Sports In Paradise By Dale Jones
If you did not catch the ending of last weeks’ Tennessee vs. LSU game, don’t worry about it. You will be seeing it for years to come as one of the craziest endings ever to a college football game. Alabama cruised to a big win against the Gators, Auburn handled Louisiana-Monroe as expected, and for the most part, teams that were supposed to win, did.
On the week, I was 10-5, which drops me to 58-17 for a winning percentage of .773 on the year. Still not bad, but this weeks’ lineup of games could be the most difficult to predict so far this season. I know I said that last week, but there seems to be more Jekyll and Hyde teams this season than in years gone by.
Hopefully my gridiron seashell won’t let me down.
Here we go!
(#13) Miami vs. (#23) Florida State – The Seminoles were not very impressive in their opener against Oklahoma where they lost 47-17. It knocked them out of the national rankings, but it also woke them up. Now at 4-1 and 2-0 in conference play, this looks to be a much improved Florida State team. In similar fashion, Miami dropped one to highly ranked Ohio State, but they also seem to be improved. Last year was a squeaker, with the “W” going to Miami. This year, surely the Seminoles can pull out a win on their coaches 45th birthday. Not! Look for the same score as last year, but this year with the ‘Canes on the plus side. Miami 38 – Florida State 34.
(#2) Ohio State vs. Indiana – The Hoosiers have an impressive offense. Last week against Michigan Ben Chappell threw for 480 yards and had three touchdowns. Even with all of those yards, he was only picked off once. The problem with Indiana, who is 3-1 on the season, is on the defensive side. Although Ohio State is sputtering a little when they have the ball, I think they will score and score often on Indiana. This one could be close for a while, but Ohio State will pull away for the win. Ohio State 44 – Indiana 24
(#17) Michigan State at (#18) Michigan – Denard Robinson could be the best football player in the country this season. After only five games, he is less than 100 yards away from a 1,000 season. He has won the Big Ten offensive player of the week award three times this season, something that only a couple of other players have ever done. Against Indiana last week, Robinson had more than 200 yards rushing and passing and was responsible for five touchdowns. If Michigan State wants to win this game, they have to stop Robinson. Yeah, right! Michigan 42 – Michigan State 28
(#16) Stanford vs. USC – Not only has USC dropped out of the Top 25, following Saturday, it may be a long, long time before they return. To say that Coach Lane Kiffin has an uphill climb would be an understatement. Stanford by two touchdowns. Stanford 33 – USC 14
Vandy vs. Eastern Michigan – When you only have one win on the season, and a team that is hungry for their first win of the season is headed your way, it is not the best time to lose you best tackler. But it looks like that might be the case for Vandy. Preseason first-team ALL SEC player Chris Marve has a knee injury from last week’s game and could be out on Saturday. The SEC’s second best tackler has a meniscus tear. Add to that, the Commodores starting defensive tackles are both out with injuries as well. Eastern Michigan is not a very good football team, but when you are playing against the second team defense of Vandy, anything can happen. Vandy better hope to score points everytime they get the football. Vandy 30 – Eastern Michigan 20
Mississippi State at Houston – In last season’s win over Mississippi State, Houston receiver James Cleveland had 11 receptions for 131 yards and two TD’s. He was the 2009 Conference US Newcomer of the year, with 1,214 reception yards and 14 touchdowns. On Saturday, however, the teams Captain will be watching from the sidelines after being suspended for violating team rules. This could mean the end of the Cougars 18-game winning streak at home. Mississippi State 21 – Houston 17
Tennessee at Georgia – If anyone reading this can even begin to explain the Vols or the Bulldogs, I’d be happy to listen. Both teams are bad, although Tennessee, at times, looked pretty good last week against LSU (who I still can’t tell if THEY are bad or good). Georgia has lost 4 straight games and would love to turn this thing around no doubt. Saturday, in front of the home crowd, I think they will. Georgia 23 – Tennessee 17
(#12) LSU vs. (#14) Florida – I find it funny how other teams in the SEC call Les Miles and his LSU Tigers “lucky” yet, if things such as what happened on Saturday happens to them, they call it “doing what you have to do to win.” I will be the first to admit that LSU looked UGLY on Saturday against Tennessee, but the fact remains that in six years as head coached, Miles has a 56-15 record. As we say in Alabama, that ain’t luck people. Personally, I think both of these teams are overrated. They are probably both Top-25 teams, but a bit closer to No. 24 and No. 25 I’d say. LSU can’t manage the clock, and the Gators can’t snap the ball. If the Tigers have 4 turnovers and 9 penalties against Florida they will lose. LSU 28 – Florida 27
(#11) Arkansas at Texas A&M – The Aggies are a scoring machine. They are racking up 39.5 points per game (14th best in the country) and more then 500 yards per game in total offense. With a very balanced attack, they can both run and pass. Arkansas has seen this before in Alabama, a game they lead by 17 at one point, only to let it slip away in the second half. If Arkansas plays a complete game on defense, they will win. If not, there is an upset in the making. Arkansas 35 – Texas A&M 31
(#8) Auburn vs. Kentucky – Hey Auburn fans, before you start making plans to go to a major bowl game, remember that you were 5-0 at this point LAST year before the wheels came off. There is no doubt that the Tigers are a better team than the Wildcats, Cam Newton has thrown 2 touchdowns in each of the first five games of the season, an Auburn school record. Kentucky looked good coming out of the gate at 3-0, but have dropped their last 2. They would love nothing better than to knock Auburn out sync again, just like last year, and they have some athletes to do it. Auburn 28 – Kentucky 10
(#4) Boise State 48 – Toledo 10
(#3) Oregon 35 – Washington State 14
(#5) TCU 28 – Wyoming 13
South Alabama 35 – Missouri S&T 7
Upset of the Week:
(#1) Alabama vs. (#19) South Carolina – Before you Tide fans start sending me dirty emails and letters, you will recall that in my preseason article, I wrote that I doubted Alabama would make it through a second straight season undefeated. The one game I zoomed in on as their possible stumbling block was South Carolina. My thinking at that time was that Florida was going to be much better than they are and that, after a hard fought, physical game with the Gators, and an off week from South Carolina, the Gamecocks would have the upper hand. Obviously, the Tide cruised against Gators, but I still think that the ole ball coach is going to have something up his sleeve. I’ve seen South Carolina play in person this season and they are truly one of the most physical teams I have ever watched. If Alabama can play a complete game on both sides of the ball, they will come out okay, but nobody is perfect forever, and I think the Gamecocks are going to bring it. South Carolina 34 – Alabama 31
—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