The Picks: Few upsets, but plenty of surprises

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has led the Seminoles to a 5-0 start as they head into a top-5 match up against Clemson on Saturday. [AP Photo]

Published: Friday, October 18, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 8:40 p.m.

We’re halfway through the season and it has gone about like we expected it would. We all knew, for example, before the season began that:

*Missouri would be the first SEC team to become bowl eligible.

*Florida’s kicker would be Frankie Velez and its punter Johnny Townsend.

*Most of the SEC teams would decide not to play defense this season.

*Sean Mannion and Jameis Winston would be legitimate Heisman Trophy candidates.

*Houston and Texas Tech would be unbeaten, and Temple would miss Steve Addazio so much it would be winless.

Yep, the always predictable world of college football hasn’t given us the string of upsets we covet, but it has delivered plenty of surprises. Lane Kiffin getting canned? Not so much of a surprise. Just inevitable.

As we move forward with The Picks, it will be interesting to see if Dr. Football can duplicate the first-half success. Last week was an 8-2 mark, which makes it 65-15 for the season. I heard USC tried to check with my pastor to see if I was interested in coaching. Good luck with that.

Florida at Missouri: After the LSU game, I overheard some of the writers talking about a story on the LSU defense and how it had come of age. Right. Every defense comes of age against this Florida offense. This season is at a crossroads for the mighty Gators. I don’t like where it’s heading. Missouri, 24-14.

FSU at Clemson: The best part about an early Florida game is we should make it back to our hotel in time to see this gem. Clemson’s defense is ranked 20th in the nation. The four previous FBS teams Winston has faced average a ranking of 71.5. Of course, he’s had a lot to do with those low rankings. FSU, 45-37.

South Carolina at Tennessee: We saw that Tennessee can be dangerous at home when it almost upset Georgia. But I think the Head Ball Coach will have a solid game plan to end this one early. South Carolina, 35-10.

USC at Notre Dame: My hope is that Ed Orgeron runs the table, USC makes him the permanent coach and the Trojans are destined for more mediocrity. USC, 30-21.

LSU at Ole Miss: I promise you will see the LSU offense get cranked up again. Ole Miss has some nice skill players, but it ranks 66th in defense. LSU, 38-21.

Auburn at Texas A&M: Auburn has shown under Gus Malzahn that it can beat mediocre teams with five wins against teams who are a combined 14-18. Can the Tigers beat an elite one? Texas A&M, 34-23.

UCF at Louisville (tonight): Now this is worth staying home for tonight. The Fighting O’Learys seem to be the only thing in the way of an unbeaten season for Charlie Strong. Louisville, 24-21.

Georgia at Vanderbilt: This is kind of a now-or-never game for the Commodores. Georgia is hurting both physically and mentally, and Vandy is at home. But its defense has had an Open-’Dore policy. Georgia, 38-23.

Arkansas at Alabama: I wonder how Bret Bielema likes the SEC now that he’s taken some knots on his head. Alabama, 42-10.

UCLA at Stanford: Toughest pick of them all. Hard to go against Stanford at home, but UCLA looks good. The rare Pac-12 game that won’t keep me up until 2 a.m. Stanford, 24-21.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at And follow at

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