It was down the stretch of the regular season last year when the defense of the tumbling football program at Georgia allowed 38, 49, 38, 13 and 45 points, and almost every week the secondary looked like the after shot when a chicken truck collides with Fred, the crazy neighbor, who just had to show you some tricks on his new motorcycle, because, like, you know that old joke about the last words heard by a redneck: “Hey, watch this …”
(We don’t have a rednecks in the audience today, do we? No? Just two? OK …)
The 13 points the Dogs allowed in that stretch last season came to Auburn, and soon after
Tommy Tuberville was shown the exit ramp. I thought about this last week when Georgia beat Auburn again, 31-24 — they should play them more often — and Mark Richt lauded the defense, notwithstanding its current No. 11 ranking in the SEC and No. 56 nationally against the pass and its No. 120 ranking nationally in takeways (eight), all of which has led Willie Martinez to look like that guy driving the chicken truck. Or the motorcycle.
Richt was asked again this week about potential changes he might make after the season. His answer was something like this: “I like Mike and Ikes, especially the red ones.”
And so we wait. This week, it’s the final home game against Kentucky. Take a good look. Some of the grown ups may not be back.
People say the Wildcats aren’t very good. But if they’re 6-4, same as Georgia, and they beat Auburn by a touchdown, same as Georgia, does that make them same as Georgia? Close. But not quite. Dogs cover 8 1/2.
Vanderbilt at Knoxville Correctional Institute: So it turns out three players getting arrested on charges of armed robbery isn’t the only problem at Tennessee. Lane Kiffin failed to mention another freshman is facing a charge for allegedly shoplifting a $110 Polo shirt on Nov. 7. Nice recruiting class. Do full scholarships in Knoxville include the leg chains? Vols win but take Vandy and 16 1/2.
Virginia at Clemson: The Tigers have won five straight since starting 2-3 and losing to Maryland. Funny. Virginia has lost four straight since beating Maryland. Al Groh keeps getting it backwards. Clemson rolls into the ACC title game (but won’t cover 20 1/2).
Sacrificial Lamb at Florida: Charleston Southern, Troy, Florida International. The Gators shop for non-conference opponents at Value City, right next to the bin of slightly imperfect dress shirts with sleeves and an upside down pocket. Gators cover 45 against FIU.
Maryland at FSU: Bobby Bowden might want to win this. The Seminoles are 5-5 and they’re not getting their bowl-eligible, sixth win against Florida (although it would be pretty funny to everybody except the hatchet-packing FSU Board of Trustees if they did). Noles cover 19.
(Late Fall Blowout Special! Buy three picks and Bud Adams will give you the finger.)
Falcons at Giants: Michael Turner has a sprained ankle, three cracked ribs, a torn rotator cuff, some malfunctioning intestines and both arms were mauled by a lion Thursday. Of course, Mike Smith says he will be a game time decision. The Giants (four straight losses) are struggling. But the Falcons are 1-4 on the road and their backfield could consist of Jason Snelling and Aaron Stecker. Check? Giants win but won’t cover 6 1/2.
Saints at Bucs: The Saints have become a relatively average 9-0 team lately. Did I just say that? Actual factual: Drew Brees’ first five games: two interceptions. His last four games: seven interceptions. Prozac should start marketing to Fantasy Leagues. Saints win but take Tampa and 11 1/2.
Seahawks at Vikings: Jim Mora called Arizona’s Darnell Dockett a dirty player for leaning on Matt Hasselbeck’s throat last week. Dockett responded with a Twitter: “Dear coach mora, its football [expletive] happens.” I guess he’s seen Mora’s resume. Vikings cover 11.
Eagles at Bears: There’s a chance several Philadelphia players will lean on Jay Cutler’s windpipe. But only because Bears fans paid them to. Eagles cover 3.
Redskins at Cowboys: Old Redskins guard John Wilbur once said, “George Allen never used to say, ‘The Dallas Cowboys.’ It was always, ‘The [g.d.] Dallas Cowboys. It’s the Cowboys’ uniform. It strikes hate and loathing in my mind, almost in a Pavlovian sense.” Don’t you miss the days when the Cowboys-Redskins meant something, let alone when a player would say things like, “Pavlovian”? Selah. (Thank you, Bish.) Dallas wins but take the Skins and 11.
Browns at Lions: Some thought it was a story when LeBron James said he could play for the Browns. What’s the big deal? Zydrunas Ilgauskas could play for the Browns. Lions cover 3 1/2.
Last week: I think what’s really important is it’s a beautiful day, the birds are singing and I have clean socks.
Fine! 8-4 straight up, 5-7 against the line.
Totals: 83-38 straight up, 56-64 against the line.
Deadline: Three weeks left in fiscal season to pull even