Saturday, October 1, 2011

Who Ya Got? -- Week 5

It's a good day to be an EXPAT: Temperature dropping, significant games to be played in the chill for the first time. So much on the line at so early a point in the season (plus playoff baseball to watch during halftimes).

Alabama at Florida:

In a different sport and generation, John McEnroe ran Bjorn Borg out of tennis by beating him in two matches: Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, both in 1981. To the world, perhaps, it looked like two hard-fought battles that happened to go McEnroe's way. But the two players knew better: McEnroe had figured Borg out, Borg knew it, and the Swede took early retirement instead of a series of future beatings.

Nick Saban delivered that same message to Urban Meyer in 2009 and 2010, pummeling the Gators over six quarters by the combined score of 44-6. Now Meyer, who won two national titles over a three-year period in Gainesville, is in a TV booth, and Saban brings what may be his best UA team to The Swamp. Meyer's ghost will not be waiting. In rapid fire, replacement Will Muschamp has changed the offense and installed a defensive attack he learned as a Saban assistant. Will it be enough?

Keep an eye on the two quarterbacks. Keep an eye on the offensive lines. Keep an eye on which little man -- Marquis Maze for Alabama; Jeffrey Demps and Chris Rainey for UF -- has the biggest impact. In the end, keep an eye on both defenses. Florida has size and speed. UA has that plus experience. For another year at least, the Tide keeps control of this series. Alabama, 23-14

MSU at Georgia

Every week the stakes get a little higher for Georgia coach Mark Richt. Georgia has its season record back to 2-2, with wins over a sugar cookie and the worst Ole Miss team of a lifetime. Now State, disappointing in its own right, offers the latest checkpoint in the Bulldogs' road back to a respectable season. Here, we get a glimpse of how Richt's near future will play out. Close, but take Georgia and the home crowd. Dawgs, 27-24

Kentucky at LSU
When I was an undergrad in Tuscaloosa, a dee-jay with WTBC promo'd a Wildcat visit to Baton Rouge thusly: Kentucky commits suicide in Baton Rouge. That game turned out to be surprisingly competitive. This one will not. LSU, 45-6.

Auburn at South Carolina
The Payback Bowl in Columbia promises to be nowhere near the blowout the Carolina fans feel is deserved. The Gamecocks, though undefeated, have not played a complete game. While Auburn's defense has been dreadful, its offense will make enough big plays against Carolina's talented but undisciplined defense to keep this one interesting. Given the two loses Auburn inflicted last year, USC fans want blood. What they'll get is another win, but not by much. Gamecocks, 35-28.

Elsewhere ...

Arkansas at Texas A&M: Nobody plays particularly well after they face Alabama. Arkansas, beaten. black and blue in Tuscaloosa last Saturday, is no exception. A&M, 31-28.

Tennessee beats Buffalo 45-20.

Fresno State beats Ole Miss, 24-23 (The Rebs have been sleep-walking all season; with the three-hour time change, they achieve REM.)



EatEmAndSmile said...

Wow, your prediction skills need a lot of work. Congratulations on correctly picking the easy games (LSU vs UK). I would try and keep your money away from Vegas.

Woo Pig Sooie

Michael said...

EEAS, I do stink. Which is why I've never bet a dollar on a football game my entire life.

Congrats on your comeback, or the smell off my week wouldn't have been so bad.