Week 2 SEC Previews: Georgia Crushes Carolina and More
Look, if you’re late to the party you’ve missed out on free money. I can’t fix stupid, so jump on board. Last week, I went 8-3-1 on games broken down on the site. I miffed majorly on a “bonus” game of FAU vs. Oklahoma, which brought me to 8-4-1 overall. These are real, verified picks via Action Network (follow me here) or see the screenshot below.
So let’s jump in.
12 p.m. Mississippi State (-9.5) at Kansas State (ESPN)
I’m not a believer in Mississippi State. I think that’s pretty well-documented. But Kansas State needed two late scores to get past South Dakota State last week while the Bulldogs absolutely cruised. I would have had this line closer to 14.5, but that’s just me. I’ll take the Bulldogs, but it would be sweet to get validation of my hate this early in the year.
Picks: Mississippi State outright and Mississippi State -9.5
12 p.m. Nevada at Vanderbilt (-9) (SEC Network)
If an SEC program pummeling MTSU can be surprising, then I guess Vandy’s 35-7 season-opener was surprising. I think that score, however, is a bit misleading. In reality the teams played fairly evenly. MTSU had more first downs and Vandy had more yards while neither offense looked even a faint shade of explosive. Turnovers were costly for the Blue Raiders, however. All this being said, there seemed to be enough positives for Vandy to imply a comfortable win over Nevada.
Picks: Vandy outright and Vandy -9
3:30 p.m. Arkansas State vs. Alabama (-36.5) ESPN 2
I really don’t like massive spreads in Alabama’s favor early in the season. Arkansas State is a talented Sun Belt squad and their passing game does some interesting things and I think that could keep them within 5 scores.
Picks: Alabama outright but Arkansas State +36.5
3:30 p.m. Georgia (-10) at South Carolina (CBS)
Frankly, this line is insulting to Georgia and a byproduct (in my opinion) of three narratives: 1. South Carolina played Georgia close last year, 2. Somebody has to step up in the SEC East, and 3. It’s tough to play at South Carolina. First and foremost, the game last year was ugly but it wasn’t really all that close. Jake Fromm was 16/22 for 196 yards and two scores and after the game Gamecock head coach Will Muschamp declared some sort of victory saying, “We made Jake Fromm play quarterback.” That seems to imply that Carolina shut-down the Bulldogs’ ground attack, but Georgia ran for a cool 242 yards. Georgia held the ball for 38:22 and South Carolina had possession for just 21:38. Georgia racked up 26 first downs to South Carolina’s 14. Georgia racked up 438 yards of offense and South Carolina managed 270. The game was never—ever—in doubt. Secondly, yes, someone does have to step up in the SEC East, but that’s all relative to Georgia’s spot at the top. The presence of a behemoth in the division does not necessitate a competitive rival so much as it might induce a wide gap between first and second. Finally, it is very tough to play at South Carolina. That would be concerning if these two teams were remotely even by any measure (talent, coaching, etc.). But that’s not the case. I think it plays to Georgia’s favor that there is so much South Carolina hype right now.
Picks: Georgia outright and Georgia -10
4:00 p.m. Eastern Tennessee State at Tennessee (No Line) (SEC Network)
Jeremy Pruitt’s boys looked all-out out-matched against West Virginia last week. The Volunteer offense was predictably unproductive (172 passing yards, 129 on the ground), but the defensive woes really surprised some of the Volunteer faithful. Who could have predicted a Will Grier-led team beating Tennessee in painful fashion? In any event, the Vols will get to 1-1 against in-state rival ETSU.
Pick: Tennessee outright
4:00 p.m. Southern Illinois at Ole Miss (No Line) (SEC Network)
Ole Miss looked strong against a Texas Tech team that seems destined to can its coach mid-season. So good on ya, Matt Luke. The Rebels will move to 2-0 this week and may be knocking on the door of Undefeated-SEC-Teams-Who-Get-Ranked-Just-Because house (see South Carolina and Florida).
Pick: Ole Miss outright
7:00 p.m. Clemson at Texas A&M (+12.5) (ESPN)
Jimbo Fisher will get his first real test as the Aggies’ head-man this weekend and what a test it will be. Clemson is a popular (if boring) pick to be in the College Football Playoff and its pretty damn hard to argue with that logic. A&M looked promising against a clearly out-manned FCS program, but it’s hard to believe Jimbo could close the gap between a program that fired its coach and a program that is a perennial playoff contender this quickly. Frankly, 12.5 points seems to small here.
Pick: Clemson outright and Clemson -12.5
7:00 p.m. Wyoming at Missouri (-18.5) (ESPNU)
It was only one game and it was only against Tennessee-Martin, but Derek Deooley hasn’t ruined the Mizzou passing game—at least not yet. Drew Lock hit on 19 of 25 passes for 289 yards and 4 scores and his backup threw for another 109 yards. I stand by my assertion that Missouri has as good of a shot as anybody at finishing 2nd in the SEC, and if the Tigers win big this weekend and the Gamecocks get throttled that sentiment may pick up some steam.
Pick: Missouri outright and Missouri -18.5
7:00 p.m. Southeastern Louisiana at LSU (No Line) (ESPN 2)
I totally whiffed on the LSU/Miami game and I will never, ever, ever, ever trust Mark Richt in a big game. I should have learned my lesson a decade ago. I’m not totally sold on LSU and this game won’t change many minds, but I’m starting to gear up for the Tiger-on-Tiger LSU/Auburn game next week.
Pick: LSU outright
7:30 p.m. Alabama State at Auburn (No Line) (SEC Network)
I’m not totally sure how good this Auburn team is, but I was impressed last week. The Tigers beat a good Washington team despite an inherent coaching disadvantage (no one in their right mind would pick Gus Malzahn over Chris Petersen). Further, if you buy into the notion that Auburn typically starts slow (and that tends to be the case), the ceiling for this team is sky-high.
Pick: Auburn outright.
7:30 p.m. Kentucky at Florida (-14) (SEC Network)
Honestly, I think this is a must-win game for Kentucky if the Wildcats have any intention of moving into the top half of the SEC’s weaker division. For some reason, that urgency and the longstanding losing streak (UK has lost 31 games in a row to Florida) seems like it will keep things interesting.
Picks: Florida outright but Kentucky +14
7:30 p.m. Arkansas (-13.5) at Colorado State (CBSSN)
I don’t feel like we learned anything about Arkansas in Week 1, but this Colorado State team is really in trouble. It’s hard to see the Rams covering the spread after losing 43-34 to Hawaii (when they were favored by a wide margin) and dropping a 32-point game to Colorado.
Picks: Arkansas outright and Arkansas -13.5
That’s all I got/