Some notes on what all went down in Week 4:
TCU appears to be the rising power in the Big 12. The Horned Frogs had a strong showing against the Cowboys yesterday and now fans are circling 11/11 on the calendar in anticipation of a showdown with the Sooners,
UGA: Last night the Dawgs put together a complete game that dominated the visitors from Starkville. Now they head to Knoxville to face off against a Volunteer team that is in crisis mode, if not a full collapse. They'll be their biggest competitor now as yesterday's win makes the remaining schedule look paltry. Keeping consistent down the stretch puts them on a collision course with Alabama to compete for a playoff spot.
FSU: The Seminoles have yet to win a game this year. Having lost the opener to Bama, a postponement due to Hurricane Irma, and dropping one to NC State yesterday, a team that looked to be a title contender will struggle to find a major bowl with 4 ranked teams still remaining on the schedule.
Tennessee:This is a team, as mentioned above, in full crisis, if not complete collapse. Struggling for a home win against UMass is not the way to warm up for what is likely the best defense in college football coming to town next weekend. The Volunteers are in the trashcan themselves now. Expect major changes to be announced in Knoxville soon.
Auburn: The Tigers needed a big win yesterday and they got it. The trouble is, Missouri is in worse shape than Tennessee. There is a lot of pressure mounting on Coach Gus Malzahn, which seems unfair for a good coach and an all around decent human being. But the faithful are frustrated on The Plains. They need to carry this momentum into this week as they prepare to host MSU who will be looking to rebound from that manhandling by UGA.
There are some big games to take a look at this week. Check back soon for our Week Five commentary!
This week we start a new segment to help discuss what is going on in the world of college football. We are calling the segment Curator and Coach and it will offer commentary from our Curator as well as Sam's baby brother Coach Drew Burnham. We'll still be posting our weekly picks in this post as well.
Curator & Coach
Week Four Picks
Georgia over Mississippi State: Glanga is looking strong but the defense in Athens os too strong and the Dawgs will run all over MSU.
Oklahoma St over TCU: This will be a big week for the Cowboys. Expect a hig score and a close game.
Purdue over Michigan: Upset of the week. Resurgent Boilermakers drop Michigan in the Big House.
Arkansas over A&M
Tech over Pitt
Bama over Vandy
DUKE over UNC
Kentucky over Florida
Auburn over Mizzou
UCLA over Stanford
This week we have started to see some truth shaking out. Preseason rankings continue to prove to be folly, at best.
Florida Over Tennessee
If anyone had put $5 on the Gators winning on a 63 yard Hail Mary with 9 seconds remaining, the entire City of Las Vegas would have filed for bankruptcy today. Yes, on a Sunday. The odds on such a finish would be mind-boggling. I can't even imagine it. The Gators' clock management on the previous play was so horrible, I was thinking an overtime loss was the only proper result for them. We saw three quarters of football your kid's youth team would be ashamed of and then an unbelievable 4th quarter. It was a phoenix rising from a burning cesspool. It was two teams brutally fighting for the right to not finish just ahead of Missouri in the SEC East.
It was still embarrassing and everyone is still on a hot seat.
Mississippi State Over LSU
I also have to say that I could have never predicted the way that MSU manhandled LSU in every aspect of the game. Clanga came prepared and it showed. Offensively and defensively the Bulldogs appeared to be a national powerhouse, leaving LSU with few answers. This performance has us looking ahead to Week 4 and the battle of the Bulldogs in Athens. UGA will have their hands full next Saturday.
Purdue Over Mizzou
Purdue is a serious team this year. I said it before and now again. They're going bowling. Michigan better be awake this Saturday.
Mizzou finds itself in a bad place. They're rapidly headed to the bottom of the division, probably the conference at that. It is hard to see their performance this far as being anything that can compete with any of the SEC teams so far - even Tennessee or Florida.
We're getting a real look at teams now and approaching a meatier part of the schedule. We're looking forward to more good match ups. Stay tuned!
Still scraping the barrel a bit for 10 good match ups. But I think we've got a list to work with. Let's take a look at what is going in Week Three.
Tennesee at Florida
This is going to be an interesting match up this week. It is a rivalry game of sorts and both teams are ranked in the Top 25. Conventional wisdom suggests that you throw out all the stats in such a game. I'd usually agree but Florida has already thrown out their offensive stats, and anything else that might resemble an offense. Couple that with a Tennessee team that needed a trash can load of stuff to eke by Georgia Tech and I'm not sure what to think of this. I'm not sure about Tennessee's defense but they don't need much of one to beat the Gators. If they find the end zone at all and Florida's defense doesn't score, the Vols will win. So Tennessee gets the nod on the road.
Clemson at Louisville
The defending national champs are on the road this week after a tough win over Auburn. They're visiting a Louisville team that has survived games against Purdue and North Carolina. Those are two decent opponents but they aren't Clemson. The Tigers may still be working some bugs out but I think they will pull this one together as they are likely to be one of the four Playoff teams. Louisville will have to prove otherwise. Look for Clemson to win.
UCLA over Memphis - Look for Josh Rosen to have another big game.
Duke over Baylor - Baylor is done. They'll do good to get 2 wins this season.
Wisconsin over BYU - told you I wouldn't pick BYU until they get an offense.
Purdue over Mizzou - Purdue is on the move this season. Might go bowling.
LSU over Miss. St. - Coach O will outscore Mullen.
Vandy over KSU - Undefeated Vandy has a chip on their shoulder. Wins on defense.
South Carolina over Kentucky - Carolina is improved (more than Kentucky)
Ole Miss over Cal - Don't think either is great but the Rebels squeak it out
We did a little better with the picks this weekend. 6-4 this week following up on last week's 5-5. So that's a slight improvement. It was better than Texas A&M's improvement in Week 2 but not as the good as Kevin sumlin needs to see in Week 3. But it was an improvement. So we sit at 11-9 on the year so far.
Georgia took over Chicago and Notre Dame and came home with a win. They're going to need some better offensive play calling and fewer penalties if they plan on winning the SEC East this season. They have got to work to establish a better run game. But can you say Lorenzo Carter? Probably the best defensive team effort by the Dawgs in recent memory.
Auburn did about as I feared they would when I set out to finalize the week's picks. They really struggled on offense and you cannot do that against a team as good as Clemson. Clemson isn't off the hook either as that was not a national championship performance either. But the season is young and I feel they'll get better as our picks hopefully will.
As for Jacksonville State...they gave up almost 300 fewer total yards to Tech than Tennessee did. But they also gave up 20 points on three turnovers. Other than that, I don't want to talk about it.
Arkansas is struggling with the football portion of the game. If they get better at football as the season progresses, they may get a few wins.
Ohio State, as is usually the case, is highly overrated.
South Carolina isn't terrible. Yet.
BYU won't be picked as a winner here until they run by Wal-Mart and pick up some offense.
Now to wait out Irma and get ready for Week Three. Y'all stay safe out there.
We still find ourselves mired in the slime of "warm up games" and other mismatches that makes finding worthy games to prognosticate difficult. It was hard to choose 10 match ups that would be both of interest and also not shooting fish in a barrel. But it is fair to remember that many of these games send much needed funding and attention to smaller schools with fewer resources. So while they aren't always the best options for fans, they do have their benefits.
Let's take a look:
UGA at Notre Dame
If you grew up in Georgia and were not a rabid Tech fan, UGA-Notre Dame immediately brings for the January 1, 1981 Sugar Bowl in which Vince Dooley and the Georgia Bulldogs secured the 1980 National Championship. But more than a generation of Dawg fans have come of age recognizing that triumph from any of roughly 300 billion Coke bottles as well as ubiquitous other memorabilia recognizing the event.
Notre Dame is also a favorite heel of football fans, especially Southerners. It would be hard to place a finger on any one thing that turns us against him but with a few notable exceptions, the South hates the Fighting Irish.
Tomorrow's match up will stir up all sorts of emotions and memories but in the long run Dooley, Walker, and Russell as well as Rockne, Rudy, and The Gipper Himself will be nothing more than symbols of the iconic past. This game is going to be determined by the generation of Kirby and Kelly and the realities of the present. I never like to discount history and tradition as they can provide a psychological edge in an otherwise even pairing. The ghosts and echos of Notre Dame Stadium are thick. That cannot be denied. But Kirby Smart has Michel and Chubb in place of Walker. He also has this wild theory that Dooley never pondered - that the quarterback could throw the ball through the air and a player downfield could catch it. He also has an exciting promise in a freshman who appears talented in doing so. And that is why the Dawgs take the win on the road.
Auburn at Clemson
Tigers vs. Tigers. This could prove to be the best match up of the weekend. Or it could be an absolute disaster. And that fact is what is driving the pick on this game. There is little doubt that Clemson is a dominant force, a top tier team. Auburn also has that potential. But one thing of late has me wary of choosing the Plainsman. Inconsistency. Auburn may come out and go toe to toe with Clemson for all 60 minutes. but they are equally likely to roll out on the field and lay an egg. With this game being played in the shadow of Howard's Rock, I'm picking the Tigers. The Clemson Tigers.
Jacksonville State at Georgia Tech
While I wouldn't blame you for crediting a misguided use of emotion and nostalgia for making this one, I'd like to make a few point first. Tech is coming off an emotional overtime loss to Tennessee Monday night. With only four days to prepare for a very good football team who has had two weeks to do the same, Tech is honestly at a disadvantage here. Say what you want. The Gamecocks are going to beat Georgia Tech.
The Rest of the Field
Duke over Northwestern
Louisville over North Carolina
Arkansas over TCU
South Carolina over Missouri
Ohio State over Oklahoma
Southern Cal over Stanford
BYU over Utah
By Sam Burnham
College football did what it does throughout the Labor Day weekend and made a bit of a mess in the ABG CFB picks. Our picks went 5-5 on the weekend. But it was opening weekend for most of the country and we really only have recruiting prognostications and traditional performance of the teams to go by. This is one big reason a preseason poll is folly of follies.
What we learned: Florida and Florida State both have defenses that their offenses do not deserve. No lead is safe when A&M is in possession of it. Georgia's back-up QB, who starts this week vs Notre Dame, is pretty dang good. Ed Orgeron still doesn't speak with a mainstream dialect and it's awesome. Tennessee's trash can is the new stupidest thing in football.
But mostly we learned that college football is back, it is still it's wonderful, unpredictable self and we still love it for it.
We have a few more respectable games this week so we'll see how the picks go. Look for our Week Two post coming up later this week.
For the last couple of years we've posted our ABG CFB picks for each week of the college football season. But for each of those years, we've limited that to our Twitter account. Since there are few things more traditional and Southern than college football, we're expanding that enterprise to the website and offering some commentary to go with it. Who knows, we might even dig up some old football junkies to stir the pot some.
Let's get started with the 2017 season. I'm already in gear and going after my beloved Jacksonville State Gamecocks did a number on Chattanooga in the FCS Kickoff. Our focus here is going to be on the FBS since that is what most of the fans are talking about but you'll probably get some commentary on the smaller divisions as well.
We'll be picking ten games each week and giving some commentary on a few of them. So here we go:
Alabama vs. Florida State
This is a promising match up and by far the biggest game of the weekend since so many of the powers are choosing to play "warm up" games. Alabama coach Nick Saban is starting his second decade as the head coach of the Tide. Former Saban assistant Jimbo Fisher is in his 4th season as the head coach in Tallahassee.
The key I'm looking for in this game is going to be the Seminole defense. Offensively the Seminoles have an edge. Bama is always strong on defense and I expect nothing less from them in Atlanta. So the key will be keeping Bama under the scoring threshold pf the Seminole offense. I worked with FSU defensive coordinator Charles Kelly at Jacksonville State many moons ago. He's had some ups and downs in his tenure as Dc but knowing him, he's been getting his bearings. I think we are going to see some big things from the FSU defense this year and I think that is going to start in the Bama game. I think the Seminole defense is the factor that changes the game. I'm going with the Seminoles and it will be close.
Florida vs. Michigan
I think this will prove to be the other marquee match up of the weekend. And again, I think a Sunshine State defense will be the determining factor. Florida has 10 players suspended going into this game but they also have a strong defense full of veteran players. If there is one thing that Jim McElwain can do, it's keep his opponents from scoring. I think a serially overrated Big Ten sends one of its better teams to face a strong Southern team and it ends in disaster as is so often the case. I think the Gators win a game that might not see three touchdowns total.
The Other Picks
UGA over Appalachian St
Tennessee over Georgia Tech
LSU over BYU
NC State over South Carolina
North Carolina over California
Vandy over Middle Tennessee
Texas A&M over UCLA
Virginia Tech over West Virginia