Mississippi head coach Lane Kiffin looks on against Austin Peay in an NCAA college football game, at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. Mississippi won 54-17. (AP Photo/Bruce Newman)

Fab 4 picks

OK, friends, gather round, I'm the old fool in town and my sound's laid down by the Underground.

With all respects to rippin' on Humpty's rhymes, it feels like we're starting to see some things in college football. And yes, I will drink a bottle of Hennessy you got on your shelf.

Week 1 was playing hunches and match-ups. Week 2 was trying to avoid the overreactions, which we did and we didn't. (Side note: And I owe everyone who looks to this little sports wagering/investment version of Dear Abby an apology. We did not pick Alabama over Miami, but we all knew it. And, because we'd rather eat Aunt Edna's beet casserole than bet against Lord Saban, we knew he was not going to blow Mercer out, too. That should be two more in the win column.)

But now we reach Week 3, and should be able to craft some decent theories about what we know and what we think we know, right?

With that, let's not dawdle. And if you need some more rips on the Humpty Dance — it's chance for romance, Spy — click here. Talk to me, baby. (And yes, we are closer to a Fab 14 than a Fab 4. Sue me.)

To the picks.

Auburn plus-6 over Penn State. Yes, normally, I'd rather karaoke "Achy Breaky Heart" than put skin in the game on my alma mater. It's one of those things that always feels foolish, or hopeful, or foolishly hopeful. But Penn State, while certainly more tested than Auburn, had to put everything they had on the table against Wisconsin in the opener. And in truth, it wasn't that impressive. I also believe that a new coach looking for a splash win — and going to a White Out in Happy Valley on ABC carries major splash weight for AU's Bryan Harsin — who has had the chance to save every bullet and every extra practice rep since early August for this game is a major plus, too.

Charlotte plus-4 at Georgia State. Wrong team favored here, friends. And we love backing buddy Will Healy, especially when he gets points. And because of how his mind works, he knows the importance of playing well in a recruiting hotspot like the A-T-L.

Boise State minus-4 over Oklahoma State. How many times must it happen for us to start to believe? A Power 5 team headed to the Blue Turf for a night game? It's happened far too many times for us not to ride with it, right?

Army minus-34 over UConn. I'd check the first half, too, but is there a worse opponent to face when your effort is questionable at best than the Black Knights?

Oklahoma-Nebraska over 61. We know Oklahoma has a high-powered offense and needs as many style points as possible with a Heisman front-runner at QB. Nebraska can score, and Scott Frost is running out of chances. Do I think the Huskers — HICKORY! — win? No, of course not. But I think they can to 25. Which means this gets north of 60 quickly.

Clemson minus-17 and over 27.5 against Georgia Tech in the first half. Blow-out city, friends, and there is not a Clemson bet on this one I don't like. As we craft things we believe, I believe that season-opening loss to Georgia may be the only game Clemson plays within two scores, and against mid-level ACC teams (and that's being kind to Geoff Collins and the Jackets here), the Tigers are going to run away and hide. Especially at home.

Northwestern minus-3 at Duke. Man, with this game and a possible playable under in Stanford-Vandy, there will be a lot of smart dudes with million-dollar brains playing football with meaningful financial outcomes this weekend. Yes, I love Coach Cute. Who doesn't? But I'm not even Coach Cute loves his roster.

Cincy minus-3.5 at Indiana. Yes, Group of 5 road favorites at Power 5 teams feels deplorable. But the love and charm of last year's Indiana run is a distant memory. And simply put, Cincy is simply at least a TD better. At least.  

Last week: 4-3 against the spread (57.1 percent)

This season: 10-7 against the spread (58.8 percent)


College football genius

Sometimes, the best ideas are the most clear ideas.

And the most obvious.

So, let's turn to the wisdom that is always Lane Kiffin, who works social media the way Bobby Knight worked chairs.

Kiffin tweeted to ESPN a genius idea that would be great. 

In the much-anticipated Kiffin revenge game when his Ole Miss Rebels play UT — the team he used to coach — Kiffin is asking ESPN for a Manning Megacast.

How great would that be, with Eli and Peyton calling the game from their couches of their alma maters?

Make this happen, ESPN. For all of us.


Bewildered Braves

The "er'' months, man. The ''er'' months.

It's when every mistake is exposed and every misuse magnified. From all directions.

If Wednesday's painful loss to the Rockies had been on May 16 rather than Sept. 16, it's a shoulder shrug and a "Let's get 'em tomorrow,'' kind of moment, right?

But when your starting pitcher loses the strike zone, you leave the population of Pikeville on the bases, you out-hit an inferior club that is so far back in the standings they can't tell the difference between a Padre and a panda, and your best defensive player makes a mental and physical error on the game's turning-point play, well, it feels like more than a loss.

It's not, of course, but the Braves take the field this afternoon desperate to avoid a sweep at home at the hands of a Rockies bunch that came to Atlanta 21-51 away from Coors Field.

Freddie Freeman's decision to pick up a bunt that was headed for foul territory and then his errant throw allowed Colorado to tie the game early. (Side note: The box score shows the official scorer removed the error on Freeman, which begs the question if Freeman's wife is the official scorer. It also reminds me of that season when my mom kept the book for the 9-year-old team I played on and, somehow, I hit like .780 to lead the league. Hmmm.)

It also harkens back to the trade-deadline conversations, and as good as Adam Duval has been, the inability to add a pitcher — starter or reliever — has been a central part of the first two Rockies wins in this series. Tuesday night, Touki Toussiant's inconsistency in terms of his relationship with the strike zone was critical, and last night, we all knew what was coming when AJ Minter started the 10th, right?

Yes, Minter has been better since being sent to the minors and being recalled about a month ago. But he's still AJ Minter.

And this happened as the Phillies found some late-inning magic and found a way to win against an inferior opponent at home. Hmmmmmmm.

Atlanta's 3.5-game lead feels ever-so-small, especially in the ''er'' months.  


This and that

— One more thing about the picks: if news comes down that Anthony Richardson can't go for the Gators, then give me all the Bama I can stand.

— We're speeding to the finish of the first 5-at-10 Bracket Challenge, and thanks to all who have voted and all behind the scenes, including Action 247, who have made this happen. Let's finish strong and, unlike more than 90 percent of District 29 residents earlier this week, remember to vote.

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall with his picks heading into Week 3 of college football season. Side question for the group: is September the fastest month of the year? I say yes. Great tidbit in Paschall's prose today: Alabama has won 31 straight against SEC East foes, a run dating back to South Carolina and Stephen Garcia in October 2010. That Gamecocks win was so long ago that a) Steve Spurrier was on the sideline — and at that time, arguably the best coach in the SEC, and b) it was two weeks before the first 5-at-10. Yeah, that's a while ago. So, this 5-at-10 is No. 2,844, and it has never known an Alabama loss to the SEC East.

— Happy birthday Nana, as the Mrs. 5-at-10's momma turns, well, that's Nana-your-business, gang.

— UK got its third five-star basketball recruit for the 2022 class. Hi Chas. I would be curious about the NIL deals these young dudes are lining up in Lexington. Or Durham. Or Chapel Hill. Or Auburn, for that matter.

— Nice job by TFP preps ace Patrick MacCoon here on all-around good kid Peyton Ogle, a Signal Mountain golfer who is a cancer survivor and a pretty strong prep player.

 — Here's a list from Yahoo of Norm Macdonald's funniest moments on SNL. His final SNL stint as Weekend Update host included some Bill Clinton jokes and a Latrell Sprewell-choking-his-coach bit. His Burt Reynolds impressions on Celebrity Jeopardy! were aces. Maybe not one of the most renowned or famous of the all-time SNL celebrity impressions, but up there with some of the funniest.


Today's questions

Go vote in the 5-at-10 Bracket Challenge. (Side note: Participation in things like this gauges how many and what kinds of various group projects we can offer. Deal? Deal.)

Also, remember the mailbag.

And (this is not a right or wrong question, more personal preference) In honor of Norm Macdonald's excellent Burt Reynolds, what's your favorite SNL impression?

As for today, other than being Nana's B-Day, let's review.

"Frasier" premiered on this day. It has an argument as the best spinoff ever.

Wow, "Judge" Judy premiered on this day 25 years ago. I think we've done a Rushmore of Judges.
Rushmore of Judy.