SEC Football: Don’t Bet on Georgia This Week and Other Picks
I can’t quit you. Let’s do this.
All lines via Caesars Palace accessed Via OddsShark.com Monday AM.
North Carolina vs. South Carolina (Thursday, 6 P.M., ESPN)
People talk about the “Battle of Carolinas” as if anyone cares. Within the context of college football there isn’t a “Carolina.” There are just two states who house multiple football programs none of which deserve to claim an entire region as its own. With that out of the way, this game could be wildly entertaining. Carolina comes in with what should be a prolific offensive attack and a former national champion at DC. Yes, Gene Chizik won a national championship. Theoretically that balance could really threaten Carolina, but let’s not forget that Carolina is still Carolina relative to Carolina and the last time Carolina played Carolina in a season opener, things got out of hand relatively quickly on a Thursday night opener. And apparently Steve Spurrier isn’t a day older than he was this time last year, mathematics be damned!
My Pick: South Carolina -3
Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt (Thursday, 8 P.M., ESPN)
For my money, this is one of only four potentially winnable games for Vanderbilt (along with Austin Peay, MTSU and Houston), and I’d be stunned if the Commies won on the road against both Middle Tennessee and Houston. That bleak lack of optimism for a team that is just one full season (and one head coach) removed from knocking on the door of 10 wins is exacerbated by the fact that I’d be stunned to see Vanderbilt cover the opening spread on this. Sure, the outcome should never be in doubt, but to expect the Hilltoppers to lose by 17.5 (the opening line) means you need to expect Vanderbilt to score at least 18 points. And it’s unreasonably to think Western Kentucky can’t puke up at least 3 points on accident. So with a coverage need of at least 21 points scored, who likes Vandy? Context: Vanderbilt scored more than 21 points just twice against FBS opposition last season (34 against UMass and 34 vs. South Carolina…all the LOLz). Oh but you want to know what’s a really, really, really bad thing for Vanderbilt? The 17.5 line referenced here was the opening line from OddsShark. This sucker has moved all the way to Western Kentucky -1.5 at Caesars. Damnation. Nobody likes you Vanderbilt. And nobody’s asking for your permission to dislike you either! But Vandy can cover that.
My Pick: Vanderbilt +1.5
Louisiana Monroe at #9 Georgia (Saturday, 12 P.M., SEC Network)
One could make a strong case for Louisiana Monroe joining the SEC. And I’m not kidding here. Last year, LA Mo went 0-3 in SEC play, but none of the last three teams to go all-defeated in the conference play (2013 Arkansas, 2013 Kentucky, 2014 Vanderbilt) fired their coaches. Further, a 31-0 loss at LSU wasn’t any worse than the 41-3 thrashing the Tigers put on Kentucky at home. LA Mo lost 48-14 to Kentucky, but Kentucky is a program on the rise (as evidenced by Mark Stoops $3 milly+/year extension). And Funroe lost to Texas A&M by just five points last season. South Carolina and Arkansas lost by wider margins to the Aggies. And don’t forget, this is the same Warhawks program that beat Arkansas to open the 2012 season before taking Auburn to OT. Also of note: Georgia should be much better than UL-M this season. But 35 points better when two QBs are getting attention and Chubb is spending some time on the sideline? Not taking that.
My Pick: Louisiana Monroe +35
Tennessee-Martin at #17 Ole Miss (Saturday, 12 P.M., SEC Network)
Serious question: which game is the SEC Network going to show at noon? Because if it’s the shitty-ass Ole Miss team that opens the season ranked lower than Georgia (17th) and closed last year with losses to Auburn (Georgia destroyed Auburn), Arkansas (Georgia destroyed Arkansas) and a 39-point loss in a Bowl “game” to TCU, we’re gonna have issues. Yes, Ole Miss is talented, but depth is still something of an issue there until proven otherwise and people seem to be so wrapped up with righteous indignation about a “too low ranking” because the Rebels are recruiting like an SEC program that they’ve forgotten that a handful of programs are recruiting at an SEC level. The major difference: some programs are recruiting at an SEC level and not closing the season with a 1-4 record vs FBS opposition while being outscored 148-58.
No line for this game.
UTEP at #18 Arkansas (Saturday, 3:30 P.M., ESPNU)
The Razorbacks are favored by 33 points. That’s insane. So insane that I like it. Remember the dump I just took on Ole Miss a few moments ago? Well Arkansas was one of the programs that dismantled the Rebels down the stretch last year. Contrast how OM folded to what Arky did:
- Defeated UAB 45-17
- Lost on the road vs. (then No.1) Miss State by 7
- Defeated #17 LSU in a shutout
- Defeated #8 Ole Miss 30-0
- Lost on the road to SEC East Champ Mizzou by 7
- Defeated Texas in Bowl Game by 24 points.
Arkansas will roll in this contest.
My pick: Arkansas -33
Louisville vs. #6 Auburn (Saturday, 3:30 P.M., CBS)
Are we all totally sold out for Auburn? I’m not saying I’m not, but I’m asking for a friend. Nick Marshall was no scrub and it seems like we’re devaluing his 6,425 yards of offense and 57 TDs over the past two seasons awfully quickly. And sure, he was a perfect fit for Malzahn’s system, but being a system QB doesn’t mean anyone on the roster can be a system QB. And Jeremy Johnson has looked fantastic at times, but the dude has run for 40 yards on 11 career carries. At the very least he’s a different style of QB than Marshall which should make the offense a tidbit easier to defend. And I know we’re all convinced that Muschamp is the “greatest defensive mind in the whole wide world,” but the last time he was a DC (2010 at Texas), his squad ranked 49th in scoring defense. Oh, and Auburn’s defense has been unintentionally hilarious for the past few years even with a stupid amount of talent. Over the past four seasons, Auburn has allowed an average of 41.125 points per game to its two biggest rivals (Alabama and Georgia). Don’t get me wrong, I think Auburn is good. But again, this is a team that lost its final four FBS games and was 13 combined points away (theoretically negating a four point win vs. Ole Miss and a seven point win vs. South Carolina) from finishing the season with a 7-game FBS losing streak. This team lost five games down the stretch and lost its best offensive weapon since Cam Newton to the Draft. Does Muschamp change that? And then there’s Louisville. I don’t know why and maybe it’s because Josh Harvey-Clemons is there, but I’m high on the Cardinals.
My pick: Louisville +10.5 points
Southeast Missouri State vs. #24 Missouri (Saturday, 4 P.M., SEC Network)
I never felt like Missouri was in the Southeast or belongs in the Southeaster Conference, but apparently Mizzou is a Southeast State (at least according to Southeast Missouri State). That’s all.
No line for this game.
Bowling Green at #25 Tennessee (4 P.M., SEC Network)
Brick by Brick, baby! I’m not even being sarcastic about Tennessee’s rebuilding job when I say that I fully expect the Volunteers to win this football game. The Vols are back baby! #VFL #VawlSoHard #BrickbyBrick #ButchJones2016 #ButtchugOrDieTryin
My pick: Tennessee -20.5
#15 Arizona State at Texas A&M (Saturday, 7 P.M., ESPN)
This is the part of the day when I’ll pull my brisket off the BGE, switch from beer to bourbon and wait. And I’m legitimately excited about these night games for a handful of reasons. So, I’m switching gears and giving three things to watch in each of these contests:
- Arizona State’s Uniforms: These sumbitches should be fire. How’s that for analysis?
- Texas A&M’s Defense: Don’t tell Auburn I said this or I’ll draw the first “Butthurt” insult of the year, but John Chavis is a better defensive mind than Will Muschamp. He also looks like he should own a pizzeria.
- SEC! Chants: They will happen as the nation’s best conference swings its manhood for the first time this season and pulls off an upset (at least in the rankings).
My pick: Texas A&M -3
Louisiana-Lafayette at Kentucky (Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPNU)
- Does Kentucky’s offense justify Mark Stoops earning $18.75 million between now and the end of the 2019 season?
- Does Kentucky’s defense justify Mark Stoops earning $18.75 million between now and the end of the 2019 season?
- Does Kentucky’s special teams justify Mark Stoops earning $18.75 million between now and the end of the 2019 season?
Back story: Stoops signed an extension in October of last year that will yield the following salaries at Kentucky:
- 2015: $3.25 million
- 2016: $3.5 million
- 2017: 3.75 million
- 2018: $4 million
- 2019: $4.25 million
The extension (which bumped his pay to an even $3 million last season) came on the early side of a six-game losing streak as Kentucky turned a 5-1 start into another bowl-less season. Since he arrived in Lexington, Kentucky is 7-17 overall and 2-14 in SEC play. In the two seasons preceding his arrival, former head coach Joker Phillips was 7-17 overall and 2-14 in SEC play. So non-progress is being rewarded quite handsomely. That’s so damn southern.
My pick: Louisiana-Lafayette +17
McNeese State at #14 LSU (Saturday, 7:30 P.M., SEC Network)
- Les Miles checked into the hospital on Monday. For his sake and for the sake of the game, let’s hope we can watch him at full speed on the sidelines.
- Leonard Fournette is going to run for 300 yards. That just seems like a possibility.
- You’re playing QB1 for LSU. Seriously, do you want to?
No line for this game.
New Mexico State at Florida (Saturday, 7:30 P.M., SEC Network)
- Let’s pay close attention to @NMStateFootball on Twitter. I mean that’s gold right there.
- New Mexico State ain’t afraid to give up some points. Is Florida still afraid to score ’em?
- Seriously, Florida has to score 40 in Jim McElwain’s debut right?
My pick: New Mexico State +37
#20 Wisconsin vs. #3 Alabama (Saturday, 8:00 P.M., ABC)
- For the first time since 2009 Wisconsin doesn’t have a 1,000-yard rusher on its roster. Corey Clement ran for 949 last year, but can he be “the man” this year the way Melvin Gordon, James White and Montee Ball have been the past few years?
- Also absent from Wisconsin: running backs coach Thomas Brown. He’s at Georgia. Seriously, this run game could take a step back. Or not.
- The QB race with Bama is the sexy offensive topic, but I want to see pace. How fast is Lane Kiffin prepared to move?
My Pick: Alabama -10
Mississippi State at Southern Mississippi (Saturday, 10 P.M., FoxSports1)
- Know how I know Miss. State’s success in 2014 wasn’t sustainable? The Bulldogs open at Southern Mississippi at 10 PM on damn FoxSports 1.
- Per my admittedly quick scan, Southern Miss hasn’t defeated a Power 5 opponent since a 31-16 win over Kansas on September 17, 2010. It would be hilarious if it happened against Miss State.
- Did this Miss State team fall back to reality hella fast or are we all wrong? I mean think about it: On November 28 of last year this team was 11-1, recently ranked first and holding a single loss at the hands of perennial contender Alabama on the road. A road loss to a ranked rival and a ranked opponent in a meaningless bowl game later and this team isn’t even ranked in preseason despite a Heisman candidate at QB.
My pick: Southern Miss +21
That’s all I got/
Posted on September 2, 2015, in Alabama, Arkansas, Arkansas, Auburn, Blog, Florida Gators, Gambling, Georgia Bulldogs, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Nick Saban, Ole Miss, Picks, SEC, South Carolina Gamecocks, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.