National Preview: SEC Dominates Tough Games Once Again
A few things to point out:
First, I was 8-4-1 in picks during Week 1 as detailed here.
Secondly, you can follow my picks all season for free right here.
Thirdly, for the second week in a row the SEC absolutely dominates the Top 25 vs. Top 25 matchups. Last week, there were four total Top 25 vs. Top 25 matchups. The SEC played in two of those contests (and went 2-0 BTW). Other spots were filled by: Pac-12 (1), Big Ten (1), Independent (1), ACC (3). This week there are two Top 25 vs. Top 25 matchups:
- #3 Georgia at #24 South Carolina
- #17 Southern Cal at #10 Stanford
After this week, a total of 12 teams will have played in Top 25 vs. Top 25 matchups. Here’s a breakdown of conference attribution:
- SEC: 4 (Auburn, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina)
- ACC: 3 (Miami, Florida State, Virginia Tech)
- Pac-12: 3 (Washington, Southern Cal, Stanford)
- Big Ten: 1 (Michigan)
- Independent: 1 (Notre Dame)
But sure, Big 12, your conference is the toughest path to the playoff. Sure, Big Ten, your schedules are so brutal!
In any event, on to this week’s top games:
3:30 p.m. #3 Georgia (-10) at #24 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
8:30 p.m. #17 USC at #10 Stanford (-5.5) (FOX)
This is a tough game to pick, and I frankly have no read on it whatsoever. If I didn’t have to make a pick I wouldn’t. But I’m going with Stanford and a bounce-back game from Bryce Love over USC and its 12-year old quarterback. How’s that for analysis?
Picks: Stanford outright and Stanford -5.5