Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Weekend Predictions: Bulldogs avoid gravity storm, but spread is too fat


Before we get to this week's financial forecast, which is only slightly flawed when we assume the natural order of things like Florida State not losing to Boston College 35-3 -- but forgive Jimbo Fisher because B.C. coach Steve Addazio has the huge advantage of getting all the best players out of Gloucester, assuming he doesn't suffer brain freeze or sardine poisoning during recruiting trips -- let's focus on an important lesson in sports: gravity.

Georgia is No. 1. It debuted at top of this week's college football playoff rankings.

Fans are taking this in stride.

There have been only 723,564 reported cases of altitude sickness.

In the past 24 hours.

Al, in one of his lighter moments.

Gravity is best defined by Merriam-Webster's dictionary, which states: "... a fundamental physical force that is responsible for interactions which occur because of mass between particles, between aggregations of matter (such as stars and planets), and between particles (such as photons) and aggregations of matter, that is 10 times the strength of the strong force, and that extends over infinite distances but is dominant over macroscopic distances especially between aggregations of matter   called also gravitationgravitational force ..."

This is further evidence why, despite selling, like, billions and billions of copies, the dictionary has never been made into a movie.

Albert Einstein, who came up with the theory of relativity -- kicker -- would give Georgia horrible pregame pep talks now because they would go something like, "You're going to lose. I mean, you know you're going to lose at some point, right? It's inevitable because ..." And then he'd get stuffed into the laundry cart and pushed down the stairs while everybody yelled, "GRAVITY!!!"

Where was I?

Oh, yes. This week, Georgia (8-0) meets South Carolina (nobody cares).  The Bulldogs are favored by 24½ points. You'd think they were playing a middle school. Or Florida State.

The Dogs are going to win. But 24½ points?

Georgia is sort of due for a, "They won, but ..." performance. And they will have been sitting on a pedestal for a few days, being fanned and fawned at and fed grapes. And it is the week before the Auburn game. And there are only so many times Kirby Smart can borrow from his mind-game mentor, Nick Saban, and yell, "POISON! POISON!" because at some point it's probably not going to work.

Too much noise. Too much candy on the odds board. Too much potential for a gravity storm.

Georgia wins, but give me South Carolina and 24½.

Felix assumes nothing

Road Trip

Georgia Tech at Virginia: The Jackets are 0-3 against ranked teams this season. Fortunately, that’s never a factor against Virginia. Jackets cover 9½.

Florida at Missouri: Steve Spurrier kicked Jim McElwain on the way out the door in Gainesville: “The offense has been so bad.” Now that’s class, especially coming from a guy who went 3-9 in the SEC in his last two seasons and then walked out on his players, the school and fans. Look in the mirror, Sparky. I’m sure there’s a dozen or so on your coffee table. Mizzou covers 3½.

When last we saw Spurrier in South Carolina

LSU at Alabama: The Tide, presumed to be the best team, was ranked second in first college playoff poll. This is Nick Saban nirvana. Bama covers 1,000. (Or 21.)

Syracuse at Florida State: The Seminoles (2-5) are so desperate to avoid not going to a bowl game for the first time since 1981 that they’re considering rescheduling the previously canceled Louisiana-Monroe game for conference title week (Dec. 2). Independence Bowl officials have never felt so loved. FSU covers 4½.

Jon Gruden was just asked about the Tennessee job.

Southern Miss at Tennessee: The Volunteers played a concussed player for more than two quarters last week, they’re 0-5 in the SEC, their only wins since the season opener have come over Indiana State and UMass (2-14 combined) and Butch Jones’ leadership mentoring has gone so well that one player gave fans the double-barrel middle-finger salute and another kicked his teammate in the face in practice. But Tennessee still thinks they can get Jon Gruden. Or maybe Lombardi. Or The Easter Bunny. Vols cover 6½.

Auburn at Texas A&M: Did you know Johnny Manziel was the last Cleveland Browns quarterback to win a football game on a Sunday (Dec. 13, 2015)? Sorry. I couldn’t find anything else remotely interesting about A&M. Tigers win, but take the Aggies and 15.

Hello, Hurricanes.

Clemson at N.C. State: This calendar in Raleigh turns to basketball season after this one. Tigers cover 7.

Virginia Tech at Miami: The Hurricanes are unbeaten but play their first ranked opponents (Virginia Tech, Notre Dame) in the next two weeks. Market correction coming. Hokies cover 2½ on the road.

Georgia State at Georgia Southern: The Panthers’ next two games come against two teams (Georgia Southern, Texas State) that are a combined 2-13. Bowl eligibility is being served on a silver platter. Panthers cover 4.

NFL Six Pack

(Drank one)

Falcons at Panthers: Cam Newton, who ranks first in the NFL in interceptions, pouting and stomping his feet and holding his breath until he passes out, was given a reason for another tantrum this week when Carolina traded his best receiver and close friend Kelvin Benjamin. “Some things you will never understand!” he vented on Instagram. In his defense, he could’ve been talking about defensive coverages. Take the gift 1, but Falcons win straight up.

If Cam Newton led a marching band

Bucs at Saints: Tampa Bay, thought to be a team on the rise, has lost four consecutive and five out of six. New Orleans, thought to be old and slow, has won five consecutive. And Las Vegas chortles. Saints win, but take Bucs and 7.

Chiefs at Cowboys: This week from Jerry Jones on Ezekiel Elliott: “Zeke has in no way by any standard in this country done anything wrong.” And if you can trust anyone, it’s an NFL owner with the moral compass of a rhinoceros. Kansas City wins a pick ‘em.

Kyle Shanahan will get his first win Sunday.

Cardinals at 49ers: Kyle Shanahan: This is your Bar Mitzvah. Take the 1½, but 49ers get their first win in an upset.

Broncos at Eagles: Carson Wentz has thrown 19 touchdown passes. The entire Broncos’ offense has scored 13. Check? Eagles win and cover 9.

Toteboard

"There are many harsh lessons to be learned from the gambling experience, but the harshest one of all is the difference between having fun and being smart." -- Hunter S. Thompson

Last week: 12-2 straight up, 6-7-1 against the spread.

Through eight weeks: 94-27 straight up, 62-56-1 against the spread.

Lilly's pick:  Lilly's on a roll and has raised her record to 6-2. This week, her choices were cheese'd pictures of Matt Ryan and Cam Newton, Lilly went left to Ryan. Falcons win.

Lilly The Greek goes with Matt Ryan (Falcons) over Cam Newton (Panthers) this week. She's 6-2.

EAR-CANDY ALERT: Fresh "We Never Played The Game" podcast with Ric "Nature Boy" Flair. He was a blast. Go here to AJC.com/sports-podcasts/#weneverplayedthegame_tab.

Subscribe to the,We Never Played The Game” podcast with the AJC's Jeff Schultz and WSB’s Zach Klein on iTunes or on the new AJC sports podcasts page.

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.