A/K/A, A Hodgepodge
Belated happy start of the college football season! This week’s picks, for entertainment purposes only:
Auburn (+5) at Clemson
It’s almost impossible for me to not type “Clempson”. It’s just how I was raised. My PE coach in middle school played football at Clemson. On the wall in his office hung half of a Clemson helmet and photograph of his college team. I don’t think that he was on the ’81 National Championship team, since he had coached PE for a few years before I got to the middle school in the early 80s (yes, I’ve lived through some awesome decades). Maybe he did. Someone from Tarrant will let us know. Anyway, this will be a close game or, hold your coffee with two hands, Auburn will win by 3 touchdowns. Auburn can run the ball, they play great defense, Daniel Carlson is automatic for the people…Auburn is a good team. Clemson and Auburn played teams with less depth and talent last week, so it’s hard to know for sure, but I’d take Auburn plus the points.
Fresno State (+44) at Alabama
Years ago, only a few brave souls north of Nashville dared to visit the panhandle of Florida and the Gulf Coast of Alabama during for the summer. Now they come in droves. On Saturdays this summer, the 80 mile stretch of I-65 between Birmingham and Montgomery stayed bumper to bumper – in both directions (Saturday is check-in/check-out day for beach rentals and, therefore, heavy travel days).You were doing well to make that drive in 90 minutes, but at peak times it was closer to a 3-hour drive. Partly due to never-ending construction, but mostly due to peeps from Michigan and Indiana and Illinois and Ohio – the whole Big 10, visiting the Alabama and Florida beaches. I tried to work in a line about the war of northern aggression, but it’s either too soon, too early in the morning, not a good line, or I’m not good enough to pull it off. Anyway, people from the north come, complain about the heat, humidity, traffic, everything being fried, and the accents for a week. It’s a lot of fun. The response used to be “yes, we are aware of the heat and humidity, please just spend your money and go home.”
Anyway, this game is kind of a “same but different” scenario. The State of California has barred state employees from traveling to other states that hold varying political and social beliefs. I honestly don’t know if it’s gay marriage or immigration — neither of which Alabama has embraced as tightly as California — but California employees aren’t supposed to spend state money traveling to states that don’t agree with what California believes. Except, in this game, Fresno State is taking home with them $1.4 million. So, it’s more of a “yes, we are aware that we disagree on some political and social issues of the day, here’s your check $1.4 million and a checkmark for your loss column. Now you can go home.”
I actually like Fresno State plus the points in this one, simply because this Alabama offense can’t score 44 points. Alabama wins, probably by 4 or 5 touchdowns.
UAB at Ball State (-14)
Great return to college football for UAB last week. There was a great crowd at Legion Field last week (45,212), but not just in numbers. There was excitement and energy and an almost palpable sense of pride in and around the stadium last Saturday. The team is made up of newcomers and, largely, of players who needed a second chance. Scrolling through the roster, other universities and colleges were listed beside a great number of the players, indicating that they played somewhere else before coming to UAB. Many had lost the opportunity to play at their previous schools due to injuries that didn’t heal quickly enough or due to bad grades or due to whatever. They needed time away from football to work and to concentrate on themselves. At UAB, they found that opportunity.
Someone asked me this week if UAB could be competitive in their conference, and I believe that they can. UAB didn’t just start practicing in August. They’ve been working, training, and studying film for a long time. There’s a difference in practice speed and game speed, and that will take some adjustment, but I believe that they can be competitive. I think that they’ll be competitive against MAC appointment Ball State (David Letterman went to Ball State) this weekend, but I think Ball State wins at home.
Georgia at Notre Dame
Great out of conference game for Georgia. I don’t know what the line is, but I like Georgia to win a close one, less than a touchdown. Either way, get your check UGA and go home.
There you go. Someone let me know when Coach Floyd played at Clemson. I believe it was probably mid to late-70s, but I really can’t remember. I know it was a color photo on his wall, so it was at least after the advent of color film.
Gotta run. Have a great weekend!