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PAUL FINEBAUM: OUR SPORTSWRITER HERO OF THE WEEK

Hat tip to Paul Finebaum, who in addition to being a superb beat writer for the Mobile Register also pulls off-season filler from his ass with the ease of a savvy pro. Finebaum, who we'd take in a death match pit fight over the AJC's Tony Barnhart any day, rolls out Alabama's schedule and picks each game right down to the scores. His call? 7-4, with wins at South Carolina and Miss. State. We're thinking Finebaum's playing a little home ball here-wouldn't the timing of an SC upset by Spurrier's reprobate reconstruction project be perfect? Wouldn't the babyfaced Shula play the perfect patsy for the Evil Genius? Isn't this just the kind of shit Spurrier excels at? No one wants to play SC this year, if only because no one wants to be the first "gotcha!" game for the Gamecocks. Bama would be a perfect first scalp for a resurgent program, and we're betting they give theirs up at Columbia.
Oh, and Bama will lose to Arkansas, if only because of the Houston Nutt principle: win the games you're supposed to lose, lose the games you're supposed to win. At Alabama just a week after playing USC in Cali sounds like a triple-overtime Houston Nutt special, complete with a connected Hail Mary, blocked punt, and fluky-ass turnovers. Here's calling Bama at 6-5, with one very threatened Mike Shula exiting at season's end despite winning one he shouldn't along the way.

Can Bama defeat this madman and his hexes? We think not...