As we head into the final week of this Weekend Predictions fiscal season, when point spreads proved to be as unpredictable as a ping-pong ball in a wind tunnel or Mike Smith with a timeout, I’m reminded of the words of the Falcons when they re-submitted their plans this week for a $1 billion stadium, give or take a government handout.
“A billion? No, I meant $1.2 billion. Wait, I meant $1.4 billion. But what’s $400 million between friends? Um, nice shoes. Besides, it’s going to have these totally cool windows that open! Like a spaceship! And they’re electric! Just like in your old Mazda! We can cut it back to $1.3 billion but that would mean using manual windows, and then everybody on the club level would have to use hand cranks to open them, and honestly we would rather have people use their hands for something else, like reaching for their wallet, or a home equity loan, or their first born when PSLs are announced. You can think about it. Take your time. Here’s a hotdog while you wait. That’ll be $27.50.”
Speaking of strange numbers, here’s two that don’t belong together for Florida State: 0 (total losses) and 4 (national ranking).
The completely transparent college football playoff rankings committee seemingly has a problem with being completely transparent. Or just rational.
That said, I like Georgia Tech’s chances in the ACC championship game. I would like them a little more if wide receiver DeAndre Smelter wasn’t in a leg cast but the Jackets have been increasingly efficient and punch-you-in-the-face physical on offense, and more than decent on defense.
Florida State: Sometimes great but too many Flying Wallenda tendencies. They win games by noses, not touchdowns.
Their No. 3 defense from a year ago is now ranked 10th — in the ACC (47th nationally).
Their Heisman Trophy winning quarterback: 11 interceptions in the last five games, a well-chronicled knucklehead (or worse) off the field and now with a large red X on his forehead on NFL draft boards.
But it has been a good week for Jameis Winston: He hasn’t shoplifted or been accused of any new felonies. He just had an FSU hearing to deal with a pesky old felony claim, and I guess the Tallahassee Police Department was too busy at a Seminoles booster club meeting to get in the way of this one.
Back to the game: Winston makes mistakes. The Jackets were among the nation’s leaders with 27 takeaways. I would’ve never guessed these words would roll off my fingertips a month ago but here goes: Take the candy (four points) but Tech pulls the upset and win ACC title.
Tech coaches break down Winston film (in Japanese)
Countdown To Bowls
Alabama vs. Georgia (SEC): Expected to be a very popular game played on the new Imaginary Madden Match-ups, along with Georgia vs. Notre Dame for the national championship, Koufax vs. Ruth, Jordan vs. LeBron, Superman vs. Batman and Godzilla vs. Rodan. Click your heels together three times: Georgia rolls.
Dogs return from Oz
Alabama vs. Missouri (SEC): Seldom is the SEC East champion the answer to a trivia question, “What does Missouri have in common with Indiana State, North Texas and Purdue?” They’re the four teams to lose to Indiana. The SEC wants a recount. Missouri made it to the nation’s most celebrated conference title game without even one win over an SEC team with a winning record. Conference officials would leap into a pool of leeches if the Tigers pull an upset and wreck a playoff berth, but no worries. Bammy covers 14½.
Missouri’s SEC entrance music
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin (Big Ten): Want to see Urban Meyer’s head explode? (Yes.) Watch what happens if the Buckeyes win the Big Ten with a third-string quarterback and they don’t make it to the playoffs. But it won’t get that far. Wisconsin wins but take OSU and 4.
Oregon vs. Arizona (Pac-12): Arizona will be the highest ranked opponent Oregon has faced all season and the Wildcats beat them in Eugene in October. OK, now that I took you one way, time to go the other: Quack. Oregon wins but take ‘Zona and 14½.
Falcons at Packers: Not to diminish the Falcons’ defensive performance against Arizona, but if quarterbacks were seafood, Aaron Rodgers (32 TDs, 3 ints.) is lobster from Maine and Drew Stanton (6 TDs, 5 ints.) is Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks. Reality Check Week: Packers cover 12½.
Panthers at Saints: Drew Brees (36 in January) can’t understand why the Saints may draft a quarterback after this season. The mind is always the first to go. But the Saints’ last four opponents have a combined record of 15-32, so Brees may be able to hold off Green Jello Tuesdays at the senior home for a while. Saints cover 10.
Colts at Browns: ESPN ran an online poll asking whether Bryan Hoyer or Johnny Manziel should start. Manziel carried the vote in four states: Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and, yes, Georgia, which only reaffirms his autograph is still worth more in SEC territories than NFL. Indy covers 3½.
Rams at Washington: Mike Ditka on the “hands-up” protest by five Rams’ players last week: “I don’t want to hear about this hands-up crap. That’s not what happened. I don’t know exactly what did happen, but I know that’s not what happened.” He should be in the United Nations. Rams cover 2½.
If Mike Ditka were a Muppet
Seahawks at Eagles: Philly is 9-3 and has scored 76 points in the last two games with Mark Sanchez at quarterback (as Jets fans pass out). Question: Can Chip Kelly’s offense make Richard Sherman hyperventilate? Please? Take the point and Seahawks in a mild upset.
Last week: 7-5 straight up, 8-4 against the line.
Fiscal season: 119-53 straight up, 79-93 against the line.
Spread picks I was serious about: 62-3.
Sack Schultz 2014: Congrats to contest winners Keith Sprayberry of Locust Grove (iPad mini) and Matt Mason of Greenville, N.C. (tailgate smoker grill). I finished in 380th place out of 5,000-plus entries and win nothing.
Lilly’s pick: She’s only 7-6, not good in a contract year. This week: Cheese’d choices of mascots Cimarron (FSU) and Buzz (Tech). Lilly goes left and against Jackets (again). Seminoles win.
— AJC: New rankings make college football playoff look like set up — MyAJC: Rare situation: Eyes are off Bulldogs and on Jackets — MyAJC: Tech’s Bobinski finally stops stalling with Johnson — AJC: Georgia Tech finally offers Johnson contract extension — MyAJC: Finally, a real football team named Falcons shows up — AJC: Falcons’ short takes: Devin Hester says officials admitted mistake — MyAJC: This Georgia season was just another big tease — AJC: Georgia ‘short takes’ on loss to Georgia Tech — MyAJC: As Georgia loses SEC title shot, Tech suddenly has higher ceiling — AJC: Missouri wins SEC East — will it affect Georgia? — AJC: Weekend Predictions: Dogs win, Falcons lose, toys devolve — AJC: Tech’s Johnson long overdue for contract extension — MyAJC: Tech’s season a loud response for Johnson’s critics — AJC: First-ballot thoughts: Smoltz should join Maddux, Glavine — AJC: Georgia vs. Georgia Tech: Which team has had better season? — MyAJC: Gurley’s injury should prompt change in NFL draft rule — AJC: Weekend Predictions: The straight poop–Georgia wins SEC East, Falcons lose — AJC: Is Braves’ pursuit of Lester realistic? — AJC: Braves trade Jason Heyward and John Hart just took huge risk — MyAJC: It makes no sense but Falcons are in first — AJC: Short takes on Falcons’ win over Panthers — MyAJC: Dogs have a statement win, now hope for best with Gurley — AJC: Short takes on Georgia’s win and Gurley — MyAJC: As hoops open, Tech looks far more ready than Georgia