The Picks: Who knows what to believe?

Pat Dooley
Gator Sports
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It's been difficult to know what is good and what is bad this season. This ... is 2020, after all. 

We may be at the point where a good defense is what a bad one would have been two years ago. A quarterback who only has accounted for 17 touchdowns and had his team vying for an College Football Playoff spot is considered OK and certainly not Heisman Trophy material (see: Ian Book, Notre Dame).

We are about to find out next week what the CFP committee thinks is good, bad or meh. The first rankings will include teams all over the map in terms of how many games they have played. 

We know that the SEC has become a place where defenses go to die (Alabama is 48th in the country with five-star defenders everywhere) and if your offense can only score in the 30s, you probably will be hoping to make a minor bowl.

And here we are in late November and we still don't know who will be playing who in early December. Schedules in this season of adjustments are written in invisible ink. We only know who is scheduled to play Saturday and what it might look like next week.

The team that leads the country in total defense has played two games. The team that is second in turnover margin has played one. 

What we thought was bad enough to get fired as a head coach still is, but not everywhere. Ay-yay-yay. It's all so confusing.

We do know that Dr. Football was good last week. The 9-1 record was only sullied by the pick of Michigan over Wisconsin. Dang it. And on my birthday, too.

Overall, that brings the record to 59-21 for the year, which should get me a contract extension and a big raise. But as we know, things don't always work out. On to this week:

Florida at Vanderbilt: I remember covering a Gator game in Nashville in 1998 and there were almost no fans there. That will seem like a wild crowd compared to this one. That crowd was because of apathy, which still exists at Vandy. Add in restrictions because of the virus and you may hear crickets chirping Saturday. Florida 48-20. 

Tennessee at Auburn: So the question I have is whether or not Jeremy Pruitt is really in trouble or whether fans and media just perceive that he is. Three of his last four games are against ranked teams so 3-7 is not out of the question. And most of his assistant coaches refused to take pay cuts, which sounds like they are squirreling away their money. Auburn, 34-23.

Indiana at Ohio State: The Indiana story has been a great one and I'm sure the Hoosiers are thrilled they came back to play so they could enjoy this. Saturday's game, not so much. Ohio State, 48-23.

Oklahoma State at Oklahoma: Is it still Bedlam with a limited crowd? Hey, Bedlam is a state of mind. Did you know that the term comes from the rivalry the two schools had in wrestling? Me neither, but that's why there is Wikipedia. Oklahoma, 50-45.

Wisconsin at Northwestern: Sorry, Wisconsin about not picking you last week. My bad. It won't happen again. I ate a block of cheese as punishment. Wisconsin, 69-3.

LSU at Arkansas: More evidence about how things can change in a hurry has been offered up this week because LSU was a 44-point favorite a year ago in this game and the Fightin' Feleipes are two-point favorites this week. LSU, 44-32.

Kentucky at Alabama: Here's a stat for you — Kentucky is ranked eight spots higher than Alabama in total defense this season. Yeah, I know. I was just trying to give the Wildcats some hope. Alabama, 42-17.

Missouri at South Carolina: The last time Will Muschamp got fired as a head coach, his team went out and won 52-3. Of course, that was Florida beating Eastern Kentucky. Missouri is a little better and it's pretty clear from the opt-outs this week the Gamecocks are done. Mizzou, 31-21.

Miss. St. at Georgia: If JT Daniels in his first start goes out and lights up a pretty good Mississippi State defense (third in the SEC), Georgia fans are going to wonder what in the name of UGA's ghost took Kirby Smart so long to pull the trigger. If he is as mediocre as the quarterbacks who started before him, Georgia fans are going to winder what quarterbacks are in the transfer portal. Georgia, 34-19.

Clemson at FSU: Wait, wait. Hold on here. You have a big game in Cincy vs. UCF and you're picking a game with a 30-point spread? Hey, it's my column and I want to finish with a gaudy record. Clemson, 52-20.

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

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