Sports

College picks: Malzahn, Nutt ready to play the feud

AS WE CONCENTRATE THIS week on some ongoing SEC feuds - coaches vs. officials, Lane Kiffin vs. gas-pumpers - let us not overlook the most sordid, entertaining one:

Houston Nutt vs. Gus Malzahn.

Nutt coaches Mississippi, while Malzahn is the first-year offensive coordinator at Auburn. Their teams play each other this week, but, this is certainly not the first time the two men have met.

It all started in 2006 when Nutt was the coach at Arkansas, and he hired Malzahn, who had been the quarterbacks coach at nearby Springdale High. Everyone insisted the hire had nothing to do with Mitch Mustain, Springdale's nationally recruited quarterback. Nutt was shocked, shocked, when Mustain - as well as four of his high school teammates - showed up on the first day of Razorbacks practice.

But the relationship of convenience between Nutt and Malzahn lasted only a year. Nutt resented having to hire Malzahn, as well as the so-called "Springdale Mafia" that later helped run him out of Fayetteville. Nutt's other assistants reportedly referred to Malzahn as "High School" in front of the players.

Mustain transferred to Southern California (where he's now the third-stringer), Malzahn fled to Tulsa and Nutt stayed another year before leaving for Mississippi.

Nutt refused to say anything about Malzahn this week. Malzahn said he "hadn't gotten a chance to visit with him" since 2006. Yes, much the same way the Hatfields and McCoys never "got a chance to visit" much.

Boys, boys ... can't you at least come together in your inevitable hatred of Lane Kiffin? Pick: Mississippi (-3.5) covers.

South Carolina at Tennessee (-6): OK, so Kiffin had his name dropped in a Lil Wayne rap. Well, it's a little known fact that the original line in Blondie's "Rapture" wasn't about Fab Five Freddie, instead it was: "The Head Ball Coach let me hold his Heisman, DJ's spinnin' are savin' my blocking scheme, Flash is fast, Flash is cool, Francois sez fas, Single Wing no do ..."

For some reason they didn't go with that. Pick: USC wins.

Georgia at Florida (-15.5): As motivation, Georgia has put up photos of Urban Meyer calling late timeouts in last year's game. Countering that, Meyer has posted photos of ... Lane Kiffin. Just because. Pick: Georgia covers, but Florida wins.

Tulane at LSU (-35.5): Tulane coach Bob Toledo said his goal is to "not embarrass ourselves." Motivational Speakers Bureau, hire this man! Pick: LSU covers.

Mississippi State at Kentucky (-3.5): The last time Mississippi State played on Halloween was in 1992 - when it won at Kentucky. Wow, that would be real spooky if anyone cared then or now about this game. Pick: Kentucky covers.

The rest:

Miami (-7) covers against Wake Forest. ... Georgia Tech (-12.5) covers against Vanderbilt. ... Florida State (-9.5) covers against N.C. State. ... Boston College (-5) covers against Central Michigan. ... Virginia (-7) covers against Duke. ... Arkansas (-38) covers against Eastern Michigan. ... Oklahoma State covers, but Texas (-9) wins. ... Iowa (-17.5) covers against Indiana. ... UNLV covers, but TCU (-31) wins. ... Syracuse covers, but Cincinnati (-14.5) wins.

Last week: 8-7 vs. spread, 12-3 overall.

Season: 65-54 vs. spread, 91-29 overall.

  Comments