This week’s predictions
Falcons over Cowboys: Atlanta bends, but won’t break in Big D.
Georgia Tech over Virginia: A Charlottesville curse? Something tells me that won’t scare Paul Johnson.
Johnson over East Hall: Knights’ playmakers on offense make the difference.
Flowery Branch over West Forsyth: The Falcons could have their hands full with another potent ground game. This time, they’ll get the win.
Gainesville over Gilmer: Rested Red Elephants win big again.
North Hall over Chestatee: Trojans scoring 40 points per game during four-game winning streak.
Commerce over Lakeview: The Tigers are much better than their four-loss record suggests.
White County over Lumpkin County: Warriors keep their slim playoff hopes alive in a close one.
Riverside over Oglethorpe County: The Eagles’ running game showed improvement last week.
Fannin County over Banks County: Injuries have hobbled the Leopards this year.
Buford over Blessed Trinity: Wolves’ defense is dominating since loss to Lovett.
Elbert County over Jackson County: The Panthers have hit a rough spot in the schedule.
Jefferson over Rabun County: Dragons show no signs of slowing.
Rockdale County over Habersham Central: The pattern continues for the up-and-down Raiders.
Union County over Dawson County: The Tigers can’t match the Panthers’ firepower.
Last week: 16-2
Season: 104-26 (.800)
What’s the difference between hiking and wandering around in the woods?
That’s not a rhetorical question.
I asked my wife that last Sunday as we were trapsing through the majesties somewhere southwest of Helen. She replied with a glare that said "if you don’t straighten up we’re going kayaking after this." Suddenly, a walk through the White County forests didn’t seem so bad.
As a member of my particular demographic, hiking is one of those things that I’m supposed to enthuse over, like folky blue-eyed soul music and Mac products.
My dear wife loves it (the woods wandering, not the Ray LaMontagne songs and Iphones). Her perfect weekend includes equal parts outdoors enjoyment and hiking through the commercial wilds of Ikea or the Mall of Georgia. And for reasons I’m not sure I’ll ever fully comprehend, she likes me to tag along, dreary attitude and all.
Through four-plus years of marriage, she’s learned not to request my company on these excursions on any college football Saturday or when the Falcons are playing. Likewise, I’ve learned that when she does ask, it’s best that I comply. It’s just easier on everybody when we follow these rules.
So last weekend, I got my Saturday: Georgia revived by the SEC lifegiver in Nashville, top-ranked Florida squeaking by upstart Arkansas with a little assistance, and Georgia Tech making a statement on the flats.
A glorious fall day spent on the couch. That’s my idea of a weekend.
But just hours after Tech fans hacksawed their trophy goalposts into pieces, I was ankle deep in my wife’s idea of a fall weekend, toting water bottles and a packed lunch 2.5 miles uphill with no cell phone service; utterly cut off from the sports world while the Saints were making the Giants look like Vanderbilt and Lord knows what was happening to my fantasy team.
"Look at the waterfall! Isn’t it beautiful?" my wife asked.
I hadn’t noticed, but in truth, it was. The water was high and rushing, the scenery was idyllic and the other hikers on the trail were smiling and happy — especially the ones in Yellow Jacket gear (I did notice that). But all I could think about were the NFC South standings and how badly the Giants needed to shut down Drew Brees for the sake of the Falcons and my dying hopes of a fantasy football postseason.
It’s not that I mind a hike every now and then, and if the bottom isn’t dragging like it was the last time I was volunteered to kayak, that’s not so bad either.
Turning leaves are nice to look at, too; I just prefer to view them from the inside of my car, preferably somewhere between Hall County and Oxford, Miss. (or Auburn, Ala. or Clemson, S.C.).
Or better yet, from the couch, looking out at the backyard with a soundtrack of Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson in the place of chirping wildlife and rushing water.
Brent Holloway is sports editor for The Times. Contact him at email@example.com.