Youth vs. experience, sort of

In Mississippi's World Series of college football prognosticating, Rick Cleveland took a one-game lead over the older, more experienced Orley Hood this past week. Young Rick posted a 10-4 showing, compared to wily veteran Hood's  9-5. That gives the much-wetter-behind-the-ears Cleveland an 82-34 season record, slightly better than the grizzled Hood's 81-35. "Everything I know about this prognosticating business I owe to Orley," Cleveland said. "He's forgotten more than I'll ever know. I can't begin to tell you how much it means to me to be a game ahead of...

Big Friday, huge Saturday

Big, big night for some big, big schools in the last games of the high school regular season. Think of it as moving day, like Saturday in major championship golf. A win tonight could mean two victories. A loss may equal two losses and a quick adios from the state tournament. Example: Brandon plays at ever improving Hattiesburg tonight. A Bulldog victory and they get a home game in the first round next week against the No. 3 from the Coast. A loss and they come in fourth, which gets...

Orley cain't figure out his Saints

My pal Orley can't seem to get his Saints right. He picks 'em to win, they lose. He picks 'em to lose, they win. Me? Man, I been watching those guys since I was 13. I got 'em figured out. Yeah, right. . . . The Saints' not-so-convincing win over Tampa Bay Sunday gave me a one-game lead in a two-man picks race. I was 9-2 last week, compared to O's 7-4. For the season, I am 52-20. Orley is 51-21. So here we go again. . .   Rick's...

Hood takes the lead

Orley Hood, the wily veteran, has taken a one-game lead over relative newcomer Rick Cleveland. Boy, that was fun to write. Only Orley could make this old soul feel like a newcomer.   Here we go again . . . Orley's picks   Middle Tennessee State at Mississippi State: The dream, ever since State fans first espied the 2012 schedule, was to get to Tuscaloosa on Oct. 27 7-0. All that stands in the way is MTSU. But as befits unbeaten teams come mid-October, every slope is as slick as...

Here we go again. . .

Me ‘n’ Ricky went Tierra del Fuego (that’s waaay south) last week, each going 6-6. But, like Lewis and Clark, we press on …   Orley's picks   Tennessee at Mississippi State: As goofy as the Vols have been — 44 against Georgia and still lost! — and as 5-0 and ranked as State is, UT most certainly is the best football team the Dogs will have faced so far. Tennessee can throw. State can defend it. Bulldogs 34, Vols 24. Auburn at Ole Miss: The Rebs let one get...

What will Orley do for an encore?

After years out the football prognosticating business, Orley Hood took less than half a season to regain his regally omniscient form. Hood went Bo Derek on us last week, a perfect 10 for 10 to pull into a tie on the season. “Don't take long to warm up a Roll Royce,” Hood said when asked his unblemished performance. Rick Cleveland went 9-1, missing only on Missouri's narrow victory at UCF. “Hat's off to Orley,” Cleveland said. “I'm not sure how he knew that Missouri would get out-gained and still win...

When Saints really were Ain'ts

Oh, the humanity …   OK. The Saints aren’t a zeppelin burning in Lakehurst, N.J. As far as I know, nobody died in the Superdome last Sunday. Technically, anyway. The Saints are 0-3.   We can be forgiven, I guess, for thinking they’d be 3-0 going into the Packers game this week.   Alas … You win a Super Bowl, you figure, hey, this is the way life’s going to be. You go 14-4 before losing at San Francisco in last season’s playoffs. You suffer the weirdest lousiest off-season maybe...

Saints get little respect here

Orley vowed a comeback last week and he delivered, cutting Rick's lead to a measly one game on the season. Cleveland is now 21-8, Hood 20-9, and, no, that's not against the spread. Both missed on the Saints, but both appear to have learned their lesson.  Orley's picks  Ole Miss at Alabama: It’s one of those weeks when one of college football’s mere mortals, in this case Ole Miss, pays the price for playing in the SEC West, which is a lot like playing in the NFL, but with better...

Cool air + Friday night = bliss

Kismet or serendipity, take your pick. Autumn and cool weather have arrived in tandem as our high school lads in the larger classifications begin their quest to make the state football tournament tonight. All across the state questions will be asked, and some answered, as we put away sweet old rivalries — aka, the preseason — and dive into divisional games, many of which are based these days not on the ancient hatreds but on the algorithms of enrollment figures with a necessary but often subtle nod to geography. Can...

Rankings are nice, but …

‘Tis a heady thing, this Top 25. As Lewis and Clark might have said, it’s a big country. Filled with darkness and dread. Wildcats and Gators. Red Tide and roaring Tigers. To shove your way into the Top 25, even at this early date, is one small step for State, one giant leap for Bulldog Nation. So, lads. Take a bow. But don’t linger, lest the blood rush to your head and blind you to the dangers that await in the sweaty and suffocating SEC jungle. Three up and three...