Football Picks: It happened. There were 10 games picked and 10 played last week. There have been a number of forfeits, postponements and cancellations throughout this crazy COVID season.
Last week, some teams still hit the field although being dessimated by the virus or contact tracing; Kentucky and Mississippi State included. Some did not (Florida State and Clemson come to mind).
On the high school side, there were no coronavirus issues in the AHSAA or AISA games. The AHSAA has had just one forfeiture in the three-week post-season to date.
Oh yeah, I was 8-2 last week. The overall record is 73-37 (66%).
We move on to the semis of the high school playoffs and by the way, there's a game in Tuscaloosa that means something to folks in this state. The Iron Bowl is Saturday. The AHSAA Super 7 will be played on the same surface at Bryant-Denny the following week.
Catholic at Montgomery Academy: One Montgomery team is guaranteed to make it to the finals. It will be the winner of this one. The two teams played during the regular season with the Academy winning 32-21.
There are more than a few rematches in the semifinal round this week. It's been two months since the first meeting with the Eagles and Knights. The perfect season continues for Robert Johnson in his first year back at his alma mater. On to the Super 7! MA 31, Catholic 28
Piedmont at Fyffe: It's a battle of defending champs. Fyffe has won the last two in 2A and are stepping up to take the crown from Piedmont in 3A. Fyffe holds the state's longest current win streak at 43 games.
We usually get the best matchups in the semifinals. Sometimes in the finals we see a disparity in the north vs. south. This should be another dandy. Fyffe 27, Piedmont 20
Handley at American Christian: Handley is four years removed from their last state title. Tallassee beat them that season. There was no post-season rematch. Handley beat Andalusia, the team that put Tallassee out, en route to the 4A championship.
American Christian, the top-ranked team in 4A, has been very good for a while; however, the blue trophy has eluded them. This looks like it just might be their year. American Christian 30, Handley 22
Faith Academy at St. Paul's: It's another rematch with a pair of Mobile teams. St. Paul's won back in September.
Faith's rise up in the AHSAA ranks has taken some time. The Rams were an AISA juggernaut and crossed over in 2008.
They went a decade without posting a winning season. Jack French crossed that barrier in his first season in 2018. Last year, they were 11-1.
St. Paul's dabbled with 6A and even filed a lawsuit against the AHSAA over the competitive balance rule. Now, back at 5A, they're dominating again. The move up to 6A probably helped them this year. St. Paul's 24, Faith 21
Pleasant Grove at Ramsay: It's kind of wild how many regions were strong enough to have two teams make it to the fourth round. Here's another. Ramsay won the regular season title with their 7-point victory in October.
Both teams have been here before. Ramsay won it all in 2016 under Reuben Nelson. Pleasant Grove's Darrell LeBeaux came up short at the Super 7 to Danny Horn and Clay Central last year. Ramsay 37, Pleasant Grove 35
Notre Dame at North Carolina: It's about time for some of the "title contenders" to start falling. Notre Dame might have the best win of any team this year, but I think they're vulnerable.
Sam Howell is a capable quarterback who can put points on the board. The Fighting Irish, win or lose, are still in the the thick of the playoff conversation with a Clemson rematch looming in the ACC title game. North Carolina 33, Notre Dame 30
Penn State at Michigan: Penn State's 0-5 start is the worst in school history. We are seeing more of these type records this season. There are no cupcake guarantees - unless you're in a Group of Five conference (that's about all you get).
The hardest games to pick are the ones with two bad teams. These two teams aren't good, but were both predicted to be. Penn State 23, Michigan 22
Mississippi State at Ole Miss: The hype of two new flamboyant head coaches has simmered some since the season began.
The Bulldogs fizzled after their upset of defending champ LSU in week one. The same can be said to some degree after Ole Miss's challenging of Alabama.
Still the Rebs are the better team even if the COVID-stricken Dawgs gave Georgia all they wanted last week. Ole Miss 30, Mississippi State 26
LSU at Texas A&M: It's about to get even worse in Baton Rouge. The Bengal Tigers did escape with a victory over Arkansas last week amidst the controversy of a scathing USA Today article on the state of the LSU Athletic Department.
If the Alabama game gets played at Tiger Stadium, it might be moved to Dec. 5. That puts A&M, Bama and Florida on the slate the next three weeks. Ole Miss would move to Dec. 19. There may not be a win in there.
The Aggies look to take some frustration out on the team that beat them 50-7 last year. I expect they will. Texas A&M 37, LSU 20
Auburn at Alabama: I'm sure Alabama would like to take out some frustration too. Auburn's 48-45 win last year ended the Crimson Tide's chances of making the CFP.
We've all heard about the two Mac Jones' Pick Six's from that game too. Jones has certainly rebounded and is a legitimate Heisman candidate.
Gus Malzahn has held his own against Nick Saban, unlike any other coach in the SEC. He'll have a couple of wrinkles to unveil. He always does.
The Bo Nix to Seth Williams connection is good. The AU running game has several options with a QB who can run as well.
On the flip side, you'll be hard pressed to find a better offense than Bama. The Tide has the best offensive line in the SEC with the top players at quarterback, running back and receiver. They even have a kicker this year.
Wacky things have happened in the series but usually on the Plains. The difference is greater than a little bit between the two teams this season.
Even though Gus says he has a good team. Nick has a great one. The braggin' rights return to T-town. No need to throw out the record books. Alabama 45, Auburn 27