September of 2009 will be remembered as the month that teams couldn’t stand to be loved. Give a team some love, show them some respect, and they will promptly go in the tank for you. So many examples:
Ole Miss: I told everybody in the preseason I wasn’t on the Ole Miss bandwagon. But I didn’t expect the Rebels to go to Columbia and be overwhelmed. They dropped from No. 4 to No. 21 in the AP poll.
California: The Bears have the best running back in the country in Jahvid Best and were thought to have a shot at their first Rose Bowl in 50 years. They rose to No. 6 and got embarrassed by the Quack Attack from Oregon, 42-3.
Miami: How many folks said that Miami was back after the ‘Canes thumped Georgia Tech and jumped into the Top 10? A little rain and an angry Virginia Tech defensive line changed all that up in Blacksburg. Now Miami looks average again.
Penn State: They were talking BCS championship when Joe Pa and the boys started 3-0 against Creampuff U. Iowa went into State College and proceeded to smack the Nittany Lions in the mouth.
In all we’ve had nine teams ranked in the Top 10 lose in September. Wow.
We went 7-3 in the picks last week because we believed in Miami, Penn State, and Clemson, which just could not finish a drive in the rain and lost to TCU at Death Valley, 14-10. That gives us a mark of 30-10 after four weeks.
Let’s get on with the Fearless Friday Forecast for the first Saturday in October:
1. LSU at Georgia: LSU is 4-0 and ranked No. 4 in the nation. The Tigers are also a three-point underdog at Sanford Stadium. Why? Because we have no idea how good LSU is. The Tigers, who were held to 30 yards on the ground by Mississippi State, are ranked 74th nationally in rushing. Coach Les Miles does not like that and vows to stick with the running game against Georgia. But the fact is Georgia has proven very vulnerable to the pass. The bottom line is this: If Georgia can stay under its average for turnovers (3 per game) and penalties (10 per game) the Bulldogs will win. Georgia plays its best game of the season. Georgia 24, LSU 20.
2. Georgia Tech at Mississippi State: Last year Georgia Tech had over 400 yards rushing against the Bulldogs. Expect Mississippi State to be better on defense under veteran DC Carl Torbush. But I’m wondering how much fire the Bulldogs have after the heartbreaking loss to LSU. If Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt plays well again, the Yellow Jackets can get it done in Starkville. Georgia Tech 35, Miss. State 24.
3. Auburn at Tennessee: Auburn is No. 3 in the nation in total offense (526.25 ypg). Quarterback Chris Todd has nine touchdown passes in his last two games. But Auburn has not played away from Jordan-Hare Stadium this season and life on the road in the SEC is just different. Tennessee needs this one to avoid an 0-2 start in the SEC with Georgia coming up this week. If quarterback Jonathan Crompton doesn’t turn it over, and that’s a BIG if, the Vols find a way to win. Tennessee 21, Auburn 20.
4. Alabama at Kentucky: The Crimson Tide has improved in every game and right now may be the best team in the country. If QB Greg McElroy (7 TD, 1 INT) continues to have the hot hand, the Crimson Tide rolls and starts getting ready for next week’s trip to Ole Miss. Alabama 31, Kentucky 7.
5. Ole Miss at Vanderbilt: The last time Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead failed to throw a touchdown pass in a game was in 2008 against Vanderbilt. The Commodores intercepted Snead four times in beating the Rebels 23-17 in Oxford. So Ole Miss had better be on upset alert. I believe Houston Nutt’s team bounces back from a very difficult loss at South Carolina. Ole Miss 28, Vanderbilt 20.
6. Oklahoma at Miami: Landry Jones will start the game at quarterback for Oklahoma but no one is sure if the injured Sam Bradford will play. Oklahoma needs to win in order to stay in the national championship race. Miami wants to atone for last week’s beat down at Virginia Tech. The Sooners are too good on defense. Oklahoma 24, Miami 17.
7. Florida State at Boston College: Florida State, a.k.a Team Schizophrenia, plays a lot better away from home. Offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher said it’s time for the Seminoles to grow up. He’s right. Florida State 24, Boston College 10.
8. Clemson at Maryland: Ralph Friedgen and the Terps (1-3) could really use some positive energy at Byrd Stadium, where attendance is starting to dwindle. Clemson has too many offensive weapons. Clemson 31, Maryland 21.
9. Southern Cal at California: Both teams have a loss in the Pac-10 so the loser goes home and forgets about the conference championship. Trojans are back in the hunt at No. 7 and are able to control Cal’s Jahvid Best. USC 28, California 24.
10. Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (at Arlington,Tex.): The Razorbacks got slapped around by Alabama (35-7) and may have lost some of their confidence. Texas A&M leads the nation in sacks with over four per game. Hogs still win. Arkansas 31, Texas A&M 27.
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