A look at this week's slate of SEC action from the perspective of someone who has a particular disdain for his own money.
Sitting down to write this after watching Jim Grobe instruct his Wake Forest team to punt from the Clemson side of the field when down 22 early in the fourth quarter. Jim Grobe is a QUITTER, and both Wake Forest football fans should be furious at his atrocious game management. (Jim Grobe would later go for it from roughly the same position when down by 29 with a few minutes left. If our turds had arms they could defeat Jim Grobe at chess.)
For the second week in a row, we notched a 4-3 mark. The mighty Manny Diaz led SEC-style texas defense (No, really... that was the storyline texas was touting before the season) gave up a late touchdown to allow Baylor to get inside the number. We were oh-so-close to notching our fifth against-the-spread win of the week. Again, [patting self on back], that's two winning weeks in a row, which of course means we're perfectly set up for a 2-5 or 1-6 train wreck for this, the final week of October action.
THE GAME: MASSACHUSETTS +32.5 at VANDERBILT
We love this game and this line for many reasons, not the least of which is the sheer joy of Vandy being a 30+ point favorite over another FBS team. Sure, Massachusetts is the "special" program of FBS this year, frequently spotted sitting in the back corner and eating paste, but they're FBS nevertheless. James Franklin (the one that's the Vandy coach, not the one that's the gimpy Mizzou quarterback) empties the bench and lights up the scoreboard as the 'Dores roll. ANCHOR DOWN!
THE PICK: VANDERBILT -32.5
THE GAME: MISSISSIPPI STATE +24 at ALABAMA
This is what the regular season has become for Alabama: An undefeated, (alleged) Top 15 Bulldog team is coming to T-Town and the oddsmakers don't even expect a competitive game. Sure, Mississippi State's had a marshmallow-soft schedule, but a 7-0 mark should elicit some respect, right? No, not really. Not versus this Alabama team and the carnage they tend to produce (We may be letting our utter fear for the Ags' forthcoming roadtrip to Nicky's Love Dungeon spill over a bit here). But Mullen's got a confident group, so they'll be slow to know that they're overmatched. And may even put a late score on the board against Alabama's third stringers (coming soon to an NFL draft near you) for the cover.
THE PICK: MISSISSIPPI STATE +24
THE GAME: FLORIDA -6.5 vs. GEORGIA
MARK RICHT HAS LOST CONTROL OF HURRICANE SANDY! Windy conditions in Jacksonville this weekend, Cocktail Party attendees, so make sure to keep your drinks covered or perhaps consider a straw. Safety first, as spilled liquor is a party foul. (Warning: Weather-based bullshit 'analysis' to follow) Blustery conditions favor the team that can control the line of scrimmage, and we don't know if you've noticed lately, but that's not exactly Georgia's thing. Coach Boom's confident group will run, run, and run some more. And harass Aaron Murray into submission. (We're actually kinda sorta sold on Muschamp at this point, which frightens us.)
THE PICK: FLORIDA -6.5
THE GAME: KENTUCKY +14 at MISSOURI
We must take a serious moment here and applaud Kentucky for their effort last week against a Georgia team that was clearly disinterested in the whole football game thing that was scheduled to occur. Joker's group didn't give up at home. No, they only give up on the road, like they did a few weeks back at Arkansas. Mizzou's had a week off to get healthy (and by healthy, we mean finding five large gentlemen to play O-Line who don't spend their week in walking boots) and the Tigers are looking to get off the schneid and tally what could very well be their only SEC win of the season. Yikes. Lucky for them, Kentucky has never been accused of playing Old Man Football. (Friendly reminder! Basketball games are but a few weeks away, fine folks of CoMo. And Lexington.)
THE PICK: MISSOURI -14
THE GAME: TENNESSEE +13.5 at SOUTH CAROLINA
Derek Dooley's farewell tour continues, with a potentially entertaining (if you're into snuff films) stop at the Cockaboose Railroad this weekend. The gimpy Dooley has sadly become but a microcosm of his team. (Tangential thought: Has Dooley used a Rascal / Hoveround when recovering from surgery? We'd pay good money for photographic evidence. Just FYI.) South Carolina is finally back at home after a rough two games on the road. Tyler Bray will be handing out interceptions, and Head Ball Coach will take out his frustrations and give little Derek a firm knee right in the orange pants as a lovely parting gift.
THE PICK: SOUTH CAROLINA -13.5
THE GAME: MISSISSIPPI +6 at ARKANSAS
This game has actual stakes, meager though they may be. The loser is essentially eliminated from bowl consideration. Such is the battle for fifth place in the SEC West. Arkansas has showed a pulse of late, with wins over Kentucky and Auburn. Decisive wins, at that. On the other sideline, Ole Miss snapped a lengthy SEC losing streak with a closer-than-the-final-score-indicated 41-20 home win over Auburn last week. We're going to use Auburn as our THE TRANSITIVE PROPERTY TOTALLY WORKS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL! reasoning here. Arky thumped 'em on the road. Ole Miss pulled away late at home. The training wheels are still on for the Rebels, as they're not quite ready to post an SEC road win.
THE PICK: ARKANSAS -6
THE GAME: TEXAS A&M -15 at AUBURN
It's grim on the plains. The University President is issuing vague statements of support that avoid mentioning the coach by name. The students are showing up at practice to cheer on their classmates. Aggies will recognize these behaviors as touchstones of the Dennis Franchione era. (Good luck in your coaching search this offseason, Tigers. And please, please for the love of all that is hilarious, hire Bobby Petrino.) As for this game, we strongly doubt Auburn's ability to run effectively. Or pass effectively. Or block and tackle effectively. But we doubt A&M's ability to cover as double digit chalk on the road at night even more. We'll believe it when we see it, Aggie Football.
THE PICK: AUBURN +15
CAUTION: The likelihood of a third winning week in a row is miniscule. Handle this pristine collection of Soviet-era Russian military surplus hand grenades appropriately.
LAST WEEK: 4-3
YEAR TO DATE: 19-23