I know this my day to give predictions, and we’ll get to those. But I’ll let you know now that they’ll be brief.
From time to time I ask for permission to use this space to share something personal with you. This is another one of those times.
Yesterday we lost a damn good man and a damn good sportswriter. Steve Ellis of the Tallahassee Democrat covered Florida State for nearly 30 years and did it with great distinction. Nobody knew what was going on at Florida State better than Steve and he did it with a work ethic that was legendary.
Did he clash with the folks at Florida State from time to time? You bet. But everybody from President T.K. Wetherell to Bobby Bowden respected Steve Ellis as a pro. In fact, he was a pro that other pros looked up to and relied on as a great resource.
When I really needed to know what was going on at Florida State, I would talk to Steve late at night when I knew he had finally stopped working. Yeah, I was a competitor but our friendship was strong enough that he felt comfortable discussing his work with me and giving me special insights that were incredibly helpful.
The story about Steve in today’s Tallahassee Democrat says that hewas working on a story at home when he suffered a massive heart attack on Nov. 10. He wouldn’t let his wife, Karen, call 911 until she emailed the story into the paper first. That’s Steve.
I talked to Karen Ellis on Monday night and she was optimistic that Steve had survived the worst of it. His life was going to have to change, to be sure. They were going to embrace that change together.
I was on my way to Athens Thursday afternoon when the word came. We had lost one of the good guys.
If you have an extra prayer in your pocket this weekend, send it along for Karen Ellis and the folks who loved Steve. This is going to be a tough Thanksgiving.
Now on to the picks. I was 7-3 last week. The record is 80-30 on the season.
1. Kentucky at Georgia: Georgia just needs to keep running the ball. Kentucky has the No. 11 rush defense in the SEC. Georgia 28, Kentucky 17.
2. LSU at Ole Miss: Dexter McCluster touched the ball 29 times last week and Ole Miss pounded Tennessee. The Rebels will do it again. Ole Miss 21, LSU 20.
3. Vanderbilt at Tennessee: Vanderbilt just can’t score enough points to hang with the Volunteers. Tennessee 28, Vanderbilt 13.
4. Mississippi State at Arkansas: How good is QB Ryan Mallett? Arkansas leads the nation in red zone scoring with 38 scores in 39 trips (29 touchdowns). Arkansas 31, Miss. State 17.
5. Virginia at Clemson: The Tigers and C.J. Spiller are just too much for the Cavaliers. Clemson advances to the ACC championship game and a date with Georgia Tech. Clemson 41, Virginia 13.
6. Maryland at Florida State: Florida State (5-5) needs this one to become bowl eligible with a trip to Florida coming up next week. Florida State 31, Maryland 14.
7. Ohio State at Michigan: Rich Rod really needs this one to take some of the heat off. Ohio State has already clinched the Rose Bowl. A loss means Michigan (1-6 Big Ten) will finish last in the league for the first time since 1962. Ohio State 17, Michigan 14.
8. Kansas State at Nebraska: Nebraska clinches the Big 12 North and a showdown with Texas for the conference championship. Nebraska 28, Kansas State 13.
9. Oregon at Arizona: These two teams control their own destiny in the Pac-10 race. The winner has the inside track to the Rose Bowl. Oregon 28, Arizona 27.
10. Kansas at Texas: Texas clinches the Big 12 South and Colt McCoy wins his 43rd game as the Longhorn’s starting quarterback. That breaks the record formerly held by Georgia’s David Greene. Texas 35, Kansas 10.
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