Hello mediocrity/ my old friend/ I’ve come to talk of you again.
Yeah, it’s a Paul Simon paraphrase, and that great songwriter has retired from live performing. There are more than a few who have suggested I do the same with my predictioneering.
Another 2-3 weekend and at 12-13, I’ve fallen below .500 for the season for the first time since, well, ever.
But I ain’t goin’ nowhere.
Yet, understanding that changes are indeed in order, here’s what I’ve done.
I changed the locks on my front door. I changed the number on my phone. I changed the kind of car I drive. I changed the kind of clothes I wear. I changed the tracks underneath the train. I changed the name of this town.
And, for good measure, I changed my HVAC filter, razor blade, and bed sheets. And oh yeah, my socks.
So, kids, I’m back at it, feeling really optimistic about this weekend’s picks.
Here they are:
Middle Tennessee @ Marshall. So, to kick start some winning around here, I turn to a game between two Group of Five schools about which I haven’t the slightest knowledge. Except that an old associate of mine is a major fan and supporter of the the Thundering Herd. A specious strategy, I admit. But, to coin a phrase, desperate times call for desperate measures . The Blue Raiders are still pumped over last week’s W over league favorite Florida Atlantic’s Fightin’ Schnellenbergers on a two point conversion with seconds to play. Then again, We Are Marshall tallied at 1:44 to play to steal a victory over the Hilltoppers near the Corvette sink hole. The winner here will have a proverbial leg up in the C-USA East. So, whom do I like? For no other reason than it will make my pals Larry and Cheryl happy -- and that they are slight faves -- I’m going Green. Herd tramples.
Oklahoma vs. Texas (Dallas). Because it is what I do, I can’t help but wonder how much it bugs Razorback alum Jerry Jones that he can’t get this annual showdown played in his house instead of the ancient Cotton Bowl during the Texas State Fair. Of course, that musing has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with which school might prevail in this intriguing matchup. But it did allow me to bide some time before making a selection. Here’s the truth: Kyler Murray is the most exciting player in the college pigskin. Perhaps the best. He’s completed 70% of his tosses, with 17 TDs and only 2 picks. He’s averaging over 6 yards a rush on 46 totes. Other than an OT escape against The Long Gray Line, the Sooner’s are booming. Plus this will be Murray’s one and done against arch rival before he moves on to long bus rides in minor league baseball next year. After its improbable L to Maryland in the opener, the Longhorns seem to be getting their act together. Ws over Southern Cal, TCU and at Kansas State have impressed. The Okies haven’t lost, but the win at Iowa State is their only really impressive showing. But star’s shine and winner’s win. Even in heated rivalries. Boomer Sooner hooks Horns for 3d Red River win in a row.
LSU @ Florida. One of the burning questions gnawing away at college pigskin fans as the calendar turns to October is whether the Bayou Bengals are “for real?” Undefeated with two Top 25 Ws away from home, LSU would be the big surprise of the SEC, except for what’s going on with that upstart over in Lexington. Which upstart put a chink in the Gators’ otherwise steady hide. Dan Mullen’s been thought of as the next big thing for a good while now. One supposes he’s got a better chance of culmination in Gainesville than his last stop in Starkville. Florida’s D, under the tutelage of Todd Grantham -- Hmmm, that name sounds familiar -- is Top 10 nationwide in fewest points allowed. LSU’s D is not far behind. No statistical marvel the Tigers win. Can they in an interdivisional league game in the SEC? Yes.
Kentucky @ Texas A&M. Here’s the kind of heady season it’s been for Mark Stoops in his sixth campaign at the helm in the Bluegrass. For the fourth time in the last five weeks, this week’s battle in College Station is the biggest for UK football in memory. The Cats are one of the nation’s darlings. Undefeated and a lofty 3-0 in the vaunted Southeastern Conference. The Aggies played well against Clemson, losing by a deuce, when the latter hadn’t yet suffered QB breakdown and abdication. They, like everybody else, were crushed by the Crimson Tide. I think UK is legitimately good. I think Texas A&M is legitimately vulnerable in its initial campaign with the very rich Jimbo Fisher at the helm. I’m just not sure the Wildcats can maintain their focus in these heady times. 13th Man prevails.
Georgia Tech @ Louisville. U of L is 2-3 (0-2). Georgia Tech is 2-3 (0-2). The two are holding up the Coastal and Atlantic divisions from the bottom of the ACC. U of L has beaten a couple of lesser lights. Georgia Tech has beaten a couple of lesser lights. Neither team has looked worth a damn. Both coaches, despite past successes, have drawn the considerable ire of the faithful. It’s a toss up kind of game. Though I don’t pick against the spread -- I’m having enough trouble as it is -- I note that the visitors are a surprising 4 point favorite. Those of you who’ve been here before know I never pick against the Cardinals. Until now. The possibility of bad karma notwithstanding, I’m predicting a Rambling Wreck victory. Should my Cardinals prevail, I shall take full credit for the victory. And gladly suffer your recriminations.
-- Seedy K