The Picks: Better offense with Del Rio

Florida head coach Jim McElwain watches his team during the first half of a game against Tennessee. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

We are still not out of September and college football has been ridiculously full of news. (Although the nine Gators in trouble want to thank college basketball for changing the national narrative Tuesday).

Jim Harbaugh is complaining about visiting locker rooms (as I have said before, the NCAA cares about student-athletes when it’s convenient).

Two of my preseason playoff teams (FSU and Oklahoma State) are doomed.

Butch Jones is complaining about the negativity in the media surrounding his team (that’ll solve everything; always does).

And the SEC East showed just how improved it is by losing two games to the West by a combined 110-14 (thank goodness for Georgia).

It has been wild and crazy, just the way we like it in this sport, even with the warts and botched plastic surgeries. College football has never been more interesting than it has been this month, not always for good reasons.

Take my predictions, please.

My performance in The Picks has been worse than Florida’s punt coverage this season. After a 5-5 record last week left me at 25-15 for the year, I am ashamed and humbled.

Apparently, someone covered my receivers.

Dr. Football isn’t sure what the problem has been. I could go George Costanza and do the opposite of everything (chicken salad on rye untoasted with a side of potato salad and a cup of tea?), but when you are .500 that’s not going to solve anything.

Here’s the answer — stop thinking. You’re only hurting the ball club (dated “Bull Durham” reference, but I digress).

Just go with your instincts, no matter how much it feels like they got you into this mess. Maybe I’ll pick the teams with the best fight songs.

I feel 10-0 coming on.

VANDERBILT AT FLORIDA: Memo to fans at The Swamp on Saturday — don’t leave early to try to beat the traffic. These Gators are going to have more fourth-quarter games, although it’s difficult to believe they will be any more dramatic than the last two. Luke Del Rio gets the start and we’ll see if that makes a difference in the offense. It had better. Florida, 24-17.

GEORGIA AT TENNESSEE: The Tennessee coach said Monday he thinks all of the negativity around his program might hurt recruiting. So does beating UMass by four and giving up walk-off touchdown passes. I think the Vols are going to play their tails off for their embattled coach. Memo to Jones — watch out for the Hail Mary. Georgia, 31-24.

SOUTH CAROLINA AT TEXAS A&M: Kevin Sumlin is coming off a big win that has the coyotes subdued. For a week. And what is with Will Muschamp and injuries that decimate his team? Texas A&M, 34-17.

CLEMSON AT VIRGINIA TECH: There are a lot of people who believe this will be the ACC Championship Game in a rematch. That’s no fun. Clemson, 24-21.

MISSISSIPPI STATE AT AUBURN: Did Auburn find its offense at Missouri? Or is Missouri just awful? These questions will be answered this week. Auburn, 28-21.

FSU AT WAKE FOREST: The Seminoles need a win badly. No, I’m not vying to replace Captain Obvious in those commercials. FSU, 28-18.

MIAMI AT DUKE (Friday): The last time these two teams played in Durham, it was one of the great robberies in college football history (to which the nine disgraced Gator players said, hold my beer). Miami won’t need to steal this one. Miami, 35-21.

USC AT WASHINGTON STATE (Friday): The Pac-12 After Dark this week means you’ll have to stay up until Saturday morning to see the end of this one. With Florida having a noon game, college football nuts like me may be a little grumpy at The Swamp. OK, grumpier in my case. USC, 42-35.

MEMPHIS AT UCF: Winner gets into my AP top 25 rankings. That should be enough incentive to get these guys fired up. UCF, 23-21.

OLE MISS AT ALABAMA: I don’t think the SEC is as bad as the national pundits say it is. There are a lot of good rosters in this conference. But there is only one NFL roster. Alabama, 42-17.

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


    • ConnGator, you and I must have been separated at birth….because that’s exactly what I’m thinking too. This is, after all, the SEC and “on any given Saturday…….”. I happen to think that Butch Jones is most dangerous when his back is against the wall, that he’s a pretty decent coach overall, and that something is more seriously wrong in that athletic department than just the coach. Don’t know what that is exactly, and while I’m glad for the Gators that it’s going on (whatever it is), it would be a serious mistake for Georgia to take that team lightly. That said, I don’t think Kirby Smart will and I know Mark Richt wouldn’t have. Just the same, I’ll be pulling for the Vols tomorrow.