Each year as I get older it seems that the past year has gone faster than the one before. I am blessed to be able to see and spend time with family and friends while supporting Mississippi State, which I consider to be HOME on Earth. Each time I journey back to visit dear old State memories flood back. Friends in section 3 were a joy and meeting new friends while renewing friendships that have endured over a lifetime. It is also hard to look back and see home in the rearview mirror when the time to head back to life comes. Maybe I won’t have to do that much longer.
I hope you enjoy visiting with me for a few minutes. I also hope that you will feel free to comment and share memories. This is my last prediction story for this year. My sports season hits high gear in January so I will try to read and comment when time allows. I hope to see all of you again soon.
Now for the bowl season predictions:
12/ 27 Vanderbilt vs. Baylor
The Texas bowl matches up Vanderbilt and Baylor in the Bear’s backyard. Expect this to be a home game for the Bears because the Commodores don’t have a strong fan base that travels for football. Matt Rule’s Bears will simply head across a patch of woods to see what they can find in the trash cans in Houston. They will have a major sniffer absent with star receiver Jalen Hurd having surgery and opting to prep for the draft.
Derek Mason stands ready at the helm as his navy puts in to port at Houston. Captain Shurmur will sail passes in between the trash cans being ransacked by the Bears while the ground forces led by Ke’Shawn Vaughn will deliver the last of this year’s packages into “the zone” before any dang old Bear rummaging for food can stop the mail.
T-Dawg’s Winner: Vanderbilt 31 – 24
12/28 Purdue vs. Auburn
The Music City Bowl invited Gus to drive his bus up to Nashville where they will meet an up and coming group of Boilermakers. Jeff Brohm passed on offers after his second successful season leading Purdue. Offers that included Louisville which he is a graduate of. Brohm has an excited fan base and has put together a top 25 recruiting class. The current men of steel may not have the talent of Tigger but they will run through a wall for Coach Brohm.
Gus has the bus packed and checked the air in the tires for the trip north. Defections have started on the plains again this year including coaches. One thing is for sure when Gus is concerned and that is; YOU NEVER know if the egg Gus lays will be golden or just another egg. Don’t be surprised here because motivation is the key.
T-Dawg’s Winner: Purdue 31 – 28
12/29 #7 Michigan vs. #10 Florida
This year’s Peach Bowl could be called The “Overachiever versus Underachiever” Bowl. Mullenex rubbed his genie bottle all season long trying to get as much magic as he could to cover up for a lack of talented depth. During the down time Sweetness has been in his lab trying to program more into his hotdog, I mean quarterback Franks. The Gators couldn’t light it up very well against upper tier defenses and when Harbaugh’s Wolverines roll into Atlanta the Gators may not be able to get back to the swamp before the Wolverines make a 6-Pack Sack of Franks to go. “Meeshegan” will feel that they have something to prove.
T-Dawg’s Winner: Michigan 32 – 20
12/29 South Carolina vs. Virginia
Bronco’s horsemen couldn’t stay in the saddle in the last part of the season losing 3 of their last 4 including their last 2 games, each in heartbreaking fashion. The Cavaliers threw some shoes during that stretch but seem to have gotten everything nailed back on and healed up for the short ride down to Charlotte.
Muschamp’s yard-birds had to get their feathers preened and talons filed so they are ready to fly in the face of any charging horseman. Jake Bentley will try to use this bowl game as a launching pad for his senior season. It’s important that Will’s feathered friends show up and show out. After three seasons (6 – 7, 9 – 4, 7 – 5) the Gamecocks need a boost going into next season because the SEC East is heating the pot up while looking for a chicken to pluck and cook.
T-Dawg’s Winner: South Carolina 31 – 27
12/29 #1 Alabama vs. #4 Oklahoma
Boomer Sooner is riding high on the wagon after making the NCAA Playoff Series following winning the Red River Rivalry II. Then QB Kyler Murray wins the Heisman Trophy and with good reason. His stats are better than Tua’s in every category, which surprised even me.
Now that’s not going to please a lot of Alabama fans but stats don’t lie. The wagon driver out gunned Tua in the air and had over 4 times as many yards rushing, which speaks of his allusiveness and health. The curse of the Heisman has plagued QBs chasing a national Championship over the last 25 years (5 wins, 6 losses). Overall Heisman winners are 16 and 11 in bowl games after winning the award (1993 – 2017) so winning that trophy doesn’t equal monumental success.
Murray’s mowers up front (average 6’ 4” 315 lbs.) will all 5 be drafted this year. Nick Saban has had a month to do Crimson Tide rehab and they’ve had a belly full of Boomer Schooner. If the Pachyderms can keep Murray confined to the circled wagons things should bode well, if Murray gets loose often it could mean trouble.
T-Dawg’s Winner: Alabama 47 – 34
12/31 #23 Missouri vs. Oklahoma St.
Barry Odom’s Tigers took major steps this season and if Kelly Bryant does show up next season then who knows? The Mizzou defense became just that this year and shredded many an opponent with pressure. Gundy’s Cowboys couldn’t get a lasso on much down the stretch losing 5 of their last 7. Drew Lock will put on a show for the scouts here lighting up a porous Cowboy defense resulting in another missed locker room victory dance.
T-Dawg’s Winner: Missouri 42 – 28
12/31 N.C. State vs. #19 Texas A&M
The Wolfpack finished 3rd in the ACC Atlantic Division but the ACC isn’t the SEC. Doeren’s doers center on their All-ACC quarterback Ryan Finley who chunked the tater for 3400 yards and 21 TDs which could spell trouble for the Aggie secondary.
Kellen Mond grew up big time in the season ending OT win over LSU and having mountain man Kendrick Rogers to catch every duck that flew by didn’t hurt any either. Jimbo’s 12th man will be tough to overcome in this one. Jimbo is 5 – 3 against the Wolfpack. Make that 6 – 3.
T-Dawg’s Winner: 34 – 28
1/1 #11 LSU vs. #8 UCF
On the surface this appears to be just another bowl game where an SEC team should put a second level team in their place but not so fast my friends. “Big Baby O” couldn’t find a way to close out the season against a team they should have beaten. Coach O won’t be able to stop mumbling and stumbling until his Purple-People Eaters deliver a whopping on someone to make “bad thoughts” go away.
The Golden Knights believe they have been disrespected more than once. After ambushing another group of Tigers last year that showed their “Prelude to 2018” game-face the Knights now encounter more Tigers who show up in the desert unsure of their mastery. That is a thing of concern since they carry the honor of the SEC. “Baby O” needs to quit practicing Tongue Twisters with his therapist (http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=20534119) and start getting ready to play a walking vending machine. If the “Bayou Boyz” don’t find a way to dig deep and take down the “Tin Men” once and for all then we’ll have to listen to their bucket of rust yak every year.
T-Dawg’s Winner: LSU 32 – 24
1/1 #14 Kentucky vs. #12 Penn. St.
Colonel Stoop’s blue-grass band has a date to play on stage in Orlando New Year’s Day. The last time the Wildcats had a stage half this big they couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket and after hitting plenty of off-key notes the party was over.
James Franklin is still trying to wrap his mind around what an “Elite Program” is after being thumped by the Buckeyes who couldn’t make it into the playoffs. So, where does that leave the Black-shoe Army?
McSorley now holds the Penn. State records for rushing and passing touchdowns, passing yards, total offense and wins. The Nittany Lions look to send McSorley out with one more trophy against a lesser feline. Princess Nita-nee will be looking down from Mount Nittany leading “Hail to the Lion”. https://www.google.com/search?q=a+nittany+lion%3F&oq=a+nittany+lion%3F&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.6887j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
T-Dawg’s Winner: Penn. St. 31 – 20
1/1 #15 Texas vs. #5 Georgia
Our cousins over in Athens make their way to New Orleans to play in their 10th Sugar Bowl (4 – 5), which includes a bit of trivia. Georgia is the only team to have ever won a Sugar Bowl not held in New Orleans. Kirby will have all of his pups back from the vet clinic and ready to go. You can count on the Dog Pound being ready to get out of the pen to chase down some stray cattle.
Kirby has promised his hungry hounds that if they bring in the beef then he will cook plenty of steaks afterwards. Well Kirby, go ahead and fire up the grill to some tender pounded steak.
T-Dawg’s Winner: Georgia 37 – 20
1/1 Miss. State vs. Iowa
Iowa will fly down to Tampa in search of some tasty treats after a long flight to escape a brutal winter coming. The Dawg Nation brings a lot of pride in what is considered our best defense in memory and accolades rolling in for several members of that defense. Don’t snooze on Iowa though! The Dawgs have the 4th ranked total defense yielding 12 pts./ game but the Hawkeyes have the 6th ranked total defense and yield an average of only 17 pts./ game.
The offenses for Iowa and State are also closely matched (72nd and 79th) but perhaps the key comes in the rushing attacks of each team (Miss. St. 23rd, Iowa 78th). Both teams have a lot to play for with all expected draft picks playing. I would like to think that Nick Fitzgerald can have a memorable going away party. If Moorhead gets this group of seniors to put a complete game together there will be hawk feathers littering the field.
T-Dawg’s Winner: Miss. State 27 – 13
I enjoy writing this series for my Dawg brethren and other friends. I know some may not always (or ever) agree but I always try to use this forum to help people laugh a little. I never mean to be harsh in a criticism or push the limit too far. I love college football and consider it the best form of entertainment we have. I hope everyone gets out and visits their schools and supports them with pride, passion and dollars.
This is just a game though. Life is about much more and the season we are in should remind us that we have a duty to respect and love others. Most of all we should live our lives in a way that honors our Savior. Share family time and share the stories of the older relatives. The memories of our families live through the stories that are told in holiday gatherings.
May you be blessed and safe during this holiday season.