College football predictions: Nick Saban might go nuclear if Alabama loses to Texas A&M
Who’s going to play quarterback in the most anticipated SEC game of season? Don’t ask Nick Saban.
He’s not saying, which makes it tough to predict the Alabama-Texas A&M game.
Actually, that’s an easy one to prognosticate. The Aggies’ offense is so bad Jimbo Fisher might not get his monthly contract extension, so it really doesn’t matter who he starts.
It matters for the Tide. They might have last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Bryce Young, at QB. Or they might not.
Young has a sprained shoulder. When Saban was asked about it this week, he reflexively bit off a reporter’s head and sarcastically said he’d inform Fisher of his QB plans.
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“I don’t talk to Jimbo on a regular basis, but I think I’ll call him right after this conference if you want me to,” Saban said.
I get why they want to keep things secret, but they shouldn’t be offended by obvious questions. We’re asking for injury updates, not the nuclear launch codes.
Saban’s so hair-trigger he went off on CBS sideline reporter Jenny Dell after the Arkansas game. She asked him about his team’s resiliency after Young was injured.
“What I’d like to talk about is our team,” he said. “What about the game? What about the team? What about the players that played the game?”
Umm, that’s what she actually asked about. When Saban gets rolling, however, it’s best to just let him spew.
Nobody has sympathy for reporters, anyway. But wouldn’t Alabama fans/Saban worshippers like to know Young’s status? Not to mention a few million gamblers.
NFL requires teams to submit injury reports
The NFL has long required teams to submit daily injury reports. The unspoken reason was that gamblers needed accurate information. The league wanted to minimize the odds that someone could bribe a team member for inside info and set off a cheating scandal.
The NCAA Gambling Working Group proposed a pilot program in 2019 that would require coaches to list players’ availability. The idea was shot down, but legalized gambling has since boomed.
Don’t be surprised if the NCAA (or whoever’s running college football) eventually decides teams have to post injury reports. I just pity the reporter who has to break that news to Saban.
Speaking of gambling, my longshot prediction that Arkansas would beat Bama was off by only 24 points. That contributed to the usual 7-3 week. I’m 35-15 overall, a record that would probably get me fired if I were coaching Wisconsin.
Missouri at Florida: The Tigers have been voted Team Most Likely To Get Hit By A Random Piece of Falling Space Debris. They coulda, woulda, shoulda beat mighty Georgia last week, and they definitely shoulda beat Auburn the game before. Mizzou’s defense will give UF problems, but the home-field advantage and falling space debris will save Homecoming for the Gators. Florida 24-20
Texas A&M at Alabama: This really was the year’s most anticipated game in May after Nick accused Jimbo of buying his top-ranked recruiting class. It’s hard to have a showdown, however, when one team forgot to buy a functional QB. Look for Saban to make Fisher pay, then get mad when the sideline reporter asks about it. Alabama 38-12
North Carolina at Miami: Will the Tar Heels have more points on the scoreboard than the Hurricanes have fans in the seats? Miami 29, North Carolina 24, Attendance 23
FSU at North Carolina State: The Seminoles play better on the road than at home, but NC State has won 13 straight home games. I’ll believe FSU is semi-back if it can pull this one off. NC State 26-17
Nuclear Trivia: The briefcase with the secret launch codes that accompanies the president is nicknamed “The Football.” Coincidentally, the briefcase carrying injury information that accompanies Nick Saban is nicknamed “The Nuclear Codes.”
Tennessee at LSU: Hendon Hooker could jazz his Heisman campaign with a big game. As much as I’d like to see a Hooker win the Heisman, he won’t make up for Tennessee’s defense. Upset Special — LSU 38-31
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt: I’d also like to see a Commodore win the Heisman, but I don’t think I’ll live to be 492. Ole Miss 44-20
Auburn at Georgia: There’s no reason to pick this, other than it would really mess up Auburn boosters’ funeral plans for Bryan Harsin. Insane Upset Special — Auburn 21-20
Texas at Oklahoma: Dead River Showdown. Hard to believe that Kansas and Kansas State are ranked and these two teams aren’t. Oklahoma QB Dylan Gabriel is questionable, meaning JUCO transfer General Booty might get some snaps. Right now, General Eisenhower couldn’t save the Sooners. Texas 36-27
Nuclear Trivia II: No president has ever fumbled the nuclear football, though Bill Clinton reportedly left it at a Fayetteville McDonald’s before the 1995 Auburn game.
South Carolina at Kentucky: The Gamecocks have won two straight (over Charleston and South Carolina State) and haven’t had a three-game winning streak since 2017. Kentucky is not South Carolina State. Kentucky 29-17
Arkansas at Mississippi State: Hogs quarterback KJ Jefferson is questionable after suffering an “undisclosed head injury” last week. Coach Sam Pittman wouldn’t confirm if Jefferson is in concussion protocol or if Jefferson might play or that he’s ever even heard of KJ Jefferson. Assuming the QB's head hasn’t fallen off, Arkansas 28-27.
David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DavidEWhitley.