Welcome to week three of the Pembroke Mafia Football League, also known as UGA Hate Week.
At least it is for me, because I seriously detest UGA – the most overrated college football program on the planet.
Oh, sure the Bulldogs have a 1980 national title and yes they almost won a second three or four ago under that cad Kirby Smart.
And yes, they’re 52-19-2 against the University of South Carolina Fighting Gamecocks, my favorite team from my favorite state – a state in which we Upstate Whittens have been hanging around getting in trouble since the 1730s or thereabouts.
Yep, the real USC. The one that ain’t Clemson.
And yes, the Pups are 30.5 point favorites when they play host to the Gamecocks on Saturday night.
And yep, I know UGA has a nasty defense after watching them against Clemson and they always have great running backs and Sanford Stadium will be full of burly red painted weirdos in shoulder pads and overalls who always sort of look like they just escaped from the set of the Dukes of Hazzard, or the Hills have Eyes. And those are just the cheerleaders.
And yep, last week South Carolina didn’t exactly look good in that 20-17 win over East Carolina up in Greenville, N.C. – but they did pull out a victory under first-year coach Shane Beamer, and that’s something they had an increasingly hard time doing under his predecessor, Will Muschamp.
Actually, by the time Muschamp’s tenure at Carolina ran its course it looked like the Gamecocks would’ve had a hard time competing in the Sun Belt Conference, never mind the SEC.
Muschamp, of course, is now on the Georgia sideline, or up in a coach’s box somewhere, acting as a “quality control coach,” for his former college teammate Kirby Smart and making six more figures this season to go to the $12.9 million or so buyout he got from the real USC.
And you know what?
Maybe the South Carolina AD put a special condition on that buyout – one that said in essence, “Will, old son, how about you go down to Athens and help coach them up the same way you did here. That’s all we ask before you take this here big old check to the bank.”
And Will said “Ok dokey, Will will do just that.”
So that’s what I’m thinking.
Muschamp’s a mole, whether he knows it or not.
He’s like one of those internet things you click on and it looks all harmless at first, but a week or two later Russian hit men are at your door demanding $6 billion in bitcoins and if you don’t pay up your kidneys will be sold to the Iranians for scrap.
At any rate, mole or not, Muschamp’s back where he belongs. And that gives me hope, or did until Tuesday night when I told my wife Georgia and South Carolina are going to be on TV on Saturday night and I’m keeping the remote.
Just so you know, my wife has a Gamecock license plate frame on her SUV and pulls for them because I do, but her allegiance is with Georgia Tech because that was her daddy’s team. That makes her an objective observer when it comes to my favorite sport and team.
“Hey,” I said, “It’s going be a great game,” because that’s what us dumb South Carolina Gamecocks always think will happen. It’s that Dum spero spiro thing. While I breath, I hope.
Anyhow, the wife just looked at me with sad eyes and shook her head.
“Georgia is going to hurt them,” she said.
Yep, it’s UGA Hate Week, alright.
Onward to this week’s PMFL stuff: There is a four-way tie for first place this week as Mike Brown, Mike Clark, Dawnne Greene and Freddy Howell each has seven misses. It’s still early, however. Expect one or more of these folks to implode down the road.
Not far off the pace, Bob Floyd, Ted O’Neil and your’s truly are tied for second with eight misses so far. Expect me to implode down the road as well. Particularly given my habit of picking games with my eyes closed.
In fourth are Ben Taylor and the Rev. Lawrence Butler with nine misses.
Interesting trivia fact: Listed at 4-foot3, Ben is the shortest county administrator in not only Georgia, but the entire Southeast, not including Florida, which has filled up with so many northerners people are now confusing it with Pittsburgh. Or Pooler. Dr. Gene Wallace and Carter Infinger are tied for fourth place with 10 misses.
Alex Floyd and Noah Covington have 11 misses so far while PMFL Petty Admiral B.J. Clark is all by himself in the cellar with 12 misses, which is exactly how many toes he has. When he gets to 13 losses he’ll have to start looking for other digits to count.
This week’s games: Auburn vs. Penn State: Mike Brown, the Rev. Lawrence, Ben, Ted Noah, and Gene pick Penn State. Us cool people take Auburn and old War Beagle.
Arizona State vs. BYU: Bob, Dawnne, Gene and Carter take the Sun Devils. The rest of us are picking Brigham Young University. Oh boy.
Oklahoma State vs. Boise State: The only thing more annoying than Boise State’s blue turf is that UGA nimrod Uncle Lou on Youtube. The guy sounds like he’s from Akron, not Athens, but he loves to spout off about them Dawgs.
Mike and Mike, and Ben, Ted, Jeff, Freddy and Carter pick Boise. Everybody else takes Mike Gundy’s team.
By the way, someone cut off Mike Gundy’s mullet.
Either that or it got old enough to get its own place and is now living somewhere around Gainesville, Fla., which is sort of the ancestral home of mullets everywhere.
Like the swallows all return to Capistrano, mullets all look to the day they can to back to Gainesville.
UCF vs. Louisville: One of the Mikes picked Louisville, or maybe both. We’ll find out later. I also picked Louisville. Everybody else picked Central Florida.
Alabama vs. Florida: Everybody but B.J. picks Bammer. An Auburn fan, he feels about the Tide the way I do about Clemson and Georgia and Ohio State, but mostly Clemson. I respect that. If he wins he should get 10 bonus points and a bottle of ripple.
Michigan State vs. Miami: Dawnne, Ben, Alex and Bob select the ‘Canes. Rest of us take Ted’s alma mater, though I might change my mind at the last minute. You can do that if you write the column.
Utah State vs. Air Force: B.J., Lawrence, Dawnne, Ted and Gene go with Utah State, the rest pick the Army’s Helpers.
Stanford vs. Vandy: Alex, Bob, Ben, Gene, Carter and me pick Vandy – which is also the name of what used to be some pretty good Statesboro barbecue. Everybody else picks Stanford. Don’t know what kind of barbecue they have there. Probably tofu.
Tulane vs. Ol Miss; Alex and Bob pick Two-Lane, as B.J. puts it. Everybody else picks the Rebels.
And finally, the GAME OF THE SEASON FOR THIS WEEK: South Carolina vs. Georgia: I pick the Gamecocks. Everybody else picks UGA. This is gonna be great. Or terrible.
Whitten is editor of the Bryan County News and actually attended the University of South Carolina before he dropped out and joined the Army, a move which ultimately led to him winding up in this part of Georgia wondering what the heck happened to his hair.