Welcome to the Addison Recorder‘s football Pick ‘Em column. Each week Alex and a guest writer will predict the outcome of the most intriguing games on the slate. He will try to be as expert as possible, but we make no guarantees for his guests.
Rice Owls at #7 Texas A&M Aggies
Going solo this week because the match-ups sort of suck. Also, let me just say that last week sucked and let’s never talk about it again. (Editor’s note – when I win in a head-to-head football pick ’em with Bean, you know how incredibly and improbably such a week sucked in the grand scheme of things, because I have no business getting so much football right. – Andrew) Moving on, we’ve got this pick leading off in honor of next week’s guest-picker: our very own Texas A&M alum and lifelong Aggie fanatic, Chris Walsh. He can hardly stand a day in which we don’t talk about the glory that is A&M football and/or Johnny Manziel, so it’s only fair. In real life, this game will not be a contest. A&M started the season by blowing the doors off of South Carolina in a game I predicted very incorrectly. They will do worse things to a Rice team that has nowhere near their talent level. It will get ugly. Chris will watch every glorious second while whispering “Gig ‘Em.” Aggies by the square root of all the cattle in Texas.
#12 UCLA Bruins at Texas Longhorns
Another Lone Star match-up. This one is actually more intriguing than it initially appears. UCLA was a hip National Title pick before the season began, but they have not looked great so far. Their offense is a mess outside of future first-rounder Brett Hundley at QB. The defense hasn’t been too hot, either, giving up 20 and 35 points respectively to some miserable UVA & Memphis teams. On the flip side, Texas is under first-year coach Charlie Strong and looking like it. Strong has kicked 8 players off the team since taking over in January and got pasted by BYU last weekend. It’s assumed that Strong is playing the stern taskmaster so that he can rebuild the culture in a stagnant powerhouse. (Let’s…let’s not talk about stagnant powerhouses with toxic culture any more, hey?) But he’s still leading a ridiculously talented roster and is one hell of a good coach. It’ll be close, but I’m picking Texas to pull off a home upset. Longhorns by 2.
#6 Georgia Bulldogs at #24 South Carolina Gamecocks
The season could not have started more differently for these two rivals. As mentioned earlier, South Carolina got destroyed by A&M at home two weeks ago, while Georgia pulled away from Clemson in spectacular fashion thanks to ridiculous shit like this from Todd Gurley. I think that trend continues here. The Gamecocks are a talented team, but Georgia may have the most skilled player in the country in their backfield. It will take a heroic effort to keep him from running all over the defense that A&M QB Kenny Hill shredded in the opener. That’s (probably) not gonna happen. Bulldawgs by 10.
Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers
The pickings are slim in the rest of college football this weekend, so we’ll do two NFL games. I picked this one because we both live in Chicago and…that’s all. The Bears will lose. I don’t have much more to add here, since it feels pretty set in stone. As long as Jay Cutler, forever may he smoke, is the Bears’ QB he will throw head-exploding interceptions. That is a great way to lose a road game in any scenario, but especially when you’re playing at the opening game of the 49ers’ new stadium. Harbaugh will have his team will be fired up. Cutler will throw some picks. The Bears will start 0-2 and the great unwashed massed will start calling for Jimmy Clausen to start. I can’t wait. 49ers by 15.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
This is a game between division rivals who hate each other and have both won Super Bowls in the past decade. But that’s not why we’re writing about it. Honestly, I don’t even care who wins it. We picked this game so we could excoriate the NFL about its stance towards the abuse of women. On the one side, we have the Steelers, who are lead by QB Ben Roethlisberger. He has twice been accused of sexual assault, allegedly forcing women in the service industry to have sex with him after a night of drinking and partying. Neither case resulted in prosecution, but he did settle out of court in Nevada and was suspended for 6 games after the Georgia incident. That suspension was later reduced to 4 games after Roethlisberger convinced NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, that he had “turned his life around.” Whatever the fuck that means in circumstances like this. Oh, and the Steelers’ starting Center is Maurkice Pouncey, who wears “Free Hernandez” shirts in support of Aaron Hernandez, the former Patriots Tight End who had been in jail for 14 months and is accused of two different 1st-degree homicides. So…he’s a fucking winner.
On the other side of the field will be the Baltimore Ravens, whose former starting RB Ray Rice punched his then-fiance in the face and knocked her out cold in an Atlantic City elevator last February. Initial videos leaked to the media showed him dragging her unconscious body into a hallway, which was apparently only horrifying enough to get him suspended for 2 games by the NFL. The Ravens went into PR overdrive and spent months talking about what a great guy Rice was and even trotted out the victim to apologize for having been beaten by her loved one. Then a new video leaked on Monday that showed the actual attack. The world was appalled (as they had been all along), and Rice was cut by the Ravens and indefinitely suspended by the NFL before the evening news cycle could begin. This might have been good if they hadn’t fucked up the initial suspension and willfully ignored or lied about seeing the video.
In both instances, the NFL showed that it does not give a shit about the abuse of women (or anyone, for that matter). Despite being the most popular and visible sporting league in the United States, the NFL saw no need to come down with swift and harsh punishment when its star athletes took advantage of our ingrained rape culture and attacked women. To be fair, this is not surprising. The NFL is a big business and it saw more profit in keeping its star players on the field then seeing justice served. But that’s not a good enough excuse in 2014. Both victims and allies are standing up against bias, discrimination, abuse, and violence. That men like Roethlisberger and Rice are allowed to linger in the League for so long shows that the NFL has not caught on to this yet. I hope an asteroid splits in the atmosphere and hits this game and the NFL’s offices whereupon it burns so many things.