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FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2019, file photo, Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano looks for a receiver during an NCAA college football game against South Carolina in Knoxville, Tenn. Guarantano and the 16th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers are about to find out how much having the same offensive coordinator for consecutive seasons can help a quarterback. (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)

Fab 4 picks

Vegas, baby. Vegas.

I can't help but wonder how much the state of Tennessee would be raking in right now with legalized online gambling.

The Vols are unbeaten and face a rival with a real chance of winning rather than just trying to cover a multiple-TD number. The Titans are undefeated in an NFL that is scoring points at an alarming rate.

But we're not there — yet.

And while we are here, a record-settingly sour start to our Fab 4 picks — we entered 2020 hitting better than 58-plus percent since we started doing college picks in 2011 — is inexplicable. Period. No excuses. No rationales. No ifs, ands or.

But the unknowns of the virus, and the point movements and the all-conference schedules have made for extreme uncertainty through the first five weeks of the season. Especially picking games on Thursday and the developments that happen over the 48 hours before kickoff.

So it goes, right?

Well, apparently those curveballs were not enough. Now mix in the effects of Hurricane Delta, named of course after the famed fraternity in the all-time documentary that is "Animal House." So in honor of Hurricane Delta — which is also looming as the 5-at-10 clan is getting ready to head to the Panhandle for Fall Break — we will have an Animal House quote for each pick and sprinkled throughout today's program.

Deal? Deal

And in a week in which we lost Eddie Van Halen, and in honor of our Fab 4 mantra of pickers gotta pick, here is a compilation of Eddie being Eddie. Enjoy, and rest easy, kind sir. Bleep off, Cancer.

> Charlotte minus-3 over North Texas. Familiar refrain here, but buy that hook. I see some "Eric Stratton, Rush chairman, dang glad to meet you" in Charlotte coach and friend of the show Will Healy. And you can call it a homer pick if you want, and in honor of our theme and one of my favorite Otter quotes, North Texas looked at us last week and unblinkingly said, "You (bleeped) up. You trusted us." North Texas did not disclose until kickoff that it had seven players miss last week's 41-31 loss to the punching bag that had been Southern Miss and struggled. Yes, Healy's team is 0-2 on the field, 0-2 against the corona with two games cancelled — including one from a false positive tests from Georgia State — but is 2-0 against the number. And that's huge, especially since Charlotte led in the second half in both games against two teams — App State and FAU — that are decidedly better than North Texas. But the half, of course, and cash the checks.

> Louisville minus-4.5 over Georgia Tech. "As of this moment, they're on double-secret probation." Shouldn't that be above the door of the main entrance of the athletic building at Louisville? OK, checkered showings for both teams that could be something — or misleading because it's always tough to play the comparable scores game — considering that Tech's shining moment was an upset over an FSU team that is worse than we thought and Louisville getting blasted by a Miami team that is better than we expected. Now factor in Tech's floater against Syracuse, and the Cards are the play.

> Kentucky minus-2 over Mississippi State. "My advice to you is to start drinking heavily." A season with much promise in Lexington is off to a bagel-and-2 start and if the Wildcats don't win this one, well the road is tougher — with Tennessee, Georgia, Florida and Bama still on the schedule — in the weeks ahead. I believe in Mark Stoops, and I believe Mark Stoops is smart enough to realize that a loss will make it nearly impossible to salvage 2020. Yes, one of our betting rules is nothing is due but postage and library books. But this is about Stoops and UK being due as much as it is about Stoops and UK being downright desperate.

> Syracuse plus-3 over Duke. Buy the half of course, and pardon the paraphrasing here, but "Greg what's the worst football team in the ACC" "Well that would be hard to say sir. They're each outstanding in their own way." "Cut the horse(bleep), son. I've got their disciplinary files right here. Who dropped a whole truckload of fizzies into the swim meet? Who delivered the medical school cadavers to the alumni dinner? Every Halloween, the trees are filled with underwear. Every spring, the toilets explode." Duke and Syracuse are a combined 1-6 with that one being the 'Cuse over the Techsters. I love both coaches, but I think Dino has more than David. I believe the wrong team is favored friends.

> Temple minus-3 over Navy. Buy the hook. Is there one good thing about not playing a game in September, it would be getting an extra month to get ready for Navy's offense. As for this collection of Midshipmen, well, "Is it supposed to be this soft, Greg?" Other than one loony second-half meltdown by Tulane, Navy's cumulative score in the other 10 quarters so far is eye-pooping. And eye-gouging. Tulane was up 24-0 at halftime before Navy rallied for a crazy 27-24; BYU and Air Force beat Navy by a combined 95-10. That's 10 quarters of 114-10, which is 11.4-1, which is 44-4, which is not good. "A pledge pin on your uniform?!?!?!"

Last week: 3-4 against the number (42.9 percent)

This season: 14-15 against the spread (48.3 percent)

 

SEC observations

Earlier this week I mentioned that maybe I should bet more on the SEC.

Well, other than the UK-Miss State slow dance, we skipped the best league in college football. There are several reasons why, but a big one across the South is the hurricane that's bringing buckets of rain.

Then there are a slew of individual reasons:

> I think Tennessee has become the underdog everyone is talking about to the point that the favorite is now paying attention, especially now that the line is around 12 rather than 14. We called it 'the underdog with fleas' to start the season when everyone — and I mean everyone — was loving UK getting a TD and Auburn lucking into a cover. (The smart play in UT-UGa to me is the under, if you simply have to make a bet on that one.) "I won't go schizo, will I?" "It's a distinct possibility."

> The weather in Oxford is a real concern, especially for all of us who think Alabama will score 60 if Saban wants, and I don't think even Saban can keep this Tide offense under 50. Ole Miss allowed 51 to Florida and 41 to UK, so what is a Bama O with at least five NFL first-rounders going to do? The over, as long as it's not a frog choker, seems like the play. (And while everyone knows that Saban is 404,234-and-0 against former assistants — he's actually 20-0 — and is there an assistant he would like to punish more than Kiffin?) "War's over man, Saban dropped the big one."

> Auburn stinks. That is all. The under looks very good — and was tempting since both offenses have the stain of Chad Morris and the weather will be quote soggy — and I think Arkansas as a two-TD underdog looks very tempting because at least Arkansas fought against Georgia, which is more than we can say about Gus' guys in Athens. "My advice for you is to start drinking heavily."

> I love Florida against Texas A&M, maybe even too much. In truth, it feels like a prime candidate for the "this line is too good to be true" at Gators minus-6.5. And I don't want to jinx JTC's boys as they are rolling right now. "There were blanks in that gun."

> LSU is a lot better than Mizzou, and man, how about the curve balls for Coach O, who had the loss to MSU, the coronas over the summer, losing everyone not named Stingley who mattered off the title team and now relocating to Columbia because of the hurricane. I think Fat Vader's team wins, but three TDs is a lot — especially for a Mizzou team that will be better after the QB change.

 

Another debate gets derailed

I watched a whole lot of the VP debate last night, and had some thoughts.

Kamala Harris was great for the first hour. Composed and collected, and maybe more importantly, she conveyed her message into the camera so well it felt like she was talking to each viewer. Her style was impressive and it's hard to think that her first hour was anything but well-received by anyone not in the far-right part of the discussion.

Mike Pence closed strong, and the turning point in a lot of ways was when the VP pressed Kamala on the very real possibility of packing the Supreme Court. (She and Joe Biden have refused to deny that they will do that — which is expanding the Court's nine seats so they can control the political leaning of the highest legal body in the land — if they are elected.)

Unlike the presidential debate, however, there was a clear winner and loser in this one.

Because, in my opinion, the first presidential debate produced only losers for a slew of reasons.

So, while each side of the VP debate is claiming victory from last night — the Dems trumpeting Harris' style, the GOP praising Pence's late charge — and each had their moments, the winner and loser was clear.

The winner: The fly that landed on Mike Pence's hair about midway through. It became the most famous fly since Jeff Goldblum. Wow, that thing was truly buzzing across social media. (See that Spy)

The loser: Susan Page, the moderator, who got pushed around by both candidates and completely lost control from the very beginning. "The time has come for someone to put his foot down and that foot is me."

Man, if they are not going to find a way to cut mics or enforce the rules — heck use tasers for those who interrupt or don't answer direct questions — these things are a waste of time.

This and that

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall's picks for the weekend ahead. Here's his view on the next great Georgia running back.  
 
— If you want action on tonight's game, we feel comfortable taking the points and backing our man Willie Fritz and the Tulaners. Houston is laying a TD, yes, feeling it. How about you Spy? "Man seven years of college down the drain. Might as well join the (bleeping) Peace Corps."

— How desperate are MLB bigwigs and TV execs for the Yankees to rally from this 1-2 ALDS hole? Friends, can you imagine the crickets of an A's-Rays ALCS? Egad. "Don't write this down but I find Milton probably as boring as you find Milton. Mrs. Milton found him boring too."

— Braves look for the sweep today, and gang, this Ian Anderson kid is dealing right now. DEEEEEE-eling

 

Today's questions

Couple of reminders — need the Intimidator Pool picks for those of you still fighting and feel free to fire off a mailbag question if you so desire.

Also, fantasy football question for those that dabble: My team is stacked but we're 2-2 because they are poorly coached and a tad unlucky. I'm trying to deal for Christian McCaffrey, who is hurt right now but scheduled to return and is the best thing since sliced bread when he's healthy.

The asking price is Clyde Edwards-Helaire AND Antonio Gibson, which robs me a great deal of the depth that gives me security. Plus, I can't find a hard answer as to how long McCaffrey will be out.

Thoughts?

As for today, Oct. 8, let's review.
Happy birthday Matt Damon, who is 50 today. Wow he and I are almost the exact same age. Not exactly the exact same bank accounts though.

Is Damon on the Rushmore of what seems to be likable Hollywood stars? I think so, and no we do not know these people but Damon seems very much like a regular dude with an extreme gift.
Rushmore of likable Hollywood stars — current and all-time.

Go.

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