Good news for those of you who haven’t gotten over your intoxication of Florida’s win against LSU: Our weekly picks column is both sobering and unmistakably dry today.
We never thought we’d say this, but it’s good to be back in Gainesville.
Texas is back, Penn State let Ohio State off the hook, and Miami nearly lost to FSU. Yes, we’re in the worst timeline.
Before we meet our competitors, football beat writer Alanis Thames and sports editor Morgan McMullen will debate the equally disappointing matchup between Texas A&M and South Carolina.
Texas A&M (-2) will win because…
The Aggies have not lost to South Carolina. Ever.
There have only been four meetings between the two teams, but two of those games were decided by a touchdown, proving that South Carolina had the chance to win but couldn’t capitalize.
That’ll be the narrative again Saturday.
The Gamecocks are next to last in the SEC in total rushing yards, and they won’t have an answer for the potent Texas A&M ground attack.
The Aggies are led by running back Trayveon Williams, who sits atop the conference in rushing yards (720). And he scored the winning touchdown in overtime last week to give the Aggies the 20-14 win over Kentucky.
But not only do the Gamecocks have to gameplan for Williams, they’ll face quarterback Kellen Mond, who’s an obvious dual threat.
Mond is second in the SEC in passing yards (1,447), and he’ll complicate things even more for South Carolina with his ability to pick apart opposing pass defenses and get it done on the ground.
It’ll all be too much for the Gamecocks’ underwhelming defense to handle.
South Carolina (+2) will win because…
The Gamecocks have a new savior in town: Michael Scarnecchia, the legend of the downpour in Columbia. The senior quarterback went 20-for-35 for 249 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start Saturday.
He won’t stop there. Texas A&M’s pass defense is atrocious. Just how bad is it? Well, there are six schools with ‘Texas’ in their name. A&M isn’t first on that list. It isn’t second or third, either. It is fifth out of the six, just behind North Texas, giving up 244.8 yards per game through the air. You know who’s better at passing defense than the Aggies? The University of Texas… at San Antonio. Freaking Troy gives up fewer passing yards.
Coach Will Muschamp has been mum on a starting quarterback ahead of Saturday, but with Scarnecchia’s gutsy performance last week, he’d be run out of town if he chose junior Jake Bentley. Besides, he was born for this job. Michael’s last name literally has “SCAR” right there. Can’t argue that. ‘Cocks win by a handful.
Now onto the picks…
Still in first at 28-20 is Alanis “Invincible” Thames, who’s impossible to roast. You went 3-5 in the picks column last week and still managed to increase your lead on the field. The only place you’re losing is in the weekly alligatorSports power rankings in which you inexplicably dropped a handful of spots. The BCS computers have nothing on that incompetence.
In a four-way tie for second at 25-23 is the Gainesville Sun’s Graham “Punching Bag” Hall, who continues to be the butt of every joke ever uttered. We appreciate the appearance on the Gator Bites podcast, but that’s not going to stop you from being called Graham “Hack” by Mark Long on a weekly basis.
Also in this group is Jake “Rocket League” Dreilinger, who suggested we take his Xbox to play this game instead of going to the actual sporting event. We know it’s Vandy, but come on. Nashville is exciting enough not to need this dumb crutch. Nashville doesn’t just have the worst stadium in the country, it’s an actual city with a nightlife. Go outside, maybe you won’t be as pale.
Deadlocked with those two is GatorCountry’s Nick “Tommy Time” de la Torre, whose favorite Gators player is punter Tommy Townsend. He even has a special GIF he uses every time the younger brother of Johnny comes onto the field. There are plenty of entertaining players to choose from as your favorite, but de la Torre is a natural contrarian. Do you, sir. Do you.
Mired with those three in second is the AP’s Mark “Who Can I Blame?” Long, who reeeeeally wants to know who’s writing all this weekly garbage. You were right though, it’s Jake. Or it could have been Morgan or Alanis. Definitely not Mark Stine though. Apparently, he has a “really good first name.”
Tied for sixth with a 23-25 record is the Orlando Sentinel’s Edgar “High Expectations” Thompson, who asked Dan Mullen on Monday why UF’s offense isn’t humming like the 2008 attack headed by Tim Tebow. We’re glad you admitted that was a bad comparison, Edgar, but we bet it was the look of shock on Dan Mullen’s face that made you realize just how awful it was.
Also at 23-25 after an abysmal 0-8 week is Mark “Smoking on my Mind” Stine, who, completely unprompted, brought up the amount of meat he was going to smoke after the LSU game. We’ve roasted him for this before, but this instance warrants another. Mark is gonna smoke meat this week. Which day? Every day.
Finally, snuggly in last place at 22-26 is Morgan “Do I even cover the Gators” McMullen, who refuses to show his face at Mullen’s weekly press conferences. We understand, Morgan, it’s a little cold up on the air-conditioned third floor of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, but the fact that you wear a jacket in 85-degree weather means that shouldn’t affect you.