IF YOU ARE South Carolina, you know it's bad when you open as a 15-point underdog at home, and most people's immediate reaction is "That's it?"
Yes, there is a lot of angst and self-flagellating in Gamecock land these days. In an effort to cheer you up, allow us to remind you that it could be worse. Much, much worse. You could be:
- Notre Dame: Sales for "Rudy" will again skyrocket this month as Fighting Irish fans try to remind themselves of a time when their program was relevant.
- Washington D.C. area football: The Redskins are 2-7 with a crazy owner. Virginia is 3-6. Maryland is 2-7 and has lost to Virginia, Duke and N.C. State. The good news? The Appalachian Trail is only a short drive away, and we hear it's a great place to get away and think.
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- Washington state football: Your two big college teams are a combined 4-14 - still a three-win improvement over last year. The Seahawks are 3-5. But at least you've still got Gonzaga basketball, "Frasier" reruns and the hope that the bad economy will re-ignite the grunge movement.
- Illinois: The Bears stink. The Illini are 2-5 in the Big 10, and your coach is (still) Ron Zook. Enough said.
- Memphis: You already fired your coach, Tommy West, who proceeded to call out the school for not spending enough money on the program. So not only are you 2-7, but you can't spring for decent lightbulbs.
- Colorado: Remember Sal Aunese, Eric Bieniemy or the fifth down? Neither do they.
Florida (-15.5) at USC: Folks, it's a simple system. Steve Spurrier Jr. calls in the play from the press box. G.A. Mangus relays it to Stephen Garcia. Eric Wolford steps in if he's got a good run play. Steve Spurrier Sr. vetoes any play he wants and suggests his own. Then Mangus or Spurrier Sr. relays it to Garcia. I mean, what on earth could be so confusing about that? Pick: Florida covers.
Clemson (-7) at N.C. State: The next coach that kicks the ball within the same area code as C.J. Spiller should immediately be thrown in jail. Pick: Clemson covers.
Tennessee at Misssissippi (-3.5): We smell an upset considering Tennessee will go in with no distractions, no off-field problems, and - wait, what? Pick: Mississippi covers.
Alabama (-14) at Mississippi State: Some are calling this a trap game for Alabama. Well, some people in Australia still thought Britney Spears could sing. Pick: Alabama covers.
Auburn at Georgia (-4): The deep South's oldest rivalry shall rise again. Someday. Maybe. Frankly, who cares. Pick: Georgia covers.
The rest: North Carolina beats Miami (-3.5). ... Georgia Tech (-8.5) covers against Duke. ... Kentucky (-3) covers against Vanderbilt. ... Florida State beats Wake Forest (-6) ... Maryland covers, but Virginia Tech (-16.5) wins. ... LSU (-24) covers against Louisiana Tech. ... Arkansas (-14.5) covers against Troy. ... Cincinnati (-9) covers against West Virginia. ... Boston College (-4) covers against Virginia. ... Texas (-24) covers against Baylor.
Last week: 5-8-2 vs. spread, 12-3 overall.
Season: 73-74-2 vs. spread, 117-36 overall.