Before we get to sports, here’s today’s weather update from Hell.
That’s my way of acknowledging and apologizing to Vanderbilt fans. I predicted the Devil’s Inferno would freeze if the Commodores won their second SEC game in a row last week.
Lo and behold, they went out and beat Florida. Not only that, 100,000 fans turned FirstBank Field into a Lollapalooza-like mosh pit, tearing down the goal posts and tossing them into the Cumberland River.
At least that’s what the SEC Party Police apparently saw.
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In truth, a few thousand fans sauntered onto the field as if they were attending a graduation ceremony. It looked more like the mosh pit at a Wayne Newton concert, yet the league fined Vanderbilt $250,000 for allowing fans to rush the field.
That was $150,000 more than South Carolina was nailed for after a mass of fans went nuts following the Gamecocks’ win over Tennessee last Saturday. The Vols themselves were fined only $100,000 for the crazy jailbreak after they beat Alabama last month.
The SEC’s fine system is based on repeat offenses at all venues dating back to 2004. The Commodores racked up two prior to 2006, which I think was the last time they won two straight SEC games.
Now, they host Tennessee with a chance to win three in a row. It would be so epic, Vandy fans might actually try to tear down the goal posts. Whatever the fine, it would be worth it.
Speaking of celebrations, we have reached the final week of the regular season. Rivalries galore! But before we move on to the picks, I’d like to thank Texas A&M for providing so much comedy gold over the past three months.
Gators will play well … but still lose to Seminoles
Florida at FSU: The Seminoles have won their past three games by a combined score of 132-23. Sure, they were against Miami, Syracuse and Louisiana, but that sure beats losing to Vanderbilt. Given that pratfall, the Gators should play pretty well. Just not well enough to keep Mike Norvell from getting his first win in this series. FSU 27-23.
Tennessee at Vanderbilt: The Volunteers lost their playoff chances, their quarterback and their dignity last week at South Carolina. Losing to the geeky little brother Vandy would completely ruin Tennessee’s renaissance season. It’s hard to believe the Vols could crash that badly, but wouldn’t it be hilarious to every football fan outside of Knoxville? Upset Special — Vanderbilt 31-28. Bonus prediction — Hell drops to minus-183 degrees.
South Carolina at Clemson: Speaking of you-know-where, there’s only one explanation for the Gamecocks beating Tennessee 63-38. Shane Beamer must have sold Spencer Rattler’s soul to the Devil. I’m afraid he has nothing left to offer that would make Clemson’s defense 1/10th as bad as Tennessee’s. Clemson 28-16.
Mosh Pit/SEC Trivia: The first pit was supposedly formed at a Sex Pistols concert in 1977. Contrary to reports, Nick Saban was not an original member of the Sex Pistols.
Bemidji State at Angelo State: Our Beavers beat Winona State in last week’s opening round of the Division II playoffs. But as we all know, Winona is no Angelo. Then again, these days you never know. Angelo State is 11-0, but we’re not about to abandon the Beavs now. Bemidji State 18-14.
Louisville at Kentucky: The Wildcats are 2-5 in their past seven games, so they gave Mark Stoops a contract extension through 2031 that pays him $9 million a year. Who do they think they are, Texas A&M? For that kind of money, this is the kind of game Stoops can’t afford to lose. Kentucky 24-21.
Auburn at Alabama: With the Crimson Tide out of the playoff picture, this is sort of the Lack-of-Iron Bowl. Still interesting though, especially if interim coach Cadillac Williams can pull the upset. How could Auburn not give him the job? Saban will save them the dilemma. Alabama 33-16.
Woeful US World Cup showing
Futbol Observation: I don’t know about you, but I’m having a hard time getting into a sport where the U.S. can’t beat Wales.
Michigan at Ohio State: Two unbeatens. Huge stakes. Heisman implications. Crappy weather. With all due respect to the Iron Bowl, this really is “The Game.” Key stat: C.J. Stroud wasn’t alive the last time Michigan won in Columbus. The Wolverines aren’t quite good enough to end that drought. Ohio State 24-14.
Georgia Tech at Georgia: If the Dawgs lose this one, the SEC should fine them $250 million. Georgia 38-13.
UCF at USF: With all due respect to the ghost of Scott Frost, this is not “The Game.” UCF blew its season when it lost to Navy last week. USF blew its season when it scheduled teams that offer scholarships. What channel is the soccer on? UCF 36-12.
LSU at Texas A&M: Before the season, nobody would’ve been shocked if one team came into this game 9-2 and the other 4-7. But 2022 has proven that NIL money can’t buy happiness. At least the Aggies should score more goals than Wales. LSU 24-13.
P.S. Dear A&M brass, please give Jimbo Fisher another contract extension.