Jeff Schultz

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

Weekend Predictions: NCAA over Ole Miss but Ole Miss over Dogs


Before getting to this week's game between Georgia and the next football program to be dropped into the NCAA Tub of Leeches, Weekend Predictions Investments and Assorted Googled Obscure History References would like to remind you:

It was 64 years ago Friday when Richard Nixon gave his "Checkers" speech. For those of you who slept through U.S. history: Nixon, then only a shady vice presidential candidate who hadn't yet fully blossomed into a corrupt president, was accused of financial improprieties related to a trust fund allegedly set up to reimburse him for political expenses, and maybe Milkbones.

Checkers and Richard Nixon, reading Weekend Predictions in 1952.

He denied wrongdoing in a speech but admitted receiving one gift: "Checkers," his dog. And damn't, "I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we're gonna keep it."

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze should remember this strategy.

The NCAA has been investigating Mississippi for everything except impersonating a post-Civil War campus. Academic fraud, out-of-control boosters, players driving loaner cars, parents staying in free hotel rooms, embarrassing a nation when Laremy Tunsil looked like a 320-pound, Dorito-eating, gasmask-wearing, bong-sucking Spicoli on NFL draft night.

When the NCAA swings the sledgehammer, Freeze can respond, "Fine! But we're keeping the dog!"

Freeze has labeled the NCAA's investigation "a four-year colonoscopy."

Nice visual, particular this season. The Rebels have lost to Florida State and Alabama, and now play Georgia. Freshman Jacob Eason helped the Bulldogs pull out a win at Missouri. But if it was that hard at Missouri, what's the foreshadowing in Oxford?

Mississippi is playing with a headache. But not leg chains. Yet.

Chad Kelly vs. Georgia's defense: bad match-up. Bad timing. Bad game. Mississippi covers 7.

Celebrity review of Jacob Eason's last TD since Kirby Smart limits player interviews

Sack Schultz 2016

Week 3 update:  I went 12-3 last week and climbed from 144th place to 55th. Look out, suckers. Last week's winners were Doyle Albea of Winder and Bob Boyles of Phoenix, who each went 14-1. Still plenty of time to enter for a chance to win the weekly prizes and also the grand prizes: tickets to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and/or a $2,500 Apple Vacation. Go to MyAJC.com/go/sackschultz2016 to register.  For more info click here.

Thursday Web-Only Special

The Swiss Army defense has multiple looks.

Clemson at Georgia Tech: Welcome to the game that makes you, "Hmmm." Paul Johnson is 5-4 vs. Dabo Swinney and 3-0 at home, which is pretty good when you compare rosters and the Jackets are closer to the Swiss Army fighting with the fold-out corkscrew. So tempted to push the button on an upset here but I'm just not digging Corkscrews vs. Deshaun Watson and the Clemson offense: Tigers win but take the Jackets and 9½.

College Daze

The winning trophy for the LSU-Auburn game. Or is it the losing trophy?

Burnin' Butt Bowl: Welcome to the SEC, the only conference in the nation where you can have a game between two heads coaches (LSU's Les Miles, Auburn's Gus Malzahn) who've combined for three conference titles, three national title game appearance and one national championship and neither one is as popular as  ... Bobby Petrino? Wait, who's that shadowy figure behind the airplane hangar? To the knucklehead who started the GoFundMe page for Malzahn's buyout: Please. No more sucking on paint chips. LSU covers 3.

Florida at Tennessee: This series isn't the same without Steve Spurrier pulling Phil Fulmer's shirt over his head and stuffing him into a locker (big locker) and mocking, "You can't spell Citrus without U-T." Or, "I know why Peyton came back for his senior year. He wanted to be a three-time star of the Citrus Bowl." Or, "This will be the 14th time I’ve coached in Neyland Stadium. I’ve coached there more than some of their head coaches.” A new day: Vols cover 6½.

South Carolina at Kentucky: The Gamecocks are 2-8 in SEC games since 2015, both wins coming over Vanderbilt. Steve Spurrier trainwrecked the program before ducking out the back door but he can't hear your complaints: He's got his feet up in Florida and drinking something out of a smoking coconut in Florida. Cats cover 2.

Will Muschamp arrives in Columbia -- or Bolivia

Florida State at South Florida: Biggest shock last week wasn't FSU getting blown out at Louisville but Jimbo Fisher for not leaving at halftime and driving to Baton Rouge. Seminoles cover 5.

Pros and Protesters

Matt Ryan's playbook can fit into a fortune cookie.

Falcons at Saints:  The Falcons are banged up on defense, have little pass rush and they're about to go against Drew Brees, who hasn't thrown an interception in 268 straight passes and is 15-6 all-time against the Falcons with over 6,400 yards and 38 touchdowns. Which is why I'm here to say: They'll win anyway. Because the Saints' defense is even worse. Take the gift 3, Falcons in an upset.

Vikings at Panthers: Minnesota has already lost its starting quarterback (Teddy Bridgewater), starting running back (Adrian Peterson) and starting left tackle (Matt Kalil). Fortunately, the team is showing no signs of typhoid, scurvy, Bubonic plague, flesh-eating viruses or severe lactose intolerance and in the words of team physician Dr. Black Knight, "It's only a flesh wound. I'm invincible!" This won't end well. Carolina covers 7.

Sorry, this never gets old to me

Bears at Cowboys: Before Chicago fans get too excited about Jay Cutler being injured, they should know their team is now being quarterbacked by Brian Hoyer, who was cut by Cleveland and was held in such low regard by Houston that he was dumped after a playoff run. I'm with Dak. Dallas covers 7.

Redskins at Giants: Dan Snyder is drawn to bad free agents like a Labrador to old leftovers in the garbage. But he was smart enough to avoid committing long-term to Kirk Cousins. Cousins in the red zone last year: 22 touchdowns, 0 interceptions. 113.5 rating. So far this year: one TD, two picks, 19.6 rating. Next year: Browns. Giants cover 5.

49ers at Seahawks: Seattle's offense has produced one touchdown in two games. Chip Kelly spits on your playbook. Seahawks win but take the 49ers and nine.

Steelers at Eagles: A Philly cheesesteak place announced it will give free cheesesteak sandwiches to everybody if the Eagles win the Super Bowl. Hey, I'll give everybody two cheesesteaks. And fries. And a house. Pittsburgh covers 3½ on the road.

John Oliver (in recent riff on charter schools) clearly not a fan of cheesesteaks, Eagles' fans

P&L Statement

profitlossriskdecisionoutcomelg

"A pack of cards is the devil's prayer book." -- German proverb

Last week: 13-3 straight up, 9-7 against the line.

Week 3 totes: 30-9 straight up, 20-17-2 against the line.

Lock of the week: Master.

Lilly's pick: The mutt is 2-1 after last week's plunge on Georgia. This week, it's Georgia vs. Ole Miss. Kirby Smart on left. Hugh Freeze on the right. Cheese balls on both foreheads. Lilly goes left. Upset. Georgia wins.

Lilly is going with the upset: Georgia over Ole Miss. (Jeff Schultz / jschultz@ajc.com)

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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.