5-at-10: Fab 4 picks trying to stay hot, Mocs' big football moment, Inexplicable word choice

Staff photo by Olivia Ross / UTC quarterback Preston Hutchinson, shown during the Mocs' season-opening win against Wofford on Sept. 3, has completed 62% of his passes through two games.

Fab 4 picks (and then some)

So, sports betting is just as much about missed opportunities as it is about missed picks.

For example, last week our instincts told us that teams who underperformed would fare much better after a) a week of ‘kindly’ reminders from the millionaire coaches to the 18-to-22-year-olds who primary reimbursement is free schooling, books and tacos on Tuesdays, and b) the natural Vegas market reaction to the previous week’s missteps.

That was the case for Alabama. And for Georgia. Who turned sleepwalking Week 2 efforts into stormtrooper Week 3 stompings.

The reverse was also applicable as Georgia Southern and App State struggled a week after monster road wins in money games.

While those were not listed last week — we still finished 3-1 against the number — I do believe the principle applies.

That, and two of our favorite gambling axioms:

> Ride ‘em till they buck ya. 

> Picking losers is every bit as entertaining as picking winners.

To the picks

Auburn minus-7 over Missouri. No way Auburn can play as poorly or as uninspired as they did last week. None. No way that the lack of the disastrous QB rotation — TJ Finley is out — is not addition by subtraction this week. Simply put this is a must-have for Bryan Harsin, unless of course he believes his goose is already cooked and has phoned it in this week. Which, if that’s the case, I personally have more college football issues than losing a couple of shekels on the alma mater. And this is a prime spot to work the current system and marketplace. Bet Auburn — especially if you can find it under the magic 7. Watch the game. You will know early if Robbie Ashford is ready for this QB stage. You will also know early by the reaction of the AU crowd. When that intel becomes available, if needed hedge on the Missouri money line, because I think Auburn either wins big and covered or this is the moment the lugnuts fly off the hubs.  

Clemson minus-7 over Wake. That number is too low. Plain and simple. Yes, Wake’s QB was on the same recruiting trip as Tim Duncan back in the day, so the Deacons are better behind center. Clemson is better everywhere else. And yes, this could be the biggest home game in Wake Forest history, but truly how long is that list and how much noise do 32,000 Deacons truly make?

Side questions: Among the Power 5 conferences, is there a school who has a more directly invested fan base than Wake Forest? And by that I mean, there are no casual Wake Forest fans, right? When you see a car around town with a WF decal, you know they went there or they are paying for their kid to go there. (And if they are paying for their kid to go there, then that decal is likely on a really, Really, REALLY nice car.) Is there a Power 5 school that is even close to Wake in that regard?

UCF minus-18.5 over Georgia Tech. Yes, this is picking against Geoff Collins and Co., and no I don’t think he is circling the wagons on The Flats. They are headed to the heat against a UCF team that has underperformed. Hi Gus Malzahn. Good to see you are still doing your thing. 

Ole Miss minus-19 over Tulsa. Ride ‘em till they buck ya. Another thing to like about betting on Ole Miss is Lane Kiffin. Think about it, if there is one coach in the modern era who strives to be more Spurrier like everyday it’s Kiffin. If there’s one coach, if we had to guess because he’d likely never admit it, who is aware of point spreads it’s Kiffin. If there’s one coach who likely understands the inherent value of covering big numbers in home money games so the boosters can pad their wallets as they kill their livers it’s Kiffin. And now he has interchanging QBs, so when he actually goes to the second string, the QB has something to prove. Yes please.

Georgia Southern minus-10 over Ball State. Yeah, the hangover has done been washed off. This will be a soaring Eagles crew and Clay Helton needs them to handle their business.

Alabama-Vandy first half over 33.5. Yes, I am expecting Bama to do this itself. And yes, if there was one college game I would same-game parlay, it would be this one. Memory check: Every time an elite SEC team goes to Nashville, the final score is always ridiculous. At least since the James Franklin days. No, Vandy’s not worse than, say, Samford, which ‘only’ lost to Georgia 33-0. But when a powerful Bama or Georgia or even LSU back a few years ago heads to Vandy, they can only take the traveling party of players for a conference game. So, that’s 70 players, including specialists. How many of Alabama’s 70 players would start for Vandy? All of them? Makes the spread a lot less daunting, no? And for Bama and Georgia, Nashville is a fun road trip that will have at least half the stands in familiar colors. 

South Carolina-Charlotte over 67. In truth, I'd be tempted to put a taste on every over bet you can find in the Charlotte-South Carolina game. Wow, what a terrible spot for buddy Will Healy. South Carolina got humiliated by Georgia to the point that the crowd left at halftime and postgame questions for Shane Beamer centered on whether his Gamecocks quit or not. Yikes. Now factor in the defense that Healy is bringing into that “Sandstorm.” There are 131 FBS teams. Charlotte is 131th in yards allowed per game (563.8), 128th in passing yards allowed (320.5), 129th in rushing yards allowed (243.3) and 129th in points allowed (45.3). Ouch-standing.

Last week: 3-1 against the spread (75%)

This season: 7-6-1 against the spread (53.8%)

College football Thursday

There are a couple of live plays tonight too. 

Like Va Tech at home in a crazed environment in a matchup with West Virginia that features two currently underachieving programs and two underrated fan bases in terms of fervor.

So the Hokies-Mountaineers game is worth a look. Side note: If we ranked the top-five music moments at college football games that do not involve marching bands or fight songs, Va. Tech’s version of “Sandstorm” and John Denver’s “Country Road” at WVU are on the short list. Right there with “Jump Around” at Camp Randall. Tom Petty’s tribute at The Swamp has not been around long, but it’s wicked cool.

There also is a little matter about the Chattanooga Mocs headed to Illinois to face the Illini in the ‘are we  offensive or just culturally uncertain’ bowl.

This may be the best UTC team since Jacob Huesman was taking Mocs snaps rather than coaching Mocs tight ends.

They are balanced. They have a bell cow running back. They have at least one NFL dude (and likely more) on defense. 

And to be honest, I’m not sure the talent divide among the 1-thru-22 on each side is that wide honestly.

Still, this is a great chance for the Mocs. A loss is expected — at least on the national scene — but a win is possible, especially for those who are well-versed in the Mocs.

Will there be champagne in Champaign? Here’s hoping so, and I will be watching on the Big Ten Network.

Not that hard

Repeat after me:

There is no acceptable reason or scenario in which white people can say the N-word.

That's it. End of the lesson. Any questions?

Not sure how or why this is so difficult to grasp, but we have had enough experience in this matter to assuredly know this to be fact.

The latest incident is a Tennessee middle school administrator who was filmed talking to a school assembly and used the N-word. 

It was not in anger or even directed at anyone. He was telling the students that they were not going to tolerate profanity or derogatory language.

That’s a sentiment that is noble and needed in schools. But it’s also a sentiment that can be conveyed without using said derogatory language in general and that word in particular.

And no, this is not a woke rant. (Anyone thinking my views border on woke, well, welcome to your first spin through the 5-at-10 and please come back tomorrow.)

And yes, I’m still a staunch believer in the First Amendment and the right to free speech.

But let’s not get that right confused with the right of being impervious to consequence.

The above administrator who is in hot water for his choice will not be arrested for saying that vile word. That’s the right secured in Amendment 1.

But he could ultimately lose his job for being stupid enough for using that word. And yes, being stupid — as long as it’s not criminally stupid — is also a right far too many Americans choose to exercise far too often.

I personally believe there is no good use of that word ever, and we have now seen multiple times that when white people say that word — even in an effort to stop others from saying that word, ask former Oklahoma coach Cale Gundy — the outcomes are bad.

I simply can’t see why it’s that difficult to process at this point.

This and that

— Side question: Too many Fab 4 picks today? Maybe. And like Doug, I am a little cautious because of the number of favorites I have above. So it goes.

— So Byron Allen — former TV host who has become a media mogul — got the go-ahead to sue McDonald’s for discrimination because the fast-food chain did not buy advertising with his media group because of racism. Yep. So the courts found the charges could proceed, but does anyone else think Allen suing for $10 billion is so far over the top it makes the McRib look tasty? 

— Some juicy NBA storylines. So Boston coach Ime Udoka had some extra shooting sessions with a female staffer and now faces discipline. Also, the owner of the Phoenix Suns has agreed to sell his team (and the WNBA’s Mercury) after the league discovery that he, in fact, is a racist jackwagon. So there’s that.

— Cool on College GameDay for embracing the crazed poster tradition around its on-campus set and giving away a year’s worth of free tuition to the student with the best poster. Here was last week’s winner from the App State game, a week after ASU upset Texas A&M. 

— I love watching meaningful golf tournaments. I love the Ryder Cup almost as much as the three big majors, and even more so in the years the USGA takes itself too seriously. (Sorry, the PGA Championship is the Greenbrier with historic implications in a lot of ways.) But I have about the same energy as taking the dogs to the vet for this President’s Cup. Seriously.

— You know the rules. Here’s more UT-Florida from Paschall.

— Braves played. Braves lost. Wait, what? To the Nationals? At home? Ouch. Tick-tick, and the Braves are still looking up at the Mets in the East. 

— Speaking of the Braves, a correction from yesterday. If the postseason started today, the Braves would host the Padres in the wildcard series in a 4-5 meeting and the Phillies would head to St. Louis. Sorry for the mix-up.

Today’s questions

Fire away on an-anything-goes Thursday.

Better SEC game this weekend to watch as a third-party, non-invested fan: UT-Florida or TExas A&M-Arkansas? Discuss.

The above music question also interests me.

And the handful of you cats still alive in the Eliminator, I need you picks by end of business tomorrow.

As for today, Sept. 22, welcome to fall.

Well, 18 years ago today, “Friends” debuted on NBC. Yeah that turned out pretty well for all involved.

So on this day in 1773, Benjamin Franklin published a hoax letter to the editor criticizing Britian and its colonial practices in the U.S. Man, considering the art of misinformation and propaganda of the current climate, Benny Franklin was even more ahead of his time than I realized.

Yogi Berra died on this day seven years ago, and, try to do this without using the Google, but what’s the Rushmore of great Yogi quotes?

Go and remember the mailbag, it’s getting quite stuffed.