The Picks: Signs point away from Gators

The upper levels at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, site of Saturday's game between Florida and Michigan. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

The best thing about the start of college football season isn’t the pageantry or the neutral site games or the announcing teams or Michigan’s roster or fancy uniforms.

The best thing is that it’s here.

We don’t have to watch old games from last year or grainy classics before HD and score boxes and replay reviews. We don’t have to talk about what might happen because it’s going to happen.

We’re going to have real, live results with implications galore. We’re going to go from pretend hot seats to real ones. We’re going to go from guessing to second-guessing.

We’re going to have tailgates and big plays and questionable calls and heroes who seem to come out of nowhere.

More than anything, we’re going to be distracted from the miseries of the world, especially with what is happening in Houston.

Football is a game, a glorious game, that will allow us to put aside our troubles and immerse ourselves in three-plus hours of school pride and angst and that uncomfortable view from the edge of the couch when a big play is coming.

It’s en route. Not just the games but the overreaction. I’m not talking about the way we will analyze the game in the post-mortem of Week One, but the way you will question The Picks.

Dr. Football is back for another season. Like most teams (sorry, Rice and Oregon State), the slate is clean. Let’s see how I can screw it up.

FLORIDA-MICHIGAN: Jim McElwain said this week he doesn’t think Florida still has the tape of the Citrus Bowl two years ago because he might have thrown up all over it. Maybe that’s why Michigan is wearing maize uniforms, in case one of those freshmen can’t keep down his pregame meal. Would you be able to tell? With the events of the last couple of weeks, it’s difficult to stick with the Gators. Don’t ask me why, but I am. Florida, 24-17.

ALABAMA-FSU: The new stadium in Atlanta looks pretty amazing. I hope I get to see it in December. I’d prefer if Alabama is not there. I’ve seen that movie. Alabama, 30-24.

TEXAS A&M AT UCLA (Sunday): UCLA has Josh Rosen, who may be the first pick in the NFL draft. Quick, name another UCLA player. See, East Coast bias. A&M, 42-28.

BYU-LSU: It’s not too late to send money to the Red Cross. The people out in the Houston area need all the help they can get. LSU, 27-10.

VANDY AT MIDDLE TENNESSEE: This is the game the poor, little SEC cannot afford to lose if it’s going to get back some respectability. Gosh, are we putting eggs in the Vandy basket? Vandy, 21-17.

N.C. STATE-SOUTH CAROLINA: Will Muschamp has never lost an opener as a head coach unless you count the Idaho game at Florida, which lasted only one play. That changes. N.C. State, 23-18.

KENTUCKY AT SOUTHERN MISS: Why is Kentucky playing Southern Miss on the road? Asking for a friend. Kentucky, 38-21.

MARYLAND AT TEXAS: This is an under-the-radar game that should be interesting. Heck, it’s the first week so every game is interesting. Texas, 39-21.

GEORGIA TECH-TENNESSEE (Monday): This game is also in Atlanta, two days after the big one. It’s almost like Bruce Springsteen is playing Saturday followed by a Little River Band reunion two days later. Tennessee, 28-21.

SOUTH ALABAMA AT OLE MISS: Winner gets Hugh Freeze’s black book. Ole Miss, 38-17.

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


  1. I want to 1st guess Coach Mac going with a redshirt freshman qb instead of one of the 22 year olds. Our best WR and our best RB are suspended. Where are the points coming from? I think the ceiling for the offense in this game is about 9 points. The defense had better be ferocious.

    • The points are coming from an offensive line that can block for a running game and provide protection for the passing game. From the remaining two or three backs that have talent. From the several other receivers that Michigan might never have seen the likes of. From a defense that I hope will pressure the QB and make turnovers. From our great FG kicker who can produce points from extreme range. From our punting game that can and will flip the field if the offense can’t score on some drives. We are not witout weapons, we have plenty.

  2. I agree with the last commenter – if the O-line is as much improved as Mac says, then we should have a shot. However, having the two best proven playmakers suspended is a major hurdle to overcome. Hope the young guys can come through.

  3. Not sure why everyone is treating this Michigan team like it’s Bama. They’re aren’t. If this was Game #9 I might feel differently but this Michigan team lost 32 veteran players out of it’s top two-deep roster last year because Harbaugh didn’t play many back-ups.

    They lose 3 of 5 starting OL, their leading rusher, four of their top 5 WR’s and a starting TE on offense, both their kickers and only return specialist, and return only 3 on defense, and their entire secondary is new with only one guy who played some snaps last year.

    UM is green everywhere this year, and they’re not in Ann Arbor either, they’re on a national stage, where a lot of our players have already been.

    I personally like our chances in this game, a lot.