Posted: 2:15 pm Thursday, August 28th, 2014
By Jeff Schultz
Against the backdrop of a USC player making up a story about jumping out of a window to save his drowning cousin (a Bobby Petrino starter kit), four North Carolina players suspended for undisclosed reasons (oh look, a teammate was beaten senseless. How’d that happen?) and the Heisman Trophy winner shoplifting crab legs because, well, THESE SCHOLARSHIP ATHLETES ARE STARVING!!! ….
Hello. I am back.
You know how this works. Every week, I give you the winners. It’s your job to find them.
If I went 17-0 every week, it would make it too easy for competing investment services like Charles Schwab, Morgan Stanley and the Cobb County firm of Tim Lee Off-The-Books-And-Back-In-A-Broom-Closet Investments, Catfish, Kickbacks and Such to steal my trade secrets. I’d rather they just make it up as they go along, like USC’s Josh Shaw, who went from super hero to knucklehead in 24 hours. Shaw, who showed up at practice with two sprained ankles, actually injured himself jumping out of somebody’s window. In the old days that wouldn’t have happened because Pete Carroll would’ve been providing the house rent free and he could’ve just used the front door.
Anyway, back to me. I went 141-33-1 straight up last season and 99-71-5 against the line. In short, I’m awesome. But you’re going to find some “losses” here and there to throw off the competition. However, if you mail me $25, I’ll provide you with the Weekend Predictions Codebook so you can tell the “bad” predictions from the real ones.
This week, Georgia opens against Clemson. A lot has changed in Athens, mostly on defense, where coordinator Jeremy Pruitt was brought in to improve a unit that under Todd Grantham too often looked like a fire ant hill that had just been kicked. Pruitt’s players are young and green. That would be an issue if Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins were still on campus at Clemson. They’re not.
Georgia controls this game with Todd Gurley, the offensive line and a Aaron Murray’s better-than-average replacement, Hutson Mason.
Game 1. Win 1. Dogs cover 7½
Josh Shaw on the talkshow circuit
* * * THURSDAY WEB-ONLY SPECIAL * * *
Texas A&M at South Carolina: It would’ve been fun to see Steve Spurrier vs. Johnny Manziel. Sort of a meeting of the Narcissist Mutual Admiration Society. Somehow I get the feeling this season is not going to go as well as either one expects, but significantly better for Spurrier in Columbia than party boy in Cleveland. Gamecocks cover 10½.
(Buy three games and win a copy of Josh Shaw’s autobiography, “How I Cured Typhoid In A Previous Life With Three Items In My Pantry. Then I Went Swimming.”
Wofford at Georgia Tech: The Jackets have won their first six home openers under Paul Johnson by a combined score 311-65. That happens when you schedule Jacksonville State, Western Carolina, Presbyterian, Elon, the Boys from Fire Hall 17 and leftover bodyparts from a Wes Craven movie. You know, you can’t spell sacrifice without FCS. Tech covers 29½.
Liberty at North Carolina: Fun times at UNC. Four defensive backs have been suspended for “violation of team policy.” Coincidentally, there’s an investigation over an alleged hazing incident that left a walk-on wide receiver with a concussion. Fortunately, tutors write papers for UNC athletes anyway so concussions shouldn’t be an issue. Heels cover 31½.
Oklahoma State at Florida State: Did Winston just misunderstand the concept of a buy-one-get-one-free sale? Seminoles cover 18½.
Jameis cuts left, cuts right!
As always, Tallahassee police are on the case!
Arkansas at Auburn: Coach Gus Malzahn said quarterback Nick Marshall won’t start because of a marijuana arrest but he will play, either right after he finishes that 30-pound bag of Cheetos or if Arkansas takes a lead. Auburn wins but take Arkansas and 20½.
Alabama vs. West Virginia (Georgia Dome): Alabama linebacker Trey DePriest was suspended for a “minor NCAA violation,” which means Nick Saban has to start one of the 57 high school All-Americans he has on the bench. West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen would swim with leeches for just one. Bammy covers 26½.
Miami at Louisville: Bobby Petrino and Todd Grantham say there’s no truth to the report that they already hate each others, and when Petrino and Grantham say something you can take it to the bank, assuming the bank is in Bolivia. Free spiritual cleansings to the first 5,000 fans. Louisville covers 3½.
Louisville brings Petrino back from the Underworld
LSU vs. Wisconsin: Les Miles on which of his two quarterbacks, Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris, will start: “We’re going to send them both out there. They’ll each stand behind a guard and when we’re ready, one will step behind the center and the other will go in motion.” You know, if it was any other coach, I’d think he was joking. Tigers cover 5.
Georgia Southern at N.C. State: The Eagles have stepped up to FBS. The alphabet jury is still out on N.C. State. Wolfpack wins but take GSU and 21.
Idaho at Florida: Speaking of Georgia Southern, Will Muschamp has this nervous tick he can’t get rid of. Gators cover 36½.
UCLA at Virginia: UCLA is the hip favorite to win the Pacific 12. They’re my hip favorite to faceplant. Bruins win but take Virginia and 21.
Utah State at Tennessee: The Vols are 14-34 in the SEC in the last six years. Butch Jones says he loves their future. Yeah, good marketing strategy. Tennessee covers 6.
“If you must play, decide upon three things at the start: The rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time.” — Chinese proverb
Last season (bow to me): 141-33-1 straight up, 99-71-5 against the line.
Sack Schultz time: Enter for a chance to win a $2,500 smoker/grill, Kroger gift cards and iPad and more. Weekly prizes too! Just pick 15 games per week (no point spreads) better than the competition. Go to AJC.com/go/sackschultz2014.
Lilly’s Pick: I would like to retire her because she’s getting obnoxious (where does that come from?) but it seems she has a following. I cheese’d pictures of Uga (left) and a lame stuffed Tiger (right). SHOCKER! Lilly goes right. Clemson wins.
About the Author
Sports blogger and columnist Jeff Schultz has been with the Atlanta-Journal-Constitution since 1989. He has been honored several times by the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE), National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA) and several other organizations.