Alright so I need to make a confession: my bold predictions last week were clearly too bold. I went 0 for 5, unless a big name got hurt in the Alabama Cupcake Massacres of November 18, 2017. But don’t worry, I am not phased by my Butch Jonesian failure last week. This is bold predictions, not “average predictions that anyone could get right.”
On this site, we go boldly into places no one else wants to go. We break our theories about what is happening and that is exactly what I intend to do. With that being said, keep reading to see who is getting fired, who will win some of the key rivalry games this weekend, and whether or not the SEC can take down the ACC in at least three of the four interconference games.
1. Alabama wins with a last-minute score
No. 1 Alabama is on a collision course with No. 6 Auburn. This game is a winner takes all in the SEC West. The winner heads to Atlanta to play the No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs. The winner also keeps their playoff hopes alive. In this game, the Alabama Crimson Tide will have to win the game at the very end of regulation. The last time that Alabama played a ranked team on the road, the No. 16 Mississippi State Bulldogs had them on the ropes. Jalen Hurts and his receivers managed to win that game, in the end, thanks to an atrocious overthrow at the end of the game by the Bulldogs’ quarterback.
Both teams have proven to have efficient offenses. Hurts has built his chemistry with his receivers. The Tide’s running backs have been nothing short of impressive. On the opposite side, the Tiger’s have looked impressive in recent weeks. Against Georgia, they played like a team that is unbeatable. They shut down Georgia’s offensive strength and beat their aerial attack afterward. This game is going to come down to the wire like all good rivalry games should but ‘Bama is going to pull out another key victory and head back to Atlanta once again. (For anyone who is curious, the bold prediction is that Alabama is not going to blow out Auburn OR look dominant in the game.)
2. The ACC goes 3-1 in interconference rivalry games
The schedule boasts 4 ACC vs. SEC rivalries for the conclusion of the regular season. No. 7 Georgia kicks off the battles against Georgia Tech and their quirky Triple Option approach. This game is always a struggle for Georgia as Tech’s offense is great at controlling the flow of the game and controlling the clock. This game will be a struggle, but ultimately the Bulldogs will pull out a 10+ point win.
The middle two games of the four-game schedule feature teams that have underachieved this year…and Kentucky. Florida State heads to Gainesville to take on the Gators in a game that means very little. Both teams hold 4-6 records, making this game a battle for five wins. Neither is going to a bowl unless the bowl venue cannot get a better team with a six-win record. Florida State wins.
Up in the Bluegrass State, Kentucky will drop a game to the reigning Heisman winner. They simply don’t have the offensive firepower to keep up. I don’t think I need to delve into this anymore, but suffice it to say that after winning the first game, the SEC will be on a two-game slide.
In the nightcap, No. 2 Clemson takes their game on the road to face the South Carolina Gamecocks. Much like the Louisville vs. Kentucky game, I don’t think that South Carolina has the firepower to keep up with the defending National Champions. The Tigers win this game big and take down the SEC 3-1.
3. Bielema gets fired Friday, Malzahn gets hired Sunday
Arkansas is going to pull off the coup of the century in the SEC West. After the Bielema experiment, the Razorbacks are going to be rid of him following a Friday afternoon loss to the Missouri Tigers. Bielema capitalized on his success in Wisconsin and got himself an SEC gig. However, he never produced at the same level that he produced at in the Great White North. Bielema will head back to the Big Ten or somewhere else up north after finishing a 1-7 SEC season with a loss to Missouri.
Meanwhile, following a disappointing end to a rollercoaster season, Gus Malzahn will jump ship from Auburn to Arkansas. This announcement will be made on Sunday, roughly 24 hours after Malzahn falls to ‘Bama and finishes the season with three losses. Malzahn reportedly has interest in the job and may resent the constant pressure of coaching the Tigers. Malzahn will stay in the SEC and in the West but he will coach in red and white in 2018.
4. Tennessee’s next head coach will be leaked around 8 p.m. Saturday
Head’s up Knoxville, your new coach will be announced on Saturday. The word on the street is that the new coach doesn’t want to overshadow the current coaches who are auditioning for their next employment opportunity. Following the game, win or lose, the next Volunteer Football coach will be announced.
Just because I am saying this doesn’t mean it is Gruden. Sure, we can all but assume that Gruden has been contacted and is either hinting at his hire or trolling the fan base. Mentioning “Rocky Top” out of the blue to Brock Huard is evidence of that. His “recent sightings” have also fueled the fire. But Gruden isn’t the only coach that could be hired in that time frame.
Dan Mullen and the No. 16 Mississippi State Bulldogs play on Thanksgiving Day. That gives John Currie all day Friday to make his pitch in person. By Saturday night, the deal could be signed and Mullen could be coaching in the East next season. Chip Kelly and Bob Stoops are not coaching this year and are available to hear negotiations whenever Currie wants to meet with them. They also could sign a deal before Saturday night.
It has been a crazy ride since Butch Jones was fired on November 12. One thing is for sure, whoever Tennessee hires is going to make a splash one way or the other. By Saturday night, we may just have an answer.