The actual play of college football on Saturday was a sight for sore eyes following a week that played out like a TMZ Twitter feed.  With Todd Gurley’s dismissal at UGA, Treon Harris’ suspension/non-suspension at Florida and the utter fiasco that’s brewing in Tallahassee, it was nice to put those items on hold for a moment and just play some damn football.  Like a 3am Chilito from Taco Bell, it didn’t fail to delight yet induce heartburn, and I’ll share a little of both with you in this week’s Shocks, Shanks and Chafes and Predictions.

Biggest Shock: Clanga.  I shouldn’t be shocked by Mississippi State’s win over Auburn this weekend but I am.  I’d like to say I will never include them in my shocks section again this season after knocking off Auburn convincingly 38-23, but I can’t promise that.  The Bulldogs are ranked #1 for the first time in program history and I want to take that with a grain of salt, but I wont.

I’m mesmerized by everything going on at the moment at MSU.  Dan Mullen has coached himself into richer paychecks come January, either to stay and be King of Stark Vegas or test the waters elsewhere.  There are a few fans in Florida that might have an opinion on that.  Dak Prescott is seemingly the Heisman front-runner, especially with Gurley’s departure, leading this squad to three consecutive wins over top 10 opponents.

About that stat: wins over top 10 opponents in three consecutive weeks has happened a grand total of five times in NCAA history.  The last team to do it was Auburn, but that was 31 years ago.  You line that schedule up on paper for any team in the country and it seems impossible to navigate unscathed.  Heck, line that up against some of the best teams in the last 31 years and I have a hard time envisioning them emerging 3-0.  Ohio State would just forfeit.

Post Script: I’m also somewhat shocked about how Ole Miss took care of business with A&M in College Station.  It appears there’s been a seismic shift of power in the SEC heading west from Alabama to Mississippi.  For now I’m vaulting “An undefeated Egg Bowl matchup” to the top of my Christmas list, just a smidge above the firing of Will Muschamp and permanent benching of Jeff Driskel.

Biggest Shank: Welcome back to Shanksville, Missouri.  I sure did miss you after you fought back from that embarrassing loss to Indiana and upended South Carolina on the road.  We all know Todd Gurley was out for this game, but apparently no one from the Tigers’ roster showed up either as UGA spanked them at home 34-0. 

The shutout was Georgia’s first ever against a ranked road opponent as they held Mizzou to 147 total yards.  Maty Mauk tossed four picks, doubling his four total for the year coming in, and watched his QBR drop to worst in the SEC.  Congrats, Jeff Driskel!

Without Gurley, Freshman Nick Chubb gobbled up 143 yards rushing, and I solemnly swear I will do my best to mention him in every single article henceforth because his name makes me giggle.  As for Missouri, a road trip to Gainesville this week is a tough way to shake this embarrassment even with The Gators’ woes.  But at least we’ll get the burning question of which SEC East QB is worst, unless Christmas comes early on one of my wishes.

Biggest Chafe: I’m heading to Baton Rouge this week for the LSU/Kentucky game, and I’m disappointed to report it’s my first journey to Tiger Stadium.  I’ve been to 138 Gators games including trips to Bama, Ole Miss, Tennessee and even Vandy, yet pathetically, not one on the Bayou.

I have no viable excuse why this voyage has eluded me.  In my younger days I blamed finances.  In my mid-20’s I blamed dealing with the drunk and ornery Tiger fans coming in as a drunk and ornery Gator fan myself.  Later, I blamed the dread of running into James Carville at a tailgate and debating my position on the role of government in supporting innovation in the field of biotechnology.

My jaunt to LSU this week is part of an annual tradition known as “Nassar-Mills” co-founded 8 years ago with my buddy Richie Miller, a New Jerseyan with a passion for college football like he was born in the South.   Each year roughly 10 ne’er-do-wells from all over the US visit a college town we’d say is on our bucket list if using the term bucket list wasn’t more annoying than an FSU fan defending Jameis Winston.

We’ve been to State College when the “P” in PSU still stood for Paterno and not, um, let’s go with “Probation”.  I’ve brought folks to Gainesville when our QB was throwing bad passes but winning titles and a Heisman and not just throwing bad passes. We visited Athens, since seeing a Georgia game as Florida fan means going to The World’s Largest Outdoor Bathroom Lines and Gathering of Jacksonville Riff Raff.  It’s like going to Denny’s at 3am, only dirtier, drunker and you don’t get a Moons Over My Hammy. 

We’ve jumped around at Camp Randall, seen Puddles on his motorcycle in Autzen and hooked some horns in Austin.  And this year, finally, I get to see if Death Valley does indeed reek of hot dogs coated in a thick layer of cornmeal batter. 

Back to the chafe.  As a CFB fanatic I regret not doing these road trips sooner.  If you share my grief don’t just live vicariously through GameDay – go out there and visit these places now.  Go support your team on the road, or better yet – don’t.  Having no skin in the game is splendid.  There’s less time to agonize over the outcome and more time to just enjoy your surroundings by partying with the local yokels.

I plan on making these pilgrimages to my holy lands until I no longer can.  I need to sit in the Rose Bowl.  I must lay eyes Touchdown Jesus.  I need to be one of the 108,000 at The Big House.  As for The Horseshoe?  Yeah…I can wait on The Horseshoe.  If I can’t spend my life with family, friends and the awesomeness of great college football, well then I might as well become an NBA fan.

My Lousy Predictions: I flipped the script this week with a 5-1 performance that was nothing short of stunning.  I’m walking a little arrogantly today as I move my total to 22-25 on the season. This all means I’ll probably pull an oh-fer this week ahead.  Fingers are crossed.

Games of the Week

#21 TAMU @ #7 Alabama (-14.5): If Saban and Kiffin are looking to right the ship offensively, this could be the game.  Blake Sims is unpredictable, but Kenny Hill’s accuracy is sputtering. I’ll lean with the home field advantage of people yelling “ROW TAHD” and “COW-TURD”.  My Prediction:  Row 37, Gig ‘Em 24

Game of the Weak

Furman @ South Carolina I normally leave the lineless matchups out of the discussion, but I legitimately struggle to find one of the other match-ups weak worthy this outing.  So I’ll call out this ugliness of this game right here.  Enjoy getting your first and probably only win in October, SoCar!  My Prediction: Cocks 58, Paladins 6

Elsewhere, these other completely acceptable games are happening

#10 Georgia (-3) @ Arkansas: This is the lone trip to Little Rock for The Hogs this season.  This is where the 15 game SEC loss streak began for The Razorbacks in ’12 before Big Ole Bret rolled into town.  The loss of Gurley has to catch up to UGA at some point, right?  Arkansas has to turn one of these close shaves into a “W” at some point, right?  My Prediction: Hogs 48, Dawgs 43

Tennessee @ #3 Ole Miss (-17): I’m depressed this game isn’t on CBS so I could hear Statler and Waldorf mention the Manning name eleventy-billion times.  You know how far UT has fallen since the Manning days?  They’re the homecoming opponents for The Rebs.  Maniacal laugh.  My Prediction: Ole Miss 41, Tennessee 17

Missouri @ Florida (-3): Okay, so using the same analysis as above, I’ll point out that Mizzou is The Gators’ homecoming opponent, also.  Fitting since they played like a cupcake team against UGA, except I don’t have such high expectations for their failure in Gainesville.  Did I mention I don’t want to see Jeff Driskel on Saturday?  Not under center.  Not on the sidelines.  Not selling popcorn in the stands.  My Prediction: Gators 28, Tigers 26

Kentucky @ LSU (-10): Kentucky’s on a three game winning streak and beaming with confidence, but have lost it’s last three trips to Death Valley by a combined score of 118-7.  Blah.  Even with the win in Gainesville some Tiger faithful are a little faith-Les right now.  Not me.  I love the wacky SOB. Did I mention I’ll be at the game?  Look for me on your tube.  My Prediction: Tigers 35, Wildcats 27

Follow me on Twitter @thenassar to share your Shocks, Shanks, Chafes and Predictions!  And for all you Baton Rougians, let me know the places I must hit up to eat, drink and be moronic at!