The Picks: Gators still lead in SEC title game berths

FILE Florida head coach Steve Spurrier gets drenched by offensive tackle Kenyatta Walker (78) as the Gators downed Auburn 28-6 in the SEC Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2000. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

It’s not secret that — because I tend to be hedonistic — that my favorite day of the college football season is the Saturday when Florida has a bye week each season.

I break out my once-a-year $50 chili, Karen whips up something special and we often have friends over to watch multiple TVs (please excuse the wires and splitters). It’s heaven because I get to do what a lot of fans get to do and that’s just watch football.

I’ve often wondered what would happen if I retire and that’s every Saturday.

This year, we got a little dose of it.

Three bye weeks.

It might be unhealthy.

The first was caused by a hurricane, and, luckily, the power didn’t go out until the last Pac-12 After Dark game was completed. The second was the scheduled bye week.

The third is this week.

Sorry, Dan Mullen, but we expect to be in Atlanta on this Saturday. I know, it’s not an every-year thing because Florida has been to 12 of the 26 (I also went to four others for The Sun), but that’s still more than any other school thanks to Alabama’s loss to Auburn.

So this is another bye week and I can’t wait to see it unfold. Steve Spurrier said this week that this is the best weekend of college football every year because, you get rings when you win. I concur.

It is also Rematch Weekend, because seven of the nine Power 5 championship games are games that were played previously during the season. Of the 33 rematches in championship game history, 20 have turned out to be sweeps, including two involving the mighty Gators (1999 against Alabama, which didn’t turn out so well, and 2000 against Auburn, which did).

What does all of this mean? If you are a college football fanatic, it should be a glorious weekend.

Hopefully, that goes for The Picks as well. With 13 games to pick last week, Dr. Football went 10-3 for an overall record of 96-39. Not too shabby. Let’s finish strong before the bowl picks against Drew Copeland where I will go for a second straight title and soup at Mendy’s.

Only nine games this week, but the Sun Belt goes to a championship game next year at Dr. Football’s request (if only I had that kind of power):

GEORGIA-AUBURN: Winner goes to the College Football Playoff. Kind of feels like those old Florida-Alabama SEC Championship Games. Auburn is coming off a storm-the-field emotional game and the last time these two teams played it was closer than the score indicated. I have a feeling about the ‘Dawgs in this one. Of course, it could be indigestion from that piece of my daughter’s 20-month-old wedding cake I inhaled Wednesday night. Georgia, 28-23.

OKLAHOMA-TCU: Any doubts about Baker Mayfield’s Heisman Trophy win will be erased when he carves up the TCU defense. Unless he sacrifices a live horned frog in the middle of the field at halftime. Oklahoma, 35-21.

CLEMSON-MIAMI: You have to think the Tigers will have home field advantage in Charlotte, but a bigger issue is that Miami has lost two of its best skill players to injuries. There’s a part of me that wants to see a Miami-Georgia CFP semifinal, but there’s a part of me that would like to see them meet in a lesser bowl game and that’s the bigger part of me. Clemson, 23-20.

STANFORD-USC (TONIGHT): Winner to a New Year’s Six bowl game (likely the Fiesta), which is not a bad consolation prize, but it also means that the Pac-12 is out of the CFP for the second time in four seasons. I’m still hoping a conference gets two teams in so we’ll have two conferences on the outside and we’ll be a step closer to an eight-team playoff. (Does that mean another bye week?) Stanford, 34-31.

OHIO STATE-WISCONSIN: The Buckeyes are hoping no cameramen injure any key players this week, but the bigger problem is Wisconsin’s defense. Am I the only person who thinks it’s interesting that the Badgers quarterback is the nephew of the Miami quarterback who ran for a touchdown on the infamous Florida Flop in 1971? I am? OK. Wisconsin, 23-21.

MEMPHIS AT UCF: Just a feeling that UCF will be distracted by all of the Scott Frost talk and not bring its best effort. Memphis, 42-34.

NORTH TEXAS AT FAU: Anyone rooting for Lane Kiffin? I didn’t think so. Sorry. FAU, 54-30.

FRESNO STATE AT BOISE STATE: Alabama fans should be rooting hard for Fresno even if they couldn’t pick the city out on a map. It would make the Tide’s schedule look better. Boise State, 34-23.

AKRON-TOLEDO: If you went into a coma while Terry Bowden was at Auburn and woke up to watch this game, you wouldn’t believe that’s the same guy coaching Akron. Toledo, 38-24.

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


  1. I’m starting to feel it for Wisconsin. I’m getting a team of destiny vibe from them. I don’t think this is going to go well for Urb. I’ll be cheering hard for Auburn to waste Dawg Scum. Hopefully order will be restored and next year and we’ll have the Florida v. Alabama matchup for the SEC that we’re all used to.

  2. mark – i like your “order restored” … the problem is when it has been UF versus bama, the gators have been embarressed recently…. you guys were pathetic in the championship game … SO my dawgs had to handle the business baby !!! Thank you gator fans for always living in the past !!!!

  3. … oh, and by the way Mark, did a fifth of your roster commit CC fraud again this week? it never hurts to check !! You guys had your chance, and you blew it, year after year… there is a new sheriff in town boys, and he wears RED and BLACK !!! hahahahaha….