I'm back after a two-week sabbatical which took me to the jungles of Peru. To say the least college football in Peru is about as popular as dumplins in the North. A big thanks to the hosts at The Corner Sports Bar and Grill for their generous pours of Cusquena and hosting the few of us who did want to watch college football in the Southern Hemisphere.
Also a word of thanks to Doc for filling in on the weekly picks and, in turn, increasing the Arkansas Fight win percentage in our yearlong battle with those other Razorback bloggers at the aptly-named Razorbloggers.net.
So here are your pisco sour-induced (which Trent should think about adding to his Feel The Rhythm cocktail menu) picks for Week 9...
Texas at No. 11 Kansas State (-10 KSU)- Beat up on Texas while there down. That has to be the motto for the Wildcats, who have been impressive in games at home. Although this feels like one of those games that could kick start a day of upsets if KSU can't handle business. I'll take the Fightin' Snyders but by less than 10.
UAB at Arkansas (-26.5 Ark)- For any hope at a bowl game, the Hogs must win this Saturday. If they can't then start looking forward to basketball season. Razorbacks win, but not in convincing fashion as the Blazers cover.
No. 1 Mississippi State at Kentucky, 3:30 p.m. (-14 MSU)- Y'all went and let Mississippi State be No. 1 while I was out of the country? And now they will go undefeated on the road as the top-ranked team? Life doesn't make sense anymore. Bulldogs win by 17 with a watchful eye towards a massive test next weekend.
Michigan at No. 8 Michigan State, 3:30 p.m. (-17 MSU)- Nothing would be sweeter than for Michigan, going on the road beaten up, downtrodden finding a way to upset their top 10-ranked rival in their home stadium. Don't be so hopeful for the Wolverines as the Spartans roll.
No. 3 Ole Miss at No. 24 LSU, 7:15 p.m. (-3 Rebs)- Earlier this season, I wrote that there was nothing more sure than LSU winning at home in a night game. Then the Bayou Bengals went and lost to Mississippi State. The stars have aligned perfectly and Miss Cleo is telling me both teams from the Magnolia State will go undefeated in Baton Rouge because, why not?
No. 4 Alabama at Tennessee, 7:30 p.m. (-17 Bama)- If you're unaware of the drama that follows Lane Kiffin, read this outstanding piece from Jon Soloman of CBSsports.com. In a feel-good storyline, old high school teammates Tide QB Blake Sims and Vols LB A.J. Johnson will go head to head. The question is whether or not the Alabama of home can find a way to take that show on the road. Tennessee is bad enough to allow the Alabama of home to put on a show in Knoxville. Tide cover.
South Carolina at No. 5 Auburn, 7:30 p.m. (-19 Aub)- Coming into the season, this game was highlighted as one that could pit two title contenders. Auburn still has a shot, but the Gamecocks have been out since the first day of the season. The Tigers, who have remained as under the radar as a top-5 team can, will win and cover the spread.
No. 20 USC at No. 19 Utah, 10 p.m. (Pick 'em)- In a "pick 'em" game, taking the home team seems like the smarter bet. But as I've proven with my season record, when have I made a smart bet. High school Graham can't help but see the powerful USC teams of the 2000s and will always respect the Trojans.
Last week: 2-5-1
Arkansas Fight: 32-43-3 (43%)
RazorBloggers: 17-25-2 (41%)