about to enter the proverbial home stretch. Your Picker went 3-1 in Week Nine and he also hit his lock, Georgia -14 versus Florida. We’re now 5-3 in the locks category. The season record is 62-17. That is a .784 pct. My lock this week is Auburn +4.5. There are seven games involving SEC teams in Week 10. Let’s decipher these tests.

Missouri at Georgia (-39.5)

This one is not even fair. The guys at the Alamo had a better chance than the visitors from Columbia, MO have twixt the hedges Satday. The only decision Kirby has to make is whether to bake, broil or fry Eli’s bunch. The Tigers head coach will certainly want to have a Drinkwitz someone when this shellacking is completed. Georgia 52, Missouri 10.

Liberty at Ole Miss (-9.5)

Well well well. Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze returns to the scene of the crimes in one of the more interesting battles of the weekend. Storylines abound! If the Flames were to pull off the upset, ol’ Hugh might have to be, ahem, “escorted” off the field at the game’s conclusion, and not in the manner to which he is accustomed. Lane should have his Train on track and the hometown heroes return to their winning ways. In a shootout. Ole Miss 45, Liberty 37.

Auburn at Texas A&M (-4.5)

The CBS feature game of the week. That feature game comes with one major caveat. Our favorite color commentator, Gary Danielson, will be in the booth. Enjoy! Auburn can take a huge step in the quest toward Hotlanta, so can the Aggies. The Tigers remain in the hunt if they cannot topple A&M. The home team is, essentially, eliminated if it loses. Big fat game! The old mantra, run the ball and stop the run, is, again, applicable here. I think Auburn will be able to do that better than than Jimbo’s troops. I also think Bo Nix will be the X factor that helps Coach of the Year candidate, Bryan Harsin, secure his seventh win of the season. Auburn 27, Texas A&M 23.

Mississippi State at Arkansas (-4.5)

Our third doozy in a row as we work our way down the Week 10 picks. Coach Mike “Pirate” Leach’s Pups continue to find their footing in the Air Raid offense and they aren’t bad on defense either. Pittman’s Pigs are also a solid squad, as well. This one could easily go either way and I’ll have to give the nod to the Razorbacks as they hold the home team advantage. Arkansas 28, Miss State 24.

LSU at Alabama (-28.5)

The Bayou Bengals have become purring, docile kitties. They would be better off with a forfeit. That score would only be 2-0. But they have to travel all the way to Tuscaloosa, get humiliated, and return to Red Stick (Wouldn’t that be a good title for something? A book, a movie, a doggie fetch show maybe?) Return To Red Stick, starring the deposed Ed “Coach O” Oregon, with co-star Nick “Aflac” Saban. True story. A Bama “fan” called into Finebaum the Monday after the loss to A&M and suggested that the Tide would fare much better if Saban didn’t do those commercials during halftime. You can’t make this stuff up, folks. Alabama 48, LSU 16.

Tennessee (-1) at Kentucky

Back to the “dandies”, and this should be one. The way these two teams have been trending, you would think the Vols have the upper hand. But the Felines are back home at Kroger Field and that has to be an advantage. No? Tennessee can score points in bunches. Kentucky can play some pretty salty defense. In a thriller of a tossup. Kentucky 28, Tennessee 27.

Florida (-20.5) at South Carolina

What’s up with Dapper Dan? He’s been awful testy and thin-skinned as of late. Recruiting season? Isn’t that every hour of every day Dan-o? Is he losing his team? Is he in hot water? Does he still have his shoe deal? That’s one thing that makes him dapper, along with his Clooney-esque hair gel. If the Water Lizards don’t win this week, then he could have to start peddling that stuff. “Hi! I’m Dapper Dan and I’m a Dapper Dan man!” The Roosters could make it interesting for, possibly, a good while. But I just can’t see an upset here. Florida 31, South Carolina 20.

Braves win!!! Braves win!!! Braves win!!! Wasn’t that something, folks? I watched a little bit of the parade that we didn’t dare go near Atlanta to do. The brief observations took place right here at 116. In beautiful Cherokee County, Georgia. That’s the way it’s been with football. I remain sidelined and have watched all but one Auburn game on tv. I am probable for the Mississippi State game next Satday! Until next week, exercise regularly, eat minimal amounts of sugar, do your daily devotionals, and love your neighbor. Peace out!

SEC Football: Week Nine Picks

Boom! We finally had a perfect week! Yes, week eight was an unblemished and, thus, we are inspired to reach similar heights beginning this round. The season record is now 59-16. That makes the pct. .786. I forgot to pick a lock (was I trying to break into a safe?) and the season lock tally remains at 4-3. Several teams have a bye week, as was the case last week. And so, my fellow football fanatics, let’s do this!

Missouri (-16.5) at Vanderbilt

“Nashville cats, play clean as country water 
Nashville cats, play wild as mountain dew 
Nashville cats, been playin’ since they’s babies 
Nashville cats, get work before they’re two…”

If anyone can tell me who wrote and recorded that song, without cheating, that person will receive free tickets to this weekend’s big game between Vanderbilt and Missouri!


That’s just how much excitement surrounds this contest in NashVegas Satday. The Tigers are heavy favorites, as they should be, but if they are not on their p’s and q’s, they could be embarrassed by the Anchor boys. Missouri 38, Vanderbilt 27.

Georgia (-14) vs. Florida (In Jacksonville, FL)

“The World’s Largest Cocktail Party.” I am compelled to use that term in describing this high profile battle, each and every time I write about it, because it has been banned in official usage for some time now. For what it’s worth, there’ll be a whole heap of drankin’ going on in the River City, and environs, this weekend. Georgia is much better and will win the football game. The drinking game? Your guess is as good as mine. Georgia 38, Florida 16.

Ole Miss at Auburn (-3)

This could be the best game of the week. It is certainly the premier game being played in the Southeastern Conference. Number 10 vs. number 18. Now, let’s stop it right there. The Lane Train and Ole Miss have been getting a whole lotta love in 2021 (Cue Led Zeppelin). Deserved? Maybe. You cannot deny that Matt Corral deserves all the love he’s been getting. He is lights out. He will need to be neutralized to some degree. And I will say this, Auburn and Bo Nix quietly continue to improve each week. The Tigers should get many of their walking wounded back Bryan Harsin is finding firm footing in the SEC. This is a huge game for both teams. You better lookout for the squad that emerges as a winner Saturday. I full expect the winner to be the home team. At night in Jordan-Hare. Auburn 42, Ole Miss 31.

Kentucky at Mississippi State (-1)

Another potential humdinger. The home team has been gaining a foothold in the SEC throughout the season and now are a rather formidable opponent. The Cats keep marching toward a season to remember. The sparks should fly in StarkVegas on Satday night. Look for this one to go down to the wire, Kentucky 28, Miss State 24.

Let’s not forget to do a lock this week. I’ll take Georgia -14 over the Florida Water Lizards. I hope each and every one of you has a great weekend. Go Braves! Be safe on the highways and byways. The glass is neither half full or half empty. The glass is full. Love your neighbor. And, as always, click, read, share. Peace out!

SEC Football: Week Eight

When I sat down to begin writing this blog a few minutes ago, I had the TV on and heard Paul Finebaum welcome Lane Kiffin to his program. So I stopped, went into the den, and listened to what the Ole Miss coach would have to say about the game tomorrow with LSU. Soon into the interview they got to the subject of Coach O and his situation and moved on to his relationship with Coach Kiffin. Lane spoke glowingly of Coach O and of how Orgeron mentored and taught him so much about coaching and particularly recruiting, among other things. Then the conversation turned to the game last weekend in Neyland Stadium and the nightmare that occurred there in Knoxville. Lane played it all down and tried to keep it light. Then he was asked about having all the the debris, including the golf ball thrown at him and his team. The crowd had also been screamed at Kiffin in unflattering ways. The Ole Miss coach replied that he had something of a God moment and tried to return love to the frenzied fans that were abusive toward him. I was a bit stunned and had a God moment myself because of what the Ole Miss coach said.

We often get so wrapped up in the games and our passion gets the best of of us and we speak very harshly of the other teams, coaches, players, and the officials. We sometimes speak nastily of players and coaches on our own teams. I have worked hard on not behaving or speaking in that manner over the years and even moreso as of late. We were taught sportsmanship where I grew up and we were taught to behave as ladies and gentlemen.

One more thing before I get to the five games on the SEC schedule for this weekend. Our daughter and her husband have taught their daughter to never use the word hate. We strive not to use the word ourselves. Three or four weeks ago Melodye was on the phone with an extended family member talking about something very troublesome that had occurred to another family member and she said that she hated that it had happened. Our granddaughter was nearby listening, of course, and she said “Granny, we try not to use the word hate.” May it be so.

Now, let’s talk some SEC football!

AR-Pine Bluff at Arkansas (-48.5) @ Little Rock

When I worked for AAA, inspecting hotels, restaurants, campgrounds, and attractions (somebody’s got to do it), Arkansas was in my territory for three years. One of the “moments” I had, while traveling in The Natural State, was leaving Pine Bluff very shortly after sunrise one morning. A sense of beauty, belonging, wonder, awe, and peace came over me. I know that you have had many similar moments, as have I. Unfortunately, it probably won’t be one of those moments for AR-Pine Bluff on the field at War Memorial Stadium. I hope they enjoyed the trip over and do have special moments involving the spectacle of playing the mothership of football in the state. On the field it will not be pretty. Arkansas 56, AR-Pine Bluff 7.

LSU at Ole Miss (-8)

We return to the subject of Coach Kiffin’s Rebels and his mentor’s Tiguhs. It should be a most exciting clash. The Bayou Bengals showed prowess to get off the mat and win a big conference game in Red Stick last Satday versus the free falling (Tom Petty, a Gator, reference) Water Lizards. In a fight to the finish. Ole Miss 44, LSU 38.

Mississippi State (-20.5) at Vanderbilt

The hometown Music City boys came within an eyelash of defeating South Carolina last weekend. They won’t do that Satday. But will they scrap mightily? I hope so. The Pirate will direct his ship into the murky waters of the Cumberland River and NashVegas, seeking to return to StarkVegas with a victory. The Commodores will throw down the anchor but it won’t be enough. Mississippi State 42, Vanderbilt 24.

Tennessee at Alabama (-25)

It’s not the third Saturday in October in more ways than one. It just ain’t what it was. I think the last time The Rocky Toppers beat the Crimson Tide the wise men were trekking their way to Bethlehem bearing gifts to the baby Jesus. This one has a slight chance of being a shootout. A wide open affair would be fun to watch and it might begin that way but Saban and company pull away and win this homecoming contest on The Capstone. Alabama 45, Tennessee 20.

South Carolina at Texas A&M (-19.5)

Deep in the heart of Texas! We made the journey to Kyle Field in 2013 to see Nick Marshall and my Auburn Tigers upset Johnny Football and the Aggies. It was a glorious day that helped catapult The Gus Bus onward to the BCS National Championship game. It remains my favorite Auburn road trip of all time. Tremendous folks out there in College Station. This game will not be as scintillating as that one those eight years ago. I do hope the Rooster delegation has a great time like we did. Texas A&M 35, South Carolina 13.

And now it’s time to say goodbye to Jed and all his kin. Oh yeah! Last week we were, again, just one game shy of going perfect. Another 6-1. The record now stands at 54-16. That’s a .771 pct. I nailed my lock last week. Auburn plus five at Arkansas. Locks record is now 4-3 on the season. I hope you good folks have a wonderful weekend and enjoy some great SEC football and also revel in the joy of the Braves winning the pennant on Satday night! Let’s close out with something from the late great Glen Campbell.

“You’ve got to try a little kindness, yes show a little kindness. Just shine your light for everyone to see. And if yo try a little kindness, then you’ll overlook the blindness of the narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets.”

Peace out!

SEC Football: Week Seven Picks

It’s me! Ernest T! That was the first thing that popped into my head when I sat down to do this thing. Speaking of Andy Griffith, if you’ve never heard his comic masterpiece, ”They Call It Football,”do yourself a favor and give it a listen. Hey, listen again even if you have heard it. And, I would pay to listen to a college football prediction podcast hosted by Howard Sprague and Floyd the barber. They could have some guest pickers each week. Andy, Barney, Gomer, Goober, Otis. Heck, the could have Helen and Thelma Lou on as special guests one week. “Hey, Barn! Who’ve you got in the Kentucky-Georgia game? It’s between the hedges. Georgia minus 21 and a half.” And that brings us to week seven picks!

Auburn at Arkansas (-5)

It’s the first game of a CBS double header. The betting has been heavy, heavy on the Pigs. This is a critical game for both teams. Auburn controls its own destiny. Win out and you’re in Hotlanta. Might sound far-fetched but it’s true. Arky has struggles against the run. Run the football. If Auburn can do that and hits a few explosive plays, then it wins. IMHO. The Felines have won five-in-a-row in the series. The Razorbacks will be primed for this one. Back home after getting their butts whipped. Twice. They’ll be mad. Mad won’t be enough. Auburn 27, Arkansas 24.

Florida (-11.5) at LSU

An 11 AM kickoff in Red Stick. The stadium will be half empty and not terribly noisy. The Cajuns are mad too. They want a new coach. It’s a hot mess down on the Bayou. The corn dogs are stale. The gumbo is flat. The Water Lizards have had their issues as well. Dapper Dan will have a plan. I don’t think it’ll go down to the wire. The Swampers, not the Muscle Shoals guys, will be singing a victory tune after it’s said and done. Florida 37, LSU 20.

Texas A&M (-10.5) at Missouri

Show me the way to go home, I’m tired and I want to go to bed…” The home towners can incorporate the state moniker into its song of defeat. That’s the short of it. The Aggies have been as high as Willie Nelson at the peak of one of his famous picnics since they beat Bama. We went to the 2003 Willie Nelson picnic. Speaking of high. The Dead also played opening night. They began with a long jam which morphed into a Sam Cook cover, “Get in the groove and let the good times roll. We’re gonna stay here till we sooth our souls, if it takes all night long.” Some dude, in front of us, in a cowboy hat and boots said, “Well, that group finally got through with their first song after an hour,” Yep. That’s The Dead. Texas A&M 34, Missouri 24.

Kentucky at Georgia (-21.5)

Cats and Dawgs. Benson and Hedges. Those were some long cigarettes. 101’s. “A silly millimeter longer.” I started on Winstons back when in ’69. I eventually worked my way over to Kools and later to Kool Milds before I quit in ’75. I don’t miss ’em. So much for the Bensons, back to the Hedges. Jawja at home. Jawja on the road. Don’t matter. Pups fared well on the road last week while Kanetuck was pounding what remains of LSU. The march to Hotlanta continues. Georgia 27, Kentucky 17.

Vanderbilt at South Carolina (-18)

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. YAAAAAWWWWWNNNNN! Cock a doodle do! Wake up! This is the Rooster! Prepare for your demise. South Carolina 34, Vanderbilt 17.

Alabama (-17) at Mississippi State

Alabama is coming off a loss. How often do you hear that? Alabama is coming off a loss. That’s more rare than a 1909 SVDB penny. Mike Leach will bring an Air Raid party to Dais-Wade Stadium in StarkVegas Saturday night. Leach was once asked, at a press conference, what was the best party he had ever been to. He said it was at the Flora Bama Lounge. Then he went on to explain this as only Mike Leach can do. I hope this game is as much fun as a party at the Flora Bama. I think it will be for a bit. But ultimately the Tide will roll, just like the waters of the Gulf of Mexico in LA. Alabama 34, Miss State 21.

Ole Miss (-2.5) at Tennessee

We were talking about tobacco back up the blog a piece. We spent six years in a dwelling on Cecil Keesling’s tobacco and cattle farm, about 20 minutes north of Nashville from midway1990 to midway 1996. He kept the tobacco hanging in a barn out there. One day my son Luke relieved some of the tobacco from its spot in the barn and took it to school to sell it. Luke also mowed the word Satan in our spacious lawn on the riding mower. We saw Cecil out there attempting to decipher the demonic code shortly thereafter. I don’t know if he cracked it or not. Three hours to the east of us was Knoxville. Home of the Tennessee Vols. Those Vols, as you have noted, are an underdog at Neyland Stadium. That’s where the Corn Liquor Crowd will play host to the Rebels of Old Mississippi. This should be one of the best games of the day. There will be a heap of points piled up on the banks of the Tennessee River Satday. That we do know. I call this little contest dead even. Turnovers and/or penalties could tell the tale. Another one of those shaky nods to… Ole Miss 45, Tennessee 42.

Dang Alabama! It’s game was the only one I missed last week. AND that was my lock. Those now stand at 3-3. Overall we’re at 48-15 for a .761 pct. My lock? Auburn plus 5. “Winstons taste good like a cigarette should. Winstons taste good like a (pat pat) cigarette should!” Well slap the dog and spit in the fire! It’s time to get outta here. You know what to do. Love your neighbor. Drive safely. And if you feel an overwhelming urge to speak in unknown tongues, just let her rip. Peace out!

SEC Football: Week Six Picks

Week Five of picks was a mediocre effort, 5-3. That won’t won’t do. Overall record now stands at 42-14 for a .750 pct. I missed my lock, Arky at Georgia. That record is now 3-2. As Gus used to say, ‘We got to get butter.” How about Dem Tigers going down to Red Stick and breaking that hex voodoo jinx? Yeah! My blew gasket caused me to miss the trip to Louisiana and I cannot make it to the Georgia game either. But I can do this. Let’s go!

Arkansas at Ole Miss (-5.5)

They’ll be groovin’ in the Grove Saturday in Oxford. Burgers, ribs, BBQ, potato salad, desserts galore, and a big ol’ bowl of popcorn right smack dab in the middle of the table! Haw! Both of these squads got their comeuppance last weekend and are looking to right the ship. It should be a dandy! Methinks the home team has the edge. Ole Miss 38, Arkansas 31.

Vanderbilt at Florida (-39)

Back when my daughter was quite small she used the term “uh oye!”, when something went amiss, instead of the classic ”uh oh!” That is exactly what I said when I saw this one was next in my line of picks. And the game is to take place in The Swamp. ”Uh oye!” deux. The Gators lost last week and they’re angry. An ”Uh oye!” trifecta! Florida 55, Vanderbilt 10.

South Carolina at Tennessee (-10.5)

Rocky Top, Rocky Top! The Volunteers opened a can on Mizzou last week and cussed them while they were kickin’ them! Haw! The Roosters were given a fit by the men of Troy. I don’t think this will be a whippin’ of enormous magnitude although the home team should win the game. Tennessee 35, South Carolina 21.

Georgia (-15) at Auburn

The Big One. When I saw the opening line on this classic old rivalry, I thought it was a bit high. Then I paused to consider it and realized it really wasn’t too high at all. Georgia is a very, very good football team. Auburn is good and getting better. Coach Harsin is on a mission and he intends to accomplish that mission. This will be another step in establishing a new culture at Auburn. Visiting teams have struggled with raucus home crowds in the SEC in 2021. This will be the first hostile crowd that many of the Pups have experienced in their college careers. Covid taking care of last year. The last intimidating crowd the Dawgs actually came up against was at Jordan-Hare in 2019. Georgia’s eye popping defensive stats have to begin to adjust to a human level at some point. That could be Saturday. The Tigers will come in breathing fire. This one goes four quarters. And when it is all said and done. Georgia 24, Auburn 17.

North Texas at Missouri (-19)

When you were growing up, didn’t it seem there was always a dud in a pack of firecrackers? Well, boys and girls, this is that dud. Eli had a Drinkwitz his D line coach last week after the beatdown the Kitties received at Neyland Stadium last Satday and handed him a pink slip. Ho hum. Missouri 37, North Texas 20.

LSU at Kentucky (-2.5)

When was the last time The Cats were favored over the Bayou Bengals? I have no idea. Ok, that can be one of you good people’s homework. They are having football fun in Lexington and I love it. They aired a BASKETBALL tipoff show from AUBURN last night. Downtown on Toomer’s Corner. Playing roundball. Say what? ”When the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars.” And as Bobby Dylan sang, “the times they are a changin’.” There’s a bad moon on the rise in Baton Rouge. The days and nights ahead appear dark and ominous. Kentucky 24, LSU 21.


Alabama (-18) at Texas A&M

This was supposed to be the Big One on October 9. Hit ain’t. Speaking of bad moons on the rise. One is sho nuff on the rise in College Station, TX. It’s hard to imagine that, arguably, the Aggies could plummet to the cellar of the SEC West. Strange days, indeed. Here comes the knockout punch, Jamesbo. Alabama 38, Texas A&M 14.

Whoa! My lock! Let’s put forth a good one. Got to tighten up. ”Now make it mellow.” Archie Bell and the Drells. Bama -18.

Take care. Drive safely. Read the Bible. Love your neighbor. And pet the dog. Peace out!