Before breaking down this week’s big game — and, besides, I need more time to process how it’s possible “every kid did his job” on a blundered Hail Mary last week against Tennessee, according to Georgia coach Kirby Smart; so we can only imagine what bad pass coverage on a Hail Mary looks like — Weekend Predictions brings you this very special moment in sports history.
It was 71 years ago Thursday when Chicago tavern owner and Cubs fan Billy Sianis was kicked out of Wrigley Field during Game 4 of the World Series against Detroit Tigers because he purchased a seat for his goat (“Murphy”) and the odor apparently was too much for other patrons. This so infuriated Sianis that it’s believed he put a curse on the Cubs, which is why they haven’t won a World Series since 1908.
(This serves as a cautionary tale for the Braves should Tim Lee show up at SunTrust Park on Opening Day next season with his pet chicken (“Boondoggle”), who is his only remaining friend and not coincidentally lives in a cage. Of course, once he gets out of the cage, he will spill his guts to Dan Klepal like everybody else. So Braves: Do NOT turn away Tim and his chicken.)
Back to more current times. It was only a year ago when former South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier quit on his team, which was 0-4 in the SEC and therefore too malodorous for any coach who is more concerned about his resume than, well, perceptions that he might be an invertebrate.
Spurrier then returned to Florida as an “ambassador,” which sounded better than hanging around Columbia and have every usher tell a goat, “I’m sorry but you can’t bring Mr. Spurrier in with you.”
The Curse of Spurrier lives on. The Gamecocks are 1-3 in the SEC with no real chance of getting better soon. Alas, somebody in the SEC Georgia can beat!
Because of the hurricane, this game has been moved to Sunday. The NFL television schedule means the game will be shown on tape delay on HGTV, immediately following, “Fixer Upper.”
Nick Chubb returns for Georgia. The line is 7. It’ll be covered. Dogs win.
Sack Schultz 2016
Week 5 update: Bad contest week for me. Went only 8-7 to fall to 53-22 and in 84th place. Last week’s best cheater was John Armstrong of Denver, who went 14-1. Not playing? No worries. You can still win weekly prizes and are eligible for the grand prizes: tickets to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and/or a $2,500 Apple Vacation. Go to MyAJC.com/go/sackschultz2016 to register.
Between Classes and Other Daily Options
Georgia Tech at Pittsburgh: Paul Johnson has won more games at Pittsburgh (1-0) than he has at home against Mark Richt (0-9). This is me accentuating the positive. OK, fun’s over. Pitt covers 6.
Florida State at Miami: Asked about the big game this week, FSU’s Jimbo Fisher said, “I think we have a great shot against Florida. Wait, that’s LSU. Is this microphone on?” Seminoles circling the drain. Goodbye Jimbo? Canes cover 3.
Clemson at Boston College: The Eagles have lost 10 straight in the ACC. Fortunately, conference officials just voted against expanding schedules to nine games because Steve Addazio is already getting three electroshock therapy treatments per week and his head smells like burnt pot roast. Tigers cover 17.
Vanderbilt at Kentucky: Kidding.
Auburn at Mississippi State: Remember those five minutes in 2014 when Dan Mullen was a hot commodity and had a chance to get out of Starkville? Ah, good times. Tigers cover 3.
Tennessee at Texas A&M: Scientists will get around to explaining how Tennessee is 5-0, right after they solve the mysteries of Stonehenge, the Great Pyramid of Giza and Pitbull. Market correction: Aggies cover 7.
Texas State at Georgia State: The Panthers are 0-4. But they’re 2-2 against the spread! New marketing campaign: “Come watch our backdoor cover.” Problem: They’re favored in this one. I’ll take GSU for the win but not to cover 10.
NFL Snack Pack
Falcons at Broncos: The Falcons have scored the most touchdowns in the NFL (18). They’ve also allowed the most TDs (16). This is all part of a plan to excite video-game-playing millennials so they’ll buy PSLs in the belief they’ll be able to call plays from their seats while balancing a game controller, hot dog, craft beer, iPhone, selfie stick and their worn copy of, “Why I Think I’m Smarter Than Kyle Shanahan.” This week: Denver. Put down the controller. Say hello to Bronko Nagurski football. Take the 6 as a gift but Falcons win a low-scoring upset.
Patriots at Browns: Tom Brady making his return from a suspension against Cleveland ranks as the Browniest of things. And then there’s this, from an undisclosed NFL assistant coach to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman: “Thanks to Roger Goodell, Tom Brady is going to kill us all.” Yep. Patriots cover 10½.
Giants at Packers: Odell Beckham Jr. says he’s “not having fun” anymore. Maybe he should try a moon bounce or the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese, where he can converse with other emotionally unstable six-year-olds. Packers cover 6.
Odell Beckham Jr. wants a golden goose too
Bengals at Cowboys: Tony Romo may never get his job back from Dak Prescott. But he has an option: New York media members are already projecting him as the next Jets’ quarterback. On second thought, Dallas isn’t so bad. Cowboys in a pick ’em.
Redskins at Ravens: The NFL fined cornerback Josh Norman $10,000 because he dared to celebrate a play by pretending to fire a bow and arrow into the sky. Question: When Roger Goodell gives out candy on Halloween and kids celebrate, does he take four candies out of their bag? Ravens win but take Washington and 4.
Roger Goodell on Josh Norman (and everything else)
Buccaneers at Panthers: Carolina is 1-3, which is only slightly behind last year’s pace of 15-1. Cam Newton: six turnovers and concussed. Those two might be related. Panthers win but take Tampa Bay and 6.
Last week (column picks): 10-4 straight up, 7-6-1 against the line.
Through 5 weeks: 47-18 straight up, 32-30-3 against the line.
Lilly’s pick: She pulled out the Tennessee pick last week to go to 3-2 on the season. This week’s choice (with hot dog nuggets) were pictures of Julio Jones and “Miles,” the Denver Broncos’ mascot. Lilly sniffed both, then went right — to “Miles.” Broncos win.
» SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEW, “We Never Played The Game” podcast on iTunes with Jeff Schultz and Zach Klein of WSB TV. The first episode with Part I of our two-part interview with Falcons owner Arthur Blank can be downloaded here.
Some recent ramblings
- EARLIER, NEW: ‘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
- New Georgia looks a lot like the old Georgia
- Jacob Eason wasn’t good but this isn’t time to blame quarterback
- Weekend Predictions: NCAA over Ole Miss but Ole Miss over Dogs
- Credit Georgia Tech for going after the right choice in Stansbury
- Overreaction Monday: Everybody wins! What can possibly go wrong?
- Falcons’ 35 points, 528 yards should quiet criticism of Shanahan
- Falcons put on an offense show — and, yes, win
- Falcons try to avoid going from 0-1 to off the rails
- Weekend Predictions: Dogs rebound, Jackets win, Falcons fall
- Coppollella acknowledges on Twitter starters have been disappointing
- Politicians need to understand: Sports has a hammer — get used to it