HIGH SCHOOLS / ROME BRAVES / LOCAL COLLEGES / COMMUNITY EVENTS
By Norman Arey
For Hometown Headlines
Last week, I reverted to barely above .500 with a 6-4 record but I richly deserved the shame. I picked both Georgia Tech and Florida on the same weekend and that’s inviting disaster. Nobody said I was real bright. I’m at 78 percent for the year with a 78-22 record but take this one to the bank.
FSU – Clemson – It’s sad to see the state of the program at Florida State from what it once was. The Seminoles are truly a shadow of their former selves. But the ‘Noles finally rise up in a big way and grab the Tigers by the tail. NOT A CHANCE. FSU is just plain bad and I’m not sure I understand why. Nonetheless, the Tigers dance deep into the night in celebration after braining the listless Seminoles, 31-20.
North Carolina State – BC – The Eagles of Boston College have put together two impressive wins after lolling around in the middle of the ACC, the latest a 35-3 beat down of Florida State. BC is now 5-4 and could be looking at a bowl invite. N.C. State boasted a six-game winning streak before running into Clemson and Notre Dame on consecutive weekends. If you get right down to it, BC is playing at home and takes the measure of the on-again, off-again Wolfpack. NO-NO. State has the better athletes and although I’m not sure about coaching, the ‘Pack overcomes the Eagles, 27-24.
Arkansas – LSU – Even though its last outing was a loss, LSU accounted for itself very well against Alabama. Now the 6-3 Tigers, who also have a win over Auburn, have a shot at adding to their bowl chances against a struggling Razorback squad. Pigs’ coach Bret Bielema is on his last leg at Arkansas with a 4-5 record but two of the wins were by one point over Ole Miss and Coastal Carolina. Arkansas knows this could be the turning point of their season and overcome LSU for a shocker. NO SHOCKER HERE. LSU should win its seventh, 40-19.
Alabama – Mississippi State – The Maroon Bulldogs, despite back-to-back losses to Auburn and Georgia, have won seven and could be the surprise of the SEC if it can fight its way through the back part of its schedule. Unfortunately the mighty Crimson Tide is next up on the slate. No worries. The Bulldogs have the Tide at home and finally someone from the SEC beats them. NOT. Alabama is too close to the end of its rainbow and smells the sweet odor of success in a 28-14 ho-hum win.
Virginia Tech – Georgia Tech – Hokies’ coach Justin Fuente’s first two years of replacing legendary Frank Beamer in Blacksburg have been ultra-successful. The Gobblers are 7-2 this time around with losses only to Clemson and Miami. The Yellow Jackets, on the other hand, are their usual head-scratching disappointment. Just when it seems the Engineers turn a corner, they get blindsided by a train. Paul Johnson’s bunch is 4-4 and with an up-and-down season in full blast. Jackets’ spread wishbone (or whatever it is) confounds the Hokies. NO WAY. Virginia Tech hands Georgia Tech its third loss in four outings, 30-20.
Virginia – Louisville — Bobby Petrino’s Cardinals are, to say the least, unpredictable. The Cards’ last three games read like this – lose to Wake Forest, beat Florida State, lose to Boston College. Virginia is only slightly more predictable, with the Cavs taking down Georgia Tech last weekend. Now the Wahoos travel to Louisville and win another perhaps they shouldn’t. OH NO THEY DON’T. Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson has had to carry the offense alone thus far, but Jackson’s enough to hook the Wahoos, 31-21.
Oklahoma – TCU – What this amounts to is a late mid-season Big XII title game. Oklahoma and TCU are tied atop the standings with one loss apiece and both have overall marks of 7-1. The Horned Frogs are notoriously tough in Fort Worth and the Sooners absorb their second defeat. NO WAY JOSE. Baker Mayfield would be my Heisman Trophy winner right now and he alone will carry the Sooners over the Frogs, 34-31.
Michigan State – Ohio State – The Spartans have been somewhat of a perplexing team – beating Penn State the week after they lost to Northwestern. Michigan State has a 7-2 mark with its other loss to Notre Dame. Talk about perplexing. What’s going on with Urban Meyer? The Bucks win a big game by one point over Penn State and then lose to an ordinary Iowa team by 31! Wild. Spartans make life even more miserable for the Buckeyes. NO-NO. Meyer knows he’s running out of time this season and OSU rumbles past the sometimes stingy Spartan defense, 39-30.
Notre Dame – Miami – The legendary elite (in their own minds) Fighting Irish of Notre Dame are 8-1 with the one loss by a single point to Georgia. Still, how seriously can you take a team who give up 34 points to Wake Forest? Miami is undefeated. Let me repeat that – Undefeated. Not since the late 80s and the year of 2000 have things been this wild in Coral Gables. After three shaky wins over Florida State (4 points) Georgia Tech (one point) and North Carolina (5 points), the Hurricanes took down a good Virginia Tech team by 18 last week. Still, the ‘Canes fall to those Golden Domers. NO, AN UPSET HERE. ‘The U’ shows why it may belong in the playoffs, taking a 24-21 win.
Georgia – Auburn – Well, both sides’ fan bases have been pointing to this week for a long time. The Tigers’ transfer quarterback, Jarrett Stidham, hasn’t disappointed as a top dual threat QB. He has led the War Eagle Express to a 7-2 record and has Auburn poised to make some serious noise in the SEC West. By this time, I believe most folks east of the Mississippi know true freshman QB Jake Fromm has the Dogs sitting atop of all of football and undefeated with running backs Sony Michel and Nick Chubb doing most of the work. To be honest, the Dawgs’ best win may have been last weekend’s victory over South Carolina since their one-point verdict over Notre Dame. So do the home-standing Tigers pull this one out? OF COURSE NOT. Bulldogs bite, scratch, claw and chomp their way to a 35-31 tenth win