“Remember Doug Layton’s famous line when he was basketball play-by-play announcer for Alabama?” The Grand Geek had walked down the hall from the Fast Perfect Picks department to my humble office.
Without waiting for me to think about which of Doug’s great lines he’s talking about, he continued. “He said, ‘As you know, it is not my policy to challenge the position. However, if I ever change that policy, it will be now.”
I know the office of the SEC is subpar, but I hadn’t given it much thought since the Alabama-Tennessee game, and I wondered how that might be relevant today.
GG gestured up the hall to the spacious digs where the nerds lounged in front of the break room. “We don’t have conspiracy theories,” he said, “but we can’t help but notice things. If we could ever include nefarious acts…”
“I admit I’m a bit lost,” I admitted.
“What if you decided that for the next seven years you could work day and night almost every day and make $80 million, or you could get fired for being a failure and get those same millions for not doing anything he said, and it wasn’t hard to deduce who he was talking about. “Or maybe you want a new job and you think that if your team seems to give in to you, you’ll be fired, get your severance pay, and move on to the next job with no strings attached.
“Like I said,” he continued, “we don’t let conspiracy theories cloud our work, but that doesn’t mean we can’t think about things.”
“Maybe it’s just bad coaching,” I suggested. “Or good coaching on the other hand. I said two years ago that I think new SEC coaches Shane Beamer at South Carolina and Clark Lea are impressive additions.”
GG looked at me like I had three eyes, then handed over last week’s results and got back to work.
I knew there were inexplicable surprises, especially this late in the season. Things like that are almost predictable, especially Vanderbilt, who stretched his winning streak to two, Ole Miss lost back-to-back after being one of the feel-good stories of the season, and Tennessee, who was almost certainly not a little in the college football playoffs. All about Texas A&M.
Last week, the Nerds were 7-3 in picking winners, missing all three upsets and 3-5 against the bet line and over-under (combined points from both teams).
For the year, the Nerds’ record is 73-22 in predicting winners, 38-54 in scoring, and 38-54 in over-under.
Here are last week’s Southeastern Conference football games with pre-game recaps and betting lines from Caesars Sportsbook:
- East Tennessee (3-7) in Mississippi State (6-4 overall, 3-4 SEC). no line PREDICTION: Mississippi State 52, ETSU 10. ACTUAL: Mississippi State 56, East Tennessee State 7. No line/correct on winner.
- UMass (1-9) at Texas A&M (3-7), 1-6). Texas A&M -33½ or 47½. PREDICTION: Texas A&M 45, UMass 6. ACTUAL: Texas A&M 20, UMass 3. Correct on winner, wrong on spread and ou.
- Florida (6-4, 3-4) at Vanderbilt (4-6, 1-5). Florida -14 or 57½. PREDICT: Florida 35, Vanderbilt 17. ACTUAL: Vanderbilt 31, Florida 24. Wrong on the winner and against the line, right on the ou.
- Georgia (10-0, 7-0) in Kentucky (6-4, 3-4). Georgia -22 ½, Ou 49. PREDICTION: Georgia 38, Kentucky 10. ACTUAL: Georgia 16, Kentucky 6. Correct on winner and ou, wrong against spread.
- Western Kentucky (7-4) at Auburn (4-6, 2-5). Auburn -5 ½, Ou 52. PREDICTION: Auburn 31, Western Kentucky 10. ACTUAL: Right on winner and against the line, wrong on Ou.
- Tennessee (9-1, 5-1) at South Carolina (6-4, 3-4). Tennessee -21 ½, or 66. PREDICTION: Tennessee 45, South Carolina 10. ACTUAL: South Carolina 63, Tennessee 38. All wrong – winner, spread, ou.
- Ole Miss (8-2, 4-2) at Arkansas (5-5, 2-4). Ole Miss -2 1/2 or 64. PREDICTION: Ole Miss 34, Arkansas 20. ACTUAL: Arkansas 42, Ole Miss 27. All wrong – winner, spread, ou.
- State of New Mexico (4-5) to Missouri (4-6, 2-5). Missouri -29½ or 46½. PREDICTION: Missouri 41, New Mexico State 9. ACTUAL: Missouri 45, New Mexico State 14. Right on everything – winner, spread, ou.
- UAB (5-5) at LSU (8-2, 6-1). LSU -14½ or 52½. PREDICT: LSU 42, UAB 14. ACTUAL: LSU 41, UAB 10. Correct on winner and spread, wrong on ou.
- Austin Peay (7-3) at Alabama (8-2, 5-2). no line PREDICT: Alabama 55, Austin Peay 7. ACTUAL: Alabama 34, Austin Peay 0. No line, right on the winner.