Paschall's Picks: Hugh Freeze, Gus Malzahn rocketed

Paschall's Picks: Hugh Freeze, Gus Malzahn rocketed

October 3rd, 2013 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze talks with reporters during the Southeastern Conference football Media Days in Hoover, Ala., on Tuesday, July 16, 2013.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

OTHER PICKS

LSU 28, Mississippi State 17

Virginia 26, Ball State 19

Va. Tech 25, N. Carolina 24

FSU 42, Maryland 21

Boston College 29, Army 16

N.C. State 31, Wake Forest 10

Clemson 30, Syracuse 13

East Carolina 27, MTSU 22

Oregon 44, Colorado 15

Ohio St. 33, Northwestern 28

Stanford 35, Washington 20

Louisville 40, Temple 9

Baylor 63, West Virginia 26

Michigan 38, Minnesota 23

Texas Tech 41, Kansas 18

Arizona St. 17, Notre Dame 14

Oklahoma 44, TCU 31

LAST WEEK

Winners - 20

Lane Trains - 5

Pasquali is now 111-14 overall (88.8 percent) this season.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn talks with reporters during the Southeastern Conference football Media Days in Hoover, Ala., Wednesday, July 17, 2013.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

In 2004, Hugh Freeze was in his final season at Briarcrest Christian near Memphis, while Gus Malzahn was in his next-to-last season at Springdale High in Springdale, Ark.

Two football coaches who experienced meteoric rises to the Southeastern Conference will vie Saturday night when Malzahn's Auburn Tigers host Freeze's Ole Miss Rebels. The two are known for their up-tempo offenses, and they have been friends since their days in the prep ranks.

"I don't mind saying that both of those guys are two of my favorite coaches," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Wednesday on the SEC teleconference. "They both wear visors, and they both call the plays."

Freeze told his wife on their honeymoon that he wanted to be an SEC head coach, but he admitted Wednesday that his dream started to fade after 13 years in high school. He became an assistant athletic director for football external affairs at Ole Miss in 2005 before returning to the field in '06 as tight ends coach for the Rebels.

Malzahn said he didn't start thinking about coaching in college until his last couple of years at Springdale. His big break occurred when former Arkansas coach Houston Nutt hired him as offensive coordinator and signed Springdale quarterback Mitch Mustain, the 2005 Parade player of the year.

"I certainly know many other high-school coaches who could do the same thing," Freeze said. "It's just the opportunity does not come along that often, which makes it very unique."

Pasquali's Pix:

• Georgia State at Alabama: This could be the fastest second half in the history of college football. Crimson Tide 51, Panthers 0.

• Georgia Tech at Miami: At least the Yellow Jackets don't have to face Bud Foster again this season. Hurricanes 27, Yellow Jackets 24.

• Georgia at Tennessee: Aaron Murray is 99 yards shy of David Greene's school passing mark. Justin Worley is 9,738 yards shy of Peyton Manning's school mark. Bulldogs 38, Volunteers 20.

• Western Carolina at UTC: The biggest blowout win of the Russ Huesman era came against the Catamounts (51-7) two years ago at Finley Stadium. Mocs 42, Catamounts 13.

• Arkansas at Florida: The Razorbacks are the only program nationally playing four preseason top-10 teams in a four-week stretch. Gators 31, Razorbacks 9.

• Ole Miss at Auburn: The Rebels have not defeated the Tigers in consecutive years since 1951-52. Tigers 27, Rebels 26.

• Kentucky at South Carolina: Spurrier is as honest, or blunt, as they come. "Kentucky is a team that has struggled this year, which was expected," he said Wednesday. Gamecocks 37, Wildcats 10.

• Missouri at Vanderbilt: The Commodores are 10-2 in their last 12 games, their best such stretch since the 1955-56 seasons. Tigers 24, Commodores 21.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.