Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Week 2 Picks

OFF THIS WEEK: Tennessee, LSU (postponed due to hurricanes)

(#24,#24)S. Carolina (1-0, 0-0) at Vanderbilt (0-0, 0-0)
7:30 CDT, ESPN
All Time Series:
South Carolina 14-3
Wednesday’s Line: South Carolina -10

Both teams picked up blowout wins last week, but only Vandy can really feel good about the way they won. Spurrier has benched original starting QB Beecher in favor of Chris Smelley who was average at best last season, but looked good in mop up duty last week. Meanwhile the Commodores hope to get QB production like they did last week when Nickson accounted for 255 total yards and 3 TDs. The 'Dores also picked off 3 passes, so USC's QBs will have to be smart with the football.

Last year was Spurrier's first ever loss to Vanderbilt (14-1) and he wants no part of a 2-game losing streak to Vandy. While the offense will most likely sputter again, the defense is too strong for the 'Dores to counter. Nickson won't be able to find the same holes he did against Miami(Ohio) last week. VU is just 1-8 in Nashville against the Gamecocks, soon to be 1-9. With revenge on their mind, look for the Gamecocks to earn a comfortable victory.

Straight Up Winner: South Carolina
Against the Spread: South Carolina

Southern Miss (1-0) @ (#9,#10)Auburn (1-0, 0-0)
11:30 CDT, Raycom
All Time Series:
Auburn 16-5
Wednesday’s Line: Auburn -17.5

The Tigers are coming off an impressive defensive performance against Louisiana-Monroe. Much like South Carolina though, the Tigers have a lot of room for improvement on the offensive end. While they gashed ULM for 320+ yds rushing, their QB tandem was... well... awful, finishing 13-27 for 85 yds, much of which came in garbage time. The Golden Eagles, meanwhile, are coming off a huge offensive performance against ULaLa, running up more than 600 yds of offense.

While USM inexplicably fired long-time HC Bower last season, new HC Fedora made a big impression in Game 1. Not so much in game 2. The offense that ran wild against ULaLa will find much tougher sledding against these Tigers. Auburn OC Tony Franklin says he's going to work on the QB rotation to try and shore up the offense. He'll need to get it figured out this week as conference play starts next weekend. While this one will be closer than AU would like, the Tigers' stout D and stable of SEC-caliber RBs will be too much for USM to handle for 60 minutes.

Straight Up Winner: Auburn
Against the Spread: USM

Ole Miss (1-0, 0-0) @ (#20,#20)Wake Forest (1-0)
2:30 CDT, ABC
All Time Series:
Wake Forest 1-0
Wednesday’s Line: Wake Forest -8.5

Both Ole Miss and Wake Forest are coming off Week 1 blowout wins and impressive offensive performances. The Rebels handled Memphis while the Deacons took out Baylor. Neither football powerhouses, but both teams needed good starts to the 2008 season. While Wake did most of their damage through the air - WFU QB Riley Skinner was on target hitting on 75% of his passes for 220 yds and 3 TDs - the Rebels used a power running game - 216 rush yds and 3 TDs to win Houston Nutt's debut as HC in Oxford.

If Hurricane Hanna has anything to say about this game, OM may keep it close enough to scare Wake. With a stable of good backs and a huge OL, a mudfest would favor the Rebels. Chances are though, talent and experience will win out though. The Deacons have established themselves as one of the top programs in the ACC, and while that's not saying much, at this point, WFU is farther along in the game than the Rebels are.

Straight Up Winner: Wake Forest
Against the Spread: Wake Forest

Central Michigan (1-0, 0-0) @ (#2,#2)Georgia (1-0, 0-0)
2:30 CDT, FSN South
All Time Series:
First Meeting
Wednesday’s Line: Georgia -24

The Chippewas roll into Athens Saturday afternoon looking for back-to-back victories to open the season for the first time since 2002. Obviously, it's not going to happen. Apparently, calling the 'Dawgs off last weekend with the score 38-0 over a 1AA opponent wasn't the right call in the voters' minds as UGA dropped to #2 in both polls. This is just another example of how worthless polls are at this point.

Look for the 'Dawgs to play their starters more this week to establish a good, crisp rhythm heading into the first killer stretch of their ridiculous schedule. For that reason alone, the 'Dawgs may just cover the larger-than-wanted number.

Straight Up Winner: Georgia
Against the Spread: Georgia

Louisiana-Monroe (1-0) @ Arkansas (1-0, 0-0)
6:00 CDT (Little Rock)
All Time Series:
Arkansas 7-0
Wednesday’s Line: Arkansas -13

After scraping by 1-AA Western Michigan last week, the Hogs welcome in ULM, fresh off being shellacked by Auburn. Arkansas will be looking for a significantly better offensive performance. Arkansas has scored 44+ points in the last 4 meetings between these two schools, but they may score 24 this go round. ULM has beaten 3 SEC teams since 1995, so an upset is not an impossibility. As bad as the Hogs looked in week 1, you gotta figure they'll bounce back a little better, right? At this point though, 2 TDs is probably a little much for Arkansas to give.

Straight Up Winner: Arkansas
Against the Spread: ULM

SE Louisiana (1-0) @ Mississippi State (0-1, 0-0)
6:00 CDT
All Time Series:
First Meeting
Wednesday’s Line: No Line

The Bulldog offense was as bad last Saturday as it was in the Spring Game> They couldn’t get anything done and while the defense looked good at times, it’ll be without Jamar Chaney for the rest of the season. MSU will be fine without him against SELA this weekend. The offense though will need to improve. SELA already has one road victory in the state of Mississippi (Alcorn St last week) and MSU has lost inexplicable games at home before (Maine). It won’t happen again this weekend though. The Bully RBs will have an easy time with SELA and hopefully open up the passing game for the MSU QBs.

Straight Up Winner: Mississippi State
Against the Spread: N/A

Norfolk State (1-0) @ Kentucky (1-0, 0-0)
5:00 CDT
All Time Series:
First Meeting
Wednesday’s Line: No Line

It’s a new era for the Big Blue Nation when they win a game with defense. The ‘cats smothered Louisville last week and will have another gimme this week. This is Norfolk State’s 2nd game ever against a 1A opponent, having been thrashed by Rutgers last year 59-0. UK could theoretically start the season by not giving up a defensive point in the first two games of the season. A win Saturday will give UK HC Rich Brooks 27 wins, and will move him out of a tie for 6th on the school’s all-time list. He currently is tied with slow-talking Bill Curry. Big win for the Big Blue.

Straight Up Winner: Kentucky
Against the Spread: N/A

Tulane (0-0) @ (#13, #17)Alabama (1-0, 0-0)
6:00 CDT
All Time Series:
Alabama 26-11-3
Wednesday’s Line: Alabama -30

No team across the country had a more impressive opening game than the Tide did. They dominated an overmatched Clemson team from the word “go” and basically embarrassed them on national TV. They’ll be sky high when they take the field Saturday night against Tulane. The Green Wave will be making their season debut, so who knows how crisp they’ll be. Actually, it won’t matter how well they operate. They’ll be overmatched against this Tide team, particularly with this being the home opener in Tuscaloosa.

This is the line this week that I just can’t get a feel for. Alabama should beat them by 4 TDs, but how focused will they be after such a perfect performance last week? With the Tide having another gimme next week against Western Kentucky, I can’t see Saban playing his starters too deep into this one. I see something like a 38-10 game in this one.

Straight Up Winner: Alabama
Against the Spread: Tulane

Miami (1-0) @ (#5, #5)Florida (1-0, 0-0)
7:00 CDT, ESPN
All Time Series:
Miami 28-25
Wednesday’s Line: Florida -21.5

It’s been 23 years since the Gators beat the Hurricanes and UF will have their best shot to break that 6-game losing streak to Miami Saturday night in the Swamp. Both teams looked good in season-opening romps, though neither involved stiff competition.

For the Gators, they’ll welcome back WR/RB/BMF Percy Harvin. As good as UF’s offense was last week against Hawaii, you’ve got to think it can’t hurt to bring a 1st team All-SEC performer back into the mix. With less Tebow and more explosive speed at every position, the Gators should have no problems scoring against Miami.

The Gator secondary should have another solid outing Saturday as the ‘Canes brought back just 11 starters from last year’s team. Prior to last week, no Miami QB had thrown a pass in a college game. In addition to the hype that naturally surrounds this game, QB Robert Marve will be making his debut for UM this weekend as well.

This should be a good chance for the Gators to let off some steam and beat a rival to a pulp. No current Gator or Hurricane has played in this rivalry, but they know all about it. It’s embarrassing for UF to have gone 2 ½ decades without beating UM and they’ll do their best to make it up to their fans Saturday night. Urban Meyer’s not much on letting up on lesser foes, so the 3 TDs is reasonable.

Straight Up Winner: Florida
Against the Spread: Florida

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