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Monday, February 06, 2023

Listen, my children, and you shall hear of the midnight theft of Gators fans’ tears.

It has been a week since both of our picks of Kentucky over Florida were proven correct. We feel like we have to gloat a little since we were the only two to pick the Wildcats even after the “experts” at the Associated Press, the Orlando Sentinel and the Gainesville Sun chose otherwise.

But there’s no time like the present. This week, we’ve got another battle between a multi-island state and a service academy. Long-time readers will note that we — Alanis and Mark — debated over Hawaii and Navy a couple of weeks ago and, as per usual, Alanis won. And my, how the turns have tabled.

Before we meet our shortsighted competitors for this season, writers Alanis Thames and Mark Stine will debate the highly anticipated matchup between Hawaii and Army.


Hawaii (+6) will win because…

The Rainbow Warriors have proven to have one of the nation’s most lethal passing attacks.

Even though they’ll be playing in West Point with a six-hour time difference from Honolulu, Army won’t be able to slow down sophomore quarterback Cole McDonald.

The Black Knights of the Hudson allowed 307 yards through the air last week… to Liberty. Its defense against the pass is ranked 93rd in the nation, and on first down opposing quarterbacks have completed over 70 percent of their passes for 345 yards.

Now Army gets to face McDonald, who averages 388.3 yards per game (3rd in FBS) and leads the country in passing touchdowns (13). Even though he has played one more game than most quarterbacks, if you take away his four scoring strikes against Rice last week, he’d still be tied for touchdown lead in the FBS.

McDonald also has two speedy receivers: juniors John Ursua and Cedric Boyd. Both average over eight receptions per game and together have amassed 10 touchdowns (five each).

It’ll be a long day of watching the ball float through the air for the Black Knights.

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- Mark Stine


Army (-6) will win because…

The Black Knights aren’t the ones who will have to adjust to a six-hour time difference for this game.

The contest is set to start at noon eastern time in New York, which is 6 a.m. Hawaii time. Army will be poised and well-rested come time for kickoff while the Rainbow Warriors drag their bodies onto the field with drooping eyelids and lagging feet. Oh well.

But even without time on its side, Army is pretty good.

The Black Knights finished 10-2 last year compared to the Rainbow Warriors' 3-9 season last year.

Army also has a quarterback in Kevin Hopkins Jr. who has actually thrived in the triple option offense. The freshman went 10-of-21 for 197 yards in his starting debut against Duke and added 37 rushing yards on 16 carries.

But he may not even have to throw against the Rainbow Warriors’ defense.

Hawaii is averaging 5.2 yards allowed per carry, and Army’s ground attack amassed 450 yards last week in the win against Liberty last week.

It’s clearly expected that the Rainbow Warriors’ high-powered offense will put up points, but that means nothing if they can’t stop the other team from doing the same.

Count this one a win for the Black Knights.


- Alanis Thames


Now onto the picks!


In first, at 12-4, is the Alligator’s Alanis “Superior column name” Thames, who somehow wooed UF J-school Master Lecturer Mike Foley with her “Lost City of Alanis” column. We know she thinks she’s pretty high and mighty right now since Foley hasn’t liked a column name in decades. Laugh it up, Thames.


Next, at 10-6, is the AP’s Mark “Get off your frickin’ phones” Long, who yelled at alligatorSports writer Jake Dreilinger for being on his phone after Mullen’s Monday press conference. Mind your own business, Jake was just looking to see how long Mullen spoke for. Just because you don’t know how to work yours doesn’t mean you should take it out on the rest of us.


In a tie for third at 9-7 is the Gainesville Sun’s Graham “Hot dog jokes” Hall. Graham used some of his valuable time in an exclusive Ben Hill Griffin press box seat to wax poetic about how funny hot dogs can be during the Kentucky game. Hey Graham, the game is on the field. It’s happening in front of you. You know what isn’t happening? Your hot dog puns.


Also at 9-7 is the Alligator’s Morgan “I’m too tired for class” McMullen, who left his triple-block class after intermission Wednesday to go home and nap. Joke’s on you Morgan, it was the first class the professor ended early this semester.


The third person tied for third, at 9-7, is the Alligator’s Mark “Smoked Meat” Stine, who has developed his affinity for a grilling pastime in conjunction with safeties coach Ron English. It’s yet another step in Mark’s ultimate transformation into a 65-year-old divorced retiree. Have fun hitting the links between child-support payments, bud.


In a tie for sixth, at 8-8, is the Alligator’s Jake “I’ll hop on later” Dreilinger. Jake is part of some fraternity. We’re not sure about the specifics, but it’s apparently very social, since he’s never available to check stories before we post them. Good job losing $20 in a Melee game while the other editors worked, you jerk.


Also at 8-8 is the Orlando Sentinel’s Edgar “I wear a vest in 95-degree heat” Thompson. Edgar, you were definitely prepared for Dan Mullen’s chilly press conference. It might have worked at protecting you from Feleipe Franks’ cold demeanor on both Saturday and Monday, but it wasn’t enough to protect you from the heat waiting outside for post-practice interviews.


And finally, in dead last, at 7-9, is GatorCountry’s Nick “Crazy Magnet” de la Torre. Nick somehow invites heated debate to his Twitter feed, no matter what he puts out. Wanna talk about Feleipe Franks? Hope you’re in for every freezing cold take at once. At least nobody accused him of cheering in the press bo… never mind.


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