There is one bit of good advice I did receive during that interlude from my “upline” sponsor, about recruiting team members for my “downline.”
“Never bring somebody in to work with you wouldn’t invite into your home.”
Which sage wisdom I’ve tried to live by since. But which, unfortunately, I failed to remember when predicting Todd Graham’s Arizona State Sun Devils would vanquish the theretofore underwhelming Bruins from UCLA.
I’ve never liked Graham much, due to his lack of loyalty. He jumped ship at Rice after one season and a W in the New Orleans Bowl. Then, after a successful but short stint at Tulsa, and the requisite climb up the food chain to Pittsburgh, he skidaddled Iron City pronto. Again after one 6-6 campaign, before the Panthers even took the field post-season in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
To the Land o’ Sun, where, as far as I’m concerned, he’s as dangerous as Beelzebub his very own self. So, I picked his team. To my chagrin. And, thus, had a losing commencement to last week’s predictions.
IU, back on its game, also lost. However Miami defeated Duke, UK and U of L held serve, and I came out a positive 3-2 for the weekend, and 13-12 on the entire campaign.
I’m now ready, with the arrival of October and far & away the biggest weekend of the season, to separate myself from mediocrity.
This week’s winners:
Florida @ Tennessee. Of course, there are more important games in Paul Finebaum’s favorite league. Undefeated Texas A&M host undefeated Mississippi State. Undefeated Alabama travels to Oxford Town to battle undefeated Ole Miss. Undefeated Auburn hosts once-defeated LSU. And that’s just in the West Division, which is undefeated against schools playing in any other league in all of college football. Buuuut, Rocky Top Rising against Gators Drowning is as intriguing as any of those others. DMW Will Muschamp’s Gators are 2-1 with a rainout, but barely escaped Kentucky at home. The Vols are a feisty 2-2 with two straight Top 15 Ls, and are a mesmerizing point and a half fave at home. Even though the visitors have won the last 9 meetings by an average 15+ ppg margin. What goes up must come down, or something like that. Anyway, the early returns are in, and Tennessee’s 4th? choice Butch Jones is doing better, all things considered, than Florida’s first choice. Saturday he proves why. Cue “Rocky Top.”
Michigan @ Rutgers. I certainly am not the only one saying Brady Hoke is guillotine-bound. There’s been a significant piling on, when it comes to discussing his inevitable short-lived future in Ann Arbor. But I was among the first. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Michigan hasn’t beaten a significant team all campaign, and the Wolverines are playing worser by the week. The Scarlet Knights haven’t set the world on fire, but are 4-1 and have gotten the fan base thinking of something besides AD Julie Hermann’s next gaffe. Along with his other slips, Brady Hoke has proven he can lose to Rutgers. He faced them once, while coaching at Ball State — where he’ll probably wishes he had a job after Saturday — losing 30-52 in the ’07 International Bowl, may it R.I.P. Big Ten’s newest member, beats Big Ten’s oldest member. Hoke place call to Two Men and a Truck.
Oklahoma @ TCU. Much of the nation’s punditocracy is high on Boomer Sooner. Can’t say so myself. I haven’t seen Oklahoma play. Stoops’ squad did win a shootout in Morgantown, which isn’t that easy. And bested that rising Tennessee outfit, mentioned in the previous paragraph. Ooooooooooooooooklahoma Where The Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down The Plains is undefeated. But, so are the home-standing Horned Frogs, with a smashing W over Minnesota. TCU has slipped a bit since its move back to the big time, going 7-6 and 4-8 in the last two seasons. Gary Patterson is determined to turn things around, to catch some of that glow of the 12-1, 13-0 and 11-2 campaigns that preceded the last two. He may well do it. The guy can coach. HIs career record is 123-44. But it won’t start Saturday, despite a valiant effort. Boomer Sooner.
South Carolina @ Kentucky. This game is fascinating in the same way as that Florida/ Tennessee scrum. His team underwhelming so far, Coach Visor is sounding more and more like a guy asking himself, “What am I doing? I don’t need this aggravation. I could be teeing up in Augusta right now.” Despite a 3-54 thrashing in ’11, UK has played the Gamecocks tough in recent years, and actually won the year before that getback. Which is not to mention that this week’s suspension of four Wildcats — two important ones included — for transgressions of team rules and societal mores, is the latest sign that Mark Stoops is well on his way for success in Lexington. P.G.S.T. Bad boys win and all that. But, are the Cats ready for a real breakthrough SEC W now? I say yes.
Louisville @ Syracuse. The game is Friday night. Which also happens to be Kol Nidre Night, marking the beginning at sundown of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. This is probably of little consequence, except for myself and fellow Hebrews — many of whom attend Syracuse or are grads thereof — who shall have to deal with the guilt we feel if we watch the game live, instead of attending services. Oy! As for the participants in the encounter, they have enough to worry about, without concerning themselves as to whether I hear my mother’s admonitions or not. The home team has dropped two in a row, and is a wafer thin underdog. For good reason. The last time the Orange hosted U of L, the Cards were undefeated. Until the final horn when they were on the short end of a 26-45 score. This could very well be the last time the offensively inconsistent Cards are a favorite this season. Not being able to pick against ’em, I say they survive. And I can ask forgiveness for my sins during Sabbath morning’s services.
— Seedy K