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What’s more fun than us giving you a chance to mock us every single week? In our new feature, Blowin’ Smoke presented by Weston Tobacco, we will do that each and every Thursday. Gabe DeArmond and Mitchell Forde will make five predictions almost sure to go wrong every week in this space. These will range from big games to big picture predictions with a bit of the comedic and absurd mixed in most weeks as well.
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1) The next South Carolina coach is…
Mitchell: I think Billy Napier makes the most sense. He has some experience at big-time Power Five schools (albeit not as a head coach), he’s shown that he can build a winning program, he has plenty of SEC country ties and if South Carolina doesn’t hire him, someone else will. As for Napier, I assume he would take it unless something else big (Tennessee, maybe LSU if this sexual assault story blows up) opens up in the near future.
Gabe: I would definitely offer Napier first. If he says no, I’d go to Scott Satterfield. I think one of those two will take it.
2) Over/under on other coaching vacancies in the SEC after this season is 1.5
Gabe: This really comes down to Tennessee. Vanderbilt has to make a move. Auburn won’t. I can’t see anyone else in danger and I can’t see anyone who voluntarily takes another job or is hired in the NFL. I don’t think the Vols are eager for another coaching search. At some point, you’ve got to give a guy a few years. I’ll go under.
Mitchell: I am probably underestimating the craziness of the SEC here, but I will say under. I think Vanderbilt finally moves on from Derek Mason after this season. But I don’t think any other coach gets fired quite yet. Neither Gus Malzahn and Jeremy Pruitt is exactly on solid ground, but I just have a hard time seeing those two schools fork over $21.5 million or $12.9 million, respectively, to get rid of them, especially after a year that has been such a mess due to the pandemic. There’s always the chance that someone gets canned for off-field issues (I mentioned Ed Orgeron above) or takes a different job (it’s not impossible Michigan could make a run at Mark Stoops), but I don’t feel good enough about any of those changes happening to predict them at this point.
3) SEC picks of the week
Mitchell: Mississippi State (+24) at Georgia: This is a dilemma I’ve had a lot in the SEC this season: Can the favored team score enough points to cover the spread? I’m not sure about the health of Georgia’s quarterback room, so I’ll take Mississippi State to only lose by 21.
LSU at Arkansas (pick em): Who would have thought coming into this season that this game between the defending national champions and a team that hadn’t won an SEC game in more than two years would be a pick ’em? I’ll take LSU. The Tigers really need something positive right now and I don’t know that Arkansas can slow down that passing attack, regardless of who plays quarterback.
Kentucky (+30) at Alabama: Man, that’s a big number. Part of me wants to think Kentucky limits possessions enough and Nick Saban doesn’t keep his foot on the gas long enough for Alabama to score enough, but Kentucky isn’t going to score more than 10, and I don’t think anyone is holding ‘Bama under 40. Tide.
Florida (-31.5) at Vanderbilt: I don’t think I could see a spread that I felt like is too big between these two teams. Florida.
Tennessee (+10) at Auburn: I know Auburn might have some guys out due to COVID, but I can’t pick Tennessee at this point.
Gabe: Mississippi State (+24) at Georgia: I don’t care what the spread is, I’m not picking Mississippi State. Give me the Bulldogs who manage to score enough by getting in the end zone on defense.
LSU at Arkansas (pick em): Arkansas probably isn’t as good as the press it has gotten. LSU can score. I’ll go with the Tigers.
Kentucky (+30) at Alabama: Alabama is 30 points better than Kentucky. Alabama could win this by 30. I don’t think that will happen. I think this will be a game similar to the Mizzou game where the Tide are on cruise control in the second half and win by about three touchdowns.
Florida (-31.5) at Vanderbilt: Florida. By halftime.
Tennessee (+10) at Auburn: Auburn seems to have settled in a little bit. Tennessee hasn’t, unless it found a quarterback during the off week.
4) Non-SEC picks of the week
Mitchell: Iowa (-2.5) at Penn State: Two weeks in a row now I’ve expected Penn State to show some urgency and get it together and win. I’m done waiting. Iowa.
Appalachian State (+5.5) at Coastal Carolina: This is probably the toughest conference test left for the Chanticleers, but I can’t pick against them at this point.
Clemson (-34.5) at Florida State: Clemson suddenly has to worry about padding its resume and making sure it looks like a better team with Trevor Lawrence at quarterback. I think the Tigers run up the score in this one.
Indiana (+20.5) at Ohio State: It’s been a fun run for Indiana. But I’m not sure the Hoosiers’ wins over Penn State and Michigan are really that impressive, and obviously they’re not as talented as Ohio State. In what suddenly looks like one of Ohio State’s only chances to play a team that finishes the season ranked, I think the Buckeyes win big.
Oklahoma State (+7) at Oklahoma: I can’t pick Oklahoma State to win Bedlam until I actually see them do it. But I think they keep it closer than seven points. Cowboys cover.
Gabe: Iowa (-2.5) at Penn State: Penn State will win a game at some point. It probably won’t be this one.
Appalachian State (+5.5) at Coastal Carolina: Couldn’t name a combined two players in this game (shout out to Mike Bedosky’s kid, an OL for Coastal). I’ll go with App State based on nothing.
Clemson (-34.5) at Florida State: I know Florida State is awful. I know Trevor Lawrence is back. I can’t pick the favorite in a 35 point game between two Power Five teams. Well, I can and I think I did earlier, but not this one.
Indiana (+20.5) at Ohio State: Buckeyes gonna make some statements. The truth is, if you look at Indiana’s schedule, the Hoosiers don’t really have a good win yet.
Oklahoma State (+7) at Oklahoma: I forgot the Big 12 was playing. I don’t know. Oklahoma.
5) NFL picks of the week
Gabe: Cardinals (+3) at Seahawks: The Cardinals are better. They win.
Packers (+2.5) at Colts: Colts get a big win. To fall short in the playoffs, Philip Rivers has to first get to the playoffs.
Chiefs (-6.5) at Raiders: I don’t bet. I definitely don’t bet on my team. If I was ever going to bet on my team, this might be the week.
Dolphins (-3.5) at Broncos: For a lot of reasons–mostly Drew Lock related–I’d like to see the Broncos win this game. But I don’t expect it. Miami.
Jets (+8.5) at Chargers: The Jets can’t score at all. The Chargers can’t win a close game. Fortunately for them, this one won’t be close. Give me the Bolts.
Mitchell: Cardinals (+3) at Seahawks: The Seahawks burned me last week, but Russell Wilson is too good to have two bad games in a row. Seattle.
Packers (+2.5) at Colts: Still not buying into the Colts. I would take the Packers even at -2.5.
Chiefs (-6.5) at Raiders: The Raiders are a solid team, but the Chiefs will be motivated coming off a bye and looking for revenge. KC rolls.
Dolphins (-3.5) at Broncos: The Dolphins defense is legit, and the Broncos offense is very much not legit. Drew Lock struggles against both pressure and disguised coverages, two things the Dolphins do well. (He also might not play due to injury.) Hate to do it, but I’m picking Miami.
Jets (+8.5) at Chargers: I know the Chargers play everyone close, but I refuse to pick the Jets.
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