(UPDATED: 7:30 p.m.)
Before getting to this week’s feature presentation, “Whatever happened to the Georgia-Auburn game?” we have an important updates from Wall Street and the corpse laying in the middle of the road (the Braves).
The Braves officially began their offseason by trading shortstop Andrelton Simmons to the Los Angeles Angels for two pitching prospects and infielder Eric Aybars. Simmons has won two Gold Gloves and might be the best defensive player in baseball. But there wasn’t room for him because he’s a proven major league baseball player and people can pick him out of a lineup, and that totally messes up the organization’s master plan, which last season resulted in 67 wins, give or take an exploding clown shoe.
This news dovetails nicely with the announcement that Braves owner Liberty “Scrooze McDuck” Media has spun the team off into a “tracking stock.” I tend to get lost the news in the business world rises above the level of, “Four houses on Boardwalk. That’ll be $1,700.” But according to my sports business tutor Tim Tucker, who lives for this stuff (strange man), tracking stocks can be traded (no, not traded as in for a Double-A pitcher because the Braves already have enough of those). So yes, the Braves will become a public stock.
Wait. On second thought, this could be a sure thing, even better than my Georgia-will-beat-Alabama pick. The more Liberty Media holds the line on payroll and John Hart and John Coppolella deal fully ripened vegetables for magic beans, it’s good for business. Wins go down, stock price goes up. (This concept may excite Cobb’s Tim Lee so much that he’ll soon deal five public schools and three fire departments for a magic bridge.)
Anyway, on the subject of bad investments, let’s talk about Georgia.
The Bulldogs are 6-3. That sounds so much better than saying they’ve beaten Louisiana-Monroe (1-8, Sun Belt), Vanderbilt (1-4 in the SEC), South Carolina (1-6), Southern (FCS), Missouri (1-5) and Kentucky (2-5).
Their losses have come to the only two teams at the grown-up table (Alabama and Florida by a combined 65-13), and Tennessee (the teenager who doesn’t quite fit in with the grown-ups or the kids.)
Auburn is like Tennessee. Not a great team but it has one impressive win, 26-10 at Texas A&M last week, so that’s one more impressive win than Georgia. The Tigers have an improving defense under Will Muschamp. We’re still not sure what Georgia has under Jeremy Pruitt, other than rumors he may not like Brian Schottenheimer, which actually would be just fine.
Auburn is trending upward. Buy. Georgia looks like an eight-track tape in a digital world. Dump.
The Tigers opened as a 2-point underdog. They’re now favored by 1½.
The wolves of Wall Street know something. Auburn wins and covers.
Alabama at Mississippi State: There’s a new rumor the Indianapolis Colts will go after Nick Saban. I doubt Saban would make the move at 64 but he’ll instruct his agent to fan the rumors, admonish fans for unrealistic expectations, admonish the media for spreading false lies, squeeze more money and power from Alabama’s puppet administrators and then quietly eat a Little Debbie snack cake as if nothing ever happened. Tide covers 7½.
Arkansas at LSU: Bret Bielema was 3-16 in SEC games until winning the last two over Auburn and Ole Miss. So they’re happy in Pigville again. Imagine how they’ll feel if they upset a Tigers’ team that may still feel punch-drunk from last week’s loss to Alabama? Tempted to take the leap. But I can’t. LSU wins but take Arkansas and 7½.
Florida at South Carolina: It’s the Steve Spurrier Memorial Game, although technically he’s not dead, he’s just drifting from pier to pier telling fish stories. Maybe he can show up at halftime and call a play for South Carolina: Tell everybody to go out long and then take the ball and duck out the back. Gators cover 8.
Seems like a good time to give Spurrier the fish-slap dance
Clemson at Syracuse: The Tigers are 9-0 and have saved room for dessert: Syracuse, Wake Forest, South Carolina (combined: 3-15 in conference, 9-21 overall). The 28 is covered.
Miami at North Carolina: Hey, NCAA! Look! They’re here in the same stadium! Do something! (This is what it must’ve been like when the heads of two organized crime families met for dinner and the FBI thought, “We got nothing.”) Winner gets a Get Out of Probation Free Card. Heels cover 13.
UNC, Miami have turned NCAA investigators into “Boomhauer”
Kennesaw State at Coastal Carolina: The Owls have won six games (6-3), which is about four more than I expected, so some belated advice: Take the over. But they’re beat up and missing their quarterback and Coastal Carolina is better than the team KSU just lost two by two touchdowns (Charleston Southern). No worries, Owls. Georgia Tech and Georgia State would love to have six wins. C.C. covers 21½.
NFL FRIDGE PACK
Falcons: Roddy White pasted his mugshot on every page of a “Where’s Waldo” book and gave it to Kyle Shanahan for the bye week.
Lions at Packers: Detroit is 1-7 but made the decision to come back from its bye week. Pay all bets. Meanwhile, owner Marge Ford has cleaned out the front office, and if you’re Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson right now you’re probably thinking, “Are we the next to go? Please.” Packers cover 11½.
Panthers at Titans: Former Miami coach Don Shula said he “would love to see” Carolina go undefeated. They won’t. But this year has been therapeutic for Don’s son, Mike Shula, Carolina’s offensive coordinator, who after extensive therapy can walk down the street without believing the lamppost is following him for the first time since leaving Tuscaloosa. Panthers cover 5.
Bears at Rams: St. Louis fans look at Todd Gurley like Los Angeles fans looked at Eric Dickerson. Oh look, the moving van. Rams cover 7.
Cowboys at Bucs: Greg Hardy briefly changed his Twitter bio to read, “Innocent until proven guilty.” So I guess a judge declaring him guilty and pictures of a battered woman don’t count. On a related note: Where does everybody stand on tying a cretin to a post and covering him with leeches? Dallas wins, take the gift 1.
Saints at Washington: New Orleans won three straight and then sudden a story was leaked to the NFL Network that coach Sean Payton has a clause in his contract that could allow him to become a free agent after the season. So I guess we know where his priorities are. Washington wins, take the 1.
What optimistic Saints’ fans think of Payton leaving
Georgia at Auburn: Lilly The Greek has reeled off three straight wins to raise her record to 7-3. This week, for a twist, we posted cheese’d pictures of two defensive coordinators, Auburn’s Will Muschamp (formerly of Georgia) and Georgia’s Jeremy Pruitt (also soon maybe formerly of Georgia). Lilly went straight to Muschamp. Auburn wins.
Last week (cover your eyes): 8-6 straight up, 4-10 against the line.
Bottom line: 91-42 straight up; 64-67-2 against the line.
Sack Schultz update: Drew Harris and Ron Leon, who both went 14-1, were our weekly winners. Only three weeks left until the grand prize winners are decided! We have several bunched up with 110 to 113 wins through 10 weeks. I’m Belk Bowl-bound at 102. More details: AJC.com/go/sackschultz2015.
•Recent ramblings • Former Georgia player Faloughi at center of Missouri protests • Overreaction Monday: Kyle Shanahan, have you met Roddy White? • Latest Falcons’ embarrassment is on Dan Quinn • Short takes: This Falcons’ loss is on Dan Quinn • Weekend Predictions: Dogs in middle of Dysfunction Junction • Georgia’s finish, Eason status shouldn’t tilt Richt decision • Richt should take over Georgia’s struggling offense • Overreaction Monday: Loss-loss-loss means chaos all around • Mark Richt has failed too many big moments — it’s time for a change at Georgia • Falcons may be 6-2 but they don’t look the part • Short takes: Sloppy Falcons gift-wrap game for mediocre Bucs • Matt Ryan: ‘It comes down to me being better’ • Weekend Predictions: Jacksonville on Halloween? Ooh, scary: Gators over Dogs • Georgia’s quarterback problems fall at Mark Richt’s feet • Budenholzer can coach but can he build a champion? • Overreaction Monday: Ryan’s off, Tech’s alive and Georgia… • Georgia Tech has unforgettable moment in otherwise forgettable season • Short takes on Georgia Tech’s miracle win over Florida State • Weekend Predictions: Falcons win, Jackets lose, ACC miserable • (Full column) Rick Pitino should lose job, culpable for Louisville mess • Rick Pitino may not survive latest claims regarding strippers, recruits • Overreaction Monday: Would Richt give Ramsey another look? • Misery like this shouldn’t happen at Georgia Tech • Short takes: Tech’s run of bowls, non-losing ACC seasons will end • Falcons flash some of their ugly past in loss to Saints • Short takes: Falcons still plagued by poor pass rush, turnovers • Weekend Predictions: Spurrier, Cubs, Playboy…and Georgia can still win SEC East! • Spurrier changed face of SEC, and then he walked out the back door • Health would be Spurrier’s only good excuse for retiring in middle of season • Florida quarterback suspended for PEDs — and claims of, ‘I didn’t know’ ring hollow • Overreaction Monday: Chubb’s loss isn’t Georgia’s only problem • There goes Chubb, there goes a loss, there goes Georgia’s season • Short takes: After loss, Georgia is trailing even Kentucky in SEC East • It’s too late to save season but Sefolosha deserved to hear words, ‘Not guilty’ • Weekend Predictions: No fantasy, Chihuahuas will rebound (I think) • Braves may have a plan but it will be a while before masses buy in • Here’s your Depressed Braves Fan viewing guide to the postseason • Overeaction Monday: Now is not time to make decision on Richt