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Picks of the Weak: We’re lucky to have our normal back this week

Posted on Friday, September 22, 2017 at 3:30 pm

So, you feeling normal yet, after a bout with tropical depression that can only rival what we felt around here in 2004?
We’ve checked the list: power’s back on, you can buy a tank of gas, loaf of bread and some milk without going on a covert mission, the tree limbs are starting to disappear from the curb, we’re back to paying tolls …
… And everybody’s playing football again.
At least this week. Fans of FSU, Miami and UCF, the latter who will finally see a September home game on the last day of the month thanks to wet and windy Hurricane Irma, had to sit around and watch their Gator friends reach for the defibrillator multiple times Saturday. (Despite your feelings on UF, people, you gotta admit that Feleipe Franks pass was three shades of cool.)
Going to a game, or flipping one on the TV, means things are normal. I don’t care what you think, here in Florida the week before and after Irritable Irma waddled her fat butt through Florida were not normal. Schools closed. Officials scrambled. And games at the high school, college and pro levels were moved, postponed or canceled.
Of course, a few yay-hoos couldn’t handle it. “The weather’s fine right now, it ain’t raining yet! (Or, “it stopped raining yesterday!”) Let’s play some football! In the name of Tim Tebow and everything else holy, entertain me!”
That guy obviously has never been part of putting on a game, and having to juggle the problems a storm like Irma brought to moving teams, TV network folks, first responders, fans and the stuff they eat and drink into place.
Say Irma stayed a Category 4 monster all the way up the state and really tore it to shreds. Wouldn’t it be foolish to house a large batch of ice, water and food at a football stadium instead of passing it out to those without power for over two weeks? It also would have been fun to watch 35,000-ish fans work their way around 1,000 National Guardsmen and their stuff at last week’s UCF-Georgia Tech game.
The lesson we just learned is that football happens when everything else is fine, dandy and normal. We’ve come to rely on it in Florida, The Football State, but we weren’t aware of how good we have it in order to be regular football fans. So stop complaining.
I’ll take my own advice now, and just give you this week’s News-Gazette Divine Nine:
1. Feleipe “Miracle Worker” Franks. 2. Tyrie “Miracle Catcher” Cleveland. 3. Mick “Miracle Caller” Hubert (I heard that play on the radio outside of a Lowe’s Saturday). 4. The stuff we need at Lowe’s to clean up from Irma. 5. Debris-clearing claw trucks. 6. ‘Bama. 7. The Detroit Lions. 8. Miracle Whip. 9. Air conditioning.
And now, for the picks:
North Carolina State at FSU (-13): James Blackman is the first true freshman QB to start for the ‘Noles in 33 years. The other 21 guys still wear spears on their helmets. ‘Noles by 10.
UCF at Maryland (-3.5): Knights hung 61 on hapless FIU in their last game three weeks ago. Feels like three years ago. UCF got 61 in ‘em today? They may need ‘em. Knights by 4 in “It’s My Column, I Can Dream” Upset Special.
Toledo at Miami (-13): Holy Tol—oh, never mind. Even Irma doesn’t have me that discombobulated. The ‘U’ by dinnertime.
Florida (-2.5) at Kentucky: Gators’ been beating these guys for a generation on the gridiron, but their pitiful offense lets lesser teams hang around for about 59 minutes and some seconds. Not good, not pretty, but not ending the streak, either. Gators by a nervous 3.
Notre Dame (-4) at Michigan State: Now that Touchdown Jesus isn’t busy looking over hurricane victims, Fighting Irish by 10.
Mississippi State at Georgia (-5): This must suffice as the SEC Game of the Century of the Week. Saw the Bulldogs bite LSU (over and over and over) but I guess the wiseguys know better. Dawgs by 4.
The paid professionals:
Baltimore (-3.5) vs. Jacksonville: London morning game, football with your sausage and eggs. Jags can stay across the pond and eat fish and chips if they play as bad as they did last year. Ravens by 10 points and a plate of bangers ‘n mash.
Tampa Bay at Minnesota (no line): TV game we’ll get at 1. Bucs haven’t left the state in a month, Vikes don’t know who their QB is. Sounds like fun. Pewter People by 7.
Miami (-6) at N.Y. Jets: Dolphins get to be hurricane refugees on southern Pacific coast, then in Tinseltown. Mobile Miami by many.
N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia (-5.5): The NFC East can have Games of the Century of the Week, too. Green Birds by 8.
Dallas (-3) at Arizona: Monday nighter. Would be nice to have a good one. Cowboys by 5.
Big Man Brian McBride Super Sniffer Upset Special: Lions over Falcons by 3.
Petey “The Gators are Gonna Win” Covino” says: Florida by 6.
Rick Pedone says: “Hello? Hellooooooooo?” (He’s on vacation. He’ll be back soon.)