Welcome back to Weekend Predictions, where we may fool you into taking one of our Just Kidding Picks once a while — Georgia over South Carolina? Just kidding — but we would never pimp out our abused young pawns to the highest bidder for the sake of a case of footballs, new carpeting and a dozen legal pads. Because then, we would be no better than a financially desperate athletic director.
And speaking of Georgia State. What next? Maybe lease out 20 or 30 players to the Atlanta Police Department for Taser practice? That would clear $100,000.
In another attempt to provide a thoroughly enriching college football experience — go with it — Georgia State athletic director Cheryl Levick has brokered deals to throw her fledgling program’s abused slabs of meat into the center of the Roman Coliseum against Alabama and West Virginia next season and Oregon in 2015.
For these three sacrifices, GSU will make $2.15 million, less medical expenses that the HMO won’t cover. Players will receive a free second trip to the soft-food bar in the cafeteria.
The Panthers are 0-6 this season. They’ve been outscored 236-71. Two more routs, and they qualify for FEMA funding. And yet, the school jumped from the Colonial to the Sun Belt for financial reasons, ensuring more dismemberings in 2013. Now there’s the non-conference schedule, direct from The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism (circa 1967).
I don’t know. Maybe Levick is bucking for the Savannah State job (first two games this season: losses to Oklahoma State and Florida State by a combined 139-0). I’d be fine with these deals if the school president agreed to play left tackle and the athletic director played quarterback. But that would be too, oh, I don’t know, courageous?
Meanwhile, back to real football:
South Carolina didn’t have to pay Georgia anything for last week’s body slam. Now it tries to keep it going against LSU. Bad timing. The Roosters are coming off an emotional high. The Tigers are coming off a loss to Florida. The game is in Baton Rouge (where LSU has won 21 straight).
Not overly confident about this pick (obviously). Just a feeling: LSU over South Carolina (and the 2½ is covered).
Georgia: Off. Coaches searched for the idiots who egged players houses, but followed their game plan and ended up in Spartanburg.
Georgia Tech: Off. No, really this time.
Auburn at Mississippi: The Tigers are 6-point underdogs to Ole Miss, triggering a clause in Gene Chizik’s contract that reads, “The locksmith will be arriving on Tuesday.” Take Auburn and 6 (but Rebels win).
Florida at Vanderbilt: Great story from Will Muschamp about how when he got the job at Florida, “There were only three things left in a very barren office, and that was three national championship trophies. I think our athletic director left them on purpose.” Nothing like sending a message. Gators cover 8.
Alabama at Missouri: Five Mizzou players were suspended for marijuana last week. Gary Pinkel must be making recruiting in-roads in Georgia. Alabama covers 21½.
Kentucky at Arkansas: Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson was in an accident. But he was in a car, not on a motorcycle, and his sociology professor wasn’t a passenger — so when you think about, the program is making tremendous progress. Piggies cover 17.
Tennessee at Ms. State: The others Dogs are 5-0, but their wins have come over Jackson State, Auburn, Troy, South Alabama, Kentucky and … wait, did I leave out the Connecticut School of Broadcasting? Grab the 3, but Tennessee wins straight up.
Weekend Predictions salutes “Mongo” (in memory of Alex Karras)
NFL SIX PACK
Raiders at Falcons: The Falcons are 5-0, but there are two things they haven’t done well: 1) Run the ball (21st in NFL); 2) Stop the run (27th). But given that the Raiders rank 32nd in rushing, just ahead of UTEP and comatose, I don’t see this being an issue. Birds cover 9.
Vikings at Redskins: Robert Griffin III was fine after getting hit by Sean Weatherspoon last week, except for the fact he thought he was Thurston Howell III. Seriously, the dude had no idea where he was, but suddenly the Redskins claim he has been medically “cleared” to practice? By who, Dr. Seuss? I call Bolshoi. Take the Vikings straight up and the gift 2.
Lions at Eagles: Ndamukong Suh is upset that two unnamed NFL executives in a Pro Football Weekly story said the Lions are overrated and “Suh belongs on the All-Hype team.” Question: When you’re 1-3, shouldn’t you just shut up? Eagles cover 4½.
Packers at Texans: I’m not a big stats guy, but Aaron Rodgers already has been sacked 21 times this season. That’s a season pace of 67, give or take a spleen. But there’s a hole in Houston’s defense where Brian Cushing used to be. Take the 3½ and the Pack on the road.
Broncos at Chargers: Wonder if Peyton Manning (2-3) expected to have a worse record than Andrew Luck (2-2) at this point? Take the 2, but Denver wins straight up.
Cowboys at Ravens: Jerry Jones’ birth certificate says he turns 70 on Saturday, but of course he has grandkids older than his face. (I know. Cheap and easy.) Ravens cover 3½.
When I hear Ndamukong Suh, I think of Lesley Gore
TIME TO SETTLE UP
Or, as my Russian friend from “Rounders” would say…
Last week: 7-4 straight up, 6-5 against the spread.
So far, so good: 50-16 straight up, 38-26-2 against the spread.
Sack Schultz update: Went 10-5 last week, not great. Our overall leader is still “KarlaMoshe” of Kansas with 73 wins.
Lilly’s pick of the week: She’s 3-3 and in danger of being placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. (See what I did there?) This week, she took the cheese: South Carolina over LSU.
By Jeff Schultz
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