I wouldn’t call it an epiphany. Maybe more of a realization.
Or as Val Kilmer said in the wonderful “Tombstone” (in my top 10 of all time, by the way), “Oh, make no mistake about it. It’s not revenge he’s after. It’s a reckoning.”
Yeah, reckoning. I like that word.
So here’s the deal — as an Associated Press voter I feel that I have become one of those guys I am always criticizing.
The lazy voters.
Why do I have Alabama No. 2? The Tide’s best win is over, well, I’m not sure that there is a best win. Shouldn’t I have Auburn ahead of Alabama (that’ll rile them up on Finebaum) because Auburn’s body of work a third of the way into the season is much better?
Should I have Wisconsin higher based on the eye test? Is Oklahoma’s lofty ranking justified because the Sooners’ best win was against a 1-3 Group of Five team whose quarterback quit three weeks later?
Should LSU be No. 1?
This all became a mental exercise because I saw that an old Gainesville Sun sports staffer Dave Reardon, who now works at the newspaper in Honolulu (wanna trade, Dave, ol’ pal?) was the sole human to vote Georgia No. 1 this week after the Bulldogs’ win over Notre Dame.
I like that he is thinking outside the box. And that box is half crimson and white and half purple and orange.
If the College Football Playoff rankings came out today, they would look much different than the AP poll. They might look like this:
So shouldn’t I be voting that way? No, many of my colleagues and I have fallen victim to Clemson/Bama fatigue. Or is it fever?
The question is whether or not I have the guts to vote based on this season or vote based on branding and seasons past on Sunday.
Aw heck, Alabama and Clemson will probably be there at the end of the season and the CFP committee isn’t letting three SEC teams in.
Slowly I turn to The Picks. Last week I went 8-2 and found out from reader and bass thumper Rick “Bumper” Reed that I mistakenly counted a win as a loss the previous week. I’ll take his word for it. That’s a win-win and I am now 33-12 for the season.
On to this week:
TOWSON AT FLORIDA: The coach of the first of four Tigers Florida will play this season raised some eyebrows when he went all Vince Dooley on us. “This is one of the best football teams I have ever seen on film,” Rob Ambrose said. “These guys will challenge for the College Football Playoff. They’re really, really good.” For millennials, the other Dooley (Vince) was famous for praising teams to the nth degree. One time I heard him raving about the opponent’s band. Florida, 38-21.
MISS. STATE AT AUBURN: Anybody see the irony of Auburn playing Dan Mullen’s old team and Dan Mullen’s new team in back-to-back weeks? What do you mean it’s not irony, just coincidence? It’s a free ride when you already paid. Or rain on your wedding day. See? Irony. Alanis Morissette said so. Auburn, 28-20.
VIRGINIA AT NOTRE DAME: As an expert on hangovers and “The Hangover” movie franchise. I called Kentucky’s head-pounding loss last week. This week, it’s the Fighting Irish. (Maybe.) Virginia, 24-20.
OLE MISS AT ALABAMA: This shows the power of the Alabama brand to the 3:30 CBS slot for mediocre Mississippi. That, and it’s not a great week for SEC games. Alabama, 39-12.
USC AT WASHINGTON: The coach with the perceived hottest seat in America is the only Pac-12 coach with two conference wins despite losing his No. 1 and No. 2 quarterback. Take that, Urban Meyer. Washington, 28-27.
KENTUCKY AT SOUTH CAROLINA: Both teams desperately need a win. The good news is that one of them will get it. The bad news is … well, you know. South Carolina, 27-21.
N.C. STATE AT FSU: Is FSU on the verge of turning this thing around? The Semis better. I can’t afford any more T-shirts. FSU, 31-21.
OHIO STATE AT NEBRASKA: GameDay is in Lincoln, Neb., for the first time in 12 years. I don’t know why either. Ohio State, 40-19.
WASHINGTON ST. AT UTAH: Man, this was going to be a hype game until both lost last week. Washington St., 49-40.
ARKANSAS-TEXAS A&M (Arlington): Dr. Football, are you trying to sneak in an easy pick when nobody’s looking? A&M, 34-12.
— Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at email@example.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.