According to legend, my second favorite source after Athens police reports that describe vanishing wacky tobaccy in football players’ dorm rooms while angelic-looking student-athletes stand there giving statements that go something like, “Well, officer. Nice shoes. Have you lost weight? I still love watching old Dragnet episodes. Anyway, so we were just sitting here in our room, studying between milk breaks and collecting soup cans for the homeless when all of a sudden this huge cloud of smoke blew into our room, I think possibly from Oregon,” and then they hold up their text books, except they weren’t really text books but the 2016 Acme Almanac of Madden 2016 Cheat Codes,” and it was upside down, and their heads were stuck in an empty Ben And Jerry’s Chunky Monkey container, and . . .
Wait, was I?
Oh yes. The Planet Bolshoi.
So according to legend, Halloween dates back to ancient times, or when Georgia last beat Florida, and is tied to the Celtic festival of Samhain, when it was believed the boundary between the Underworld and this world, somewhere around Mississippi, were easily crossed, which is why it’s also known as, “The Day of the Dead” and ghosts and monsters and evil spirits haunt our dreams.
We celebrate this by eating Snickers bars.
Any way, with Halloween just around the bend again, it’s time for Georgia to return to its own private House of Horrors: Jacksonville. The Trembling Chihuahuas (breed downgrade) are coming off a loss to Vanderbilt. This isn’t unlike coming off a bloodletting. So it’s not the best time to be playing a rivalry game that has seen you go 6-20 since 1990.
Or is it?
I’ve got this strange feeling, although it could be the Bulldog-sanctioned brownies I just ate. Florida is 5-1 but lost to its only ranked opponent (Tennessee). The Gators wins have come over UMass, Kentucky, North Texas, Vanderbilt and Missouri. There’s a few tax write-offs in there. I’m not convinced.
Strange year. Strange prediction. Here goes: Give me the 7½ but Dogs win in an upset.
Sack Schultz 2016
If you want to know what place I’m in in the contest, you will need a warrant. But it’s not first. But congrats to last week’s winner and likely cheater Terry Littlepage of Fayetteville, Ga., who swept the local and national prizes by going 14-1. Terry, I hate you, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. Many still vying for grand prizes. Think you can outpick me? Go to MyAJC.com/go/sackschultz2016.
Duke at Georgia Tech: The Jackets have lost consecutive games to Duke for the first time since the Bobby Ross administration (1987-89). Ross went on to win a national title in 1990. So maybe this is all part of a clever plan. Oh, that Paul Johnson. Tech covers 6½.
Louisville at Virginia: Bobby Petrino lives for these games. It’s a nice warm-up before giving kids Brillo pads on Halloween. The 33 is smothered and covered.
Clemson at Florida State: Jimbo Fisher said he plans on being at Florida State “for a long time,” then said he would not talk about the LSU job. So how does one define a “long time?” Two months? Tigers cover 4½.
LSU: Off this week before getting hammered next week by Alabama. Women and children: Please keep clear of Ed Orgeron in Golden Corral.
Ed Orgeron during bye week
Miami at Notre Dame: It’s probably gone unnoticed by some during the random mass burnings of Kirby Smart’s front yard but Mark Richt has lost three straight since starting 4-0 in Miami. It could be worse. He could be Notre Dame’s coach. Hurricanes cover 2½ on the road.
Auburn at Ole Miss: The Tigers have won four straight and some are wondering if this is the Miracle of 2013 all over again. Must be nice when you play only one road game in the first seven weeks. But three of the last five (Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama) are on the road — I see pain. I’ll also take the home ‘dog here (Rebels and 4½).
Tennessee at South Carolina: Tennessee’s defense reminds me of the Swiss Army, standing a post as they decide between their corkscrews and the can opener in their camper tool kits. Vols win but take the Gamecocks and 13½.
Kennesaw State at Monmouth: Monmouth lists among its notable alumni: serial bridge closer and invertebrate Chris Christie and a porn actor. There’s your analytics. Owls cover 1½.
Georgia State at South Alabama: Only one of the Panthers’ last five opponents has a winning record so if you’ve got them going back to a bowl game, you’re in luck. OK, not really. Other team covers 3½.
Pros and Cons
(Fall special: Pick any two games and receive a free pair of Roger Goodell souvenir blinders.)
Packers at Falcons: Aaron Rodgers has won his last three games against the Falcons, completing 81 for 111 passes (72.9 percent) for 1,089 yards, eight touchdowns and 0 interceptions, give or take a torched village. On a related note: Did the Falcons’ defense exceed the insurance cap for therapy hours this week after San Diego drove for 426 yards and 33 points and even the perpetually peppy Dan Quinn had his confidence dinged? However . . . Falcons win and cover 2½. (It’s not supposed to make sense.)
Eagles at Cowboys: Tony Romo said he was close to returning. So Jason Garrett broke his arm. Cowboys cover 4½.
Patriots at Bills: Buffalo players said they were upset because they thought a couple of New England ran too close to their warm-ups before the last meeting. Welcome to third-grade recess. Patriots take their lunch money, cover 6½.
Buffalo players aren’t quite this deep
Cardinals at Panthers: Cam Newton on the concussion that happened when he did the numskull tip-toe to the end zone and got clobbered by the Falcons’ Deion Jones: ““I didn’t even know if I scored. That’s when I knew I was messed up.” And then there’s the rest of the team. Fog clears: Carolina covers 3.
Lions at Texans: Houston quarterback Brock Osweiller ranks 30th in passer rating, 29th in completion percentage and 32nd in yards per attempt. Now there’s a GoFundMe page to buy out his $72 million contract that was started by a fan. Or maybe it was Bob McNair. Take the 2 1/2 but Lions win straight up.
Last week: 7-4-1 straight up, 6-6 against the line.
Bottom dollars: 74-29-1 straight up, 53-48-3 against the line.
Lilly’s pick: Lilly may be moved to the practice squad. She lost the Falcons’ pick last week and fell to 3-5. This week, the choices were cheese’d pictures of Georgia coach Kirby Smart and Florida’s Jim McElwain. The mutt didn’t hesitate and darted right — straight to Smart. Upset! Dogs win. (Copydog.)
EARLIER: Podcast blog: If you don’t know Jesse Itzler, you want to know Jesse Itzler.
COMING MONDAY: Part II from Jesse Itzler interview, including his views of Hawks’ ownership and future.
Subscribe to the, “We Never Played The Game” podcast with Jeff Schultz and WSB’s Zach Klein. All episodes can be downloaded and heard on iTunes or here via WSBRadio.com. New episodes every Monday and Thursday.
Some recent ramblings
- Hawks are taking the leap on Schroder, rest is up to him
- Florida has defined Georgia’s failures. Can Kirby Smart change that?
- No suspension for players? Welcome to new world at Georgia
- Quinn’s decision might’ve been right but everything else was wrong
- Throwback performance: Falcons blow 27-10 lead and lose
- If Howard can help Hawks, he’ll change how his story is written
- Weekend Predictions: Dogs, Jackets hibernate; Falcons, Bama roll
- Paul Johnson on critics, future; will Jackets finish better than Dogs?
- Georgia’s makeover looks more like a decline
- Georgia playing to level of opponents — and against Vandy, that’s bad
- Weekend Predictions: Votes for Dogs and Jackets, but Falcons’ run ends in Seattle
- Podcast blog: Braves should have done a little more for Snitker
- Brian Snitker, a 40-year temp, finally gets his shot
- Braves’ Snitker an unusual choice but not necessarily wrong choice
- Podcast blog: Arthur Blank (Part II): On future, Vick and his plans to fire Petrino anyway
- After past two weeks, any win looks good to Georgia
- Jacob Eason struggles in win but it’s a little early to jump ship
- Braves wrong to blame McDowell for struggling prospects
- Weekend Predictions: Georgia wins over remains of Spurrier’s mess
- NEW: Podcast blog: ‘We Never Played The Game’ podcast (Arthur Blank, Part I)
- Positive vibes about rebuild aside, Braves still need starting pitching
- Snitker was good but Bud Black may be Braves’ choice for manager
- View in NFC South isn’t what most expected: Falcons on top
- It’s early but Falcons are looking legit
- Will optics of Mark Richt (4-0) vs. Kirby Smart (3-2) get better for Georgia?
- Mark Richt makes his return and looks right at home again at Georgia Tech
- Best Braves memory at Turner Field: 2010 and Bobby Cox’s final season
- Weekend Predictions: And now for something completely different — Dogs win
- Falcons’ Deion Jones runs for glory, not survival, in return home
- Falcons create a new memory for themselves in New Orleans
- Falcons can’t create more happy memories for Saints
- LSU just fired Les Miles — this is what lunacy looks like