Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) is hit by Tennessee linebacker Morven Joseph (19) as he releases a pass in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Fab 4 picks

Better. Better.

Wait, before we get going, we need to tip the visor to you guys for some great answers, which tells me I need to do a better job of finding interesting questions through the week, beyond the traditional Rushmore. In fact, we will sprinkle questions throughout, so write them down as we go.

Deal? Deal.

(Question 1: So, using the, "Better. Better." makes me think of Hannibal Lector and his "Closer Closer." exchange with Clarice. If I ranked the all-time "Less is more" great characters in movies, I'd go Jaws 1 and The Cannibal 2. Who else?)

Back to it, and last week the picks were better. (Side tangent: Which means we're getting closer, closer to our expected rate of success.)

The Fab 4 picks went 4-2 last week, despite leaving clear winners of Clemson and the traditional knowledge of Alabama > than everyone else, and Alabama covers vs. teams Saban may see on the recruiting trail.

Hmmmmmmmm. Makes me wonder nope scratch that, not wondering yeah, wondering should we take the Tigers and the Tide, laying HUGE numbers against conference foes? Clemson is laying 46 against Syracuse, and if you got Alabama minus-17 over Tennessee earlier this week rather than the 21 it's floating around right now, bully for you.

(Question 2: Hmmmmm, bully. Rushmore of Bulls go.)

So we moved back to .500, and in a season this crazy — how crazy, well, Coastal Carolina is ranked, and Auburn and LSU could battle for the SEC West basement — that's at least a start.

Better. Better.

And we always have to remember, pickers gotta pick. And here's a new diddy from one of the modern day saviors of the genre we once knew as country music, the one and only Chris Stapleton. And he'll be her lucky penny if she'll be his four-leaf clover sounds lucky enough for me.

(Question 3: Best good luck trinket? Discuss.)

To the picks

Purdue plus-3.5 over Iowa. Wrong team is favored here, and I know Kirk Ferentz is the dean of college coaches, but experience does not prep anyone for this complete behind-the-scenes mess in Iowa City. Now add in the departures and the fact that the best player on the field is Purdue receiver Rondale Moore.

Minnesota-Michigan under 55. Hey, 2020 going to 2020. This Big Ten season opener could be played in a blizzard with strong winds. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Lots of running, and PJ Fleck rowing that sled. Get on that now, because that will fluctuate down.

UK minus-5.5 over Missouri. Not blowing (Kavosiey) Smoke up Chas' blue checkerboard skirt, but the Wildcats are gritty. And tough. And in this wild and crazy ride, that's two characteristics every team would love to have — not just in 2020, but every year.

Rice minus-3 over MTSU. This maybe the most strange set-up stat for the most strange sports season ever: "Ladies and gentleman, your 1-5 MTSU Blue Raiders vs. the 0-0 Rice Owls." Chew on that for a moment. And know this: MTSU is rotten. (Buy that hook gang.)

Liberty minus-11 over Southern Miss. The Flames are rolling, and there are growing whispers that Southern Miss may have Corona issues to go with all the other swirling details around that program. Another big win for Liberty — that would be 6-0 gang — and the Hugh Freeze conversation is going to be truly intriguing.

Charlotte minus-14 over UTEP. Are we getting to a ride-or-die point with friend of the show Will Healy? Feels that way. Some sharp numbers to like under Healy: Charlotte is 3-0 against the number this season and 4-0 against the number in their last four conference games dating to last season and UTEP is 6-14 against the number in their last 20. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Buy the hook if you feel it, but I think the 49ers are going to roll the Miners.

Last week: 4-2 against the spread

This season: 15-15 against the spread.


SEC lines and moves and feelings

First, we need college football's also-ran conferences to get back in the swing. Because an Eagles-Giants Thursday night game is truly only attractive to friends and family. (And those have to be close, Close, CLOSE friends.)

Georgia is off, and that means we are all over the Bulldogs in 10 days. Good teams that have to stew over a bad loss for an extended period normally come out salty. SAUL-TEE.

As for the weekend, there are only four SEC games because of byes and Coronas.  

The only way to play Alabama-Tennessee is lay the number and go over, because if it's close, Alabama can score on anyone this side of Miami (Dolphins, not Hurricanes).

I'm with Fat Vader's inclination that South Carolina is the play getting points at LSU, and the under 55.5 would be my side too. But that line looks too good to be true — and that scares me — and betting under in college football games is a fool's errand, especially these days.

I am on Kentucky because the 'Cats handle their BID-ness and play tough. I'm a fan of both of those qualities.

As for the final SEC game on the spare, how is Auburn favored over anyone right now? Seriously?

I know Ole Miss just got pushed around by Arkansas, but Auburn is broken. If I could pick against the Tigers I would.

And you can book that.


World Series and more

OK, few quick MLB things because we're behind. Way behind.

> First, Dustin May's hair deserves way more attention than it has received nationally. That's a 'do friends. (Question 4: Does the all-time MLB hairdo start with Oscar Gamble? Discuss.)

> Second, the Rays ability to be three wins in the last five games away from a title with the 28th-ranked payroll (out of 30 teams) is truly staggering. And potentially dangerous for Braves fans out there because, if the totally tight Liberty Media sees a bargain budget lift the trophy, well AA get extra coin to go get a starting pitcher or keep Marcel Ozuna?

> Speaking of the Braves, and all credit to Dave O'Brien of The Athletic for these details, but this is pretty interesting. Here's the quote Dave got from AA about Ozuna: ""That's all things we have to work through. Look, Marcell was amazing for us. He was awesome. We would love to have him back. Certainly plan on having discussions. But right now, a day after we got back, all those things there's just uncertainty in so many areas. Again, I'm not trying to be cryptic or foreshadow. We're going to have to work to try to get as many answers as we can, from a revenue standpoint, DH standpoint, all those things. But there's no doubt he was tremendous for us. He did a great job, he fit in great, and we'd love to have him part of what we're doing going forward." There's more here (pay site).

> And here's the kicker for our baseball spin around. The Dodgers' Game One win was the cap on a seven-game parlay that allowed one bettor through BetMGM who nailed six soccer matches and the Kershaw win to turn $50 in $128,995.

Which means that bettor can afford to pay what, a third of the Rays' payroll?


This and that

— Not good here, as the Penn State basketball coach was forced out because of insensitive comments and gestures. Hey, to all my white : The noose is never cool. Got it?
— You know the rules. Here's Paschall's picks column and here is an update on Cade Mays and his transition to KnoxVegas.

— Here's UTC's 2020 football schedule to be played in 2021 from Mean Gene Henley.

— Hmmmm, the entire Seattle Storm have backed Joe Biden. Not saying I'm surprised which candidate they backed, just can't remember a sports franchise backing a political party or candidate before.

— Here's a Florida fisherman catching a record-setting Georgia catfish. That's a big fish — 110 pounder — gang.


Today's questions

There are plenty above. And you Survivor Pool players, remember to get your picks in.

Elsewhere, today is Oct. 22. Let's review.

Jeff Goldblum is 68 today. Christopher Lloyd is 82. Wow. Taxi feels like a million years ago, no?

Does Taxi make the Rushmore of the most underrated TV comedies?

Discuss, and remember the mailbag.