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. . .
Mississippi State at Alabama: I covered this one — State 6, Bama 3 — in 1980 when the Tide was a 20-point favorite. This time, Bama is a 24-point pick. If anything, Nick Saban’s bunch seems even more invincible than Bear Bryant’s 32 years ago. (Come on, has it really been 32?) State can win but will have to have help from Bama, and the Tide doesn’t seem to want to help anybody. In fact, Saban’s guys seem like well-trained assassins. Bama, 34-13.
Ole Miss at Arkansas: Huge game for Ole Miss, which needs two more victories to get to six. This one is a possibility, although Arkansas is starting to look more like we thought Arkansas was going to be. Hogs, 31- 24.
USM at Rice: How much worse can get this get? Winless and down to their fourth quarterback, the Golden Eagles are underdogs to Rice. For good reason. Rice 27, USM 17.
Tennessee at South Carolina: After LSU and Florida, Gamecocks need a break and a home game. They get both. South Carolina, 31-17.
Florida-Georgia at Jacksonville: Both teams can score but only one can defend. Gators, 38-27.
Texas A&M at Auburn: A&M opened a nine-point favorite and bettors have moved that all the way to 14. Wow! Aggies, 31-20.
UMass at Vanderbilt: Vandy, 34-14.
Kentucky at Missouri: Missouri breaks through, 34-20.
Cincinnati at Louisville: Just my opinion: Louisville is the most shaky unefeated team in college football. It’s just a matter of time and that time might be Friday night. Cincy, 26-24.
Southern California at Arizona: Our friend Greg Byrne is the athletic director at Arizona, but his football team is overmatched this week. USC, 38-28.
Oregon State at Washington: Oregon State is right there with Louisville, but I have never been able to pull against a team called the Beavers. Oregon State, 27-20.
Michigan at Nebraska: This is the kind of game Nebraska thought would bring all sorts of national attention to its program. Not so. Big Ten? Try Middle-Sized Twelve. Huskers, 30-27.
Texas Tech at Kansas State: Bill Snyder is the best 73-year-old coach in college football and one of the best, period. Tommy Tuberville is the master of the upset. Not this time. Kansas State, 48-38.
Notre Dame at Oklahoma: You gotta be impressed with the job Brian Kelly is doing at Notre Dame, but Sooners have too much speed. Oklahoma, 34-20.
Saints at Broncos: Bet you anything Orley picks the Saints. Here’s what I think: However many Drew Brees gets, Peyton Manning will get three more. In a game that features two of the most accurate throwers ever, Broncos 34-31.
Mississippi State at Alabama: OK. Took a couple of months, but here we are. Part of me says State can play it tight. Another part says be careful what you ask for. A bit of me thinks that an upset is even less likely than was the 6-3 miracle game against Bear’s boys in 1980. This is a bit of a new experience for the Bulldogs, a weekly event for the Tide the past few years. Cinderella bites the big one. Bama 34, Dogs 20.
Ole Miss at Arkansas: Winnable, right? Certainly wasn’t, say, 10 months ago. But is it too late to take advantage of the Hogs’ fragility? Ole Miss has played well. Arkansas seems to have overcome the oddest early season you’ll ever see to showcase a glimmer of what that talented roster promised before Petrino went for a ride with his office squeeze. A tip to the home team. Arkansas 38, Ole Miss 28.
USM at Rice: The Golden Eagles haven’t had anything to eat all year and they’ll still be hungry after Saturday. Rice 24, USM 17.
Tennessee at South Carolina: Ah, the Vols … As sweet as a Bloody Mary for the weary and worn. Carolina drinks deeply from the font of restoration. South Carolina 52, UT 14.
Florida-Georgia at Jacksonville: Aaron Murray’s great, sure. But Georgia ain’t got no “D” in it, now do it? Gators roll again, 45-30.
Texas A&M at Auburn: This is R-rated, parents. Don’t let anyone 17 and under watch for long. Johnny Football against those stumbling bums from the Plains? Jordan-Hare will be slap empty by the fourth quarter. Moving vans will show up at Coach Gene’s front door on Sunday morning. Aggies 56, Tigers 24.
UMass at Vanderbilt: The Commodores cruise, baby, 50-10,
Kentucky at Missouri: The new boys get ‘em one against a Kentucky team spent from last week’s effort against Georgia. Mizzou 35, UK 17.
Cincinnati at Louisville: Something died for the Bearcats last week. No resurrection this week. Louisville 31-24.
Southern California at Arizona: The Trojans don’t need a horse in this millennium, especially not in Tucson. The Matt Barkleys 49, ‘Zona 20.
Oregon State at Washington: Mighty tempted to go with the Huskies. Oregon State’s bubble has to burst some time, right? Right. Washington 24, OSU 23.
Michigan at Nebraska: Big one in the Big Ten (but nobody else much cares). Cornhuskers outscore Denard Robinson, 28-24.
Texas Tech at Kansas State: I like Tommy Tuberville (I know, only one left in Mississippi, eh). But I learned my lesson about going against Bill Snyder (ouch!!!) last week. KSU 56, Tech 35.
Notre Dame at Oklahoma: Ah, a big game we can all get into. The dream dies for the Irish in Norman. Shut up, Lou. Sooners 38, Notre Dame 17.
Saints at Broncos: I missed (hallelujah!) on my boys in Tampa last week. But, gee, Peyton … Yikes. Manning gets a lot. Brees gets more. Saints are back … ta da! Who Dats 45, Broncos 42.