The Picks: Nothing normal about these picks

Pat Dooley
Gator Sports
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Normally, this would be rivalry week. Of course, normally I wouldn't have been wearing a mask when I had to run out for the always-forgotten cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving.

Normally, the SEC and ACC would declare a champion between the two conferences using the silliest of criteria after this weekend. Any championship declared that doesn't include the entire Western Division of America's Conference is just for fools.

Normally, we wouldn't pick up our buzzing phones and have to look at alerts between our fingers to see if the games we cared about were postponed, canceled or forfeited at the insistence of Dabo Swinney.

Normally, we would know for sure who was going to Atlanta after this weekend even though we already knew the East winner. Normally, we would have been jostled awake from our late afternoon nap Thursday (part tryptophan, part Lions) just in time to catch a worthwhile college game. 

But nothing is normal anymore. As Dan Mullen said Monday, "It feels like we're in the middle of the season."

Not me. It feels like the end. This week has been a bit of a farewell tour and there is nothing normal about that. The Picks will be over after these final 10 selections, although I imagine by annual Bowl Duel with Drew Copeland will surface somewhere.

Maybe TikTok?

Anyway, Dr. Football went 8-1 last week, although I am claiming 9-1, because Dabo said FSU should forfeit. It's my column, at least for a few more days.

That's 68-22 for the season, which may be my best record ever. Let's see if I can go out with a bang, not a whimper.

Kentucky at Florida: The most intriguing thing about this game may be the information passed along before it starts about which players on both teams are not available. (Next week, Robbie and I will be on that list). I think Florida played its flat noon game last week and will take care of business Saturday. But the interior of the defense had better be ready for a physical game. Florida, 45-20.

Auburn at Alabama: Well, there are SOME rivalry games this weekend, but even they are misplaced with regular season games to follow. Maybe. Alabama has rediscovered its defense and the Mac Jones Auburn faced a year ago is not the same guy. Bama coach Nick Saban tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and will miss the Iron Bowl vs. the Tigers. Alabama, 42-28.

Mississippi State at Ole Miss: One great reason to watch this game is just to see what Elijah Moore might do if he scores the winning touchdown after getting two coaches fired with his fire hydrant deal last year. My guess is he will hand the ball to the official. Ole Miss, 39-23.

LSU at Texas A&M: I remember two years ago getting back from the Florida-FSU game in time to watch the 40-overtime thriller between these two teams. I'm exaggerating a bit, but that was a good day. A&M, 40-30.

Vanderbilt at Missouri: The Commodores may have a female kicker for this game. I've seen this before. It was called "Necessary Roughness." Missouri, 35-24.

Notre Dame at North Carolina: For those of you complaining about Florida's defense, take a whiff of North Carolina's. The Tar Heels are 68th in the country in points allowed. What? Florida is 67th? As Emily Litella would say, "Never mind." (Really old SNL reference there, peeps). Notre Dame, 48-40.

Iowa State at Texas: This is some race down the stretch to see which team will end up in a New Year's Six Bowl. Especially if Texas wins. Iowa State is the only one-loss team in conference play. OK, have I put you to sleep yet? Iowa State, 38-35.

Colorado at USC: Battle of unbeatens in the Pac-12. Sources tell me there will be a winner and a loser of this game. But that's off the record. USC, 31-29.

Georgia at South Carolina: Georgia is holding out slim hopes of still getting to Atlanta and facing Alabama with a real quarterback. South Carolina is holding out slim hopes that Tennessee doesn't fire its coach and jump ahead of it in line. Georgia, 47-21.

Virginia at FSU: As a going away present to all of my friends (both of them) at Florida State, I will not call the team the "Semis" in this column. I think "Semis" is a slight to a proud program that was used by a former coach at Florida, who also referred to the school as Free Shoes U. So no "Semis." Instead, I will refer to FSU as the Fraidy Cats. Virginia, 27-14.

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

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