2005 has been a year of horrific changes. Many parts of our country were devastated by some of the worst hurricanes ever seen in the history of man. Tsunamis and earthquakes have ravaged the rest of the world. In the Middle East, violence and turmoil have long been accepted as facts of life. Yet despite all of the horrific changes and instability of our world today, one thing remains unchanged. And that is that when Florida and Georgia play each other on the last weekend of October (or the first weekend of November, as sometimes happens), Florida always wins. Continue reading “Nothing Has Changed”
Vanderbilt at South Carolina
After a 4-0 start this year, Vanderbilt was hailed as the darlings of the SEC. Now they are mired in a 3-game losing streak, and their stock is dropping like a brick. What happened?
Well, the schedule got tougher.
First there was Middle Tennessee State. Middle Tennessee State is not very good this year, but they have beaten Vanderbilt three years in a row. Thus they have something of a jinx on Vanderbilt. A jinx is a very powerful thing in the world of college football. It can neutralize superior talent to the point where a team of preschoolers can be assured of victory against a team of NFL Pro Bowl picks. Georgia can tell you plenty about this from their experience with Florida over the last 15 years. That is what happened to Vanderbilt at Middle Tennessee State.
Then there was LSU and Georgia. Now did we really expect Vanderbilt to win these games? Still, they acquitted themselves admirably. They played LSU close for three quarters (they only trailed 9-3 at the half), and they gave an injury-riddled Georgia defense fits with solid running and clutch passing by Jay Cutler.
Meanwhile, what has South Carolina done? Aside from a close loss to Georgia in Athens, not too much. Their only conference win so far is against lowly Kentucky. And even in the friendly confines of the Dead Cockroach (that would be Williams-Brice Stadium. Does anyone else out there think that Williams-Brice Stadium looks like a dead cockroach with its legs sticking up in the air when seen from a distance?), life is not exactly peachy for South Carolina. Look what Alabama did to them a few weeks back.
Heck, even Steve Spurrier says he’s worried about Vanderbilt!
PREDICTION: Vanderbilt 24, South Carolina 21.
Auburn at LSU
Auburn has looked impressive in winning five straight games since their opening week loss to Georgia Tech. But Georgia Tech is the only decent team they have faced so far. That is about to change this week. At Arkansas, Auburn struggled for an entire half before their offense finally got untracked. Auburn cannot afford to struggle like that at LSU.
LSU was picked by everyone to contend for a national championship before the start of the season. After the Tennessee loss, everyone has seemingly given up on LSU. But don’t count LSU out just yet; they still have some fight left.
PREDICTION: LSU 31, Auburn 28.
Tennessee at Alabama
Wouldn’t you know it? “Phat Phil” is such a heavyweight that he can’t even testify secretly to the NCAA without attracting attention to himself. Last year, when he didn’t want to go to Alabama, all he had to do was pay a fine. This year, life will not be so easy for him.
Expect a whole lot of venom from Alabama fans toward Philip Fulmer. But also expect Tennessee to come out with the win. Tennessee has beaten Alabama 6 of the last 7 years, and as I said earlier, a jinx is a very powerful thing.
PREDICTION: Tennessee 34, Alabama 20.
Kentucky at Ole Miss
PREDICTION: Ole Miss 31, Kentucky 14.
Arkansas at Georgia
I already analyzed this one here, and I still stand by this prediction.
PREDICTION: Georgia 21, Arkansas 20.
Texas, along with head coach Mack Brown, are currently a big news item, as they are undefeated and contending for the national championship in college football. Here is a story that Mack Brown told while speaking at a Touchdown Club meeting several years ago, back when he was just starting out with Texas.
Mack Brown coached at North Carolina before he came to Texas. When he first started at North Carolina, the coach who was there before him came to visit him one day. He gave him three envelopes, numbered sequentially from one to three, and told him that whenever things got bad and he feared that his job might be in danger, he should open one of these envelopes and do whatever it said.
Mack Brown’s first year at North Carolina was not very good. After the season the fans and alumni were extremely upset. Mack Brown opened the first envelope. It contained a sheet of paper which read simply, “Blame your predecessor.” So when he went out on the speaking circuit, he said that the program he inherited was a dreadful mess, that the previous coach had messed up the recruiting, and that it would take time for him to get everything straightened out.
The next year, North Carolina had a winning season, and all was well. North Carolina had winning seasons for the next several years.
Then, in 1993, North Carolina lost several key players to graduation, and had a losing season. Once again, fans and alumni were up in arms. Mack Brown opened the second envelope. This one said, “Fire some assistants.” So he fired several assistants.
The next year, North Carolina had a winning season. They went on to become a Top 10 program during the mid 1990’s, and even to challenge Florida State for the ACC title in 1997. Now Texas was coming off a dreadful season that year, and they were in need of a new coach. So they called on Mack Brown, and he went to Texas.
After Mack Brown arrived in Texas, he was unpacking some things and he found the third envelope from North Carolina, which he had never opened. His curiosity got the better of him, so he opened it. It said, “Prepare three envelopes.”