Sports In Paradise By Dale Jones
Our old faithful gridiron seashell led us in the right direction last week, as we predicted correctly 13 of the 15 games, including the upset of the week, South Carolina over Alabama.
While Bama fans are licking their wounds from being pounded by the Gamecocks, Tiger fans don’t need to be too prideful at this point. Yes, Auburn is the highest ranked team in the SEC, but an angry bunch of Razorbacks are headed to the Plains this Saturday and it could be the Tigers turn to take one on the chin.
On the season, I moved to 71-19 for a .788 winning percentage. As we move into week seven of the 2010 season, the games become more important. October is a pivotal football month to say the least. Let’s see what is going to happen this week.
(#16) Florida State vs. Boston College – It has been a while since the Seminoles were the highest ranked team in the state of Florida, but this team is good and should continue to improve. Jermaine Thomas is a scoring machine that Boston College is going to have problems with. Boston College has lost their last three games, something that hasn’t happened in that program since 1998. After Saturday, make it four in a row. Florida State 42 – Boston College 10
(#5) Nebraska vs. Texas – Eight out of the last nine contests between these two have resulted in Longhorn victories. But things might be different this time around. Texas no longer finds their name listed in the Top 25 after losses to UCLA and Oklahoma. Nebraska, on the other hand is ranked higher than they have been since 2001. Taylor Martinez is a playmaker. Last week, he had TD runs of 14, 35, 41 and 80 yards as part of his 241-yard rushing day. But this is Texas they are playing. It’s a rivalry. It’s a grudge match. Anybody can win this one. Nebraska 34 – Texas 31
Southern Miss vs. Memphis – I’m not sure what is plaguing Southern Mississippi football more, injuries or penalties. Regardless, the Golden Eagles continue to find a way to lose. Last Saturday, they blew a 20-point lead. In addition, linebacker Martez Smith went out with a knee injury. USM should win this game against a 1-5 Memphis team, but who knows. Southern Miss 28 – Memphis 21
UAB vs. Texas- El Paso – In every statistical category, Texas-El Paso has the advantage except for rushing yards per game where the Blazers average 168.6 to the Miners 167.5. I am still not sold on this UAB team, and honestly see them as one of the worst programs in the nation. Easy win for the Miners. Texas-El Paso 35 – UAB 21
Vandy at Georgia – The Commodores come into this game ranked eleventh in the SEC in run defense. Keep an eye, however, on 5-10, 198-pound Warren Norman who is second in the SEC in kick returns, averaging 30.2 yards. On defense, Vandy hopes to have their leading tackler, linebacker Chris Marve, back when they face the Bulldogs. The Commodores would love nothing more than to spoil Georgia’s homecoming, but despite their struggles this season, this one should belong to the Dawgs. Georgia 24 – Vandy 14.
(#9) LSU vs. McNeese State – Even with rotating quarterbacks, or maybe BECAUSE of rotating QB’s, LSU remains last in the SEC in passing yards per game at 146.5. I agree that their last two wins have not been pretty, and while many call Coach Les Miles “lucky,” one would have to admit that he always has his team in a position to win, no matter who they play. Surely this one will not be close. Surely. LSU 35 – McNeese State 10
Mississippi State at (#22) Florida – This one is kind of a homecoming of sorts for Dan Mullen as he heads back to The Swamp for the first time since he was a Florida assistant coach. Mullen and his Bulldogs have continued to improve this season and took Auburn deep into the fourth quarter before losing by 3. Florida, on the other hand got stomped by the Tide and dropped another one last week to LSU. On the surface, one would think Mississippi State would have the momentum, and possibly they do, but this Gator team is still too talented for the Bulldogs to overcome. I think it will be close for a half, but Florida should pull away and win easily. Florida 40 – Mississippi 17
(#10) South Carolina at Kentucky – Spurrier, Garcia and the boys from South Carolina are coming off probably the biggest win in the programs history. Kentucky, while starting off 3-0, has dropped their last three. The Cats showed that they are for real, however, hanging with Auburn until the end, and since this game is in Kentucky, don’t expect a blowout. South Carolina 28 – Kentucky24
(#8) Alabama vs. Ole Miss – Is there anyone reading this who truly believes that Ole Miss, a team that dropped games to Jacksonville State and Vandy and ranks last in the SEC in scoring defense, can possibly hang with the offense of the Crimson Tide? Yeah, me either. Add to that, the fact that Alabama will want to come out and make a statement following last weeks’ loss to the Gamecocks. This one will probably get U.G.L.Y. Alabama 48 – Ole Miss 14
(#7) Auburn vs. (#12) Arkansas – Arkansas has a high-powered offense, we know it, we just haven’t seen what it can truly do – yet. Auburn has numerous weapons including Cameron Newton, Darvin Adams, Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb. This game could come down to the wire, or it could be a blowout. It will all be determined by which defense shows up to play. Look for a good ole SEC slugfest with this one. Auburn 24 – Arkansas 23
(#4) TCU 33 – Brigham Young 14
(#11) Utah 45 – Wyoming 21
(#3) Boise State 52 – San Jose State 10
South Alabama 31 – Lamar 13
Upset of the Week:
(#1) Ohio State at (#18) Wisconsin – For the second straight week, the No. 1 team in the country is going to fall. Ohio State slid into the top spot following Alabama’s loss to South Carolina last week, but do they truly deserve to be there? The fact is, the Buckeyes have yet to play anybody. Not a single team that they have faced this season is presently in the Top 25. Wisconsin is a good football team with only one loss to Michigan State. With only 4 home losses dating back to 2004, the Buckeyes are going to have their hands full against Badgers and next week, we will have a new No. 1 team. Who that will be is anybody’s guess. Wisconsin 31 – Ohio State 24
—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