According to Jewish legend, which is better than normal legend because it comes with deli all except one day a year, Moses did not eat for 40 days when he received the Ten Commandments from Jehovah because he was in the presence of God. This was considered an even more important time in history than when Lane Kiffin received his playbook at Alabama in the presence of Nick Saban, which did not work out nearly as well. (Newest Testament: Book of Jesters.)
(If a lightning bolt should strike me before I finish this column, please carry on my mission: Be kind to strangers and slash Bobby Petrino’s tires.)
Back to fasting. I’m not sure if I can make it through 24 hours this weekend, when my people observe Yom Kippur, which literally translates to, “Put down the hoagie, pork pie.”
Observant Jews starve themselves because it seems like the right thing to do when we atone for our sins at the end of a 10-day soul-cleansing period, when we ask forgiveness for things like cursing, throwing your dinner plate at the television and saying Tennessee would cover 27½ against UMass.
I fasted even as a kid, when our services in Los Angeles were so large that my temple moved the congregation to the Fox Theater in Westwood, which was directly across the street from Mario’s Italian restaurant, which led to our family tradition of ending a fast with fettuccine alfredo. (This is not recommended. Imagine taking the smallest, tightest deflated balloon and then blowing it up with an industrial air compressor. But we figured, if Mario’s was across the street from God’s place, Moses would’ve done the same.)
(No lighting bolt yet.)
This is the time of year when God inscribes each person’s fate in the “Book of Life.” For some reason, He has been quite mean to Georgia when it comes to the Tennessee trip. Thumbing through the Book of Splats:
• 2007: Georgia is ranked 12th. Volunteers coach Phil Fulmer’s job is in jeopardy. Georgia falls behind 28-0 in the first 20 minutes and loses 35-14.
• 2009: Tennessee is 0-2 in the SEC. Georgia’s offense never gets into the red zone. Vols quarterback throws for 310 yards (second-most in his career, behind only the Memphis game). Bulldogs lose 45-19.
• 2011: No locusts.
• 2013: Georgia wins 34-31 in overtime, but loses tailback Keith Marshall and others after having already lost Todd Gurley. Coach Mark Richt walks into the news conference and immediately cuts his finger on an old table. I’m not making that up. Asked about injuries, he says: “I just don’t know what the carnage is right now.”
• 2015: Nick Chubb blows out his knee on Georgia’s first play from scrimmage. It loses 38-31 to a 2-3 team.
• 2017: Mercy?
This is a game the Bulldogs should win. They’re 4-0, face a Tennessee team that barely beat UMass (17-13) and coach Butch Jones tore a sheet out of the Overmatched Coaches Playbook this week, berating the media for excessive negativity about his poopy program.
Weird stuff happens in Knoxville, but I can’t imagine the Vols’ offense making a dent in Georgia’s defense. Let there be normalcy? Yes. Dogs cover 7½.
Some music to soothe Butch
Between Mandatory Classes (Optional)
UNC Correctional Institute at Georgia Tech: Is it possible that when the FBI finishes its investigation into college basketball in 10 or 12 years, it can pick up the NCAA’s case on academic fraud at North Carolina. I’m sure the other ACC schools would be happy to share costs. Yellow Jackets win, but take the Heels and 9½.
Mississippi State at Auburn: The good news for Dan Mullen is three of the next four games are at home against BYU, Kentucky and UMass, which should be enough to get Mississippi State to Shreveport, or as Starkville residents like to call it: the beach. Tigers win, but take MSU and 9.
Miami at Duke: Mark Richt was asked about the FBI’s college basketball corruption case, which fingers Miami, and he said: “It’s the FBI? I’m sure they know what they’re talking about. I doubt they’re making up stories. So the bottom line is, if people aren’t behaving like they should, there needs to be consequences.” (School president scratches Richt off list of character witnesses.) Hurricanes cover 6½.
Murray State at Louisville: Rick Pitino is gone. Tom Jurich is gone. Who’s the last one-cell organism left standing in Louisville? Bobby Petrino. Oh dear. Home alone. Cardinals cover 48½.
Bobby Petrino: Home Alone
Florida State at Wake Forest: The Seminoles (0-2) haven’t won a game for nine months. I just wanted to know what it felt like to type that out. FSU covers 7½.
Ole Miss at Alabama: Hugh Freeze’s level doesn’t-get-it-ness remains high. He asked for forgiveness from Ole Miss fans in a statement, but he referenced only his felonious whoopee-making with an escort service, not the 21 NCAA violations hovering over the program. Note to Hugh: philandering with an “independent contractor” in heels is between you and the Mrs. But when the Rebels get hit with a 700-pound mallet, that’s when you should apologize to fans. Today: pain. Tide covers 27½.
Clemson at Virginia Tech: If the Hokies are the second-best team in the ACC, we’re about to find out the size of the gorge between Nos. 1 and 2. Clemson covers 7½.
Vanderbilt at Florida: I’m not sure how many souls the Gators had to sell to escape with victories over Tennessee and Kentucky. For that matter, who knew there were any souls left in Gainesville after the Urban Meyer era? Gators win, but take Vanderbilt and 10.
Troy at LSU: Fans in Baton Rouge can watch a well-coached football team Saturday. And then there’s LSU. Tigers win, but take Troy and 21.
NFL Snack Pack
Bills at Falcons: The Falcons outscored the Detroit Lions 14-0 in replay reversals last week. Any chance they can do better during live action, or is their season going to come down to really good cinematography? Birds are banged up on offense and defense, including Julio Jones with a bad back. Kind of a dangerous game. But Falcons win and cover 7½.
Panthers at Patriots: The new Cam Newton: 2 touchdowns, 4 interceptions and 29th in passer rating (69.7) in the NFL (behind Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer and the kid who always gets picked last for dodgeball. New England covers 9.
Steelers at Ravens: The Ravens have played the Bengals, Browns and Jaguars. But this isn’t the first time they’ve had a stacked jury. Steelers cover 3.
Saints vs. Dolphins: Miami gave up a home game to play in London this week. Given the offense has scored two touchdowns in eight quarters, Dolphins fans are good with that. Saints cover 3.
Last week: 14-1 straight up, 9-6 against the line
Toteboard: 43-8 straight up, 30-20-1 against the line.
Sack Schultz 2017: I’ve dropped to 97th place in contest picks, according to the vendor. This must be a mistake. Weekly winners were Robert Davenport (Loganville) and Grady Thompson (Greenville, S.C.) To enter, go to AJC.com/sackschultz2017.
Lilly’s pick: The mutt is 3-1. This week, we cheese’d pictures of Dogs quarterbacks Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm (right) and Vols QB Quinten Dormady (left). Lilly darted — LEFT! She’s going with the upset: Tennessee.
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