Another week of football in the books, another solid set of predictions in Grill Hill.
My straight-up picks went 9-6 last week, which included accurately projecting Florida to beat Tennessee by six points. But just like a Butch Jones-led team, I blew it in crunch time, putting up a weak 2-3 mark in the NFL games.
At this point, football teams’ identities are becoming more and more clear at all three levels. This, in theory, should make the games easier to project. Stay tuned on that front.
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Columbus vs Hardaway (Kinnett Stadium), 7:30 p.m. Friday - Hardaway 28, Columbus 14
Marion County at Manchester, 7:30 p.m. Friday
Friday’s region matchup between the Eagles and the Blue Devils may prove crucial down the stretch of the regular season. Led by running back Travon Matthews, the Eagles are 4-0 for the first time in three years but have the tough task of taking on a Manchester team overflowing with talent. Marion County has never beaten Manchester, and I don’t foresee that fact changing Friday night.
Manchester 35, Marion County 24
Northside at Americus-Sumter, 7:30 p.m. Friday
The Patriots are primed to really make noise in Region 1-4A, particularly after beating Carver for the first time in school history. But Northside better not sleepwalk after the big win against Americus-Sumter, a region opponent who just beat Westover by three touchdowns. I predict that Northside starts slow on the road but ultimately protects its undefeated record.
Northside 27, Americus-Sumter 17
Spencer at Crisp County, 7:30 p.m. Friday - Crisp County 21, Spencer 20
Smiths Station at Central, 8 p.m. Friday - Central 49, Smiths Station 7
Texas A&M at Arkansas, 12 p.m. Saturday - Arkansas 24, Texas A&M 20
No. 16 TCU at No. 6 Oklahoma State, 3:30 p.m. Saturday - Oklahoma State 45, TCU 28
No. 17 Mississippi State at No. 11 Georgia, 7 p.m. Saturday
The Battle of the Bulldogs should be the perfect early-season test for both squads. Georgia’s offense remains a relatively unproven commodity through three games, while it remains hard to decide just how impressive Mississippi State’s recent thrashing of LSU really is. The home Dawgs must leave Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald uncomfortable in the pocket, just as Georgia did against Notre Dame two weeks ago. It will be a thrilling showdown, but in the end, the Georgia defense flexes its muscles once again.
Georgia 21, Mississippi State 17
No. 15 Auburn at Missouri, 7:30 p.m. Saturday - Auburn 31, Missouri 3
No. 20 Florida at Kentucky, 7:30 p.m. Saturday
I recently made fun of the annual projection that no, guys, this really is the year Kentucky ends its losing streak to Florida. The Wildcats haven’t beat Florida since 1986; for context, I wasn’t born until eight years after that. But Kentucky looked solid in its victory over South Carolina Saturday, while Florida sputtered along against Tennessee before hitting on a Hail Mary against the worst last-play defense ever called. I may have to laugh at myself Saturday night, but I think Kentucky can take down the Gators.
Kentucky 30, Florida 28
Ravens vs Jaguars, 9:30 a.m. Sunday (Wembley Stadium, London)
Though I’m all about bringing jobs back to America, good on the NFL for outsourcing Jacksonville Jaguars football, if only for one week. A Baltimore-Jacksonville matchup may be the perfect ingredient for effortlessly falling back to sleep this Sunday morning, but hey, somebody has to win this game. It might as well be Baltimore.
Ravens 31, Jaguars 13
Falcons at Lions, 1 p.m. Sunday
Atlanta tries to keep its run through the NFC Norris division — that joke’s for you, Chris Berman — rolling against a sneaky dangerous Detroit Lions team. I predict Matthew Stafford to hit his share of plays against a Falcons defense that was a little banged up after beating the Packers, but in the end, Matt Ryan and company are able to find a way to finish at Ford Field.
Falcons 28, Lions 21
Saints at Panthers, 1 p.m. Sunday - Saints 34, Panthers 30
Seahawks at Titans, 4:05 p.m. Sunday - Titans 21, Seahawks 13
Raiders at Redskins, 8:30 p.m. Sunday - Raiders 35, Redskins 28
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports