The Sports Daily > The Belly of the Beast
Double Your Paycheck Picks Week 12


I was talking with a friend via the sorcery of text messaging last night (BECAUSE WHY HAVE A CONVERSATION WHERE I'M REQUIRED TO STRING TOGETHER THOUGHTS ON THE SPOT), and he told me that a woman called Nick Saban's radio call-in show and told Saban that if he ever left, he'd have to scrape her off the front of the moving truck.

This, of course, makes total sense because ROLL TIDE.  But it did get me thinking about what would happen if he actually did leave Alabama.

As much as I want losses on losses for Alabama, part of me would hate to see him go because I enjoy having a seat down front to his ways of grinding up team after team that Alabama plays.  It's incredible to watch in that the consistency of said grinding remains so steady.

And then there are the interactions with the media and a group of fans that have made "batshit crazy" an insufficient label for them.  Those relationships are probably my favorite part about the Nick Saban era in Tuscaloosa, and I'd be a little depressed if that source of entertainment was no longer available.  Well, right up until Alabama losses to Louisiana-Monroe again, then that joy would crush all forms of depression.

But we can safely assume that the reaction in Alabama would be a LITTLE MORE THAN INTENSE.  For the first few days after he left, a functioning society would be on its knees.  Basic municipal services would shut down, people would be wandering the streets in search of an answer to life, the Internet would melt, and, of course, Saban's house (including the lake house) would be sacked and burned.

Best of all, Finebaum would be the greatest time of our lives.  I'd need it injected directly into my veins.

Last week:  4-2 (.667)
Season:  33-43-2 (.423)

Troy at Ole Miss (-28)
One thing that seems to be consistent in the Hugh Freeze era at Ole Miss is that no craps are initially given when we play a team we should beat by 40 points.  The Southeast Missouri game and the first half of the Idaho game being the examples this season.

At some point in all of these games against not good teams, Ole Miss wakes up for a stretch and buries the inferior team, then goes back to sleep.  Nothing wrong with that approach because these teams are just that bad.

But for our purposes here, it makes spreads like this unfun to think about.  Ole Miss should dominate, but I forsee a nasty backdoor cover just waiting to happen.

Troy and the points.

Kentucky at Vanderbilt (-12.5)
Vanderbilt bowl eligibility watch!  The Commodores only need one win out of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Wake Forest to be eligible to present themselves before bowl selection people.

They should get it here, but the question the people want to know is can they scrape together enough offense to cover.  In the last three games with Patton Robinette at quarterback, the Vandy offense has put up 329, 337, and 183 yards of total offense (and went 2-1!).

Not an inspiring group, but they do face a Kentucky defense that enjoys giving up yards and points.  Maybe I'm overlooking the possibility of some JP game magic, but I believe in the Vandy offense way more than the Kentucky defense, so I'll take them to cover.

Georgia at Auburn (-3.5)
And now comes the portion of the Auburn season where Nick Marshall will have to throw much more than Gus Malzahn and friends want.  Georgia, while not having a great defense, is certainly better than what Auburn has seen since the Ole Miss game (Ole Miss is the best defense Auburn has seen in their six-game winning streak).

The good news for Auburn is that they're very good at what they do, and teams that have competent offenses have been able to run on Georgia.  Clemson (197), South Carolina (226), and Missouri (142) all had success on the ground and scored 38, 30, and 41 points, respectively.

Auburn will need to have similar numbers because its defense is still recovering from Ted Roof Syndrome.  Georgia should be able to move the ball and score in the 30s, which will put pressure on Auburn's offense, particularly Nick Marshall if they struggle to develop the run.

Last year, Nick Marshall threw 20 interceptions in junior college.  After watching Jevan Snead for two years, I find it hard to believe that problem has suddenly disappeared.

Based on his 15.9 pass attempts per game, it's a problem that is being successfully hidden because of how good Auburn has been at running the ball.  This week, I think it's forced out of hiding and many fine Auburn men will get tears on their orange blazers, and Stan White will openly weep on Auburn radio.

Georgia and the points.

Florida at South Carolina (-12.5)
Will Muschamp said that Tyler Murphy is likely out for this game, which means Skyler Mornhinweg of NCAA '14 name-generator will get the start.

Go Gators.

South Carolina to cover.

Alabama (-23.5) at Mississippi State
I know sack yards are counted in a quarterback's rushing total, but Tyler Russell has carried 18 times for 6 yards in 2013.  That's slightly up from his 2012 effort, which saw him have 43 rushes for -5 yards.

Despite these numbers and that he'll be facing an Alabama run defense, Dan Mullen and Les Koenning won't be able to help themselves, and at some point in the game will call a play in which Russell will either have to or have the option to use his legs to get yards.

It will not go well and Mississippi State fans will shout and shake their fists at the sky.  No sense has been made as to why Mullen and Koenning can't quit Tyler Russell running plays, but it is one of my favorite moments in a State game, mostly due to the ALL CAPS Twitter shouting that erupts.

And if Dak Prescott is hurt worse than Mississippi State is letting on, we'll get to see even more of it!  Godspeed, sanity of State fans.

Alabama to cover.