Hello, and welcome back to the remains of the college football season, or as Georgia and Georgia Tech fans like to call it: Googling for Motel 6s in Shreveport around Christmas.
(Let your mind wander. Imagine a Dogs-Jackets rematch in the Independence Bowl. Would you not watch that over any other potential Georgia or Georgia Tech fourth-tier, who-cares bowl? Vote yes if you’re an evil and possibly dashing sports columnist. Vote no if you have no sense of humor and you still can’t think straight because Nick Chubb was told to go eat a sandwich on fourth-and-1. Ignore election results altogether if you prefer stomping your feet, holding your breath and passing out over processing a coherent thought, which seems to work for handsy, polyurethane-haired billionaires. Question: Was Donald Trump a secret partner for the Atlanta Spirit?”)
Any way, Georgia and Georgia Tech both have byes this week. (Yeah!) But Business Insider, presumably in conjunction with WikiLeaks, calculated the fair market value of college football players at the nation’s 20 most profitable athletic programs. According to this chart, the average Division 1 player has a value of $163,869. Texas players are leading the nation with a value of $671,173, Alabama second at $536,485. Georgia State is just outside the top 20.
Georgia players had the sixth-highest fair market value at $479,506. Given the Vanderbilt and Nicholls State games, I’m going to assume the Bulldogs have at least seven players named B.J. Upton.
So this week is cleansing breath time for Dogs and Jackets fans. Fortunately, both have the Falcons, who are not headed to the Independence Bowl, unless Richard Sherman accidentally/intentionally hooks their arms and drags them there like bison carcasses, later explaining he really didn’t do anything wrong and, besides Julio Jones slapped him in the head, and it hurts, sort of, not really.
The Falcons do not stink. But this is a dangerous week. They’re coming back home after 10 days in hotels and are favored for only the second time this season (they lost the last time to Tampa Bay).
Will they morph into mush? I think not. Punt the 6 1/2 points. Falcons win and cover.
Richard Sherman takes the stand
Sack Schultz 2016
Week 6 update: I went 10-5 last week but sit in 283rd place, probably out of wild-card contention. Last week’s winners were Dane Watson (Vienna, Ga.) and Troy Weaver (Hewitt, Texas) — each went 14-1. Go to MyAJC.com/go/sackschultz2016 to register for a chance to win prizes.
Alabama and Less Significant Beings
Texas A&M at Alabama: Bama has outscored seven opponents by 213 points, give or take a major organ. If the SEC gets two teams in the playoffs, the second should be the Tide’s backups. Godzilla covers 18.
Alabama takes the field
Ole Miss at LSU: LSU’s firing of Les Miles was timely because the next two opponents were Missouri and Southern Miss. What better time to make interim coach Ed Orgeron look chemically balanced? But LSU’s next five games: Ole Miss, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Texas A&M. Check? I’ll take the gift 7 and roll with the Rebels in an upset.
Arkansas at Auburn: The Tigers have won three straight. So Gus Malzahn hot seat rumors are cooled for now. Or at least until breakfast. Auburn wins but take Arkansas and 9 1/2.
Mississippi State at Kentucky: A Kentucky fan phoned into Mark Stoops’ radio call-in show this week and asked, “What I’m wondering is if coach (Dan) Mullen at Mississippi State gets fired, do you think he could come to Kentucky maybe?” Stoops didn’t answer, the show went to a break, and Mullen hung up before anybody could trace the call. Dogs cover 3 over Cats.
Tennessee-Martin at Georgia State: The Panthers (1-5) started 2-6 last season before improbably winning four straight to make it to a bowl game. So maybe they’re just waiting for the leaves to fall again. (Trent Miles looks up at the trees.) Panthers cover 13.
NFL Slots Of Fun Hotel and Casino
(Buy 3 games and win a book of Roger Goodell’s latest book of quotations, like, “We believe gambling impacts the integrity of the game. Oh look, a tape of a player punching his wife. Belvedere, to the incinerator.”)
Patriots at Steelers: Bill Belichick became my Get Off My Lawn hero when he spiked his malfunctioning, NFL corporate partner-issued Microsoft tablet during a game, saying later, ” I just can’t take it any more.” New England is going back to paper and old Polaroids. On a related note, New England has hired a courtroom sketch artist to steal sideline signals. Pats cover 7.
Raiders at Jaguars: The Raiders appear on the verge of moving to Las Vegas, but Goodell has his silk boxers in a bunch because he prefers teams play in idyllic villages like . . . Jacksonville? Take the 1 but Oakland wins straight up.
Rams at Giants: Todd Gurley is averaging 2.9 yards per carry. Things change quickly in Los Angeles. The Rams are out of the theaters and have been moved to cable. Giants cover 3.
Seahawks at Cardinals: Captain Hook Sherman is safe. The league has a policy of not uttering a negative word about botched calls but it continues to assess 15-yard penalties for smiling after touchdowns. No spike for you! Arizona covers 2 1/2.
Browns at Bengals: Cleveland, city of champions. The Browns exist only for nostalgia. Bengals win but take the Browns and 9 1/2 because, oh, what the hell.
Vikings at Eagles: Sam Bradford had 20 turnovers in Philadelphia last season, so when the Vikings offered a No. 1 pick for him the Eagles thought they had died and gone to heaven, or at least somewhere other than Philly. Bradford through 4 games: 4-0, 6 TDs, 0 turnovers, 109.8 rating. Oops. Minnesota covers 2½.
Profits and losses
Last week: 10-4 straight up, 5-9 against the line.
Bottom dollars: 67-25 straight up, 47-42-3 against the line.
Lilly’s pick: Mutt (3-4) lost the Georgia pick last week but she’s there with most humans. This week, it’s a choice of cheesed pictures of Matt Ryan or Philip Rivers. Lilly goes left: Ryan. Falcons win.
Subscribe to the new, “We Never Played The Game” podcast on iTunes with Jeff Schultz and WSB’s Zach Klein. New episodes every Monday and Thursday.
Some recent ramblings
- Podcast: Paul Johnson on critics, future; will Jackets finish better than Dogs?
- Georgia’s makeover looks more like a decline
- Georgia playing to level of opponents — and against Vandy, that’s bad
- Weekend Predictions: Votes for Dogs and Jackets, but Falcons’ run ends in Seattle
- Podcast blog: Braves should have done a little more for Snitker
- Brian Snitker, a 40-year temp, finally gets his shot
- Braves’ Snitker an unusual choice but not necessarily wrong choice
- Podcast blog: Arthur Blank (Part II): On future, Vick and his plans to fire Petrino anyway
- After past two weeks, any win looks good to Georgia
- Jacob Eason struggles in win but it’s a little early to jump ship
- Braves wrong to blame McDowell for struggling prospects
- Weekend Predictions: Georgia wins over remains of Spurrier’s mess
- NEW: Podcast blog: ‘We Never Played The Game’ podcast (Arthur Blank, Part I)
- Positive vibes about rebuild aside, Braves still need starting pitching
- Snitker was good but Bud Black may be Braves’ choice for manager
- View in NFC South isn’t what most expected: Falcons on top
- It’s early but Falcons are looking legit
- Will optics of Mark Richt (4-0) vs. Kirby Smart (3-2) get better for Georgia?
- Mark Richt makes his return and looks right at home again at Georgia Tech
- Best Braves memory at Turner Field: 2010 and Bobby Cox’s final season
- Weekend Predictions: And now for something completely different — Dogs win
- Falcons’ Deion Jones runs for glory, not survival, in return home
- Falcons create a new memory for themselves in New Orleans
- Falcons can’t create more happy memories for Saints
- LSU just fired Les Miles — this is what lunacy looks like