Welcome to an abbreviated version of the Pembroke Mafia Football League picks column, an ongoing exercise in something so odd and yet so profoundly confusing that it ought to get a spray tan and run for Congress.
It’s an abbreviated column because we’re in a sort of pinch for space this week, and I’m pretty much in a pinch for time as well. Usually, this thing runs 800 words or so and goes on about all sorts of things, even football.
This week, we’ll stick to the basics and hopefully I’ll get out of here in fewer than 400 words.
Keep your toes crossed.
First, the standings.
Erstwhile PMFL Head Honcho B.J. Clark is tied with the King of the North, also known in some UFO crop circles as District 1 County Commissioner Noah Covington, for first place with 16 misses this season.
Ted O’Neil, Bryan County News assistant editor and Theodore Roosevelt lookalike - if TR was about 8-foot-tall and wore basketball shoes - is tied for second with Anna Chafin, the chief executive officer of the Development Authority of Bryan County. They each have 18 misses each.
Ernie "Pablo Elf" Mitchell is in third with 19 misses; Mike "Vanilla Pine Cone" Clark has 20 misses so far and is in fourth place; Mark "Heart’s Justin Bieber" Rogerson is in fifth with 21 misses; Pembroke Downtown Development Authority Director Alex is in sixth with 23 misses; Bryan County Schools Assistant Superintendent Trey Robertson has 25 misses and is in seventh place and I, the absent-minded editor, am first going in the other direction with 31 misses to date.
At least, that’s according to B.J., who keeps track of all this and naturally has been in first place for as long as I can remember. And since he and Noah are tight, well, I’m not saying there’s anything amiss, but you know.
On to this week’s games.
University of Georgia vs. Vanderbilt: Everybody takes the Bulldogs, who after 37 years may finally be primed to win another championship to go with the one Herschel won way back in 1980. I do not like UGA almost as much as I don’t like Clemson, but this team has been fun to watch. You don’t know how much it irritates me to have to write that.
Arkansas vs. South Carolina: Alex, Noah and Mark take the Hogs, while the rest of us take the Gamechickens. I wish Carolina was half as good as Georgia, or half as much fun to watch, anyway. It’s the old chicken curse, you know. Just when you think you’ve got things knocked, along comes a giant evil anti-chicken to let you know you’re basically bug juice on the great windshield of life.
Ol’ Miss vs. Auburn: B.J.’s favorite team is a popular choice this week. Besides, the Rebels haven’t been much good since Houston Nutt started filing lawsuits.
Boise State vs. BYU: I take BYU in honor of national Steve Young TV dinner week. Everybody else goes with Boise, the team that invented blue turf. Blue turf is not a good thing, and neither was inventing it.
Louisiana State vs. Florida: Me, Mike, Noah and Alex go with the Bayou Bengals. Everybody else likes mullets, and wears jean shorts with white belts in them.
Michigan State vs. Michigan: Ted and Alex take Ted’s alma mater, Michigan State. The rest of us take Harbaugh! University. Harbaugh! The man just demands an exclamation point after his name. Harbaugh! Harbaugh!
Navy vs. Air Force: Everybody goes Navy. Remember that Village People song, "in the Navy."
In honor of B.J. and Ernie, both retired Navy noncoms, here are some of the better lyrics.
"Where can you find pleasure, search the world for treasure, learn science technology
Where can you begin to make your dreams come all come true, on the land or on the sea
Where you can learn to fly play in sports and skin dive
Sign up for the big band
Or sit in the grandstand
When your team and others meet?
"In the Navy
Yes, you can sail the seven seas
In the Navy
Yes you can put your mind at ease
In the Navy
Come on now people make a stand
In the Navy, in the Navy …."
Everybody do the Harbaugh!
Miami vs. FSU: Ernie and Alex take what B.J. refers to as the "crab leggers." Rest of us go with them Canes.
West Virginia vs. TCU: Noah, who once ate 50 eggs and then got shot running away from a chain gang in a movie, takes West Virginia. The rest pick TCU.
Louisville vs. North Carolina State: Me, Trey and Ernie take the Cards. The rest are going with the Wolfpack.
Georgia State vs. Coastal Carolina: Good gravy, it’s the Sun Belt. Nobody cares, not even alumni. Stop pretending these games are somehow more important than I-AA. OK, off my soapbox. Ted, who wouldn’t know a Chanticleer from a cornflake, takes Georgia State. The rest of us go with Coastal. And I went there for a while, majored in selling sunglasses and skipping class to go to the beach.
Kansas State vs. Texas: Alex and Ernie and me take K-State. Everybody else selects the Longhorns. They probably thought that meant they were going to a steakhouse.
Mizzou vs. Kentucky: Two states in Southeast Conference that shouldn’t be in Southeast Conference because neither is geographically in the Southeast. Reminds me of a time I went to something put on by the Georgia Ports Authority showing how rapidly the "South" was growing, then proceeded to show why. The South in their map included half the country, and Ohio. If it wasn’t for the free meal, I’d of booed.
Anyway, Alex and I take Mizzou. The rest take Loretta Lynn’s home state. I think.
Wisconsin vs. Nebraska: Everybody Harbaugh! Just kidding. I’m the only one who picks Nebraska. Now you see why I’m first heading in the other direction.
Mercer vs. Citadel: Hey now, some real football, where they play to have fun, not because they want to be famous. Anna and Noah pick Mercer while the rest of us American patriots take the Citadel, which is not only the greatest military college in the South but also has Richmond Hill alum Dominique Allen as starting quarterback.
And that’s it, folks. It’s a wrap.