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.
This week we welcome back our very own Andrew Rostan. Last time he made picks it led to the worst Saturday in Big Ten history. Let’s hope it works out better this time!
#1 Mississippi State at #4 Alabama
Bean: The marquee matchup of the weekend. Mississippi State has gone from unranked to top dog this season thanks to a string of impressive wins over the heavy-hitters of the SEC. Bama stumbled against Ole Miss, but has fended off all else. They also have history and probabilities on their side, since the Bulldogs have never experienced this sort of success before and have much better recruits. I think that makes the difference and the Cinderella run will end. Crimson Tide by 7.
Rostan: Let’s talk college, Bean. The senior Mr. Rostan sent me this really fascinating article yesterday by one of his favorite writers, Nat Hentoff, on how colleges discourage some forms of free public speaking and even disinvite some speakers. Hentoff didn’t even have to touch on the shame of Anita Sarkeesian at Utah to make his point. Higher education at its best, as Mark Shiffman also recently pointed out in his excellent essay “Majoring in Fear,” is supposed to challenge us, to make us reflect, to present us with points of view we don’t have to agree with but should at least try to understand, because only be overcoming fear and uncertainty in dealing with new and different ideas can we work together to build a great country.
And speaking of “Majoring in Fear,” I think every student in America is fearful of Mississippi State, and not even Saban can change that. Bulldogs by 7.
#16 Nebraska at #20 Wisconsin
Bean: These teams both feel underrated to me. Each boasts a Heisman candidate Running Back in Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah and Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon. There’s some doubt that Abdullah will be ready to go, but if he can, then it should be a good shootout. Besides those guys, these are solid-if-flawed teams. The Huskers have consistency problems and the Badgers haven’t had a good QB since Russell Wilson graduated to winning Super Bowls. The winner here should take the Big Ten West, so I’ll pick the matchup I want to see against Ohio State next month. Cornhuskers by 4.
Rostan: Both of those STATES are solid but flawed. Nebraska is perfectly pleasant, but I’ll be damned if I ever travel through more flat, unexciting country in my life. Wisconsin, on the other hand…it’s got its problems, but it’s a beautiful state where you can drink New Glarus beer and eat fried cheese curds, and I ran the Madison Marathon (sportsball-without-the-balls!) in 3:40 last week. So I’m a fan. Badgers by 3.
#9 Auburn at #15 Georgia
Bean: First things first, watch the end of last year’s edition of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.
AMAZING! Impossible to live up to, as well, especially since neither of these teams is as good this year. Georgia somehow got thumped by a turrible Florida team two weeks ago, so the problems go deeper than missing Todd Gurley. Auburn has still been an offensive juggernaut, but have stumbled against Miss State and TAMU. Still, I’ll take those losses over that UGA loss to the Gators. That is the sign of a team that secretly stinks. Tigers by 14.
Rostan: You know what doesn’t secretly stink? “Feminist” is winning by an overwhelming margin in Time‘s “Which word should be banned in 2015?” poll. The magazine’s caveat is that they’re not misogynist but can’t stand how many people, especially celebrities, label themselves as feminists. This makes me want to nominate “Time” as my word that should be banned. To strike down the word is, no matter what your reason, to deny the concept the word implies, and as The Mary Sue brilliantly points out, feminism and the equality and empowerment it works so hard to achieve is needed in America more than ever.
The word currently in last place in this poll is “disrupt.” Auburn, it seems to me, is still excellent at disrupting expectations. Tigers by 10.
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals
Bean: How are these teams good? Where did this come from? Most importantly, why are there no Premier League games this weekend? But I digress, since we have a Week Eleven showdown between the division-leading Lions and Cardinals. Which….does not compute. I cannot compute it. Default to homerism. Lions by 1.5
Rostan: Do you realize West Ham United is in fourth place in the Premier League? FOURTH? Admittedly that translates to eleven points behind first-place Chelsea, but the Academy’s energy and grit have propelled them to wins and draws against so many of the usual giants. A few games go the right way, a few upsets, and soon “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” could be drowning out “Blue is the Colour.” I’ll take a little red over blue any day. Cardinals by 7.
Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns
Bean: Picked this one for you, Rostan! The Browns are in sole possession of first place in their division for the first time since they were another franchise. Which, much like the previous matchup, DOES NOT COMPUTE. How? Where? Who? Who are these Browns that win and what has happened to the real ones? I demand answers. And more wins for Cleveland, I guess. Browns by 10.
Rostan: Here’s something that does compute: Taylor Swift has already sold just under 1.7 million copies of 1989 and quite frankly, they’re well deserved. The joys of this album exceeded expectations. Lifting elements from the sounds of so many 80s immortals (especially Annie Lennox and Peter Gabriel), Swift herself only heightens her extraordinary compositional skills (there are four of the most impeccable songs of the half decade on here) and matches them with her most poetic and fun lyrics yet. In other words, like pop’s other great songwriters, she produces thrilling, truly original songs on the introspective and romantic themes that mean the most to us and, as she says in one of my favorite tracks, never go out of style.
The brown, orange, and white never go out of style either. Cleveland endures its down periods, but always returns to ascend to the top again. Browns by 14.
Thanks for letting me explain all that stuff, Bean! Now…what was this article about again?