From the "Al Davis Studios," here we go...
Make a call
Alabama vs. LSU is the biggest SEC regular-season game in the history of the free world. It's bigger than Roseanne Barr's tuckus and more intimidating than... well, Roseanne Barr's tuckus. The SEC preview in the TFP's Weekend Blitz in Friday's paper will have a tale of the tape breakdown of the Tigers and the Tide.
But that's tomorrow. Today we want your view. Who will win? Why?
Is Trent Richardson the best player on the field? Will he be the most valuable? Is AJ McCarron ready for this? Is Jarrett Lee? Will Les Miles do something crazy? Will Nick Saban be so intense that lasers will shoot out of his eyes, ears and even his nose? (The 5-at-10's answers to those questions are, in order — Yes, Maybe, Maybe, No, Oh Yes and Abso-flipping-lutely.)
Heck fire, let's have a contest:
Pick the winner of the LSU-Alabama game and by how many (remember "Price is Right" rules apply, meaning if you go over you're out of luck).
We'll try to get a lot of the TFP college writers and some of the area media folks involved too. In fact, we're doing our regular Thursday spot on "The Show" with Chris Goforth around 2 p.m. today on 1370 AM and we'll get his pick then.
We'll announce the prizes come Friday. Whatcha' got?
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, center, and fullback Geoff Meinken (10) celebrate after Luck scored a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Los Angeles, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011. Stanford won 56-48 in overtime. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Fab 4 (+1) picks
We're 28-14-1. Against the spread. For crying out loud if Luca Brasi had that kind of success he could have moved beyond muscle and taken a position of prominence within the family. But does the 5-at-10 family care? No. Not in the least.
Alas, so it goes, and so we'll keep making our best guesses and throwing them out there. (Of course, now that we've played the sympathy card, we're begging for a 1-4 week. So it goes.)
Stanford minus-20 at Oregon State:
It's a ton of points on the road, but the 5-at-10 is loyal. Stanford is 13-0-1 against the spread in its last 14 games, and the Cardinal have Andrew Luck. That's enough for us.
Ole Miss minus-1 at Kentucky:
The divide in talent level alone is enough to make anyone say, "What, Kentucky is only getting 1?" Plus, if Houston Nutt loses this one — which would be something like his 1,457th consecutive SEC loss, well, Johnny Rebel Black Bears Fans nationwide would be ready for a dismissal. On Sunday
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier looks up toward the scoreboard after a touchdown and extra point during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee at Williams Brice Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, in Columbia, SC. (AP Photo/Rich Glickstein)
Arkansas minus-4.5 vs. South Carolina:
Tyler Wilson against Connor Shaw. Thank you and pass the parlay sheet.
North Carolina minus-3 at N.C. State:
Yes, this is a rivalry game. Yes, this is an ACC game. Yes, this is a game that features two teams that are riddles wrapped in enigmas wrapped in puzzles wrapped in conundrums. That said, UNC has way, Way, WAY more talent, and more times than not talent is enough.
There are several candidates for the plus-one games this week — Michigan minus-4 at an Iowa team that lost to Minnesota last week; Notre Dame minus-14 at Wake Forest; USC minus-whatever at Colorado on Friday night (by the way, the 5-at-10 really likes that game) and Houston-minus-the-free-world at UAB (the 5-at-10 really likes this game, too). But all season, the plus-one spot has been reserved for Alabama. And while the Tide face a monster challenge against LSU this week, the plus-one is loyal if nothing else.
Alabama minus-4 vs. LSU:
Evenly matched teams in a game hyped beyond human belief. That only means one thing — this feels like a two-touchdown win for the home team.
Vols Talk takes a strange turn
Did anyone other than the 5-at-10 listen to Derek Dooley's call-in show last night?
OK, quick recap: Derek Dooley handles the vast majority of calls saying, "Coach, you da man," or "Coach love the Vols and thank you for everything," or "Coach, we're behind you and," well you get the idea. Your regular, self-contained, self-praising calls and compliments that make every coaches call-in show seem identical. Heck, 97 percent of the calls have questions that sound an awful lot like, "We are playing this week, are we ready to play?" and feature a lot of "we" and "our" as if the caller has been practicing since August. And that's how it should be.
Well, Wednesday night, there were at least two calls for Coach Dooley that were certainly not the regular softballs and some even would describe them as harsh, especially for the vacuum setting that is every coach's show. The most overwhelming of which was a stern question about the running game and the underachieving offensive line (which by all accounts would be a fair question because the offensive line has not been as good as many expected).
Dooley's answers were smooth and well-presented, but dude is super sharp and that should be expected. It was somewhat unexpected to the 5-at-10, though, that the critics have already arrived on the coach's show.
Does anyone else get the feel that anything less than a 3-1 November will create a whole lot of unrest in the program heading into the offseason?
Georgia head coach Mark Richt looks on from the sidelines during a football game against LSU on Oct. 3, 2009. LSU won 20-13. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
This and that
— Sweet buckets of blush and blunder, UGA coach Mark Richt babbled his way through the explanation of the collective rules violation at the running backs position meeting. Well, it's a VERY LUCKY thing for Coach Richt and the Bulldogs that it happened this week against a lesser opponent as opposed to last week before the Florida game or next week before the Auburn game, huh? (Does sarcasm come across as well in the typed word as it does in the spoken word?)
— Sweet buckets of spit and long-standing hopes of punching someone in the face, but did you see that Lenny Dykstra and Jose Canseco are going toe-to-toe in a celebrity boxing match this weekend? Ok, first question, how are either of those goof balls still considered celebrities? Second, those two nut bars couldn't punch a ballot much less each other. Third, oh forget it, this is a waste of time because each of these targets are too easy.
— Sweet sounds of needless hand-wringing, don't look now but with all the stuff going on in our great country two Democrats in Congress are urging Major League Baseball and the players union to test for human growth hormone and ban chewing tobacco by players in uniform. Really Congress, this is atop your to-do list? The Congressmen — Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Frank Pallone of New Jersey — apparently believe that people being jobless, homeless and in some cases hopeless are not as pressing an issue as tobacco that's smokeless.
— The NBA has now missed two days of the season. Let's keep a countdown: Days of games skipped — 2; Days missed by the 5-at-10 — 0.
— Sweet Gordon Gekko greed is good. Why in the name of football's crazy bounces are there a handful of SEC games at night this weekend? The biggest regular-season SEC game in a generation is being broadcast at 8 p.m. A match-up of two SEC teams ranked in the nation's top 12 is also in prime time. As are three other games. Why? Why, Mike Slive. You're smarter than this.
Alabama's Darius Hanks (15) drops a pass as LSU's Jai Eugene (4) defends during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
We want your predictions for The Showdown.
Bring it. Know that we have a contest — pick the winner and by how much and remember that the "Price is Right" rule applies — but feel free to offer up what you think the difference will be.
We'll start — Alabama by 10.
But don't let it stop there. What's going to be the difference Saturday night. Who will be the star. Bring it and if you make the best prediction and it comes true, you will be rewarded.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...