Another week, another attempt to distract you from my record.
Hey, let’s talk about the SEC schedule for 2019 that came out Tuesday, which probably knocked out any hope Florida fans had of next year being the year things turn around.
Any schedule where you open and close with Miami and FSU and play Auburn and LSU in back-to-back weeks is less than ideal. We knew these were the teams Florida would be playing, but that Tiger double-dip in October is brutal.
But what really stood out to me was something that football writer Matt Smith Tweeted — “Between 2008 and 2030, Auburn will play one game at Florida. That’s not a conference.”
I couldn’t agree more. Auburn is the closest SEC city to Gainesville. It was once a great rivalry. Now, Auburn might as well be BYU.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey received a lot of questions about this at SEC Media Days. If the SEC went to nine conference games, as Nick Saban has been asking for, it would be better for the fans and the game.
Sankey’s answer was basically this — “We had two teams playing for the national title last year. That’s happened twice to our conference and no other conference, capiche? And we have won nine of the last 12 national championships. You think we’re going to change our formula? Get outta heah. It Just Means More Rings, baby.”
I may have paraphrased just a tad there and taken some liberties and Sankey doesn’t talk like Kojak (dated TV reference). But it is the essence of the way the league feels. If it isn’t broken, play McNeese State.
The only way I think we’ll ever get to a nine-game SEC schedule is if the College Football Playoffs expand. I hope to be alive when they do, but I’ll probably be blowing out 100 candles.
On to this week. Dr. Football was mediocre again at 7-3 for 20-10 this season. The Picks seems to be copying Florida’s offensive line play.
FLORIDA AT TENNESSEE: You could make an argument Tennessee has been better than Florida the last three years. I’m not saying you’d win that argument, but you could make it. Who would have thought as we watched Tyrie Cleveland cradling that football in the end zone last year that Butch Jones had seven games remaining as a head coach and Jim McElwain five? Or that they’d be coaching at Alabama and Michigan, respectively, this year? If you knew that then, you should be doing The Picks. Tennessee, 20-14.
GEORGIA AT MISSOURI: OK, you can stop sending me emails and texts about picking Tennessee. I just think Florida will struggle on the road, especially offensively. Lighten up. Oh, and … Georgia, 42-24.
TEXAS A&M AT ALABAMA: There was this one time I picked Tennessee and I got so many people mad at me I ended up turning some emails over to the police. But there were no death threats. Alabama, 45-21.
MISSISSIPPI STATE AT KENTUCKY: Can we move on? This is the game I’ll have on my laptop. This is the kind of game for which the word slobber-knocker was invented. What do you mean that’s not a real word? I hear it on TV all the time. Mississippi State, 28-21.
SOUTH CAROLINA AT VANDERBILT: This is usually about the time of the season when Vandy’s aspirations get a wake-up call. Not this year. Vandy, 27-19.
ARKANSAS AT AUBURN: We know who the worst team in the SEC is. So even though the Tigers are hurting from last week’s loss, they shouldn’t have any trouble with the Piglets. By the way, I can’t remember a line jumping six points like this one did. Guess which way. Auburn, 38-12.
STANFORD AT OREGON: Nationally, this is the game of the week. But that’s based on Oregon being 3-0. And Oregon being 3-0 is based on the Ducks playing Bowling Green, Portland State and San Jose State (combined record 2-7). Stanford, 31-10.
TEXAS TECH AT OKLAHOMA STATE: Wee, doggies, this one is fixin ta be a humdinger. If you like offense. If you like defense, avert your eyes. Oklahoma State, 57-51.
WISCONSIN AT IOWA: This one lost a little pizzazz with Wisky’s loss last week. I think we may have overrated Bucky Badger. Iowa, 31-23.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS AT FSU: Crowd estimation? Anyone? FSU, reluctantly, 24-21.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.