Had Butch Jones’ Tennessee Volunteers not blown a two touchdown fourth quarter lead for the second time this season — by a wafer thin wide right miss off the misaligned toe of kicker Aaron Medley at the final gun — the kid would have had his second perfecto of the now maturing season.
But it wasn’t to be. Rocky Top was silenced. Then again, Memphis State, UCLA, Kentucky and U of L all came through, for a 4-1 weekend, my second best performance thus far this year.
Which puts me 12 up, 8 down on the campaign. I’ll take 60%.
Games are getting seriouser and seriouser as conference play kicks in motion. But I’m battle tested and ready for the challenge.
So, without any of the proverbial further ado, here are this weekend’s Ws, days before the games shall even be contested.
Texas Tech @ Baylor. Other than the fact that he was dubbed the most stylin’ coach roaming the sidelines of a college gridiron, last season wasn’t the best for alliterative Kliff Kingsbury and his doubly alliterative Texas Tech Red Raiders. Ws over Central Arkansas, UTEP, Kansas and Iowa State and nobody else hardly qualify as any sort of success. But this year, KK won the war of words and the actual game against Bret Bielema and the Razorbacks, after being sucker punched by three TDs last year. But for an oh my how the good make their own luck tip of the tip snare in the endzone, the gang from Buddy Holly-land would be perfect, with a victory over Top 5 TCU embossed on the resumé. Rave on! Duplicitous Art Briles’ Bears are 3-0 on the campaign, with Ws over St. Joe’s Orphans Home, Edward Scissorhands Barber School and East Dakota A&P. Which slate of hapless foes is why Baylor leads the country in ppg and rushing ypg. And, well, they’re also pretty good. At least when they have the ball. Whatever astronomical number is set for the over/under, take the over. And the team in green.
Alabama @ Georgia. The Bulldogs are favored here. At least midweek at my deadline. Should the line hold, the Crimson Tide would be underdogs for the first time in 72 games. For Roll Tide to drop two in a row under Nick Saban would be an anomaly indeed.1 Or, so I thought. And I’d bet you did too. But the Houndstooths ended season before last with that kickoff return stunner that had ’em dancin’ in Toomer’s Corner, followed by a two TD L to Boomer Sooner in the Sugar Bowl. Should it happen again, rest assured George Wallace, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bear Bryant himself will be spinnin’ in their graves.2 Meanwhile the Bulldogs are 4-0 with two SEC Ws already and high aspirations. And home turf advantage. And Nick Chubb, who ain’t Leonard Fournette, but who else is? It’s time for Mark Richt, oft thought too nice, to break on through to the other side. The acceleration continues Saturday between the hedges. Harvey Updyke suicide watch to ensue.
Notre Dame @ Clemson. Have I mentioned how much I like Dabo Swinney? So I have. Let me do it again. I saw his pre-game presser the other day, and the fellow is far more open than his brethren when it comes to talking about his team. Any absence of coachspeak is a good thing. Plus his great name. And, more important, he’s been vocal in opining that Notre Dame should either join the ACC in full, or take a hike. The Tigers have been underwhelming so far, in a campaign with high hopes behind precocious QB Deshaun Watson. Will they be pumped in Death Valley (Carolina) with the fabled Notre Dame Fighting Irish coming for a visit? Oh yeah. IPTxTxTxTAY. The Irish have been legitimately impressive. Especially when considering key injuries and those academic casualties that pop up annually in South Bend. But comeuppance comes at Clemson. Real ACC school bests ACC social member.
Eastern Kentucky @ Kentucky. EKU was thwarted in its latest attempt to jump up to the big time, when the Sun Belt moved in another direction, recently adding a member not residing in Richmond, KY. A good thing. The Colonels aren’t ready for prime time. UK apparently is. Though is shouldn’t matter Saturday night. Wildcats. Wildcats big. Even if Boo Williams isn’t finished taking care of personal business. Get back Jo Jo.
Louisville @ North Carolina State. Rarely does it occur that similarly situated schools play each other in a season defining game first weekend in October. The Wolfpack are undefeated against a bunch of nobodies.3 Which isn’t to denigrate NC State’s two legit O stars. QB Jacoby Bissett hasn’t thrown a pick all season, while completing almost 80% of his throws. RB Matthew Dayes has 9 TDs, and more long scampers than some conferences total. But the name that might influence the game the most is Joaquin. As in Hurricane Joaquin, and I’m not talkin’ a member of The U either. Inclemency may prevail on Saturday. Which of these wannabes is the best mudder? We’re sure to find out. Loyalist that I am, methinks the Cards progress shall continue and they’ll fly home with their second W of the season.
— Seedy K