Weekend Predictions: After wacky week, Bama restores order in SEC

In case you’ve had trouble keeping up on the week’s events, here is a brief recap:

• Georgia defeats Georgia Tech to finish 9-3.

• Greg McGarity declines to say Mark Richt’s job security is safe, or in trouble, but, yeah, especially safe.

• McGarity fires Richt.

• Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson says, “Hah! Outsmarted you again! THAT’S why I didn’t finish 9-3.”

• Mike Bobinski: “(Crickets).”

• McGarity says the next day he has retained the services of a search committee, suggesting this job search didn’t actually begin in October. Of 2013.

Mark Richt is feeling young again! (University of Miami photo)

Mark Richt: Feeling young again! (Univ. of Miami)

• McGarity pretends to drop his keys and phones Kirby Smart:”You’re not going to believe what I just told these clowns. Hey, are we still on for lunch?”

• Richt looks drained but relaxed, as if exhaling for the first time since a piano fell on him three years ago, and says, “I’m not sure if I want to coach again, but if I do coach again, I, you know, really want to coach quarterbacks and call plays again because it’s clear my team needs that.”

• Brian Schotteneheimer says, “Hey, I’m standing right here.”

• McGarity has security remove Schottenheimer from the room. He’s taken down the hall, where Jeremy Pruitt stuffs him into a locker.

• Richt meets with Miami officials,  because nothing says, “I just want to coach and do nothing but coach,” like the football program at the University of Miami, unless you count the slime and the NCAA investigation and the out-of-control boosters and centerpiece alums like Warren Sapp and the half-empty home stadium that sits 45 minutes from campus.

• Smart takes the Georgia job.

• Richt takes the Miami job.

• Brian Schottenheimer, from the curb, next to a dumpster outside of Butts-Mehre: “Hey, I’m standing right here.”

• Bowl officials scramble to match Georgia against Miami, with Richt coaching Miami and Smart coaching Georgia and Jacob Eason flipping a coin to see who kicks off, and gets him, until he opens a Fed Ex envelope from a nearby low-security penitentiary with a set of car keys, jumps into a new Lamborghini and yells, “I’m a Cane!”

• Richt resigns. Then he’s hired by Smart as his offensive coordinator and Eason enrolls in Georgia, but it really doesn’t matter because after starting next season 7-0 the Bulldogs go to Jacksonville and lose to Florida 42-12.

(Some of the information above is still being vetted by McGarity’s search committee.)

Meanwhile, Alabama destroys the world this week. The Crimson Tide opened as a 12-point favorite over Florida in the SEC championship game. The line is up to 17½. You would have thought the Gators were just a mediocre team that was lucky enough to play in the SEC East and lost its last game 27-2. Oh, wait a minute.

Imagine the panic in the SEC offices if Florida pulls an upset and the conference fails to get a team in the college football playoffs. Not going to happen. I’m not sure if this one will be as one-sided as the spread suggests but it’ll make sense in the end. Bama wins but take Florida and 17½.

Nick Saban doesn’t want to hear your Kirby Smart questions

Between Mandatory Study Hall (Attendance Optional)

Clemson vs. North Carolina (ACC title): And in this corner, the title game that annually screams, “Look at me! Over here! Behind the potted palm!” The ACC needs Clemson to win this because if UNC pulls an upset, the ACC would need nations to fall to get a school into the playoffs. But: Tigers cover 5.

Georgia State at Georgia Southern: Trent Miles has won as many games in the last three weeks (3-0) as he did in his first 32 (3-29) with Panthers (5-6), who suddenly are one win from being bowl eligible. Georgia Tech: so jealous. Alas, the dream dies in Statesboro. Eagles win but take State and 21.

Down The Stretch They Come (Slowly)

Falcons at Tampa Bay: The Falcons’ Super Bowl odds have dropped from 40-1 to 100-1, which happens when your quarterback throws five interceptions in the last two weeks, you team has the third most turnovers in the league (21) and things are such a mess that your players hold a no-coaches meeting. Remember when the Falcons were 5-0 and dinosaurs roamed the earth? But, somehow: Falcons win, take the 1½.

Falcons’ playoff hopes

Panthers at Saints: The analytics website FiveThirtyEight wrote a story headlined, “The Panthers are the worst team ever start 11-0.” What a coincidence. FiveThirtyEight wrote the worst analysis I’ve ever read on an 11-0 team. Panthers cover 7.

Eagles at Patriots: The biggest difference between two know-it-alls, Chip Kelly and Bill Belichick, is only one of them is right. New England covers 10.

Some measured analysis of FiveThirtyEight analysis

Seahawks at Vikings: It could be worse, Atlanta. Seattle has lost running back Marshawn Lynch and tight end Jimmy Graham. But the good news is Russell Wilson has a hot one-name girlfriend (Ciara), who is kinda famous, I think. Men of Thor win a pick ’em.

Hasselbeck and Vinatieri hold a team meeting.

Matt Hasselbeck and Adam Vinatieri hold a team meeting.

Colts at Steelers: Indy is on a roll with 40-year-old quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and 42-year-old  kicker Adam Vinatieri. But it’s cold in Pittsburgh and they’re overdue for a fall, or at least hardening of the arteries. Pittsburgh covers 7.

Bengals at Browns: Johnny Manziel, a first-round draft pick, has now lost his starting job to Austin Davis, an undrafted free agent out of Ringgold, Ga., and Southern Miss who has been cut three times. But Manziel remains rush chairman of his frat and the one guy you absolutely have to invite to your party. Cincy covers 10.

Lilly’s Pick of the Week

"I will amaze you."

“I will amaze you.”

Alabama vs. Florida: She’s 9-4.  The magic of the cheese. But methinks the mutt ate one too many bugs this week. Posted pictures of Nick Saban and Jim McElwain on the wall and Lilly went for the cheese on the right — to McElwain. So she’s calling an upset: Florida over Alabama for the SEC championship.

Bottom dollars

Last week: 10-5 straight up, 8-7 against the line.

Bottom line: 107-60 straight up; 85-89-2 against the line.

Sack Schultz 2015: Congrats to our grand prize winners: Matthew Webb of Lawrenceville, who won a package including the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl tickets, and Donna Stidger of Alabama, who won the $2,500 Apple Vacation. For a complete list of results, go to AJC.com/go/sackschultz2015.

Lilly The Greek's unexpected SEC pick: Florida over Alabama.

Lilly The Greek’s unexpected SEC pick: Florida over Alabama.

Recent ramblings
Miami makes a great hire; did Richt make a great decision?
• On Kirby Smart, coordinators, loud but effective strength coach (video)
• Kirby Smart hire makes sense for Georgia, even if wow factor lacking
• Richt will enjoy quiet for first time, may be done coaching
• Greg McGarity’s career will be defined by first major hire
Falcons have a problem, and surprisingly it’s their quarterback
• Richt’s firing confirms what many believed: It was time for a change
McGarity mum on Richt, and Georgia’s win doesn’t feel like a celebration
Short takes on Georgia’s win
Johnson, Bobinski confident about Tech’s future
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• Overreaction Monday: Richt’s status, Ryan’s fall, and does Tech have a chance?
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Short takes: Jackets lose Thomas, fumble nine times (yes, nine)
• Weekend Predictions: It’s marshmallow opponent week
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• Short takes: This Falcons’ loss is on Dan Quinn
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Georgia’s finish, Eason status shouldn’t tilt Richt decision
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Reader Comments 0

227 comments
Big Wally
Big Wally

Florida covers. Schultz is 1 for 1 so far.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Here's another one for the three stooges (bipolar Bob, TOStraightJacket, and Paula in no one gives a crap). 

UGA going bowling,

Ga. Southern going bowling,

Ga. State going bowling, 

and Tech;  you get to watch everyone else go bowling.


bwahahahahahahah.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally Here's one for ya skippy........Ga. State beat GSU at GSU 34-7.......you leg humpers don't run sheet looks like?

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally Now all you Richtbots know why his a$$ is gone......34-7? How embarrassing is that for the so called "flagship school"?

CedricM
CedricM

Nick's 2016 team may be even better! Look for the dogs to win the east with kirby---florida will be way down with a bunch of losses on D and a bad offense again. Kirby v. Nick for the SEC title!!

OH:IO
OH:IO

@39Concepts


It's always the next savior and next year for the dogs.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@39Concepts

Tennessee will likely be the SEC east champs next year. UGa will likely finish 3rd ,behind the Vols and Gators. It will take Smart at least two years to get the Dogs in contention for the SEC east Title. Other than Michele and Chubb coming off a knee injury , CMR left the Cupboard pretty empty on offense.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Hey Bi-polar Bob, TOStraightJacket and Paula in who cares, Bama's SOS is 2nd in the country.  Clemson is 20th, and North Carolina, wow, they are 43rd.  Memphis who isn't even in a Power 5 conference has a SOS similar to North Carolina.

Try not to bring a knife to a gunfight there nerds, it typically doesn't work out well.

D-Sheets
D-Sheets

@KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

If we use 12/13's rationale I'm afraid Bama has zero shot at beating the Gators today.  He's repeatedly stated that South Carolina is the best team in the ACC Coastal b/c they beat UNC.  And that Clemson struggled against the team that UGA "hung" 50 on, etc. 

So ... that rationale says the Gators win today, and win big, yes?  B/c Ole Miss beat Bama, but got killed by Florida (38-10)  ;-)   

TOJacket
TOJacket

You dawgs should be pulling for those Gators today.........if they win, Savior Smart will be 45 minutes away from immortality!......he needs to be there getting ready to lead you guys to mediocrity again?

tennDAWG
tennDAWG

@TOJacket How can you nerds even show your faces after this season,do y'all not have any shame ? 

TOJacket
TOJacket

@tennDAWG @TOJacket Did your under achievers beat a top 10 team this year?........4 of our losses are to teams "currently" in the top 10 sport. We had been to 18 straight Bowl games...I'm always proud of my Jackets!

tennDAWG
tennDAWG

@TOJacket @tennDAWG According to your "Nerd Logic" Bugs beat FSU who beat UF and Dawgs beat Bugs at end of season,that should make Dawgs national champs,right ?

TOJacket
TOJacket

@tennDAWG @TOJacket No stupid....I asked did your team beat a top 10 team this year......I know you got pounded by the 1 team you played.....Bama.....Boat-raced!

Big Wally
Big Wally

@TOJacket Savior Smart?.  Your not even smart enough to come up with your own material, you have to steal from Ohypocrite?  Go back to the kids table, you are out of your league here.  LOL.

tennDAWG
tennDAWG

@TOJacket @tennDAWG and that is why our coach was fired,but at the end of the day,you still have Fish Fry.My, how comforting.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@TOJacket

TO 

Bragging about who your team lost to is not much of an argument when your team lost 9 times. Just about everyone on your schedule beat the Jackets this year.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@tennDAWG @TOJacket We won 2 bowl games last year......ended up ranked in the top 10.......surely I can use the 2014 card.....you humps been pulling that 1980 card forever.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Memo to bi-polar Bob and TOStraightJacket.

Bama played 6 teams who were ranked when they played.

Clemson played 2 teams who were ranked when they played.

NC played 1 team that was ranked when they played. 

Don't make dumb statements about Bama not playing anyone until your conference plays a real schedule.  

OH:IO
OH:IO

@Big Wally


Oh, you're a mental health diagnostician, eh Lil wally? 

GTBob
GTBob

@Big Wally Ranked when they played? Give me a break. Nobody goes by that at the end of the season. You really think people are mightily impressed by Notre Dame's victory over a top 15 GT team? No. Rankings early in the year are at best an educated guess. Here are some actual facts for you:

Alabama has beaten no teams currently in the top 20. Their best win was against #23 LSU who tried to fire their coach for such a mediocre season. They played one team in the top 20 and lost to them. That same team they lost to got slaughtered by Memphis. They have less victories against teams in the top 15 than GT does. They have played nobody this season and like every year, no one will challenge them on it because their name is Bama.

Here is one more fact to leave you with. GT has played 4 teams currently in the top 10 of the AP poll. Bama hasn't played a team in the top 15.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@PaulinNH @Big Wally Hey moron, you do realize that when Bama beats them that they drop in the rankings right?  This is like talking to 3rd graders.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@Big Wally


Honestly don't know much about Iowa. Only watched them a tiny bit. I suspect it will be a tight game with no influence on OSU's hopes to sneak in. More interested in UNC/Clemson.

D-Sheets
D-Sheets

@GTBob @Big Wally

You really think people are mightily impressed by Notre Dame's victory over a top 15 GT team?

Facts like this are so often "overlooked" 

How about all the teams that beat (preseason) powerhouse Auburn??

Big Wally
Big Wally

@D-Sheets @GTBob @Big Wally Tech wasn't 3-9 at the time they played them.  Tech may have been 15th ranked team at the time they played, but after injuries, etc. they clearly weren't.  Just because they finished lousy, doesn't mean they were that lousy at the beginning of the year.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

Alabama, Clemson and Falcons cover.  A couple of days ago I expected the Patriots to cover until, in one of those strange coincidences you get in the NFL, the League announced that the refereeing crew that was awful in the 49ers-Cardinals game had been pulled off their scheduled game between the Colts and the Steelers and reassigned to Pats-Eagles.  Looks like Goodell isn't even trying to hide his animosity now.



twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Hey Bob please remind us how many more games Bama will lose and that Clemson didnt struggle with a terrible USC team leading by 3 in the 4th? Turnovers? What? But but but Alabama is a has been and 6 turnovers means they are bad and clemson is good?

Stupid hypochrite.

GTBob
GTBob

@twelveofthirteen I will say I overestimated the strength of the SEC. Teams like LSU, Texas A&M, UGA, and Arkansas were significantly worse than expected. I will try not to make that mistake again in the future.

As for Clemson. They didn't play great against South Carolina and let them make the game closer than it really was, but they were never in any real danger of losing.

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

So when bama wins it all you will have "underestimated" all of college football huh? You are such a troll.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@GTBob 

You forgot your announcement that Bama's a has-been and will lose 3-4 games minimum.

Lying hypocrite.

GTBob
GTBob

Hey look. It's twelveofthirteens other account.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@DawgNole Good grief........your starting to sound like you have a Vag?