5-at-10: SEC items of interest, Fab 4 picks, More Hill talk, Rushmore of doughnut styles

5-at-10: SEC items of interest, Fab 4 picks, More Hill talk, Rushmore of doughnut styles

September 14th, 2017 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2013, file photo, then-Florida running back Mack Brown (33) runs a 3-yard touchdown past Tennessee defensive back Justin Coleman (27) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Gainesville, Fla. After inspecting the stadium, meeting with campus and city officials, and assessing available resources, Florida decided its Southeastern Conference opener against Tennessee would be played as scheduled. So it’s game on in Gainesville. The SEC announced Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, that the league opener between the No. 23 Volunteers (2-0) and the 24th-ranked Gators (0-1) will remain a 3:30 p.m. kickoff at Florida Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, keeping the game intact less than a week after Hurricane Irma devastated parts of the Sunshine State. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

SEC items of interest

As we head to the midpoint of September and the games switch from non-conference donnybrooks and money-driven homesteading whitewashes, SEC on SEC hate is picking up. 

So too are the questions.

In fact, other than Alabama — which has fewer questions than Helen Keller at a sign language seminar — everyone still has some wondering about where they are and where they could be headed. (Side note: If you are an Alabama fan, does this become boring? Does knowing that almost every single week is a 'W' and the only things to worry about is whether your reigning SEC offensive player of the year has improved enough in the offseason and which five-star linebacker is going to fill in for an injured five-star linebacker. Woe is them.)

With that, let's put the ball and play and keep an eye on some of these things: 

First down: Florida-Tennessee. Is this Florida's last stand? It's hard to think that a team is facing a make-or-break scenario in its second game, but isn't that what Florida is facing after getting housed by Michigan and then having week 2 canceled? The Swamp will be rocking, the Gator Chomp will be everywhere, and more importantly for Florida fans, the Tennessee defense will be prominently involved. That begs the question of what happens when a movable object faces a resistible force? We'll find out. Winner takes the first step toward losing to Alabama in December in Atlanta. Hey for funsies, can the losing coach have his picture taken naked on a shark? Deal.   

Second down: Auburn offense. Shhhh, but Auburn has figured out how to end an offensive malaise that has been around since Nick Marshall left campus. Yep, the Tigers are putting offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey in the booth. Cue the Guinness beer commercial cartoon guys: "Brilliant!" The results for the high-tech, next-level, chess-not-checkers decision for Lindsey to take the elevator rather than the tunnel will not be overly clear considering Auburn hosts Mercer this week. Know this: If the offense can not find a a rhythm and some production, Lindsey and the rest of the staff including Gus Malzahn will be making a bigger more permanent move sooner rather than later.

Third down: Dan Mullen vs. Ed Orgeron. Mullen has to really like his Mississippi State team. He's got an interview swagger that screams a confidence come Saturday. A lot of that comes with having a quarterback you trust to do the right things and make big plays in Nick Fitzgerald. It also helps to have a couple of five-star defensive studs. Ask Ed Oregon, considering LSU always has five-star defensive studs. This one has a chance to be a lot of fun.  

Fourth down: How 'bout that Coach Boom? Will Muschamp's South Carolina defense flexed a lot of muscle against a Missouri team that was rolling into last week's 31-13 South Carolina win. T's OK to have believed before the season that South Carolina and a Muschamp-style defense would keep them in games. But Jake Bentley, Deebo Samuel and the USC-East offense has been doing work. Also of note: Now that SEC teams are playing SEC teams with SEC officials, here's wondering who will be the first coach to get a 15-yard penalty for coming on to the field to talk to an official? Vegas has Coach Boom among the favorites.

Southern California long snapper Jake Olson leads the USC Trojan Marching Band following an NCAA college football game against Western Michigan, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, in Los Angeles. Olson lost his sight eight years ago to a rare form of retinal cancer, but joined the USC team on a scholarship for disabled athletes and began practicing with the Trojans 2 years ago. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

...

Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.



Fab 4 picks

Cue Maximus. "Aren't you entertained?"

Perfect weeks against the spread should be celebrated. They should be remembered. And when possible, they should be duplicated.

As often as possible.

But after a 5-0 week last week — yes the Boston College-Wake Forest under of 46 with a 34-10 final was close, but we'll take close on the positive side every time — you would think we'd be brimming with confidence.

Think again. We do believe, as Crash Davis told us in the late 1980s in his turn with the Durham Bulls, "A player on a streak has to respect the streak, because they don't come around that often."

Good tip.

With that, we need to go back to our keys. What trends do we trust? (Sadly the frisky Indiana Hoosiers had their game cancelled.) Know this: If teams improve the most from week one to week two, Vegas improves their adjustments on the spreads the most between weeks two and three. 

Temple-Mass under 52. Hey, we never promised that these picks were going to cover the more entertaining games aesthetically. We try to find the games that are entertaining to the bottom line. These teams have played five combined games and scored 28 or fewer points five times. Temple is averaging 16 points a game. (Just a reminder, because this one certainly did not set off the DVR, but this game is Friday night.) 

Duke minus-14 over Baylor. No, basketball season has not started. And for the first time since Steve Spurrier was in Durham, Duke is content with the fall and the football program. Let's say it: David Cutcliffe needs to be on those top-20 coach lists. Dude knows what he's doing. If Liberty can drop 48 on Baylor at Baylor, Duke's going to be running lay-up drills. Buy the half to guard against a backdoor cover, but here's a thought that the homesteading Devils are going to run away from the Bears. 

Kansas State minus-4 at Vanderbilt. We think Derek Mason has done some great things in Nashville, and he has returned Vandy to a place of competitiveness while cleaning up a lot of the off-the-field issues James Franklin left behind. We think this VU bunch will be a bowl team. We think the Vandy defense has a lot of playmakers. And we believe Kansas State is a lot better than Vandy is. Kudos to the Wildcats for playing a real road game against a real opponent, but the math here is pretty simple: A team that figures to contend with the big boys in the Big 12 should be more than a TD better than a lower-half team in the SEC.

Ole Miss-California over 72. California is averaging 34 points a game. Ole Miss is averaging 46 points a game. Math, people. Math. On a serious note, each team likes to air it out, and here's betting that Shae Patterson is going to put up some Madden 18-typer numbers. Know this: When this game hits 41-34 heading into the fourth quarter, turn the TV off, go to bed and know that you were entertained.

USC-Texas over 67. If Maryland puts 51on Texas in Texas. Texas and new coach Tom Herman has scored 41 and 56 in its two games. USC has the best passer in college football. (Notice I did not say best college quarterback. Baker "Flag-planter" Mayfield and Lamar Jackson are still around.) But Sam Darold can sling it and Texas is going to have a hard time stopping Darold. The only way for Texas to stay competitive is to score. A lot. And considering we think USC could get to half a hundred, all Texas needs is 17. Yes please. 

Last week: 5-0 against the spread (100 percent)

This year: 9-1 against the spread (90 percent)

This is a Feb. 3, 2017, file photo showing Jemele Hill attending ESPN: The Party 2017 in Houston, Texas. ESPN distanced itself from anchor Jemele Hill's tweets one day after she called President Donald Trump "a white supremacist" and "a bigot." "The comments on Twitter from Jemele Hill regarding the president do not represent the position of ESPN," the network tweeted Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, from its public relations department's account. "We have addressed this with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate." (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP, File)

This is a Feb. 3, 2017, file photo...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.



More Jemele Hill fallout

OK, we wrote about Jemele Hill and her poorly worded Tweets against President Trump.

We shared similar thoughts on A2 today, and considering the feedback — positive and negative — there was a lot of emotion about this.

(Here's the A2 column if you are interested, but if you read yesterday, it's pretty similar.) 

Now, on the other side of this.

The White House should be above this. Plain and simple.

And if there's ever a person who should ignore social media lunacy it's this administration.

C'mon guys. Yes, a White House spokesperson was asked about it. But man, we wish we could have advised the White House folks. When asked about it, simply say, "Who is that? We have much bigger issues to worry about than some sportscaster and his or her social media antics. Next question."

The White House stance that this was a fireable offense — which we're not sure that she should be fired; we are sure she should be suspended though — is beneath that platform.

Or at least it should be.

Side note: For those of you emailing me that this is Jemele Hill's first offense. It's not. Hill was suspended in 2008 for saying cheering for Boston is like saying Hitler was a victim.   

This and that

— Thought this was a cool gesture: Houston will don a universal nameplate on the back of their jerseys this week that simply reads "Houston" after the hurricane suffering. Want to know an even bigger cool move? Rice, which visits Houston this weekend, should do the same thing.

— The Indians have won 21 games in a row. Yes, the Cleveland Indians. Man, Serano and Jake Taylor must be lighting it up. Lou Brown must be pleased. "Forget about the curveball, Ricky. Give 'em the heater."

— Big Baller Brand CEO LaVar Ball took to First Take and did not disappoint. He said the Lakers and his son would win 50 games next year. (Vegas has the over/under for L.A. wins at 33.5.) Ball also said that LeBron James will be a Laker after this season. Good times. LaVar, you keep being you.

— DeShaun Watson will make his first NFL start tonight. Good luck DeShaun, we believe you will be a star. (Unless his offensive line gets him killed like what happened with David Carr back in the day.)

— Enjoyed this story from TFP SEC ace David Paschall on Kirby Smart and Chris Hatcher matching wits this weekend. 

— This woman sold her seat on a Delta flight from Atlanta to Chicago before the Georgia-Notre Dame game last weekend for $4,000 in vouchers. Good move. 

Today's questions

As for a Rushmore — and mailbag people; mailbag — today is national cream-filled doughnut day. Rushmore of specific doughnut styles?

Also on this day, the first prefrontal lobotomy was performed in 1956. (No, it was not done on me.)

On this day in 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote the poem "Defence of Fort M'Henry" which became the lyrics of the National Anthem.

Sam Neill is 70 today. Jurassic Park holds up really well. Jurassic Park 3, not so much.

Grace Kelly died on this day in 1982. Aaron Burr died on this day in 1836, Side note: Not on ly did Burr kill Alexander Hamilton in a duel back in the day, did you know that he and Thomas Jefferson were tied for the presidency in the electoral college and the U.S. House picked Tommy J. over Burr?

DeShaun Watson is 22 today. Good times.

On this day in 1868, the first reported hole-in-one is officially recorded. It was made by Tom Morris at the No. 8 hole at Prestwick.

On this day in 1948, Milton Berle started his TV career.

On this day 49 years ago, a little TV show called "60 minutes" made its debut.

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