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COUCH POTATO WEEK 7: College football has actual decent games, in open defiance of the broken system that produces the egregious regular season

Michigan at Illinois, NOON ET, ESPN

Here’s another game that presents overrated Michigan yet another chance to lose to a team they should beat. May it be so because Harbaugh sucks.

Oklahoma vs. Texas in Dallas, Noon ET; Fox

Oklahoma has rolled up astonishing statistics this season against wretched competition. Texas is not wretched. The Longhorns barely lost at home to LSU, who has become the darling of all those who want somebody, anybody, to beat Alabama. Will Jalen be able to explode through the middle of the Texas defense and thread the needle to Cee Dee Lamb far downfield to score dozens of points? Or will be end up feeling heat from surging Longhorn creatures, breaking right, flashing his 4.3 wheels to make it to the hashline so he can throw another one out of bounds for another third down incompletion and bring on the punter – like he did at Alabama before they handed the reins to Tua? Please, God, let Jalen find room to run and execute the offense because 1. he’s a good man and 2. It’s harder to watch than video of Mexican kids sleeping in cages on the Texas border.

South Carolina at Georgia, Noon, ESPN

South Carolina is just good enough to make you think, maybe they can cover the what, 25-point spread today? Then you have another sip of coffee and go, “Naaaah.”

Florida State at Clemson, 3:30 p.m. ABC

Another shitty ACC team that can’t beat Clemson, which is not terrible this year, but nothing to clutch your bosom and say, “Oh, my my.” The ACC is a dog conference, so tell me, why doesn’t Notre Dame join it, win their half every week and then try to scoot one past Clemson to go to the playoffs all the time instead of showing up like locusts – every eight years, make a lot of noise, then die.

Alabama at Texas A&M, 3:30 p.m. CBS

Well, of course Alabama has a boatload of injuries on defense against Texas A&M, which would be a bad thing if Kellen Mond hadn’t forgotten how to play football since last year. The Tide has added about three more guys to the list of Walking Dead with blown knees, clobbered ankles and arrow wounds to the liver (I made that one up) who won’t be seen again until next season, if then. Texas A&M gave up significant yardage to Auburn and Arkansas, who are not in the same universe as Tua and the Four Wide Receivers of the Apocalypse, so it should be cruel and unusual. However, the Ags are relatively good at tackling running backs, so expect the running game to suck again this week, unless the OL learned to block all at the same time instead of intermittently, when they feel like it.

USC at Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m., ABC

Here’s a rivalry that old men on Social Security are able to remember being good. Notre Dame, whose claim to fame this year is playing Georgia close in Athens, but still LOSING, is a 14-point favorite. USC might could screw up and cover that, since they have their main man quarterback back after a ridiculous string of injuries. And he returns just when the seventh-string guy was beginning to learn the plays.

Florida at LSU, 8 p.m., ESPN

Florida got a lot more cred than they probably deserved by removing the wheels and burning the tires of Auburn’s creaky offense last week. I’d bought in, I was all believing that this Cox freshman at Auburn was the second coming of Johnny Football only not a manic-depressive with a drug problem, and then, BOOM! Florida’s defense squashed him like a bug. It was bound to happen someday, Auburn was not all that good, but they really were starting to believe, and since time immemorial, when Auburn plays on pure emotion, they beat teams they don’t have any business beating. I just wasn’t sure that Florida was good enough to hit them in the mouth hard and often enough to level out the feel-good hormones in the War Eagle Nation’s brains. Evidently, they were.

Florida’s flaky, man, but they’re just a big, old ugly team that does what their coach tells them. They drag you down into the mudhole and get you to play their mudhole game and you do not beat a mudhole team in a mudhole. I like that redheaded quarterback, who didn’t go in the transfer portal because he loves being a Gator. Last week against Auburn he gets hurt, goes over to the sidelines, spits on some dirt and rubs it into the wound, then limps back out there and throws big, ugly passes to big, ugly receivers – who are actually prettu good. I also like that little No. 2 who Auburn said wasn’t fast enough to play for them, so he broke loose on an 88-yard, heart-spiking scoring run in the fourth quarter and outran everybody in a white shirt.

But can Florida beat LSU? Well, my first impression is not freaking likely. LSU has a really good team. But they had a really good team last year this time, and then they played Alabama and got beat 29-0, because Alabama missed two extra points, of course. So Ed Orgeron said “Yow yow! Yow yow yow yow!” Which means, “Goddamn it, we’re going to throw the ball and do all that fancy-dancy stuff and score like a big ole alligator eatin’ a bowl full of crawfish boudin balls.”

And boy, do they throw the ball. Their transfer quarterback, Joe Burrow (sounds like a train robber in the 1880s, doesn’t it? Great name.) fires dimes to that flock of wide receivers that some folks say is better than Alabama’s, but nah, I’ll believe that when I see it. But they are damn good, and they roll up and down the field like engines of helldeath, scoring 50 a game.

And they play the worst defense you ever saw. It’s hard to believe, because LSU has always had a decent defense except when the chips were down against Alabama. As we’ve said before, Alabama’s defense has been far less murderous than usual this season, but at least they have an excuse – more injuries than the Avengers after that big guy, Thanos, pushes all the buttons on that glove thing. Oh, yeah. SPOILER. If you haven’t seen a three-years old movie yet. I hate you spoiler people, who want us all to keep a secret so your viewing experience isn’t diminished because you’re too lazy to get off your butt, go to the movie theater and watch the thing.

I still think LSU’s defensive backs are good enough to cover Florida’s receivers, such as they are. And their defensive line is good enough to get back there and chase Kyle Trask out of the pocket, because I am faster than Kyle Trask, and I’m slow as a cold stink bug.

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COUCH POTATO WEEK 4: After three weeks of little, a bounty of games that have meaning in the vast, indifferent universe that holds eternity

Tennessee at Florida; Southern Miss at Alabama; California at Ole Miss, Noon, ESPN, ESPN2 and SEC, go find out for yourself which one.

Tennessee and Florida are such flaky teams this year that it wouldn’t surprise me if the Vols won. Florida lost Felipe Franks last week to a stomach-turning ankle injury, but Kyle Trask came in and did just fine, leading the Gators to an unlikely comeback win over Kentucky, which did more to help Florida win than Florida did. Florida’s got enough offensive weapons around Trask that he could be an effective, game-manager kind of dude they can win with, especially against a team that gave up 38 points to Georgia State and lost at home. Both teams have been painful to watch because they profane the game of football. They’re playing the early game, so make a bloody Mary to help you through it.

Alabama is a 39-point favorite against Southern Miss, which I don’t think will stand up because Jack Abraham is a good passer and Alabama’s pass rush isn’t good enough to pressure him and the defensive backs often neglect to cover all eligible receivers. I don’t really blame Alabama’s defense for sucking – they’ve had more injuries than many overloaded passenger buses that plunged off a cliff. Most recently, defensive lineman LaBryan Ray messed up his foot or something and is out for six weeks, and Antonio Alfano, that five-star DL from New Jersey, has apparently decided he likes sitting in his room playing video games more than going to school and playing football. Nick Saban said they’re operating under the assumption that he has quit, which is a reasonable conclusion when a guy doesn’t come to practice or go to class. Alabama needs to wrap Tua in bubble wrap like a precious china teacup, tell him to throw passes to the Four Wide Receivers of the Apocolypse, and score enough to put in Mac Jones as soon as practicable. If Tua gets hurt, Bama’s a solid top-20 team with a good chance at going to the Gator Bowl.

California has slid to a two-point dog at Ole Miss, a team that I cannot understand. But I think they’ll win, because California is good at a lot of things, but not college football.

Michigan at Wisconsin, Noon, Fox

I’ve seen Wisconsin play twice and they are a good football team. They always are. But this year, they have quite a few people who could beat me in a footrace, vastly improving their chances of winning the egregious Big Ten and maybe even making the playoffs. Jonathan Taylor is a holy terror at running back. Unless Michigan has done something I have heretofore seen no evidence of, He’ll go through their defense like shit through a short dog. Michigan has been just good enough not to get the uber-expensive Jim Harbaugh sent on the road to perdition, but this could be the year.

Auburn at Texas A&M, 3:30 p.m. CBS

All right, now, here we go. We got a ballgame, folks. Texas A&M has to win or it’s their second loss of the year, their first in the league, and they’ll be playing for funsies the rest of the year. QB Kellen Mock got smushed two weeks again in a decisive loss at Clemson, because Clemson’s defense bounced his head off the turf a few times, which will make you see the world entirely differently. Auburn’s defense is – I’m not kidding – about as good as Clemson’s. But the big question is, will this be the week that the wheels come off Auburn’s offense? The Tigers have gotten better each week, QB Bo Cox, who’s 18 and looks 12, has made some freshman flubs but also a few great plays, and they have four runningbacks who are all fair, but when you switch them in and out they’re better because the one in the game is usually better rested than the linebackers who’ll be chasing him. But still … Being an Auburn fan this year is a little like that movie, The Matrix, where you wake up from a beautiful dream of life and find you’re in a box full of goo serving as a battery in a dark, giant machine that cares not for you nor any human. On the other hand, this Auburn team reminds me of a bunch of other ones that were flawed, but kept finding ways to win until they started believing they were good and then, what do you know, they were good. Auburn fans love teams like that – that do goalline stands, make opposing star quarterbacks underperform, give up 99-yard touchdown passes, but then run back a 50-yard field goal attempt 99 yards with no time left to win.

Notre Dame at Georgia, 8 p.m., CBS

Excuse my SEC bias, but I think Georgia is the best team in the country right now, and I’ll be stunned if they don’t hand Notre Dame their head this Saturday. The defense is swarming and cruel, and QB Jake Fromm gets far less attention than he deserves. He’s a sweet, smiling friendly guy who is cold-blooded killer on the field, and he made former five-star Justin Fields say “screw it,” jump into the transfer portal and land at Ohio State, where he’s raising all kinds of Hell in the Big 12. Notre Dame is always pretty good, always plays a weak schedule, and gets far more credit than they are due for beating teams that couldn’t win a 5A high school state championship in Georgia. Georgia’s a 14-point favorite, and I think that’s low.