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 on the road. You could have fooled me. In fact, you did.”
This week’s card, with several toss-ups, promises to fool both prognosticators.
“I’m just going to pick them one game at a time,” Hood said.
“As if there was any other way,” Cleveland responded.
Both take a 30-9 record into this week’s card.
Texas A&M at Ole Miss: Aggies in The Grove. What’s the world coming to, eh? Big game for the Rebels after an honorable performance in Tuscaloosa. This is winnable and losable. A&M’s kid QB is a nightmare. Lots of things have to go right for Ole Miss. A&M 31, Ole Miss 24.
Mississippi State at Kentucky: Nothing to it, right? Well … Kentucky played much better last week. State, coming off a bye, played lousy in its two previous games against third-rate opposition. This is the vomit zone for the Bulldogs, nationally ranked and on the road against a team they ought to beat. State fans have been here before. MSU 28, UK 24.
Boise State at Southern Miss: So how much emotion did the Golden Eagles spend last Saturday in their brave but fruitless effort to beat a ranked Louisville team? This Boise bunch is a step down from previous years’ editions. But they are still a load. BSU 38, USM 31.
Arkansas at Auburn: Like USM, when’s Arkansas going to run emotionally dry? Maybe this week. Auburn 26, Arkansas 20.
LSU at Florida: Big stuff. LSU’s great, but plays lousy. Go figure. Florida’s building, and playing better all the time. So … Time for LSU to make a stand. Tigers 30, Gators 24.
Georgia at South Carolina: The big hits just keep on coming. Carolina’s QB, Connor Shaw, seems finally to be getting some of that Spurrier magic. Still can’t believe Georgia gave up 44 last week. This should be a great game. USC 45, UGA 35.
Vanderbilt at Missouri: It’s a hard road for the Vandys and it won’t get any easier in the other Columbia. Mizzou 31, Comms 20.
East Carolina at Central Florida: I’d hate to think that my life has gotten so meaningless that I spend all my time trying to figure out how East Carolina’s going to play. Anyway, ECU 2l, UCF 17.
Virginia Tech at North Carolina: Big game for USM-ex Larry Fedora against the Hokies. Go with the team that’s not under scholarship sanctions. V-Tech 34, Carolina 20.
West Virginia at Texas: You figure, 98-96, one way or the other. WVU gave up 63 last week and won. Texas gave up 36 and won. Somebody Saturday is going to give up a bunch and lose. Texas 49, West Virginia 42.
Nebraska at Ohio State: Great comeback by the Cornhuskers against Wisconsin last week. But OSU in Columbus? Maybe not. Ohio State 31, Nebraska 27.
Chargers at Saints: My goal on Sundays now is just to get through the day without stroking out. Saints 38, Chargers 35. But if I was you, I wouldn’t trust me.
Texas A&M at Ole Miss: This new SEC West will take some getting used to. I know who Jackie Sherrill is pulling for. A&M 34, Ole Miss 27
Mississippi State at Kentucky: Kentucky starting a freshman QB against a State team that has had an extra week to get ready. MSU 28, UK 17.
Boise State at Southern Miss: USM almost got Louisville; problem is Boise State is better than Louisville. Boise State, 38-27.
Arkansas at Auburn: Cheer up USM. Things could be worse. Witness John L. Smith. Auburn, 30-13.
LSU at Florida: My mind says Florida, because LSU has been playing poorly. BUT… LSU, under Les Miles, just has a knack for playing up or down to the competition. This week it’s up. LSU, 24-21.
Georgia at South Carolina: Great game here. Two good offenses, but South Carolina plays the better D. Gamecocks at home, 30-20.
Vanderbilt at Missouri: That was a good win for Missouri last week and they’ll get another this week. Mizzou, 31-17.
East Carolina at Central Florida: UCF looks like the best team in Conference USA from here. UCF, 37-24.
Virginia Tech at North Carolina: Gotta go with the Hokies, even on the road. 27-20, Tech.
West Virginia at Texas: West Virginia 117, Texas 114. Just kidding. But not much. Texas will win, 48-45.
Nebraska at Ohio State: Huskers are hard to figure and Columbus is a hard place to play. Ohio State 27-24.
Chargers at Saints: I’ll not pick the Saints to win again until they win for the first time. Chargers 41, Saints 34.