Weekend Predictions: Welcome to the annual Alabama crush festival

chalk

Hello and welcome back to the season’s final episode of Weekend Predictions, or as we like to call it, “Other than those times when I said Alabama will win and cover the spread and crush your soul and make even your children look at you the way your mother looked at you the first time you mixed blue and green Play-Doh with peanut butter and said with great enthusiasm, “Look mom! I made dinner!” and unfortunately you were 17, forget everything else I said.

Because there has been only one constant this college football season: Nick Saban. He is Zeus.

Alabama is favored by 24 over Florida in the SEC Championship game.

I’m not sure if that’s points or major organs.

scanners

The line opened at 21, and people still thought, “Come on. Challenge me.”

Georgia fans are upset their team didn’t make it to the game this week, despite the fact that in college football, the SEC East is like the Iceland of world powers.

Alabama is going to have to start paying SEC East opponents in this game the way they would a Sun Belt team.

No, the Bulldogs are better off being in Athens this week, a safe distance from flying shrapnel and  limbs. Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney had a hard enough time trying to match wits with Nicholls State and Vanderbilt.

Back to Saban. He’s 65 going on Hulk. Somebody dared to broach the subject this week that Alabama could afford to lose this game and probably still make it into the four-team playoffs. Upon hearing this scenario, Saban’s head started rumbling like Mt. Vesuvius. It was like that scene from the 1980s science-fiction classic, “Scanners,” when the guy’s head explodes, and a stunned audience flees the theater.

“It’s never OK to lose a game!” Saban said.

And then lasers shot out of his eyes and took out two bloggers in the first row.

Then the line went up another two points.

Alabama has won 24 straight. It has won its past three games by a combined score of 112-18. The point differential in the Tide’s 12 wins this season was 336 (473-137). Florida’s total output: 265 points.

Florida has no chance.

No.

Chance.

The Gators were the last East team to win the conference title. That came in 2008, two head coaches and one Tim Tebow ago.

Enjoy the little participation trophy, pizza and juice boxes for winning the East. Gators are going down. Bama covers a billion.

Road Trips

ACC: Clemson vs. Virginia Tech: Deshaun Watson threw six touchdown passes in less than three quarters against South Carolina before coach Dabo Swinney pulled him. He would’ve left him in, but Steve Spurrier wasn’t coaching, and it’s just not as much fun piling on Will Muschamp. The Tigers should enjoy this: It might be their last win of the season. Clemson covers 10.

Visualizing Spurrier last week

Pac-12: Colorado vs. Washington: If the Huskies lose, the Left Coast will be shut out of the playoffs for the second straight year, and angry fans will march on NCAA offices, armed with lattes and EXTRA hard biscottis. Of course, none of this changes what matters most: 99 percent of the world would rather live in Seattle than Tuscaloosa, and the other one percent eat at Golden Corral. Washington wins, but take Colorado and 7.

College football, 2016: This is what chaos looks like.

College football, 2016: This is what chaos looks like.

Big Ten: Wisconsin vs. Penn State: Regardless of who claims this title game, there’s a chance if Washington loses (or wins unimpressively) that two Big Ten teams (Ohio State, Michigan) make the playoffs and neither would be the conference champion. That’s my preferred scenario. Because, duh, chaos. Everybody leaning toward Cheese, I’m going the other way:  Take the gift 3 and the Nittany Lions in a mild upset.

Baylor at West Virginia: Liberty hired Baylor’s former disgraced AD, Ian McCaw, who was fired for failing to respond to several sexual-assault cases involving athletes. Welcome to selective Christianity. There’s not enough Hail Marys in the world to salvage the remains of Jerry Falwell’s soul. West Virginia covers 17 over the nation’s grease spot.

NFL Snack Pack

Chiefs at Falcons: The football analytics site Football Outsiders gives the Falcons an 82.5 percent chance of winning the NFC South and an 88.5 percent chance of making the playoffs, which of course leads every Falcons fan to project, “Crushed by that 11.5 percent chance again.” But seriously: four major defensive injuries — not good. The offense will have to row this boat. Falcons win, but take K.C. and 4.

Falcons are hard at work to fix the holes

49ers at Bears: Chip Kelly said he’s not going back to Oregon. I don’t blame him. That’s a big step up from the 49ers right now. Bears cover 1.

Lions at Saints: In 20 games since Detroit fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, Matthew Stafford has thrown for 5,279 yards, 39 touchdowns and nine interceptions with a rating of 101.9. Lombardi is now New Orleans’ quarterback coach. Funny. He hasn’t seemed to screw up Drew Brees. Saints cover 6.

Rams at Patriots: Rams coach Jeff Fisher told one of the greatest players in franchise history, Eric Dickerson, to cool the criticism or he couldn’t stand on the sideline. I have a question: Since he hasn’t won a playoff game since 2003, how is it that Fisher is still standing on the sideline? And what in the world did he do to Todd Gurley? Patriots win, but take L.A. and 13½.

Browns (0-12): Bye week. Good time for a parade.

Bills at Raiders: Remember all of those people who wanted Rex Ryan as the Falcons’ head coach? Whatever happened to them? Raiders cover 3.

Texans at Packers: Green Bay ended a skid with a win over Philadelphia and coach Mike McCarthy acknowledged, “It’s hard to have people not like you. Hell, we’re the Green Bay Packers.” Not at 5-6, you aren’t. Packers cover 6½.

Sack Schultz update

sack-schultz-logoCongratulations to Jack Branscomb of Lilburn, who I will be contacting in the near future for suggestions on stocks and mutual funds. Jack (cheater) swept both grand prizes in “Sack Schultz 2016” with 141 wins this season. He wins both the AJC grand prize of two tickets to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl playoff semifinal, as well as the national grand prize, a $2,500 Apple Vacation card or $2,500 in cash. Thanks for playing everybody. All be back next season with a new set of darts.

Scorecard

images“Victory is a fleeting thing in the gambling business. Today’s winners are tomorrow’s blinking toads, dumb beasts with no hope.” — Hunter S. Thompson.

Last week: 10-5 straight up, 9-6 against the line.

Bottom dollars: 122-56-1 straight up, 88-87-4 against the line.

Lilly’s pick: The mutt hasn’t had a great season, but looks to finish off with a win. It didn’t seem right to have her pick a straight winner in the SEC title game, so I told her Florida came with 24 biscuits. I put up cheese’d pictures of Albert (Florida’s mascot) and Big Al (Alabama’s mascot). Lilly darted right: to Big Al. Bama covers 24.

Lilly showed no hesitation in predicting Alabama will cover the 24 biscuits.

Lilly showed no hesitation in predicting Alabama will cover the 24 biscuits.

Subscribe for free to the, “We Never Played The Game” podcast with Jeff Schultz and WSB’s Zach Klein on iTunes. All episodes can be downloaded and heard on iTunes or here via WSBRadio.com.

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Reader Comments 0

509 comments
OH:IO
OH:IO

Now we're on Toilet Bowl watch now that the Big Boys are in.

Big Wally
Big Wally

I will throw out a guess.  The Big 12 will fall apart in a few years.  Fox and ESPN told them not to expand, which says a lot about the future of the conference.  They are the only conference that will not have their conf. champion making the playoffs for the second time out of three years - thus Oklahoma is getting fed up.  All it takes is Ok, or Texas leaving and the conf. falls apart.


When they fall apart.  The other 4 power conferences will go on a feeding frenzy and all will go to 16 teams (that is why I was teasing OHIO earlier about Kansas, they are an AAU member and that is a big deal for the Big 10).  ND will eventually realize they are nothing special and will join the ACC in football.


So you will end up with 4/16 member super conferences.  They will just give the conference champions from those 4 conferences automatic playoff bids - unless say one is ranked very low (like a Florida this year), and you could then replace that team with a high ranking team from one of the non power 4 conferences OR another team that is highly ranked that is not a conf. champion from one of the power 4.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@TOJacket @Big Wally Yes on Kansas, Oklahoma is not, but they have some big research grant, so they would probably be considered also.


Nebraska was AAU, but lost it right before they were added to the Big 10, so they will make exceptions.  They have wanted ND for ever, and ND is not AAU, but look at the national prestige they would add to the Big 10.


They would also make an exception for Texas, but I don't see Texas joining the Big 10. 

Mulk
Mulk

@Big Wally


Texas and Oklahoma ARE the reasons that the Big 12 is falling apart. Ask Nebraska, Colorado, Mizzou and A&M why they left.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally Well then it's no different than now? You either live with the Conference champ or do whats being done now.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@TOJacket @Big Wally It's obvious that conference champs are not always the best teams as evidenced by the B1G. I'm afraid that "big money matches" are important to the committee. The best fan following is for teams right up through the center of the United States. West coast and East coast teams are not a good draw. Northern vs. Southern is always a frenzied draw. The North won the big one but we're getting even.

TOJacket
TOJacket

All these deacons had to go to church this morning I guess.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@TOJacket @Big Wally It will be the 4 the committee is expected to go with because of the current rules they have.  Bama, OSU, Clemson, Washington.  Yes Washington is weak, their non conference schedule was a joke, but they do have a couple of quality wins. Colorado was ranked high. 

Big Wally
Big Wally

@TOJacket @Big Wally At this time, they have no rules, just go by whoever they think the 4 best teams are.  The problem is, we all know they place some importance on the conf. championship games, but who knows how much - there are no rules.  OSU beat Wisconsin three years ago in the Big 10 conf. champ game, and leap frogged TCU and Baylor.  This year OSU is not a conf. champ. and they are saying they are shoe in.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally @TOJacket And at least you admitted there are no rules, it's a committee with football folks on it, you hate OSU and that blinds you...in 2014 we were beat by FSU in the ACCCG by 4 points....if we had won should we have gone. I can't wait for this answer.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@TOJacket @Big Wally Tech would not have been one of the top 4 ranked conference champions (if they had been, then yes to your question).  I don't remember the exact order, but I think it was Bama, Oregon, FSU, and OSU, with TCU and Baylor on the outside.  If FSU would have lost to Tech, then the 4th conf. champion would have been Baylor or TCU.  Tech would have been the 5th highest ranked conf. champion of the power 5.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally @TOJacket Lets try again....The rule in 2014 would have been Conference champs go, and Tech pulled the upset, like 2015 against the noles, should we have got to play for the NC...even I say no. What say ye?

TideDawg
TideDawg

Who goes to the Sugar Bowl? If Fl. had not been dismantled by the Tide after the first quarter I would say Fl. As much as I dislike Auburn's coach my guess is they would be the next best choice.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@TOJacket @TideDawg I guess Penn St. will get the Rose, but a Penn St./Auburn match seems like a good one. I like Mi./Oklahoma but don't see how they can arrange that one.

TideDawg
TideDawg

Too many votes in the CFP committee are "politically correct" people that have had little or no actual football experience.

Alabama was given no credit for beating USC.....because it was early in the year and they changed QBs to finish strong.

On the other hand OSU's win over Oklahoma is lauded as their best win over a ranked opponent. Oklahoma lost to Houston and OSU early in the season, but that is still considered a signature win. Why? OSU lost to Penn St. who is the conference champion but that doesn't count because is was a fluke win....according to the committee. I'm not saying OSU doesn't belong.....I'm saying that the committee changes it's criteria for selecting participants daily. They are voting for match ups and favorites instead of the best 4 teams.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@TideDawg OK who is your best 3....after the Tide, and they didn't need any credit from any win. Good grief!

OH:IO
OH:IO

@TOJacket @TideDawg


Right, flat, too many former coaches and AD's who know nothing about college football.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@TideDawg


OSU-Oklahoma?


Ranked in Top 15 the time, now Top 10 and on the road vs. a Conf Champ


Need another up of coffee, flat?

OH:IO
OH:IO

@TideDawg


I'd say beating #3 Michigan is OSU's best win vs. a ranked opponent.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@TOJacket @TideDawg Honestly, I don't know! Outside of the current top four I would have to give Mi., Penn St., and Oklahoma serious consideration. However, my guess is the committee will make sure there's no chance of a second match between OSU, Mi. or Penn St. in the final game. Re-matches are not very popular outside of the teams playing.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@TideDawg @TOJacket That's what I want....your opinion on the top 4 that should play....good grief I won't make fun of you unless you put UGA or Tech in there.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@TOJacket @TideDawg There is a thought for Tech but that ship has sailed. I'd go with the last ranking before Sat. By the way, laughing is all part of this blog. We all laugh at some of the crap on here. I'm getting it from some of my Tech golf group. It will pass.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@TideDawg @OH:IO Tide buddy....I have watched a lot of football and Michigan is one of the few teams who come close to matching up with Bama...calm down I'm not saying they would beat them but their players are built like damn gladiators like Bama. The difference I think between Bama and most other teams. S and C guy should be getting millions,

TOJacket
TOJacket

@TideDawg @TOJacket Good grief, so you would have Bama play a warm up game against Washington? that is what you want? That will be a pitiful game, the champ from a conference with half the teams with losing records.

The Doom
The Doom

@TOJacket @TideDawg @OH:IO


Michigan wouldn't have a prayer against Alabama. The only teams that have had any success against Bama in years have been spread offenses usually with mobile qbs like Deshaun Watson, Cam Newton, or Johnny Manziel. When is the last time a team with a pro style type of offense like Michigan beat Alabama? Probably LSU in the first 2011 game. And they won that game because of a great D and a lot of Alabama miscues- not because of their offense. 

TideDawg
TideDawg

@TOJacket @TideDawg I don't know if they will let Washington in. The talking heads don't want them because of their non conference record.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@TideDawg @TOJacket No reason to pick on OHIO....I pretty much agree with him and I will be pulling for Clemson and Bama....born at Crawford Long and never lived anywhere but the South and wouldn't. I'm not trying to pick on you...just discussing football instead of slinging shat. And Washingtons non-conference is no worse than their conference record. The Pac 12 sucks.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@TOJacket @TideDawg @OH:IO I'm aware of your football knowledge. I respect that!

Some of the talking heads say Mi. is the second best team, some say OSU. In my opinion OSU should have lost 3 games....but they didn't. Alabama could have lost 2 games....but they didn't. I'll miss the final 4 voting this afternoon.....got other plans. Someone suggested that they televise the voting.....I agree. It would be interesting to hear why they like who/whom that they like.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@TOJacket @TideDawg Now those are encouraging words. I could learn to like you. I do have a lot of Tech acquaintances but all but one comments in jest. It's just football....a game played by much younger men. We have one OSU guy in our group. We lost our Oklahoma guy to a wife's whims. There's little flak from them. The Tennessee guy dies hard. The rest are Dawgs, but mostly Tech.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@Doom Classical liberal @TOJacket @TideDawg @OH:IO I'm a Tide fan, but if you watched them play Fl. Sat. afternoon they played terrible. They made enough mistakes to lose to a great team. When you're playing the game with a ball shaped to take weird bounces and a clock with a timer, getting behind a team like Mi.or any of the top 6 would not be a good idea.