Alabama nips Florida in another instant classic

 

 

Georgia Tech, Clemson, and Ole Miss all had a bad Rivalry Week but not as bad as your humble correspondent. Thanks to those losses and three others I had my worst week of the season (4-6). Good thing it will soon be over. That record dropped us to 93-37 on the season.

 

As punishment for my poor performance, we’ll only pick five games today. Here, because I know you have been breathlessly waiting, is the final Fearless Friday Forcecast for the 2009 regular season. Thanks for being here for what has been quite an incredible ride.

 

1. Alabama vs. Florida (SEC Championship): There is not a whole lot more you can say about a 1 vs. 2 matchup with everything on the line. The winner gets the SEC title, a shot at the national title, and perhaps the Heisman Trophy winner. Florida is the defending national champions and has won 22 straight games. Florida has one of the best quarterbacks we will ever see in Tim Tebow. Florida won 31-20 when these two teams met this time last year.  Logically, we should go with Florida. But something tells me, and it’s just a hunch, that Alabama is going to play well and Tebow won’t have as much time to throw as he did a year ago. Alabama gets a field goal at the buzzer in another instant classic. Alabama 17, Florida 14.

 

2. Georgia Tech vs. Clemson (ACC Championship): A lot has happened to these two teams since their first meeting on Sept. 10. Clemson started 2-3 and then became one of the hottest teams in the country. Georgia Tech lost to Miami the week after beating Clemson (30-27) and then regrouped and proceeded to win eight straight games. Both teams were on the top of the world before getting beat last week in rivalry games against the SEC. This game will come down Georgia Tech QB Josh Nesbitt and Clemson RB/kick returner C.J. Spiller, who returned the seventh kickoff of his career for a touchdown last week. I’m giving the edge to Georgia Tech, but it’s going to be close. Georgia Tech 31, Clemson 28.

 

3. Nebraska vs. Texas (Big 12 championship):  Texas quarterback Colt McCoy was kept under wraps earlier in the season because the Longhorn coaching staff did not want to risk injury. In the past five games Texas has turned McCoy loose. Last week he threw for 304 yards and ran for 175 more in a tough road win over Texas A&M. Nebraska coach Bo Pelini has a good defensive scheme for the Texas spread offense, but the Cornhusker offense won’t be able to keep pace with McCoy. Texas wins and advances to the BCS championship game. Texas 35, Nebraska 24.

 

4. Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (Big East championship): Cincinnati (11-0) has a chance to go to a BCS bowl for the second straight year if the Bearcats can win on the road against Pittsburgh. This is a contrast in styles. Cincinnati is a wide open team behind quarterback Tony Pike (2,048 yards, 23 touchdowns), who has finally healed from a midseason arm injury. Pittsburgh is a blue collar team behind freshman running back Dion Lewis, who is the nation’s No. 4 rusher (131.5 ypg). Rumors are swirling that Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly is headed to Notre Dame. I just think the passing combination of Pike to Mardy Gilyard (93.8 ypg) will be too much for the Panthers.  Cincinnati 28, Pittsburgh 24.

 

5. Houston at East Carolina (Conference USA championship): Houston (10-2) has non-conference wins over Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Mississippi State plus one of the hottest quarterbacks in the country in Case Keenum, who needs only 78 yards passing to reach 5,000 for the second straight year. The Cougars are leading the nation in scoring at 44.9 points per game. It sounds like East Carolina is overmatched, even though the Pirates are at home. But remember that while the Houston offense is the best in football, the defense is among the worst (110th nationally), giving up 445.2. I still like the Cougars. Houston 42, East Carolina 31.

 

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328 comments Add your comment

Gatorfan

December 4th, 2009
8:25 am

jabster

December 4th, 2009
8:30 am

Let’s see what all of these UGA fans can do with their journalism degrees. I want to see some Pulitzer prize-winning commentary.

gator gator

December 4th, 2009
8:31 am

Tony – thank you for picking the Tide – just like you picked GT.
On another note – STOP with the hair dye.

Go GT

December 4th, 2009
8:31 am

Here’s hoping Tech pulls it out!!!

im4bama

December 4th, 2009
8:31 am

It’s a sad day that this is the last Friday of the season. Man, it went quick.

Roll Tider

December 4th, 2009
8:32 am

Go GT…

That’s what SHE said!

Soulja Girl on Marta

December 4th, 2009
8:33 am

Ou big black Defense is gonna run all over that cracker Tebow.

Roll Tider

December 4th, 2009
8:34 am

Damn, another thet’s what she said!

Roll Tide!!

Taco

December 4th, 2009
8:34 am

Dude you are true gambler….. going way out on all those picks. You ever visit the deep end of the pool? Got your swimmies on? Good work all year though.

David

December 4th, 2009
8:36 am

SEC and ACC games won’t be close…
I see Alabama winning by 10, maybe two touchdowns. It just feels like Florida is about to run out of gas. I see this one something in the neighborhood of 24-10 Tide.

I also think Tech will win biiiiiiiiig over the Tigers. Once Clemson gets in a funk, they stay that way for 2 or 3 games. I see it ending up something like 35-14 Jackets.

Ehhhhh!

December 4th, 2009
8:37 am

If Georgia Tech and Clemson were playing in a forrest would the game make any noise. Over under on attendance 25,000.

David

December 4th, 2009
8:37 am

errorin my prior post-10 points to two touchdown margin.

P

December 4th, 2009
8:40 am

No way Texas gives up 24 points to a lowly Nebraska offense….21-0

Pittsburgh will upset Cincy.

“Instant classic” is a oxymoron.

Florida takes Bama 14-7

GT 35-21 over Clemson

UGA loses to the Clarke County Jail (again)

SRF

December 4th, 2009
8:42 am

GT will fold up like a cheap suit. They have no defense whatsoever and CPJ has been exposed a someone who just likes to hear himself talk.

Tide Roll

December 4th, 2009
8:43 am

The Tide should roll big in this game with Dunlap out. Look for Ingram to put up some big numbers (150+) and J Jones to run free across the UF secondary when they load the box to stop Ingram. Plus, Saban’s a defensive genius and will stop florida’s offense, which has no deep threat. Florida’s run is over—Bama is the new SEC sheriff—mark it down!

Bama 27 Fla 16

red5.ws

December 4th, 2009
8:46 am

Tony, as a long time reader of your material, both books and articles I have to say I have been very disappointed in you this year. You praised tech all season long despite their pathetic schedule and gave your own dawgs no chance to beat them. Now you are picking Bama to beat Florida and somehow you think tech will beat Clemson despite Nesbitt not being 100% and the fact Spiller will rush for 200+ I’m willing to give you the year off chief, Southern Fried Football is still a great read. Hope to see better work next season.

im4bama

December 4th, 2009
8:47 am

Bama
Clemson- too close to call really but, I like Clemson in the rematch
Texas- At least we’ll get to see Texas face a decent defense to help se what they’ve got.
Cincy – Close, but too much offense.
Houston-

archangeladidas

December 4th, 2009
8:47 am

It’s offical ladies and gents, Tony just won the game for the GATORS. The sad part is he not going to man up after the game and admit he was wrong. GO GATORS!!!

Tech

December 4th, 2009
8:48 am

Still can’t believe Tech and Clemson lost last weekend. How embarrassing, UGA and USC are two awful teams, Independence Bowl and PapaJohns Bowl? Wow. Anyways, heading to Tampa now hopefully we’ll come back with the hardware.

Gatorzip74

December 4th, 2009
8:50 am

TB-
I want to thank you for picking against the Gators. Nothing like having all of the pundits go against you, we relish it. Tebow will play OK, but the Gators will win this one like most big games they’ve won, with a big play or two on defense, limited penalties and a game changing special teams play. They NEVER lose when they block a kick. UF 23
Bama 17

Dawgs2009

December 4th, 2009
8:53 am

I hope Tebow tears his ACL and never plays again and misses out on his NFL payday.

Barkin'Dog

December 4th, 2009
8:54 am

Florida, Clemson, Texas, Cincy, Houston (although Skip may have a D aligned to stop Houston).
Tebow won them all since his tirade after Ol’ Miss LY. He isn’t going to let this one get by. 2 Heismans, 3 MNCs, a short career in NFL and on to becoming the next Billy Graham (on steriods with his fame). I hate Florida, but love this guy and what he’s all about. May all your teams win, but if they can’t, no injuries – just good, clean hard-knockin’ football. What a weekend! (P.S. The Dawgs will be back!)

s_k_u_l_l_s

December 4th, 2009
8:57 am

Tebow gets rolled…Cornhuskers get long-horned…and as a Georgia resident I am required to say good luck ladies against Clemson! (no predictions…ought to be interesting regardless)

Saint Simons

December 4th, 2009
8:57 am

UGA is my daddy and I need to shut my pie hole from now on.

(((((((((((30-24))))))))))))

Tim

December 4th, 2009
8:58 am

Dawgs2009 – As a UGA fan myself, you are embarrassing. Either quit pretending to be a Dawg fan if you’re really not, and if you are, go find another team. People like you are what give us a bad rep. I’m not a fan of Tebow or the Gators, but to wish someone to be injured and career ruined, that’s just pathetic.

TDone

December 4th, 2009
8:59 am

Tony, I hope you see how your fellow Muttlanders behaved this week. I hope it made you proud.

Go Jackets!!!

FactuAll

December 4th, 2009
9:00 am

Bama v UF

close as it gets. statistically, this game is a dead-heat. I suspect it will play out that way.

I think the two OLs determine the outcome. Whichever OL can protect their QB the best wins.

Wouldn’t be surprised if the game is decided in OT

Dawgs2009 is an Idiot

December 4th, 2009
9:00 am

You don’t have enough self respect to know how to be embarrassed.

UGA MBA ‘89

Tide4u2c

December 4th, 2009
9:00 am

Yes, Alabama gets the win this time.I think it will be close but the Tide finds a way to win again.Saban & co will have a defensive package that will stop Tebow enough to get the win.The college football world will be surprised maybe even shocked that despite all of the controversy when Saban came to Alabama he has led the Tide to the NC game in just 3 years. Alabama 27 Florida 17.

Roll Tide!

Dawgs97

December 4th, 2009
9:00 am

I agree with Tony’s picks…like Bama, Tech and Texas this weekend. (The Texas pick is a no brainer). Thank you in advance to the Crimson Tide for preventing Tebow & his JORTS buddy Meyer from a 3rd title. The rest of civilized society thanks you, too. Texas wins easily…what a joke that Nebraska is who they’re playing.

Oh, but I think Pitt pulls the shocker on Cinncinati. The Bearcats have lost focus amid all the Brian Kelly-to-Notre Dame rumors and Pitt’s D is very strong.

yankeeswin27

December 4th, 2009
9:00 am

THE GATORS WILL BEAT UAT 31-16. GA TECH 38 clemson 27, TEXAS 45 neb 20, PITTSBURGH 27 cinn 24, HOUSTON 34 east carolina 24. THE GATORS WILL
BEAT THE TEXAS LONGHORNS TO WIN THEIR 3RD BCS CHAMPIONSHIP IN 4 YEARS. NO ONE HAS EVER WON THAT MANY BCS CHAMPIONSHIPS BEFORE. HISTORY WILL BE MADE IN THE ROSE BOWL.

SEC Fan

December 4th, 2009
9:01 am

Spiller shows up big against the defense exposed by the Dawgs. Tech loses. Florida has to lose some time, why not this week against a superior defense, in fact I see them starting next season on a 2 game losing streak – the run is over.
Bama vs Texas for the national championship – another instant classic. Sorry Saban, but Texas and Heismann trophy winner McCoy wins.
Next year the Dawgs will be undefeated going into Jacksonville and the bandwagon will be overloaded again.

Gator McKluskey

December 4th, 2009
9:02 am

Charlie Strong will look at the game tapes of Tenn and Auburn vs Alabama and see that by stopping the run Alabama will be forced to throw the ball.Who has the best tandum of defensive backs in the country??Florida does and Haden and Wright and co. will be there.The game will be decided by who turns the ball over the most especially on the other teams side of the field.Ingram might get 100 yds but if McLeroy doesn’t throw for at least 150 yds Alabama will not win.On the other hand..if Tebow throws for 200 yds or more with 1 or no turnovers Florida will win,even if they can’t run the ball effectively.I see Florida winning 24-21.

m

December 4th, 2009
9:02 am

Caleb King just ran 50 yards untouched again for another touchdown, dang

Dawgs97

December 4th, 2009
9:04 am

Oh, and to all the Tech and Florida people who rip on Tony – enough. The guy went to Georgia, so what, but you need to acknowledge he’s a terrific writer for all of Southern football and his book “Southern Fried Football” is actually a good read. (Gator fans…reading is fundamental).

Tony doesn’t deny he’s a UGA Grad and his family connections there, but he seems like a guy who bends over backwards to make picks not based on emotion, but who he thinks will actually win. That’s all you can ask from a Journalist. Tony, thanks for your great work and appreciate your efforts to cover the SEC and ACC.

U-no

December 4th, 2009
9:05 am

Tech wins the Rolaids game of the week. Florida will dominate Alabama, too much Tebow, not enough Tide. Texas will destroy Nebraska. I am picking Pitt to upset Cincinnati… just a feeling. Houston will roll once again.

lawzoo

December 4th, 2009
9:06 am

I agree with your picks except The Climpsons (DOH!) may get a few breaks and win, like they almost did last time except Tech got THE break.

Alabama is no lock but should win a close one.
The others…..who cares.(Actually who cares about the acc?)

Dawgs97

December 4th, 2009
9:08 am

I think the Dunlap loss and overall situation is a difference maker here and I think the Bama offense will play with an added confidence knowing Carlos Dunlap won’t be in there, rushing McElroy.

You can “brush off” things (the way Paul Johnson attempted to brush off the importance of the Georgia game before and after Tech’s loss) but players, media and fans do not. The Carlos Dunlap thing is a big deal. I thought Bama could pull off the win beforehand – it’s all about adjustments and no coach makes better adjustments to a team, year to year, than Nick Saban.

Bama over the Jorts, 31-23.

DawginLex

December 4th, 2009
9:09 am

Florida
who cares
Texas
Pitt
Houston

Tebow won’t lose this game. Gators, enjoy him while you can. He is your Herschel. There will never be another one like him.

To the so called “dawgfan” who wants Tebow injured, KARMA is something else. Just ask Spurrier-he can’t beat UGA anymore.

Billy Bob Thornton

December 4th, 2009
9:10 am

ALA vs FLA: I’ve been thinking that ALA would beat FLA, but now having second thoughts. I think ALA will make if difficult for FLA, but also believe FLA has just a couple too many big plays than ALA.
FLA-24, ALA-17
TECH vs. CLEM: This game was close the first time they played, and TECH scored on a couple of trick plays. So I ask myself, who has improved the most since the begining of the year? Clemson has. And with the way UGA racked up 339 yards of rushing on TECH, I believe Spiller will have a big day.
CLEM-35 TECH 27
TX vs NEB: Texas has too much offense for NEB. It will be close of 1.5 quarters, then TX breaks it open.
TX 34 NEB 17
CINN vs PITT: CINN’s luck will run out, just not this week.
CINN 38 PITT 27
HOUSTON vs E.CAR: Who cares.
HOUSTON 44 E.CAR 28

Georgia

December 4th, 2009
9:10 am

Clemson wins. They beat um upfront in Atlanta in Sept. Tech was lucky to get that one.
Nebraska pulls the upset or at least easily covers the 14pts.
Pitt wins
Bama keeps it close/covers. maybe wins it. Uf not explosive enough on offense and cant run inside

GeorgiaStateChamps-8-out-of-9

December 4th, 2009
9:10 am

Tony, you are the uncle tom of Georgia football and always will be. ‘I like Tech BIIIIG” you said on ESPN with an ear to ear grin.

Dawgs2009 is the worst sort of trash.

GT fans, if you don’t like the way Dawg fans behaved this week, then why don’t you follow your coaches advice and punc them in the face? No one is more intolerable after a victory than the North Avenue Nerd Brigade (except of course the gator nation).

Tucker

December 4th, 2009
9:12 am

My hunch is Florida and Clemson reverse the popular picks of Alabama and Tech, not that I want them to do so. It is always tough to beat a team twice in one season, so Tech probably has the biggest challenge to prove me wrong. I think Tebow versus McElroy will be the deciding factor in the other one, and that is a mismatch by any yardstick you choose.

David

December 4th, 2009
9:12 am

Enter your comments here

92 Gator

December 4th, 2009
9:12 am

Shocker…Tony picked UF to lose. The sad thing is when the Gators win he will find something else to talk about next week other than their performance. Just like the week after the UGA game all he talked about was the Brandon Spikes incident and not the complete meltdown of the Bulldogs.

eddiedawg

December 4th, 2009
9:13 am

I seem to recall Barnhart picking Tech big last week over UGA-how’d that work out for ya??

Bama rolls
Clemson rolls

30-24 losers

Don’t punch me!!

Tebow is Overrated!

December 4th, 2009
9:15 am

Tony,

Correction. You meant to say “Tebow is ONE of the best RUNNING BACKS who’s played”. He’s actually not even in the top 100 there over his career–many RB’s have outrushed him. Clearly, Joe Cox and DOZENS of other QB’s have better QB skills. Have you compared Cox to Tebow in touchdowns, yards or sacks this year? Many RB’s have run better than Tebow, so he’s certainly not one of the “best RB’s we’ve ever seen”. Tebow is an average QB and an AVERAGE RB. That’s why the NFL doesn’t want him.

jumbeauxtiger

December 4th, 2009
9:15 am

Gators 20
Tide 13

Clemson 31
Tech 28

Texas 30
Neb 14

Cincy 28
Pitt 24

Houston 41
ECU 27

Gen Neyland

December 4th, 2009
9:15 am

Florida over Alabama. Whoever comes out on top, the SEC will be well represented in the BCSNCG. Good luck to all and may all come away injury free…

gatorrashad

December 4th, 2009
9:16 am

Wow…what a newsflash…..Mr College football has picked the Tide over the Gators….once again Tony B you are going to be humbled in back to back to back weeks with your wrong picks….and Mr. Tebow is the one you are going be humbled by…..with your prediction….

Gators 24
Tide 10