Greetings from Central Florida, where the hometown UCF Knights just lost a tough game to Tulsa as I type this.
Speaking of UCF, I'd like to wish an early HAPPY BIRTHDAY to 2-time Conference USA Champion, Conference USA Coach of the Year, 2-time Gold Medalist with USA Basketball's Womens U19 National Team, and MY sister...Joi Williams. Happy Birthday Coach!!! Love you!!
A shout out also goes to my second favorite Alabama fan on the planet, Keith Edwards, for checking in before the big game. You know Alabama's having a good year when Keith calls me every week asking how to format posts on Blogger. It should also be noted that Keith is terrified of my sister, who nearly severed his jugular vein with a butter knife at the SEC Womens' Basketball Tournament back in the mid-90s. One day I'll share that story with the entire internet...and by entire internet, I mean my 13 followers here on Blogger.
I've been deliquent in posting my wildly popular Monday Morning Hangover segment, a recap of the week that was, so please accept my apologies. Truth be told, based on recent developments my weekend hangovers are lasting well into Wednesday and Thursday, with no end in sight. Will Muschamp has managed to out-Zook Ron Zook, and he's not done yet. Bowl eligibility is about as good as it gets for Gator Nation.
That's all I got...let's get on with it....
New Mexico State at Georgia
The silver lining from UGA's win over Florida is two-fold. There's a good chance UGA wins the East, where they will get absolutely destroyed by the Bama-LSU winner, and Mark Richt gets to stay in Athens a while longer. The rest of the SEC should send UF (Chris "Butterfingers" Rainey in particular) a fruit basket. Mark Richt is a mediocre football coach whose success has come when Florida, LSU, Tennessee and Alabama were all down. With the exception of LSU and Bama, history appears to be repeating itself. Nice timing on those suspensions...
Dawgs - 42
NMSU - 14
Vanderbilt at Florida
Will Muschamp has taken the joy out of fall Saturdays in Gainesville, so I made an executive decision to sit this one out. I'd rather save gas money and relax on the couch watching games on two flat screens (one with picture-in-picture), and thanks to the WatchESPN app, two more games on the iPad and iPhone. That's five games at once folks. I'll be watching this game on the iPhone. This is Vandy's Super Bowl, and UF doesn't really give a shit about much of anything right now...and you thought we hit rock bottom during the Zook Era.
Vandy - 24
Rock Bottom - 23
South Carolina at Arkansas
If two 7-1 teams still in contention for their division and conference title play the same week #1 plays #2, does anyone care? It's a shame this game starts at 7:15, because it's the perfect JV warm-up game before Bama-LSU. Arkansas can play spoiler on their way to the Capital One Bowl, making plenty of friends in Athens along the way. South Carolina is a totally different team without Marcus Lattimore, and just like their in-state rival Clemson last week, sooner or later the Gamecocks have to start living down to their historic expectations of underachievement...it's science.
Hogs - 27
Cocks - 19
Do you really care about Kansas State-Oklahoma State, Oregon-Washington or Boise State-UNLV?
That's what I thought.
LSU at Alabama
Game of the Century....Ali vs. Frazier....Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior.....Desmond Howard vs. The English Language....Aretha Franklin vs. Gravity....you get the picture. It's the game we've all been waiting for.
Throughout the season I've shown lots of love to my Crimson Tide buddies Keith Edwards, Keith Williams and the legendary Garland Harwell. Therefore it's only fair I give equal time to my favorite LSU fan on the planet, Nall Gearheard, who makes up 1/13th of my followers. Like Garland and Keith, Nall lives in Atlanta and is subjected to UGA fans on a regular basis, so there's a special place in heaven awaiting him in the afterlife. Nall, if you're making the trip to Bryant-Denny, be safe and enjoy yourself.
Bama and LSU appear to be mirror images of each other. Offensively both teams rarely make mistakes, defensively both teams create mistakes and there's always the possibility of a little trickeration on special teams. In the trenches, both defensive lines are better than the offensive lines they'll face Saturday night. Trent Richardson and Spencer Ware are both powerful runners who can run by defenders just as easily through them. Marquis Maze and Reuben Randle are both deadly deep threats.
You're tempted to give Bama the coaching edge based on Nick Saban's methodical management style versus Les Miles and his various eccentricities. However I give a slight talent edge to LSU. I particularly like the matchup of their secondary against Bama's receivers. I also think A.J. McCarron is the weak link. Julio Jones is gone, and for all the hype surrounding honey badger Tyrann Matheiu, Morris Claiborne is a better cover corner. That's how good LSU's secondary is.
Bama gets the home field advantage obviously, and I expect the atmosphere to be off the charts. But there's something about this LSU team. Yes, Les Miles might be due for another Special Olympics clock management moment. Yes, Bama is virtually unbeatable at home. And yes, Trent Richardson is the best college running back I've seen since Shaun Alexander.
But it's 2011, and the BCS title game is in New Orleans. LSU won their last two national titles in 2003 and 2007...the last two times the BCS title game took place in New Orleans.
LSU - 23
Bama - 20