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Going for the Gold

Survival is the name of the game now

NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Coaches Press Conference John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Every year when the first College Football Playoff rankings for the year come out, I am reminded of the time when the FIRST ever ranking came out and who sat at No. 1. It was Mississippi State! No matter what happens…EVER… one can take that away from Mississippi State.

There are NO unimportant games remaining. Each game has potential bearing on who makes it to Atlanta, who makes the playoffs, what level of bowl is attained and possibly what coaches survive for another year. I think that is why we all stay engaged with college football no matter what success our team is having.

Vanderbilt @ No. 10 Florida: Derek Mason will take his Commodores down to the “Swamp” to see what kind of mood the big lizards are in after getting their tails clipped by Kirby’s Dogs. Mason and his navy bet everything they had on plucking the feathers off the Gamecocks, but instead saw their battleship sank like a rock in Columbia, South Carolina. The Commodores are down to their backup, backup quarterback and will try to navigate the Swamp in row boats.

Mullenex let opportunity slip through his hands once again. Old habits are hard to break even if the surroundings are different. The Gators must get back in the water and get after Mason’s rowboats from the get-go if they want to play New Year’s Day. If the Florida Gators want to win out, they will need solid quarterback play. Mullenex has discovered if he needs that then, “ask Trask.”

T-Dawg’s Winner: Florida 40-17

Western Kentucky @ Arkansas: The Hilltoppers ride into Fayetteville, Arkansas, fully expecting to capitalize on pigs that simply cannot seem to find a mud puddle they like to wallow in. First-year coach Tyson Helton (brother of USC coach Clay Helton) has the Hilltoppers in position to become bowl eligible and doesn’t plan to let no dirty Hog stand in the way.

Chad Morris has given everyone a shot at quarterback except the cheerleaders, and that may happen this week. The Razorbacks tried to keep up with the Dawgs last week, but mostly looked like a pig rolling in the mud. When I was growing up, we always found that old momma pig preferred life in the bottomland instead of the hilltop. It’s tough for a pig to be “king of the hill.” Woooo! Pig Sooie! Calls grow ever weaker.

T-Dawg’s Winner: Western Kentucky 28-24

No. 1 LSU @ No. 2 Alabama: Big Baby “O” brings his Bengal Tigers to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with visions of the playoffs dancing in his head. Having Joe Burrow as the Tiger king has made Orgeron grin from ear to ear, and that is a long way. Burrow’s motor is purring like a tiger after a meal. He should remember pachyderms look after their own and taking one down is a real struggle.

You know that Tua and his teammates haven’t taken kindly to being pushed from the top of the rankings while not even playing. Everything has run along “purr-fectly” for Joe this year, and Tua knows this is his chance to step on a Tiger. Everyone expects this to be a contest of gunslingers, but Saban knows that defense wins big games and his youngsters are ready to step it up.

T-Dawg’s Winner: Alabama 38-34

New Mexico St. @ TSUN: The Aggies have been tortured and whopped about every way possible this season, and being ranked third in the “Bottom 10” about says all that needs to be said when you’re 0–8. About the only way the Aggies are going to find a win this year is for it to fall on them.

The We-bels hunt down on the plains of Auburn, Alabama didn’t quite get the intended results. Now Luke’s boys have two chances to go bowling this year, none and zilch. When a We-bel finds potential roadkill, they grab it and run. It will seem like roadkill is laying everywhere. The only thing that slows down Luke this week is laughing so hard at how bad the Aggies are.

T-Dawg’s Winner: TSUN 49–21

Missouri @ No. 6 Georgia: Barry Odom’s Tigers have been very erratic this year. The felines have pretty much used up their nine lives, and with Bryant out this week with a bad hamstring, they won’t have much of a chance to reach a tree before they get bit. A season that recently was very promising has suddenly turned into a heavily used litter box.

Kirby will have his Dawgs, hungover from the “Cocktail Party” last weekend, cured before Missouri hits town. The next three weeks are his chance to regain status in the committee’s eyes. Expect Kirby’s boys to have fire in their eye and drool from their mouth when Mizzou unloads the bus at Sanford Stadium. The Cats will bow their back and their hair will stand straight up before they run for the hedges.

T-Dawg’s Winner: Georgia 38-14

Appalachian St. @ South Carolina: The Mountaineers come down to Columbia, South Carolina, extremely mad after seeing their undefeated season stolen away last week. They are looking for some chickens to put in the pot for supper, and Columbia seems to be a good place to grab a few. The Mountaineers have never been anyone’s whipping boy and this weekend won’t be any different.

A month ago, Will Muschamp became the toast of the town and the new “Wonder-Boy.” That was then and this is now. The pickup ride could be about over for Muschamp. He’s in a hurry to get all the hens back in the house before the losses become too much and he goes out of business. The warning lights become bright red this weekend.

T-Dawg’s Winner: Appalachian State 30-23

Tennessee @ Kentucky: Jeremy Pruitt seems to have gotten the Volunteer army to a little higher level recently. The Volunteers haven’t gotten out on the road much this year. but when they did, it wasn’t pretty. Now comes another trip, this time up to Lexington, Kentucky. If Pruitt isn’t careful, they may fall on their face in the bluegrass.

Mark Stoops has been trying to get the pieces put back together after injuries shattered the offense. Seemingly, having his star receiver play quarterback is working out, to a point at least. The Mild-Cats are shuffling their cards and plan to do what it takes when the Volunteers show up even if running a bluff is necessary.

T-Dawg’s Winner: Kentucky 27–20

Whoever your team is, support them and believe in them. They may not always meet your expectations, but if you have an investment of time, education and bucks in them, stay loyal.

Out of curiosity, how many coaching changes do you see coming? Numbers only. No names or schools. Myself, I see three. These are just opinions, and we all have them, just like names.

Hail State!