Before we get to this week’s big game, and I don’t mean when Steve Spurrier walks into Sanford Stadium like he owns the place, when in fact he only sublets, and gloats that he only comes to Athens to wipe his feet but at the age of 70 and coming off a loss to Kentucky sounds a little like Foghorn Leghorn in the Home For Bitter Old Cartoon Stars, this political update:
CNN apparently set a network ratings record in Wednesday’s Republican debate with 22.9 million viewers. I can only assume it was because of the high level of discourse.
I admit it. I can’t turn away from this. It’s like watching an old Three Stooges episode and you think, “OK, I know Larry is going to pivot and accidentally hit Moe in the head with that 2-by-4, and then Moe is going to blame Curly and hit him in the head with a mallet, and then they’re all going to walk into the kitchen to bake a cake, except Curly is going to confuse the baking flour with the TNT powder, because who hasn’t done that once or twice, and then they’re going to blow up the house. But it’s going to be funny! Actually, it’s not much different from SEC media days.
Except in this case, one person on stage Wednesday might be President.
Oh dear. Which way to Tonga?
Which leads me to Georgia Tech vs. Notre Dame. (Attention aspiring writers: Transitions are way overrated.)
I would take Paul Johnson in any debate. He would rip to you shreds with statistics about the option offense and then lob seemingly harmless jokes that explode on impact, like a Nyuk Nyuk Cake.
Tech is a better team than Notre Dame. It has a better quarterback (the Irish quarterback has a broken leg). It also has a head coach who would very much like to destroy any Bush-like strategery that Notre Dame defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder thinks he can put out there. As you might’ve heard, VanGorder was less than complimentary of the option offense when he went to Georgia Southern as head coach nine years ago junked it for his entire tenure, which was, like, five minutes.
I like VanGorder, even if his resume is on wheels. But Johnson doesn’t let go of things easily. Or ever. Definitely ever. Buckle up, big boy.
The Jackets are favored by 2½. Lay ’em. Here comes the 2-by-4.
Bad Lip Reading of first Republican Debate
*** Thursday Web Specials ***
Clemson at Louisville: Speaking of amusing dumpster fires: Bobby Petrino is about to be 0-3, and in the last seven games Todd Grantham’s defense has allowed 42, 19, 28, 40, 37, 31 and 34 points. Even Dabo Swinney can’t screw this up. Tigers cover 6 ½.
Broncos at Chiefs: Peyton Manning’s first seven games last season: 22 touchdowns, three interceptions. Manning’s 10 games since: 17 to the right guys, 13 to the wrong guys. But he’s still funny in commercials. Chiefs cover 3.
College Value Menu
(Buy three games and win a copy of Steve Spurrier’s book, “I’m not too old to .. DAMN’T, WHO TOOK MY JELLO!”
South Carolina at Georgia: Steve Spurrier says he’s not too old to coach. Maybe. But if I was a 70-year-old coach, I wouldn’t to have to think too hard to remember the last time I beat Kentucky. Dogs win but take the Poultry and 17.
Georgia State at Oregon: The Panthers will make $900,000 to play this game — not the players and their endangered organs but the administrators who will be dining on shrimp and nachos in a luxury box. Blindfolds, gentlemen? Quack: Ducks cover 45.
Spurrier isn’t 2000 years old. But if you’ve got 11 minutes…
Auburn at LSU: Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson has five interceptions in two games, and an LSU cornerback said this week, “…We’re looking forward to him giving us a few.” This is what happens when you almost lose to Jacksonville State. Speaking of which: Gus Malzahn: Gene Chizik is on line 2. LSU covers 7.
Florida at Kentucky: A Florida player made a throat-slash gesture after a touchdown last week and coach Jim McElwain acted as if the kid had just stolen his Pop Tart and pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda. And I’m a bitter old white guy! Gators cover 3.
Mississippi at Alabama: Rebels tackle Laremy Tunsil is on double-secret probation and the program is under NCAA investigation, because it turns out the words “Ole Miss” and “top 5 recruiting class” aren’t supposed to intersect. Missy upset Bammy last year. Actual factual: Nick Saban is 16-2 in “rematches” at Alabama and LSU. Boom. Tide covers 6½.
Western Carolina at Tennessee: The Vowels blew a 17-0 lead at home to Oklahoma. So congratulations Butch Jones: You accomplished something even Phil Fulmer never did. Tennessee wins but I’ll dance with Western Carolina and 33½.
PROS AND CONS
Falcons at Giants: New York blew it last week when Eli Manning twice told Rashad Jennings not to score so Dallas would use its last two timeouts. Then the Cowboys rallied to win. Oops. Jennings blabbed it and New York sportswriters looked like bulldogs on a meat truck. Meanwhile: The Falcons upset Philly and their Super Bowl odds dropped from 40-1 to 28-1. Time for fireworks! Not you, Jason Pierre-Paul : Just sit over there. Take the gift 2½ but Falcons win straight up.
Bad strategy, Giants. Bad strategy
Cowboys at Eagles: Chip Kelly thought bubble: “I’m still undefeated. But my players are 0-1.” Eagles cover 5.
Dolphins at Jaguars: There’s a new report that nearly half of the ocean’s creatures died in the last 45 years. That includes several Dolphins draft picks. Miami covers 6.
Bucs at Saints: Jameis Winston’s rookie debut: 48 percent passing, two interceptions, a pick six, four sacks. But Tallahassee police investigated and released their findings that he went 22 for 25 with five touchdowns and pulled three puppies out of a burning building. Saints win but take the Bucs and 10.
Patriots at Bills: I hate to interrupt this lovely media narrative about how Rex Ryan owns Bill Belichick, but the Patriots have won seven of the last eight meetings over Rexy. A bump on the Buffalo love train. Cheaters win (take the 1).
Brady and Goodell live in our nightmares
But who’s counting?
Last week: 9-4 straight up, 5-7-1 against the line.
So far, so feh: 18-5 straight up, 11-11-1 against the line.
Sack Schultz update: Richard Jones of Atlanta went 15-0 and was our weekly local and national winner. I went 11-4 and sit at 24-6 overall. Enter at ajc.com/go/sackschultz2015 for fab-fab prizes.
Lilly’s pick: She’s 1-1 after nailing Falcons over Eagles. But no local allegiances this week. She went for the cheese’d picture of the Notre Dame leprechaun over Buzz.