Because Jim Donnan needs a little investment advice (and possibly a mallet to the head), because we’re either in the midst of economic recovery or one hiccup away from all sweeping streets in a Habitrail (depending on political affiliation, or whether Donnan has you on speed dial), and because Bobby Petrino was kind enough to give me another full season’s worth of material (”Watch me cry. Where’s camera 2?”) . . .
Hello. I am back.
Don’t worry. Your money is safe here. We rely neither on Jim Donnan’s economic indicators nor Todd Akin’s wealth of knowledge about the human anatomy (”Two Pop Tarts before sex is a proven contraception method, and if you forget you can still do the Royal Zulu Dance to prevent pregnancy. Hey, where’d everybody go?”)
Weekend Predictions returns every year because we have a proven method of success. We don’t do market research. We don’t care about tendencies. Actually, we try to avoid facts all together. Details. Feh.
For newbies, this is how it works. Every week, I give you the winners. It’s just your job to find them. What you may think is a complete whiff on a pick in reality was a deliberate errant selection to throw off competing investment firms. By now, you should have received your Weekend Predictions Decoding Kit in the mail, which will enable you to tell the good picks from the “bad” ones. If not, please send $237.50 (cash) and I’ll get that out to you. If you’re not satisfied, keep the paring knife as a gift.
Before getting to the picks, here’s the really big announcement: “Sack Schultz” is back! You, yes, you — no, not you, the other guy — can win a $5,000 trip to Hawaii, tickets to the Georgia-Georgia Tech game with a hotel stay in Athens, Chick-fil-A Bowl tickets, $100 restaurant gift cards and Fatheads. Just pick the winners among 15 games each week, and those with the most wins wins. Register at AJC.com/go/sackschultz2012. But hurry because the sooner you enter, the better chance you have to win.
About Georgia: The Dogs open this week with yoga class. Seriously. Buffalo? Actually, that make that SUNY-Buffalo. Is that a team or a life insurance company?
Some players will sit out with suspensions. Coach Mark Richt won’t say which ones or how many, possibly out of concern the line might drop from 37½ to 37 3/8. I was tempted to dance with the points here but something tells me this one gets ugly. Dogs win and cover.
Oh my God. I talk.
The Late Show
Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech: ACC presidents are so committed to academics that they endorsed ESPN moving this game to late Monday night, ensuring that sleepless Tech “student”-athletes will land back in Atlanta Tuesday morning and still be walking into classroom walls on Wednesday. As always, ESPN will leave the cash on the nightstand. Reform, my patootie. The Jackets will be good, but playing their toughest conference game in Week 1 probably wouldn’t have been Paul Johnson’s first choice. Hokies cover 7½.
* * * Thursday Internet-Only Specials * * *
S.C. State at Georgia State: The Panthers won their first two season openers by a combined score of 82-14. That would mean something if the opponents weren’t Shorter and Clark Atlanta. South Carolina State is a step up. But GSU can run the ball, and far be it for me to go against the Bill Curry Final Season Mojo. GSU wins (no line).
South Carolina at Vanderbilt: South Carolina’s Connor Shaw was the SEC’s second highest rated quarterback last year. His score: 148.3. Vanderbilt’s Jordan Rodgers dressed up as a cheerleader the other day. His score: 6.2. Hairy legs. Check? Gamecocks cover 6½.
(With two picks, you get a free inflated test score from Emory.)
Tennessee vs. N.C. State: Derek Dooley is 4-12 in the SEC and ended last season by losing to Kentucky for the first time in 27 years. But there is good news: When Dooley goes back to practicing law, he can defend all of the geranium recruits he had to suspend or throw off the team. (I’d say more but Barbara might punch me.) Vols cover 3.
Clemson vs. Auburn: Gene Chizik went 8-0 in the SEC with Cam Newton as his quarterback and 7-9 without him. That at least partially explains why offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn fled for a lower-paying job at Arkansas State, or possibly a Citgo in Pine Bluff, I can’t remember which. The defensive coordinator also left. Welcome to scapegoat central. Clemson covers 3½.
Michigan at Alabama: The last time Alabama lost to a non-SEC opponent was Utah in the 2008 Sugar Bowl. The Tide is 36-4 since with two BCS titles. Michigan coach Brady Hoke was a huge Lynyrd Skynyrd fan as a kid, but I’m guessing that by the 37th time he hears, “Sweet Home Alabama” on Saturday he’ll be siding with Neil Young. Tide covers 13½.
Jacksonville State at Arkansas: Remember all of those zombie movies when soul-less corpses would wander through streets and shopping malls, looking lost and hopeless? That’s what it’s looked like in Fayetteville since Bobby Petrino fell off a motorcycle with his tall, blonde, mid-life crisis toy. Arkansas officials have told Piggy zombie fans that they’re willing to refund money for season tickets, but they will not be voiding any deals for souls. Damn those marriages made in hell. Arkansas by two touchdowns. (No line.)
Night of the Living Dead Razorbacks (Jessica Dorrell appears at :31)
Miami at Boston College: Miami coach Al Golden on the weather in south Florida: “It feels like we’ve been in a storm for 19 months. I feel like Lieutenant Dan on a shrimp boat.” Cute. Except he left out the part about Nevin Shapiro owning the boat. Canes cover 2.
North Texas at LSU: Buffalo, Bowling Green, North Texas -- was Alderaan the only small peaceful planet the SEC missed is scheduling this week? Tigers win but I’ll dance with North Texas and the 43 points.
Kentucky at Louisville: Charlie Strong is turning into a pretty good head coach. Hopefully one day Rick Pitino spills his soup on him and somebody in Louisville will actually notice him. Cardinals cover 13½.
“In a bet there is a fool and a thief.” — Proverb
2011: Last year, our little enterprise went 125-51 straight up (with upsets) and 102-72-2 against the line.
2012: Still undefeated.
Lilly Pick of the Week: My dog will pick one game among “Sack Schultz” games. This week it’s the Tech game. She struggled. No, seriously. I put pieces of salami under “Virginia Tech” and “Georgia Tech” signs and she sat on the floor for five minutes, just staring. So we added biscuits, and then she attacked. My dog has gone vegan. Winner: Virginia Tech (-7½).
By Jeff Schultz
Some selections from the jukebox