Roy Exum: My Top Football Picks – Nov. 9

Friday, November 8, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Tomorrow night’s SEC showdown between top-ranked Alabama and No. 10 LSU has been getting extra hype all week and ESPN gloried in an “All-Access” week that included reporter Kaylee Hartung riding to the office with Tiger head coach Les Miles on Tuesday morning.

So on-dash cameras were whirling as “The Mad Hatter”  drove her through Baton Rouge on the way to the football complex and the banter was predictable before Kaylee blurted, “You just ran a red light!”

Miles looked at her with a silly expression. “I did not,” he said.

“You treated it like a stop sign,” Hartung replied.

“It just changed,” Miles explained.

“You ran it,” Hartung pressed with delight before Miles carefully explained as he would to any ordinary sideline reporter, “I anticipated the change.”

That said, here is how I am picking this week’s top football games:

* * *

No. 7 AUBURN (8-1, 4-1 SEC) at TENNESSEE (4-5, 1-4 SEC), 12:00 Noon on ESPN – It is pretty obvious that Auburn is the most improved team in the SEC while Tennessee has given up more than 30 points in six of the last eight games. The Tigers are a smash-mouth bunch that has won five straight since the 35-21 loss to LSU and, while Tennessee’s 4-1 record at home is notable, Neyland Stadium fans have to know the brick-by-brick process takes time. The biggest factor? UT has absolutely “zero” depth right now and the Tigers do indeed. Auburn is favored by 14 and knows how crucial this game and Georgia next week are before ‘Bama comes to The Plains. MY PICK? Auburn, 38-14.

VANDERBILT (4-4, 1-4 SEC) at FLORIDA (4-4, 3-3 SEC), 12:00 Noon on FSN -- “It stinks,” Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy said minutes after the 23-20 Georgia loss. “Definitely we didn’t expect to be 4-4, but sometimes that’s just the way things go. The Gators, favored by 10, lost their sixth starter – fifth on the offensive side of the ball – earlier this week when tackle Tyler Moore broke his elbow in a scooter wreck. Vanderbilt comes into Gainesville rested but here’s a hunch Florida still has more speed and talent. MY PICK? Florida, 31-17.

PENN STATE (5-3, 2-2 Big XII) at MINNESOTA (7-2, 3-2 Big XII), 12:00 Noon on ESPN2 – With coach Jerry Kill still away due to devilish seizures, the Gophers have won three is a row (by a total of 7 points!) So with Minnesota picked by 2, take a look at PSU frosh QB Christian Hackenburg who has passed for 2,024 yards and 13 TDs. If the Nittany defense can come alive, State could take a big step in salvaging the season. MY PICK? Penn State, 28-21.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (4-4, 1-3 SEC) at No. 11 TEXAS A&M (7-2, 3-2 SEC), 3:30 p.m. on CBS – The Aggies are favored by 20 but with Johnny Manzell playing like he is, A&M has not played a game this year without scoring at least 41 points. Yes, the A&M defense is suspect but State can’t match the points the Aggies score in front of their home crowd. A&M is idle next week before visiting LSU while State’s bowl chances may diminish with Alabama coming to Starkville. MY PICK? Texas A&M, 48-14.

NEBRASKA (6-2, 3-1 Big 10) at MICHIGAN (6-2, 2-2 Big 10), 3:30 p.m. on ABC – After last Saturday’s convincing 29-6 loss to rival Michigan State, the Wolverines host a determined Nebraska that ground out a 3-point win over Northwestern. UM is favored by 6 in The Big House but you must remember a Nebraska victory would set up the Huskers next week for what will be an epic  battle against State in the Big Ten Legends Division. Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah has already rushed for 1,108 yards so the karma is with the Huskers. MY PICK? Nebraska, 24-20.

BRIGHAM YOUNG (6-2) at No. 21 WISCONSIN, (6-2, 4-1 Big 10), 3:30 p.m. on ESPN – You can bet they bang the big drum at Camp Randall with the Badgers a 7 ½ point favorite but BYU has won five straight and seems more poised than two weeks ago when the Cougars slipped past once-beaten Houston, 47-46. With dual threat runners in James White (9 TDs) and Melvin Gordon (1,074 yards, 11 TDs), UW will try to grind down BYU but Badger QB Joel Stave can evermore sling it (1,630 yards, 15 TDs). MY PICK? Wisconsin, 32-23.

No. 23 ARIZONA STATE (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12) at UTAH (4-4, 1-4 Pac-12), 4:00 p.m. – ASU has scored over 50 points in four of the last five games so the Utes, with losses to Marshall and Rice in the last four weeks, are in for what appears to be a long day. ASU is favored by 7, which seems pretty tasty, and, with the  remaining Pac-12 games against Oregon State, UCLA, and Arizona, things are looking just peachy. MY PICK? Arizona State, 37-20.

VIRGINIA TECH (6-3) at No. 14 MIAMI (7-1), 7:00 p.m. – The Hokies have lost three straight – the worst coming in Boston just three days after the Red Sox won the World Series. Boston College made the city even more “Boston Strong” with a starling 34-27 comeback over floundering VT last Saturday. That whipping was only minor compared to previously unbeaten Miami’s “no-show” at Tallahassee where a record number 273 inebriated fans had to be removed from the stadium in Florida State’s 41-14 massacre over Miami. The worst? UM’s best running back broke his ankle so no wonder the Hurricanes – now only once beaten – are only a 7-point pick at home. MY PICK? Miami, 28-17.

No. 10 LOUISIANA STATE (7-2, 3-2 SEC) at No. 1 ALABAMA (8-0, 5-0 SEC), 8:00 p.m. on CBS – LSU receiver Jarvis Landry said it out loud: “Nobody is invincible.  No team is invincible and no defense is invincible.  They do a lot of great things well, but we do a lot of great things well, also.  It comes down to individual guys making plays.” I agree with Jarvis but when Nick Saban has an endless string of guys who make plays “excellently,” I don’t believe the 12 points that LSU is catching will be nearly enough in front of that T-town crowd predicted to be the largest in school history. MY PICK? Alabama, 38-14.

No. 16 UCLA (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12) at ARIZONA (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12), 10:00 p.m. on ESPN – These two are tied for second place in the Pac-12 South Division behind Arizona State so the Bruins are picked by 1 point on the road. If this one had been last week, when Daylight Savings Time let us “fall back,” I might have stayed up to watch because it should be a dandy. UCLA had a good win after bad back-to-back losses against Stanford and Oregon but UA has won three in a row and has the home field. MY PICK? Arizona, 26-21.


MISSOURI (8-1, 4-1 SEC) at KENTUCKY (2-6, 0-4 SEC), 12:00 Noon on ESPNU – One week after Missouri flattened Tennessee with 580 yards of offense we learn UK has some receivers banged up. Then we hear starting QB James Franklin is ready to go for the Tigers so the chances Steve Spurrier and South Carolina are going to get help in the SEC East chase from the Wildcats who are exactly between dim and none. MY PICK? Missouri, 48-13.

ARKANSAS (3-6, 0-5 SEC) at OLE MISS (5-3, 2-3 SEC), 12:21 p.m. on SEC TV – The Rebs were idle last week, letting rifle-armed  QB Bo Wallace cool his arm, while the ‘Hogs were losing their fifth straight league game so the guess is this one will be decided early and Ole Miss will become bowl eligible by halftime. OM plays Troy next week before closing out with Missouri at home and then State in Starkville. MY PICK? Ole Miss, 39-10.

APPALACHIAN STATE (2-7) at GEORGIA (5-3, 4-2 SEC), 12:30 p.m. – The only question is whether Georgia should play Gurley. Chattanooga played hard to get a 35-28 win at Appy while Georgia held off the Gators. While I believe ASU is much better right now than the Mountaineer record indicates, I think the same thing about the Bulldogs. I believe Georgia is a Top 25 team but next week is when the Athens bunch will have to prove it at Auburn. MY PICK? Georgia, 41-15.


No. 13 SOUTH CAROLINA (7-2, 5-2 SEC) will host Florida next Saturday, Nov. 16.


WOFFORD (5-3, 4-1 SoCon) at UT-CHATTANOOGA (7-2, 5-1 SoCon), 2:00 p.m. – Yeah, this is the biggest game for Chattanooga that I can remember, two teams nationally ranked in the FCS polls with a conference title shining like the sun. There are several good reasons for the Mocs’ never-quit style of play and their names, alphabetically, are Belew, Dockery, Dothard, Haynes, Key, Lott, Miller, Moore, Murrell, Revis, Scates, Sutton and Wise. These seniors will be honored and, if the notably-fickle fans do indeed “Fill Finley,” things could zoom from “biggest game” to “best team” in a short breath or two. MY PICK? Chattanooga, 31-23.

Roy Exum: A Vol Is Worth $521,854

The definition for the term “fair market value,” this from the IRS tax code, “is the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.” So a recent article in Business Insider has just revealed a University of Tennessee scholarship ... (click for more)

Please, No Short Term Vacation Rentals In My Neighborhood

Approval of the short term vacation rental item on the City Council agenda for Tuesday  will be the next step toward commercializing our residential properties and communities to benefit those more interested in making money than preserving an old, well-established, rich community of like-minded families.    Anything requiring a business license is ... (click for more)

Fire Displaces Family Of 7; Blaze Ruled Accidental

No injuries were reported in connection with a house fire on Saturday afternoon that displaced a family of seven. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at 4:11 p.m. and responded to 3308 Dodson Ave. with five fire companies. Captain Wadie Suttles with Engine 4 said heavy fire was showing when the first firefighters arrived on the scene. As additional firefighters ... (click for more)

Clarence Ross, Leshawn Witherow Shot On Walden Avenue Friday Afternoon

Chattanooga Police are investigating a shooting that happened early Friday afternoon at the 6300 block of Walden Avenue.  Clarence Ross, 41, And Leshawn Witherow, 40, suffered non-life threatening injuries.  Hamilton County EMS transported both victims to a local hospital for treatment.  There is no suspect information at this time.  Investigators with ... (click for more)

UTC Women Fall To UNCG 1-0 To End Regular Season

 The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s soccer team fell 1-0 at UNCG Sunday afternoon to close out the regular season. The Mocs end the year at 6-10-2 overall and 4-4-1 in the Southern Conference and tie the Spartans (7-10-2, 4-4-1 SoCon) for fifth in the standings.   “It was another tough result,” Chattanooga head coach Gavin McKinney said. “We did, however, ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Draws Top Ranked Greeneville, CCS Opens With Madison Magnet

For the second year in a row, Notre Dame drew the top ranked Greeneville in the opening round of the TSSAA Class A/AA state tournament.  Notre Dame is scheduled to play Greeneville on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Murfreesboro. CCS will play Madison Magnet in the first round. CCS and Greeneville played in the state championship game last year with Greeneville winning 4-1.  ... (click for more)