Schultz's Weekend Predictions: On Georgia's finish, Nick Saban's fall (2024)

Hello and welcome back to your path to hypothetical riches and serenity, except to all of those who live in Georgia, including the indecipherable remains of my cranium after learning the political season has been extended for four more weeks, and this is sort of like an expanded College Football Playoff system, except without the fun stuff, and just imagine what it’s like when the alarm goes off every morning and the first thing that happens is a bowling ball drops on your head, and then little baby bowling balls follow you through the door and crash into your fingers and toes and nether regions, if you’re not already in a fetal position, until finally, you put in your earbuds and type “Yanni” into your music app, and it’s all going great for about seven minutes until you hear, “Hi. I’m Yanni. Vote for me. I promise to clean up the riffraff among the Oompa Loompas in the Hot Cocoa With Tiny Marshmallows plant in your congressional district because if you don’t, you’ll burn.” (Evil laugh follows. Then your phone crashes.)


(We’ll get to football eventually. But first, more stalling.)

So because we can all use a little holiday cheer, good news: The holiday season has begun. I know this because the Halloween candy aisle at the grocery store has morphed into baby inflatable turkeys and Santa gnomes. Also because I just learned that this is “Dear Santa Letter Week.”

Seriously, I’m not making this up, unlike almost everything else here.

I can’t find the origin of “Dear Santa Letter Week,” but apparently it’s held the second week of November every year, and the thinking is that you need to write the letter now because you have to allow enough time for it to travel all the way to the North Pole for Santa to read your request, like, “Dear Santa. I hate politicians. I’ll trust you’ll do what’s best for mankind. Short of this, I’ll take a new bike and a box of Hostess Ding Dongs.”

(The U.S. Postal Service even has a program that ensures you will get a letter back from the North Pole. I offer this info to you for free. But if you feel so inclined, I’ll still take the bike and Ding Dongs.)

So, true story: I didn’t write letters to Santa. I knew early he was a sham, and equally important, I was Jewish. But there was that one time when my parents took me to the mall to meet Santa, and all I remember was waiting in line, just like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story,” and Santa actually sat in a store-front window that faced out to the plaza, which was wired for sound, so I knew this wasn’t going to be a secret, but I was comfortable on stage at the age of 5, and I know that shocks you.

So Santa says, “What do you want for Christmas, Jeffrey?” And I said, “I don’t celebrate Christmas. I’m Jewish.” And everybody at the mall laughed, and even Santa laughed, possibly because he, too, was Jewish and actually worked at Canter’s Deli on Fairfax. (They also don’t pay me for this endorsem*nt.) But Santa was nice enough to let me make a request anyway, and I can’t remember what I asked for, but it might’ve been something about politicians.


So Georgia is No. 1 — Happy Holidays, Doggie Fans! You win a trip to Starkville!

The week after decapitating the temporary indestructible monster that was Tennessee, Georgia will attempt to cross the finish line of the regular season without faceplanting against Mississippi State, Kentucky and Georgia Tech. This will not be easy. Seriously, this might be a more difficult game than Tennessee because the Other Bulldogs have a decent team, and Mike Leach, while being next-level obnoxious, is good for an upset now and then, and the game is in Starkville, which is a pain-in-the-hiney place to play because of the incessant cowbells.

If you have a fever for more cowbell …

This is trending toward being the first season ever when neither Alabama nor Clemson is in the Playoff, and the last thing Georgia wants is to lose and throw the thing into chaos, even if panicking Bulldogs fans are an annual holiday tradition. But it won’t happen.

The line is 16 1/2. That’s right at the danger level. But I’ll leap. I see no trap. Georgia wins and covers.

Ralphie vs. Mean Santa …

Is this going to be on the test?

Miami at Georgia Tech: Interim coach Brent Key is 3-2 and therefore has tied Geoff Collins’ personal best for wins in a season at Georgia Tech. One more win gets a statue. Not the job, just a statue. The Jackets had 463 yards of offense at Virginia Tech without quarterback Jeff Sims, so cookies for the coaching staff and first-time starter Zach Pyron. This would be a good one for Key to win if he wants to keep his office because the final two games are at North Carolina and in Athens, and while he inherited a horrible inbox, “Meet our new coach, who lost his last three games” doesn’t make for an ideal introduction by the athletic director. Personally, I’d walk away from this game and go to a bingo lounge. But: Tech ekes out a win, covers 1 1/2.


Alabama at Ole Miss: It’s going to be something when Lane Kiffin and Nick Saban shake hands at midfield before the game and Kiffin says, “Just think — I have a better chance to go to the SEC championship than you do. And I coach Mississippi!” Alabama has two losses before the Auburn game for the first time since 2010 and has dropped two out of three in the regular season for the first time since Saban got to Tuscaloosa in 2007, when the Tide finished the year with four straight losses, including one to Louisiana-Monroe. But if you’re looking for good news, Bammy fans, there’s this: Louisiana-Monroe is not on the remaining schedule. Not so good: Alabama is tied for second in the nation with 78 penalties. Either Saban is losing his touch or his cattle prod ain’t holding a charge. Tide win, but take the Rebels and 11 1/2.

Nick’s taking this well …

Schultz's Weekend Predictions: On Georgia's finish, Nick Saban's fall (1)

Texas A&M at Auburn: The Aggies are 3-6 overall, 1-5 in the SEC and have lost five straight, one year after the school gave Jimbo Fisher a 10-year, $95 million contract. It’s a cool moment for Auburn because it’s rare that it goes against a program that makes worse investments than it does. A&M wins on the road, take the gift 1 1/2.

Washington at Oregon: Ducks head coach and former Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning shot down a rumor that he wanted to return to the SEC to coach Auburn. He also shot down a rumor suggesting he likes to juggle toasters in the bathtub. Quack. Oregon covers 13 1/2.

LSU at Arkansas: Yes, we can mourn the loss of Brian Kelly Dumb Accent jokes and certainly Ed Orgeron jokes, but the Tigers scoring 122 points in three straight wins over Florida, Ole Miss and Alabama is pretty impressive, as was Kelly’s decision to go for a two-point conversion and the win against the Tide. I mean, when even a lady with a walker storms the field in Baton Rouge, you know it’s big. This is a scary-ish game, but LSU covers 3.

A lady with a walker just stormed the field. A damn we walker.

— Aaron Suttles (@AaronSuttles) November 6, 2022

Missouri at Tennessee: Compared to last week for Tennessee, this will be like walking into a stadium with candles and incense and Yanni playing over the public address system. Vols win, but take Missouri and 21.

Louisville at Clemson: The ACC may be shut out of the Playoff for the second straight year because Clemson lost to Notre Dame, which has an agreement to play several games against the conference but not as an actual member, and maybe I’m the only one who finds this ironic. Also, dumb on the ACC’s part. Definitely dumb. Clemson covers 7.


TCU at Texas: Some Tennessee fans don’t think 9-0 TCU deserves to be ranked fourth, which is Latin for, “They’re not in the SEC, and we beat Alabama, which was the biggest win EVER, even if Alabama also lost to LSU, and we haven’t lost a game, and last week never happened. Go Vols!” OK, everybody calm down. Let TCU have its moment. Its moment is about to end in Austin. Longhorns cover 7.

To TCU critics: I award you no points …


Falcons at Panthers: The Falcons are like a Greek god, assuming the Greek god is Icarus, whose wings melted when he flew too close to the sun, except in this metaphor a football team descends to Earth every time it is one win from surpassing .500. The Falcons have had 13 chances since the start of the 2018 season to get above .500 and faceplanted each time, last week losing on an only-in-Atlanta double-fumble that set up a Chargers field goal. But it helps to be in the NFC South, the NFL’s island of misfit toys, where four teams have a combined record of 13-23, give or take a headless linebacker. Actual factual: The Falcons are road favorites for only the fourth time since 2019 (30 games). Birds win and cover 3.

NFC South tryout camp …

Lions at Bears: Justin Fields has thrown five touchdown passes with a 112.7 rating and rushed for 238 yards and two more TDs in the past two games, and it’s as if somebody in Chicago just typed his name into a YouTube window and said, “Hey, Bob. Did you see these Ohio State highlights? He’s running.” Bears win and cover 3.

Cardinals at Rams: Matthew Stafford has been sacked 28 times in eight games, which puts him on pace to be sacked more often than he ever was with the Lions, and there are certain reference points that an offensive line tries to avoid, one of them being, “He’s been sacked more times than he ever was with the Lions.” But Arizona’s defense has a tendency to fix opponents, so: Rams cover 3.

Colts at Raiders: This is not a well-timed trip to Las Vegas for Matt Ryan because if he dropped a buck in a slot machine today, the wheels would come up Lemon-Hubcap-Kumquat, and the machine probably would start laughing at him and then do the two-finger Larry-Moe-Curly eye poke. Seriously, what football gods did Ryan anger? Since the end of the 2021 season, the Falcons lost their minds and went after Deshaun Watson, upsetting Ryan, who was traded to Indy. Then he went down in flames with the rest of the Colts, was benched for …. Sam … Ehlinger? … saw the offensive coordinator (Marcus Brady) and then the head coach (Frank Reich) get fired and now plays for a head coach (Jeff Saturday) who never coached a game outside of a small Christian school in Dacula and a 30-year-old OC (Parks Frazier) who only two years ago was a quality control coach or possibly in charge of the drive-thru window at Wendy’s, I can’t remember which, not that it matters. The most random of owner Jim Irsay’s quotes the other day referenced sausage making:

This, of course, prompted somebody to design a T-shirt with a long sausage link in the shape of a Colts logo. Make that the alternate third jersey. Raiders cover 6 1/2.

Seahawks vs. Buccaneers (Munich): NFL news travels slowly through Europe, so German fans should be excused if they mistakenly assume Tom Brady is having a better year than Geno Smith. Bucs cover 3.


Commanders at Eagles: Word is Matthew McConaughey is part of the Jeff Bezos-led rich dudes group that will bid for the Commanders. McConaughey played a football coach in “We Are Marshall.” He was runner-up to Saturday for the Colts job. Eagles cover 11.

This movie scene happened in real life …


“Luck is a very thin wire between survival and disaster, and not many people can keep their balance on it.” — Hunter S. Thompson.

Schultz's Weekend Predictions: On Georgia's finish, Nick Saban's fall (2)

Last week (feh): 8-6 straight up, 6-6-2 against the line.

Fiscal report: 91-38 straight up, 72-54-3 against the line.

Lilly’s pick: La Pooch is 6-3 and bowl eligible. How does she do this? Her only objective is to eat cheese. This is a bipartisan effort we can all get behind. This week, in preparation for the Falcons-Panthers game, we taped up pictures of mascots Freddie Falcon and Sir Purr. Cheese in place. Lilly went left. Falcons win.

Schultz's Weekend Predictions: On Georgia's finish, Nick Saban's fall (3)

(Top photo of Kirby Smart: Todd Kirkland / Getty Images)

Schultz's Weekend Predictions: On Georgia's finish, Nick Saban's fall (2024)


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