Halloween’s roots can be traced back 2,000 years ago, when the Celts commemorated the end of their harvest, and it was cold and dark and the skies were filled with evil spirits and the tattered remains of a Willie Martinez game plan following another Georgia-Florida game.
Later, of course, came the pumpkins, the parties, the costumes — especially Naughty Nurses, Naughty Teachers and Naughty ESPN Intern — the debate over which candy rules (Snickers or Reese’s), dentists, sugar rushes, psychotic teenage pranks, scotch, especially scotch, and the Seven Deadly Sins: Lust, Gluttony, Sloth, Greed, Wrath, Ray Goff and the Deluded Bulldogs Fan who believe they actually have a shot Saturday.
The Dogs are in Jacksonville. Fortunately, none of the players drove. There was another arrest this week, this time an offensive linemen, Vince Vance, who ran a red light, was driving without a license and of course missed a block.
Georgia believes it has a chance. Why? Because it’s coming off a win over Vanderbilt? Even Army didn’t get cocky after beating Vandy, and in fact lost its next two games to Temple and Rutgers.
Florida hasn’t been great. But it has won 17 straight since last season. Also, there’s that No. 1 thing. Great’s kinda relative, don’t you think? The line is 15 1/2. Big number. I’m not spooked. Gators cover.
Tech at Vandy: The Jackets’ next three games come against Vanderbilt (2-6), Wake Forest (4-4) and Duke (4-3). This would be a good time for everybody to go make a sandwich and come back when they’re 10-1 Georgia week. The Commodores went through a respectable period. It passed. Jackets cover 12.
South Carolina at Tennessee: Steve Spurrier used to save his best jabs for the Tennessee game (”You can’t spell Citrus [Bowl] without the U-T.”) But when the media tried to get him to bite (again) about Lane Kiffin, he responded, “That’s for all you media people to comment on.” Sad. I feel like the Chief when he found Randall P. McMurphy after the lobotomy. Take the Roosters and 5 1/2. And in an upset.
States of Confusion: Tom O’Brien is 7-12 in ACC games at N.C. State. He left Boston College why again? Oh that’s right. Matt Ryan was running out of eligibility. Florida State wins but take the Wolfpack and 9.
Mississippi at Auburn: The Tigers got off to a 5-0 start and suddenly everybody ran out Gene Chizik jokes. Three losses later and 96 opponent points later, Bobby Lowder is plotting another overthrow. Rebs cover 3 1/2.
Falcons at Saints: The problem isn’t just that Matt Ryan has looked ordinary the last two weeks, or that Michael Turner has looked ordinary all season. The problem is that what the Saints do best (pass) exposes what the Falcons can’t do at all (stop the pass). The Birds will be fine — until Drew Brees gets out of his car. Saints cover 10.
Favre Meets the Exes: The Green Bay mayor solicited some fine ideas for Brett Favre’s return, including declaring “Flip-Flip Friday” and hosting a pep rally where fans will be served waffle fries. If Favre’s performance last week in Pittsburgh is the start of a trend, the city also can schedule Meltdown Monday. The Steelers turned two Favre turnovers into TDs. Cheese covers 3.
Raiders at Chargers: The most popular costumes this Halloween are both corpses: Al Davis and JaMarcus Russell. Chargers win but take Oakland and 16 1/2.
Seahawks at Cowboys: Big meeting between Wade Phillips, the son of a coach, and Jim Mora, the son of a coach (you thought I wasn’t going to write, “coach,” didn’t you?). Bum Phillips vs. Jim Mora Sr. would’ve been better theater. And better football. Still not convinced Dallas is great. But not even sure Seattle is among the living. ‘Boys win but don’t cover 9 1/2.
Giants at Eagles: In the last two weeks, the Giants’ defense saw the Saints and Cardinals combine for 72 points, and Drew Brees and Kurt Warner throw for 600 yards and five touchdowns. Wonder if the Eagles are confident enough to let Michael Vick throw a pass? Sorry. Can’t see New York losing three straight. Take the gift point and a Giants win.
Browns at Bears: The Browns are so bad that Cleveland fans are trying to organize a protest, asking everybody to walk in late for a Nov. 16 game against Baltimore. They’ve considered not walking in at all. But they’re afraid the hand of Art Modell will punch through the dirt on the 50-yard line and and move the team again, this time to his current residence in Netherland. Chicago wins, but won’t cover the 13.
Last week: 8-3 straight up, 5-6 against the line.
Totals: 58-28 straight up, 41-45 against the line.