The Picks: Experts born in Week 1


Now that starting quarterbacks have all been named (well, not all of them) and depth charts are finalized (there are a lot guys named OR) and we have had yet another tongue-in-cheek lecture from Nick Saban (a tradition like no other), we are ready.

Ready to be dazzled.

Ready to feel our hearts beat fast.

And, of course, ready to overreact.

The first weekend is begging for it.

By Tuesday, we will have eliminated (mentally) a dozen teams from the College Football Playoff even though some of them will still have a chance in late November.

We will have a Heisman Trophy winner who won’t win it.

We will have a coach fired who will be coaching the same team next year.

We will be convinced a team is way better than we thought only to see it start a downward slide a couple of weeks later.

It’s what we do. We have been waiting for so long to get the season started that one weekend of games is all it takes to make us all experts.

For example, take Dr. Football. Please.

The overreaction of the first week of The Picks will be epic. Either it’s one of those weeks where I wonder if I should start going to Vegas or it’s a week where I start thinking about someone else doing The Picks.

Anyway, while some people believe the start of college football season is SEC Media Days and some people think it was Saturday, a lot of us believe the start of the season is today with the first edition of The Picks. OK, only one of us thinks that.

CHARLESTON SOUTHERN AT FLORIDA: It will be great to see Cris Collinsworth as Mr. Two Bits on Saturday night. It will be better if he doesn’t need Tommy John surgery when it’s over. Florida, 34-16.

AUBURN-WASHINGTON (ATLANTA): Can the Tigers lose their third straight game in Atlanta’s fancy stadium? And when is the last time a team played three straight games in the same stadium that was not its own? Someone look that up. Auburn, 29-20.

MICHIGAN AT NOTRE DAME: And yet, here’s the thing, when you have a game like this, you know, you just hope your guys get on the bus and they’re not a bunch of dead fish. Which is pretty cool. Jim McElwain may be at Michigan, but we can still hear his voice. Notre Dame, 23-21.

ALABAMA-LOUISVILLE (ORLANDO): You know what would be really funny? If Saban didn’t start Tua Tagovailoa OR Jalen Hurts and ran third-teamer Mac Jones out there for the first play. Might even make Bobby Petrino smile. If that’s possible. Alabama, 31-23.

TENNESSEE-WEST VIRGINIA (CHARLOTTE): So Tennessee put out a vague depth chart and West Virginia countered with a more vague depth chart. Didn’t we go through this with Florida and Michigan a year ago? College coaches can be so petty. West Virginia, 42-21.

OLE MISS-TEXAS TECH (HOUSTON): I can’t get a handle on Ole Miss. Nor do I really want to. Tech, 40-34.

MARYLAND-TEXAS (LANDOVER): Texas is one of those “everybody’s darlings” picks to have a big year. Maryland is now the team a lot of people are rooting against. Texas, 34-12.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT VANDERBILT: This might be the toughest game to pick as Middle has 16 starters back and Vandy is Vandy. I’m buying into Derek Mason’s swagger this year. Vanderbilt, 31-24.

LSU-MIAMI (ARLINGTON): Ed Orgeron already received his first hot seat question from the national media this week. Proud of Gainesville Sun alum Ed Aschoff for asking it. “What happens outside this building, we block out the noise,” Orgeron said. We do the same at his news conferences. Miami, 23-20.

VIRGINIA TECH AT FSU: Here’s hoping for a great game to wrap up the first weekend. But I’m not seeing it. FSU, 37-17.

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


  1. Think you’re right in picks. Just there comment about Ole Miss. While I think your pick is right. I’m always for SEC teams. Makes the conference stronger if we are dominant. Makes is look better when we beat other ranked SEC teams. My opinion only. Tick tock Gators. 1day 10 hours to kick off.

    • GI as long as there is significant difference in scoring. A W is a W while Cha S isn’t in our league if our team is much improved there should be greater disparity in the score. I hope. Can’t wait til 7:30 Sat.

  2. If Florida beats Charleston Southern by a score of only 34 to 16, it means the following:
    1. The Gators offensive line is not much better.
    2. Feliepe Franks is not much better and Kyle Trask is worse.
    3. The Gators running backs are way overrated and had very few explosive plays during the game.
    4. The Gators wide receivers are overhyped and had very few explosive plays during the game.
    5. The Gators tight ends were not involved much in the offense and/or dropped a bunch of passes like last year.
    6. The Gators defense did not hold their gaps like last year and Charleston Southern made a bunch of big plays on offense as a result, especially on third down which limited the touches by the Florida offense.
    7. The Gators defense forced no turnovers.
    8, The Gators special teams did not return kicks well, punts well, cover kicks well, or block and/or force bad punts and kicks.
    9. And 20 Gators were suspended for the game.
    10. And it is going to be a long season again.

    But the final score will be something like: Florida 56, Charleston Southern 6 (two field goals only), the Gators are clearly much better in all phases of the game, the final score could have been much worse, and Gator Nation leaves The Swamp thinking big things are going to happen for this team, this season.

    Go Gators.

    • Tampa Gator Agree! Dooley must not be too high on the Gators, if he is only predicting an 18 point spread.
      Their isn’t even a Vegas line on the game because Charleston Southern is Division II. I am thinking more like 48-6…..

      • Pat ALWAYS picks with lower, conservative scores, but even for me, that’s a little too close for comfort.

        I’m thinking a score along the lines of UF winning 52 – 10. CSU runs a damnable triple/option which is hard to defend and it could break at least one big scoring play. Otherwise, I expect to see UF establish the run early, make a few big plays with the passing game, but for the run-game to be more than enough to move the chains and score. The Gator RB’s should make bigger plays as CSU tires down in the second half.

        I agree with most of the other predictions, although I’m perplexed at his VT – fsu pick. Dooley gave fsu zero respect in his rankings a couple of weeks ago and is now picking them to beat VT comfortably? Why? Will VT just be a bad team this year? Their defense should be pretty good imo.

        Most people would say fsu at home, but unless VT just turns the ball over repeatedly, this could be a tight game that goes either way. This isn’t Jimbo Fisher at fsu anymore, it’s willie taggart, who doesn’t even have a winning overall career record.

    • Sounds right Tampa and Ben. Pat’s either playing it pathetically safe or Charleston Southern’s predictable defense suddenly became less so. The Gator offense should glide up and down the field Saturday. We’ll probably get to watch all three qbs. The bigger, stronger, speedier defense should figure out how to stop their option attack early in the first qrtr. Final score 44-7.

    • Rocketman one of the reasons the SEC is one of the premier conferences in the Power 5 is the other SEC schools are very good and the winner of the east and west divisions must run the gauntlet of beating each other. Take ALA, AUB, LSU, UGA, TEN if they were below average teams beating them while great wouldn’t do much for us in the rankings. With a goal of SEC and National Championships if the conference were weak it would be hard to justify us making the playoff. Look at the years of our recent NC we beat highly ranked SEC teams to on the way. Those ranked teams were our own conference. Knocking off a ranked Tenn, UGA, LSU is always a good thing. Everyone on here short of the troll(s) is for the GATORS every weekend. Trailer park is not understanding why we need the SEC to remain a strong conference. Makes us look better.

      • I get that 65, but I still think that silly “SEC…SEC…SEC” chant is for the mullet and jort crowd. No thank you.

        Truth is, I’m sick of Bama and UGA and want their trailer park tails to get slapped. As it stands, they’re out-recruiting the poop out of us and that’s unlikely to change so long as they continue to win. Sad to say, we’re closer to UK than we are to Bama, UGA or even Auburn.

        • Rocketman, as a proud southern redneck and former trailer park resident, I take umbrage at your insult. Furthermore, I’ve always considered the “SEC” chant to be laying claim to conference dominance rather than a cheer for the conference as a whole. At least that’s what I thought we were doing when I was in school in the early 80’s, although that always turned out to be wishful thinking. I’m with ya about Bama and UGA, though. Go Gators!

  3. If Florida only scores 34 points it better be because the game was 34-0 at the half, and Florida left the building! We hired “The Quarterback Whisperer,” the “offensive genius” and “the heisman trophy offensive coordinator” and all that nonsense. Heck, last years Mississippi State team put 49 on Charleston Southern. This needs to be a 50 plus point outing tomorrow not some scrimmage warm up game to see if a certain plan is in place. Florida needs to be dominant; and that’s not beating Charleston Southern only 34-16. South Carolina can do that.

  4. Slow down a minute guys….we’d all like to see 50+ points from the Gators, but why stop there? Why not a 100, with the condition being that Dan Mullen be run out of town on a rail and we beg Ron Zook to leave his used car lot for a couple-three months and bail us out if we don’t reach it?

    We’ll score plenty of points, I’m sure of that. But even if we don’t — and we still knock off all the rust and work the kinks out — it doesn’t mean the world just ended!

  5. First off, the Jim McElwain jabs never cease to be hilarious…well done, PAT!

    Secondly, I, too, was perplexed by the 34 points predicted for the brand-spanking new, state-of-the-art Gator offense. Personally, I see 10 touchdowns being hung on CSU. TEN…6 in the first half and 4 in the second. And I also see our defense giving up something in the single digits. It would be a shutout if Grantham didn’t play 45 guys on D.

    Too optimistic? No way. We’re back in a big way!!

  6. I’m with you guys, we should be able to run all night off right tackle and get to 34 against a team this small. I’m with Pat that we should wait to after week 2 before predicting the rest of the season. Biggest question: Can Dan really transform Franks?