Ken Jackson
The Sports Column

This is the week that many of the strongest college teams play a designated late-season “foot wipe” opponent — really, Alabama, Florida State and South Carolina, Mercer, Delaware State and Wofford?!

Hey Gator fans: we all know UAB, or any team fielding adults, isn’t a foot wipe for you, so you weren’t in that list. What is UAB anyway, a cab company?

Instead of having to look directly at today’s sad lineup of games, we’ll take this chance to look back at the pre-season football predictions that were made back in August.

First thing to realize: not sure why “I” am speaking as “we”. There is no “we”. There’s “I”, as in “me”. What I’ll really be doing is breaking down Rick Pedone’s picks while he remains retired, sipping beers with a mai-tai chaser I imagine while he sits in achair and laughs and laughs.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that our big picks, the College Football Playoff and Super Bowl champions, were exactly the same.

We both picked Alabama and the New England Patriots. Those look good — real good. But it’s also like picking the sun to rise in the East.

We had them beating Florida State and the Green Bay Packers — and then their quarterbacks got ripped apart.

Now that I look at those preseason predictions, he didn’t so much retire as he ran far and fast from them. He started off strong: “It would be easier for Pittsburgh to beat North Korea than the Patriots in a playoff game.”

After that … keep in mind this was early September, so Rick’s excuse can be that he was too busy pulling out his plywood and looking for drill bits. So instead we got bits like:

“Green Bay is running out of time with Aaron Rodgers, so look for it or Seattle to represent the NFC in February.”

No mention of the L.A. Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans, all 7-2, or Philadelphia, who’s 8-1.

What about the Plywood — er, Sunshine — State, Rick?

“Miami finally snapped the eight-year playoff drought by Florida’s NFL teams last year by earning a wild card spot, but don’t count on that happening again. The Bucs have the best team and the most promise in Florida, but they are in the same division with Atlanta and Carolina.”

We’ll issue him a hall pass on that, since Jameis Winston is also in pieces and neither Rick nor anyone outside of Rob and Suzy Bortles’ house in Oviedo could see the Jaguars at 6-3 right now.

It’s good, but just outside of the Mighty News-Gazette Divine Nine:

1. The Crimson Tide. 2. The U. 3. The Eagles. 4. The Eagles (the band, wonder if Rick has “Take It Easy” stuck in his head?). 5. The UCF. 6. The N’Winglin’ Brady-iots. 7. Brees and the N’Awlins Saints. 8. Fall weather. 9. Retirement.

And now for the picks — warning, the college games are less “battle royale” and more “foot wipe” this week …

UCF (-13.5) at Temple: Today’s weather in Philly is cloudy and in the 40s. And it’s November, when some foot wipes rise up. Knights by 7.

UAB at Florida (-10.5): This couldn’t really be another Georgia Southern game (2013, a 26-20 loss), could it? Gators, good grief I hope, by 10.

LSU (-15) at Tennessee: Guess they can’t all be SEC Games of the Century of the Week, hunh? Put this on the foot wipe pile. Tigers by 12.

UCLA at USC (-16): L.A.’s marquee college game for decades, fans there will probably be looking forward more a Sunday pro game. Troy-jans by 14.

The paid professionals …

Tampa Bay at Miami (-1.5): Postponed from Sept. 10 because of Hurricane Irma. Since it’s a matchup of Ryan Fitzpatrick versus Jay Cutler, can we postpone it again in case of, like, mostly cloudy? Bucs blow us away by 3 in Upset Special.

Jacksonville (-7.5) at Cleveland: Foot Wipe Alert — we get to watch the Browns go to 0-10! (and the Jags to 7-3, swish that around for a bit) Jaguars by 8.

L.A. Rams at Minnesota (-2): This looked a foot wipe special in September. Jared Goff versus Case Keenum sounds worse than it will be. Vikings by 7.

Philadelphia at Dallas (-3): With Ezekiel Elliott out, Cowboys only have Jerry Jones left to entertain us. There’s always Carson Wentz … Eagles by 7.

Pete “The Gators Are Going To Win” Covino says: Gators by 6. (But he said it while chuckling. What’s that mean?)

Brian “Big Man” McBride Super Sniffer Upset Special: Giants over Chiefs by 3.

Rick “Mai Tai” Pedone says: “Yuck … just go with the favorites.” (Think he wishes he said that in September?)