Sports In Paradise By Dale Jones
Fans all over this state are still catching their breath after last weeks’ nail-biters. Alabama and Auburn mounted impressive comebacks, and UAB took Tennessee into double overtime. Crazy!!!
As for my picks from last week, I guess I should have gone with Auburn after all, the Longhorns let me down, and although I missed the upset of the week, I was close with Southern Miss just squeaking by Louisiana Tech by one.
For the week, I was 11-4, which takes me to 48-12 on the season, giving me an .800 winning percentage.
This week will be my biggest challenge yet as one third of the games feature Top-25 teams going head-to-head, and I still don’t know what to do with Georgia and Ole Miss.
But let me listen and see what the gridiron seashell has to say.
(#4) Oregon vs. (#9) Stanford – Two Top-10 teams. Both undefeated. This game will be hard to beat last years match up that featured 1,000 yards of offense and 93 points. This rival has become so exciting, it is one of the few West coast games that folks in the East actually enjoy watching. The Ducks are hosting this year, and I think they want some revenge. I’m not as impressed with their offense as in years past, but I think they will win this one. Oregon 34 – Stanford 28
(#11) Wisconsin at (#24) Michigan State – The question here is, will all eyes be on the field of play or on the press box where Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio will be, just two weeks after suffering a mild heart attack after his win against Notre Dame. You can watch for yourself on ABC. I think the heart attack was caused by the fact that it took the Spartans overtime to beat the Irish. Wisconsin will be too much for State. Wisconsin 28 – Michigan State 17
(#19) Michigan at Indiana – Michigan has a balanced attack. They can run the ball and move down field with the pass as well. Indiana has the ability to run, but they must be able to pass in order to win. This game being played in Indiana is a good thing for the Hoosiers, and they would love nothing more than to knock off the Wolverines to get to 4-0, but it won’t happen this time. Michigan 30 – Indiana 24
(#21) Texas vs. (#8) Oklahoma – It is time once again for the Red River Rivalry. No one expected the beat down that UCLA gave the Longhorns last week. At the same time, Oklahoma, although undefeated, seems to be just getting by, such as last weeks close win over Cincinnati. The Sooners are doing well in the turnover category causing 12 turnovers this season, including 6 INT’s. Texas has committed 10 turnovers so far in 2010, including five in last weeks’ game alone. This one is hard to call, and honestly, it was going to be my upset of the week. I like the Longhorns to bounce back in this one. Texas 34 – Oklahoma 31
Vandy at Connecticut – Jordan Todman is a real man when he gets the football. Although only 5’ 9”, he will bring all 193 pounds straight at you, over and over and over again. Todman has 1,932 career yards and in 2010 is ranked fifth in rushing nationally. He is, however, injured and didn’t play last week. Still no word if he will get in the game this week. Vandy, on the other hand, is last in the SEC in stopping the run. Fortunately the Commodores have had a week to rest before heading up to play UConn. If Todman plays, UConn will win. If he doesn’t…UConn will still win. Connecticut 21 – Vandy 14
Kentucky vs. Ole Miss – Up until last week, Ole Miss looked terrible and Kentucky looked great. Last week, Ole Miss wins big against a good Fresno State team and the Wildcats stink it up. How am I supposed to pick this game? Simple, I pick the team that I think can score the most points. That would be Ole Miss. Kentucky is good, but they showed last week that they will struggle against a good offense. Say what you want, but Jeremiah Masoli can play and can lead an offense. Gotta go with the Rebels. Ole Miss 28 – Kentucky 17
Mississippi State vs. Alcorn State – The Bulldogs have one of the best defenses in the country when their foe gets into the red zone. They are physical, they are fast, and they take pride in keeping teams out of the end zone. They are also the least penalized team in the SEC, which means they play hard and they play fair. Should be another win for State. Mississippi State 24 – Alcorn 7
(#12) LSU vs. Tennessee – Got some spare cash lying around? Go put $100 on the Vols to win this game. If they do, you won’t have to work again for a while. But make sure it is spare cash, because you will probably never see it again. LSU 42 – Tennessee 21
(#10) Auburn vs. Louisiana-Monroe – Auburn fans are thrilled that their Tigers are back in the Top-10, but it is games like this that can come back to bite you if you are not careful. Something tells me, however, that Chizik and company won’t allow a letdown just yet. Auburn 42 – Louisiana-Monroe 17
(#1) Alabama vs. (#7) Florida – Last week Arkansas, this week Florida, next week South Carolina. Geez, if they were playing golf at Augusta, this would be “Amen Corner.” The Tide escaped a close call last week, coming back for the win after being down 13 in the second half. This week, the Gators come to call. The first half should be close, but I think the power game of the Tide will be too much for the finesse game of the Gators. Alabama 31 – Florida 24
(#23) North Carolina State 17 – Virginia Tech 14
(#16) Miami 24 vs. Clemson 21
(#17) Iowa 28 – (#22) Penn State 14
(#18) USC 31 – Washington 13
Upset of the Week:
Georgia at Colorado – I just don’t know what to do with the Bulldogs. They are 0-3 in the SEC for the first time in Richt’s career. Colorado is a long way to travel for Georgia. Rarely do they venture outside of the Southeast to play anybody. But, just like a vacation, maybe it will be good for them to get away. Call me crazy, but despite their horrific start, this has become a do-or-die situation for Mark Richt, and this week, I think he is going to DO it. Georgia 17 – Colorado 16
—Dale Jones is a reporter / sports columnist for Gulf Coast Newspapers and a Member of the Alabama Sports Writers Association. You can reach Dale at firstname.lastname@example.org