The Picks: Half of first four won’t make CFB semifinals


The first College Football Playoff rankings came out, fittingly, on Halloween.

Because those rankings and the way-too-long show which accompanies them are basically free candy.

For sports radio shows, they are like giant Reese’s peanut butter cups. They can last all day and combine the basic elements of most fun talk shows — lists and controversy. You got your list in my controversy.

For the fans of any of the teams in the rankings, they are Skittles, sweet but tart. Nobody feels like they received the ranking they deserved, including fans of the No. 1 team because they know it’s a curse.

And for the coaches, the reveal of the rankings is like the mean old lady in the cul-de-sac who put dried prunes and garlic cloves in their bags.

Here’s the deal — they are important, but meaningless at the same time. We have more than a month of football left. So the rankings are fun to talk about, which is why they are released when they are. Don’t let them bother you. They’re harmless.

But consider this — of the 12 teams ranked in the first CFP polls over the last three years, only five made the playoffs.

And I’ll bet you right now that at the very least half of these four teams don’t make it.

Not that I’m complaining. It’s something to talk and write about that doesn’t involve a lot of families out of work.

The underbelly of fans screaming for coaches to be fired is the number of people affected when the ax does come down. Not all of them are making enough for you and I to retire on. Many of them are living paycheck to paycheck and have had the rug pulled out from under them.

On that positive note, let’s get on with The Picks while not even mentioning my brutal 6-4 record last week. Nothing to see here. That’s 62-28 for the season, which has Belk Bowl written all over it.

FLORIDA AT MISSOURI: Florida just fired its coach and its season is in the toilet. Missouri is 0-4 in the SEC. The game kicks off at 11 a.m. local time. What an atmosphere, huh? I will be curious to see if things are different with Randy Shannon in control of game day, but in the end I just don’t think the Gators can score with Mizzou. Missouri, 34-21.

LSU AT ALABAMA: There is a Cajun word “coo-yon” and you might have heard it coming from southern Louisiana on Tuesday night. It means stupid as in, “How can you be so coo-yon as to have Alabama No. 2 and give dem boys another reason to whup us?” I feel your pain, Coach Oeaux. Alabama, 23-13.

VIRGINIA TECH AT MIAMI: It has to end, doesn’t it? I mean, even the CFP committee is less than impressed with the ‘Canes. It’s time for them to lose a game and we can all go back to what we were doing. Virginia Tech, 30-24.

CLEMSON AT N.C. STATE: This was going to be such a big game until Notre Dame straightened out the Wolfpack. You guys are good, but not that good. Clemson, 28-19.

OKLAHOMA AT OKLAHOMA STATE: Um, Arnold? Yeah, I somehow got on the wrong plane in Atlanta and I ended up in Stillwater, Oklahoma, of all places. So I figure I might as well just go watch this game and see if Mike Gundy is interested in the in the Florida job. Anybody buying that? Oklahoma State, 42-40.

SOUTH CAROLINA AT GEORGIA: Will Muschamp is bowl eligible and his former team might lose eight games. Is that coincidence or irony? I can never get those straight. Georgia, 30-15.

AUBURN AT TEXAS A&M: Loser leaves town? Feels like it. Kevin Sumlin has been on and off the hot seat so much his buns are confused. He’s back off it. A&M, 32-23.

OLE MISS AT KENTUCKY: Someone look up the last time Kentucky and South Carolina both finished the season with more wins than Florida. All I know is it has not happened since SC joined the league. Kentucky, 41-26.

ARIZONA AT USC: I stay up for those big Pac 12 games so I have a working knowledge of …. zzzzzzzzzz. What? I’m up. I’m up. Uh, Arizona State, what? OK, Arizona, 34-31.

SYRACUSE AT FSU: Speaking of great atmospheres. FSU, 23-21.

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