Thursday, November 24, 2011

Who Ya Got? The Thanksgiving Leftovers Edition

Nothing riding on this weekend's game, except the final piece for the SEC Championship Game, the BCS Championship Matchup and the future of man as we know it.

Spin this anyway you like. Cut it. Mash it. Slice it. Ginzu Knife it ... The SEC still holds all the cards in the national championship race. If LSU wins Friday, they're in -- even if something really peculiar happens next week in Atlanta. If Alabama wins at Auburn. They're in. If Arkansas upsets LSU, they'll be in if Alabama stumbles or LSU falls to Georgia. It's hard to imagine another team or conference getting back into the discussion. And if chalk holds, it's LSU and Alabama Part Deux early next year in New Orleans.

How can you top five straight championships? By having two SEC teams playing for number 6, that's how. Release the hounds!!

Arkansas at LSU
When he was alive, my father used to predict the outcome of games based on the physical attributes of key players. In his eyes, those with "weak chins" were destined for failure. Which brings us to the Hogs. Bobby Petrino's piggies have the size and skill to make this a game against top-ranked LSU. Except that the Hogs are one team at home and an entirely different one on the road. Death Valley on a Saturday can become an alien outpost, but it still ain't in Arkansas. And Arkansas, in its road unies, hasn't shown it can take a punch.TIGERS, 35-24.

Georgia at Georgia Tech:

One of the truly nasty rival games of the year finds the Dawgs paraphrasing The Clash: Should we play or should we blow? The SEC Championship in Atlanta is clearly Georgia's higher calling. But these two teams just can't stand the sight of each other. Tech's defense stinks, again, but their option has driven Georgia crazy for three years running. This one has upset written all over it, particularly with UGA's muddled tailback situation. But can Tech run the ball? Not sure. Not sure of anything on this pick. But I'll run with the Dawgs. UGA, 28-24.

I've seen two punts blocked. I've seen Bo over the top and Bo run the wrong way. I've seen The Kick. I've seen The Comeback. I've seen Musso best Sullivan to Beasley and the bands flee the stadium when the tornado sirens went off around Legion Field.

But I can't for the life of me see how Auburn wins this game. And that's a little scary. Weird things always happen in the Iron Bowl, sure, and Auburn is a far better team on the Plains. But Alabama is bigger, deeper, more talented, more experienced and has a mad on much bigger than the 24-point lead it blew a year ago. If it needs any more incentive, there's that little matter of having a shot at keeping the national championship trophy instate for another year. TIDE, 28-10.

FSU at Florida:
Two awfully trendy pre-season picks limp into their rivalry game like punch-drunk ham-and-eggers. Who wins this one? The team that shows up, that's who. The Good Ship Jimbo springs another leak. GATORS, 20-17.

Ole Miss at Mississippi State:
Something is rotten in the Egg Bowl. For another year, Dan Mullen's Bulldogs couldn't win a meaningful conference game, and Houston Nutt's last Rebel team is one of the worst in school history. Ole Miss laid down several weeks ago, and it's hard to imagine it getting to its feet, even for the instate rivalry game. When the new coach gets to Oxford, he's not going to know where to start. BULLIES, 24-13.

Clemson at South Carolina:
We'll make this quick. A team that got steam-rolled by NC State doesn't have the ball bearings to go four quarters against a defense as talented as South Carolina. If the Roosters don't drop the ball all over the field and the USC defensive backs do a reasonable job guarding the Tiger wideouts, and if Steve Spurrier doesn't try to steal the spotlight with some cutesy calls, the Gamecocks size and speed on defense should prevail. USC, 21-17.

Tennessee 24, Kentucky 7.