I am the last guy on the planet who needs to be predicting football.
The bulk of my career as a journalist was spent in the sports department. I became a sports writer and eventually a sports editor because I knew that it was the only way I was going to get into games without a ticket.
If you can’t play it, write about it. It’s a pretty simple concept and one I figured out in the eighth grade. Ask any of my former coaches if I made the right decision. I am certain they agree with my career path.
Which brings me to team loyalty.
For the record, I have been an Auburn fan since 1968 when I watched the Auburn and Alabama freshmen play in Legion Field.
During the time I covered sports, I worked hard to keep my bias in check. And I did a pretty good job of it.
My father is an Auburn man, having played baseball there in the 1950s. Even though my degree says Troy State University, my heart on Saturday afternoons in the fall is all Auburn.
I spent years checking that because of the nature of my job. Years in sports across this region has given me great respect for the rival programs at Alabama and Georgia. My favorite football venue in these parts is undoubtedly Georgia Tech’s Grant Field. Because I am not a big-city boy, I have always appreciated the big-city view. I could look at the Atlanta skyline from the pressbox at Bobby Dodd Stadium all night.
Why all of this background? It’s pretty simple, actually.
Just about everybody in my college football universe got something. The Troy University side of me got a stunning win in Baton Rouge over LSU. Auburn got wins over rivals Georgia and Alabama. Georgia got a rematch win over Auburn, an SEC title and a birth in the College Football Playoff. Alabama, despite the disappointing loss at Auburn, got into the playoff.
It has been a heck of a season.
Which brings me back to Saturday night, Nov. 4. A week before Auburn beat Georgia.
I posted this on Facebook:
“How crazy can this football season get? Humor me. Auburn beats Georgia and Alabama. Both of them make the playoffs and Auburn doesn't. Step 1: all three of them win out except when they play each other. Step 2: Auburn beats Georgia next week. Step 3: Auburn beats Alabama two weeks later. Step 4: Georgia beats Auburn in the rematch at the SEC title game. There is no way that a one-loss Alabama and one-loss Georgia team are left out. A three-loss Auburn team is toast. Then throw in Clemson as a possible playoff team and Auburn would be 2-2 against the final four. I know it is all conjecture, but ...”
A week later I went to the first Auburn-Georgia game with a Bulldog friend. Walking out of Jordan-Hare, I went all-in on my prediction and told him not to worry, Georgia was still going to win the national championship.
He looked at me like I was nuts.
So, here’s the final guesses.
Georgia beats Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl. Alabama beats Clemson in the Sugar Bowl.
Georgia beats Alabama in Atlanta for the title.
Why not? The guesses have been pretty good to this point.