The Picks: Hot takes on college football

(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

The theme of this week has been heat.

Alabama is upset about a noon game next week, apparently not realizing there are FIVE other SEC teams playing at the same time on that Saturday. Man, the league is out to get Alabama, right? (The trade off for Bama being “punished” is that officials will continue to ignore when Tide linemen hold.)

LSU is upset that the air conditioning wasn’t turned up high enough in its locker room at Texas. (The pregame jambalaya probably didn’t help with the players’ body temperature).

Southern Cal AD Lynn Swann couldn’t take the heat and got out of the kitchen. (Rumor has it USC is thinking about hiring an actual athletic director to be its athletic director. What a novel idea).

And, of course, the heat got turned up in Knoxville, Tallahassee and Nashville. Maybe it should be turned up in Boca (Lane Kiffin now 5-9 in his last 14 games) and Brentwood (Chip Kelly is 3-11 at UCLA with Oklahoma up next).

It is amazing to see how excited American college football fans get when a coach is in trouble. It’s not just the fans of the team that get angry if you stay with a coach. Some fans almost take it as an insult when you keep a failing coach and affirmation when you fire him.

I do get it. The heat is getting to everyone.

The heat this week should be on the people who make schedules around the country. This week of games smells like a used diaper filled with Indian food (I believe it was the wonderful Christina Applegate who said that in “Anchorman” to describe Paul Rudd’s Sex Panther cologne, but don’t get me started on quoting that movie.)

It’s bad, which is why GameDay is in Ames, Iowa, for the first time. And also the way Syracuse thought it was Tanking for Tua against Maryland. (They got confused).

But you know what?

There’s going to be a Wow! Moment Saturday. Dr. Football just has to figure out where.

It was a bad week for The Picks, a brutal 5-5 record let the overall mark drop to 18-7 for the year. Maybe the heat should be on me.

On to this week (with expected game time temperatures listed):

FLORIDA AT KENTUCKY (83 degrees): Kentucky broke one streak last year. It will try to break another Saturday because it has been since 1986 that the Wildcats beat Florida at home. The important thing for Florida isn’t streaks. It’s about winning one in a row against Kentucky. Florida, 31-23.

ALABAMA AT SOUTH CAROLINA (90 degrees): The last time Alabama played the Gamecocks, said Nick Saban, “we got the lining kicked out of our britches. I don’t know if you know what that means, but that means you get your butt kicked so bad you got no seam in the back of your pants.” That’s a new one on me. Alabama, 42-21.

STANFORD AT UCF (83 degrees): This had a chance to be a big game. But that was before we saw Stanford play. UCF, 48-27.

IOWA AT IOWA STATE (80 degrees): There are now 10 Power Five schools that have never played host to GameDay. Why not knock them all off in one year? Iowa, 27-20.

KANSAS STATE AT MISSISSIPPI STATE (90 degrees): Are there two more under the radar 2-0 teams than these? K-State 21-20.

CLEMSON AT SYRACUSE (indoors): Was Syracuse looking ahead last week? Does it matter? Clemson, 40-17.

FSU AT VIRGINIA (78 degrees): I can’t explain this pick. Maybe it’s just out of habit. FSU, 37-31.

USC AT BYU (82 degrees): What if USC hired Urban Meyer as expected, but made him the athletic director instead of the coach? USC, 28-20.

PITT AT PENN STATE (68 degrees): Pitt players were not allowed to talk to the media this week. Go Nittany Lions! Penn State, 34-13.

ARIZONA STATE AT MICHIGAN STATE (73 degrees): This is a pretty nice game. I swear. Michigan State, 23-21.

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


  1. Pat, so you’re sticking with ‘”Vegas line” and predicting only a 7-8 pt. win over U.K. for the Gators (@ Kentucky)? Well, I’d take that today on Friday, but I sure do hope this Gator football team puts it on the ”little blue nation” by more than 7-8 pts. this season. The Gators should win (and they could only win by 7-8 points), but I feel the score will be more like 34-17, FLORIDA! ”Make no mistake, it isn’t revenge we’re after, its the reckoning!” -Doc Holiday in the movie, ”Tombstone.” Go Gators! Just win baby!

  2. I’ll go with the Mighty Gators over UK in a competitive game; national champion UCF over Stanford in a less competitive game; and Virginia absolutely bludgeoning FSU. (A friend of mine who is an FSU alum: “At least I have my Saturdays back now.”)

    The talent gap, at least according to 247 recruiting class rankings, has definitely closed between UF and KY. Before Stoops, their recruiting classes ranked in the 50s and 60s, while ours were consistently in the top five or ten. Since Stoops was hired, they usually rank in the low to mid 30s. Since 2015, we’ve slipped into the top 10 – 20 range, and those classes suffered further from attrition. Stoops has done a nice job with the hand he was dealt, while we’re still recovering from McElwain (but definitely trending in the right direction under CDM). Looking forward to a good game! Go Gators!