Thursday, September 11, 2008

Week 3 Picks

For the second straight week, the SEC slate will be one game short as Ike makes its way towards Texas. Hog fans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing they’ll stay undefeated one more week.

Off This Week: Florida, Arkansas

UAB (0-2) at Tennessee (0-1, 0-0)
11:30 CDT, Raycom
All Time Series:
Tennessee 2-0
Wednesday’s Line: Tennessee -30

With 2 weeks to sulk about the inexcusable loss at UCLA, the Vols will not be in the best of moods when they take on the Blazers Saturday. The hapless Blazers will be the perfect punching bag for UT, as they’ve already give up 94 points in two games this year against Tulsa and Florida Atlantic. They also sit squarely on the waiting list of ESPN’s Bottom 10 List.

The last time the Blazers rolled into Knoxville, they nearly pulled the upset. No chance this year. While I don’t want to give up 4+ TDs to a team that looked as inept as the Vols did in Week 1, my guess is Fulmer doesn’t call off the dogs until late in this one as he tries to get his team in rhythm with Florida visiting next week. Fulmer will improve to 17-1 against current C-USA teams with a big victory this weekend. Look for the Vols to just hit the number, possibly with an Eric Berry TD to put them over the edge.

Straight Up Winner: Tennessee
Against the Spread: Tennessee

(#2,#2)Georgia (2-0, 0-0) at South Carolina (1-1, 0-1)
2:30 CDT, CBS
All Time Series:
Georgia 44-15-2
Wednesday’s Line: Georgia -7.5

A revenge-minded UGA team will head to Columbia this weekend to face a desperate Gamecock squad needing a win to even stay relevant in the SEC East race. Last year, South Carolina held UGA to 4 FGs and pulled the upset. This year though, will be an entirely different story.
These are two teams heading in opposite directions. After going through the motions in the Week1 victory over Georgia Southern, the Bulldogs were sharp last week, dismantling a capable MAC foe in Central Michigan. The Gamecocks blew out a terrible NCST team in week 1, but had their offensive inefficiencies exposed against Vanderbilt last week. The revolving door QB situation in Columbia has already proven ineffective and shows no signs of getting better, particularly against a defensive front like UGA’s.

While the Gamecock D is stout, they’ll wear down by the end of this game. The offense – regardless of which QB is in - will produce too many 3 & Outs for the D to remain fresh. This game should be close at half time, with the ‘Dawgs tacking on 10-14 points in the 4th to win comfortably. Look for a 27-10 final, and USC's 6th straight SEC loss.

Straight Up Winner: Georgia
Against the Spread: Georgia

Western Kentucky (1-1) at (#11,#16)Alabama (2-0, 1-1)
6:00, PPV
All Time Series:
First Meeting
Wednesday’s Line: Alabama -28

After rocking Clemson in Week 1, Alabama was understandably flat against Tulane in Week 2. With conference season opening up next week, the Tide will be a bit more focused this week against a game WKU team. The Hilltoppers return 14 starters from last year’s 7-5 team and are coming off a win at Eastern Kentucky. While they obviously don’t have the horses to run with the Tide for 60 minutes, 4 TDs is too much to give in this one.

Straight Up Winner: Alabama
Against the Spread: Western Kentucky

(#7,#7)Auburn (2-0, 0-0) at Mississippi State (1-1, 0-0)
6:00 CDT, ESPN2
All Time Series:
Auburn 56-23-2
Wednesday’s Line: Auburn -10.5

It should’ve been obvious to everyone what sort of season MSU was in for last year when they upset Auburn on the Plains. The Bulldogs completed just 5 passes and Tommy Tuberville outcoached himself as the Bullies pulled the 19-14 upset of the Tigers. No chance of a repeat this year.

While the Tigers’ offense has certainly been less than perfect this year, the defense has been stout. Couple that with an MSU offense that has been paltry at best and it’s an easy pick for AU to when this game. Much like the USC/UGA game, MSU’s defense will probably keep the Bulldogs close for a half. In the end though, the offense just won’t be able to get it done against AU and the defense will wear down.

MSU was the feel-good story of the year in the SEC last year. Unfortunately, nearly every other team in the league improved, while the Bullies seemingly stayed about the same. Look for the AU RBs to wear down the MSU front 7 as the game goes along and the Tigers pull away in the 2nd half.

Straight Up Winner: Auburn
Against the Spread: Auburn

Samford (2-0) at Ole Miss (1-1, 0-0)
6:00 CDT
All Time Series:
Tied 1-1
Wednesday’s Line: No Line

About the only thing interesting I can come up with for this game is that Samford just rolled Faulkner 62-0 and Oxford was home to Pulitzer Prize winning author William Faulkner. Nutt will use this game to pad his RBs’ stats.

Straight Up Winner: Ole Miss
Against the Spread: N/A

Rice (2-0) at Vanderbilt (2-0, 1-0)
6:00 CDT
All Time Series:
Vanderbilt 2-1
Wednesday’s Line: Vanderbilt -7.5

The ‘Dores are one of the real surprises this year, scoring 2 upset victories to start the season. The Rice Owls were expected to score a lot of points and have certainly not disappointed, having scored 98 through 2 games. This will be a stiff test for the ‘Dores’ vaunted pass D. Rice chucks the ball all over field – 7 pass TDs – and compliments it with an adequate running game. Defensively, the Owls are not strong and VU QB Nickson should find plenty of running room off the edges.

When it’s all said and done, I think the ‘Dores walk away with a 1 TD victory, somewhere in the area of 31-24. The VU offense should move the ball well and, while the Owls will put points up, they’ll turn the ball over one too many times to steal a win.

Straight Up Winner: Vanderbilt
Against the Spread: Rice

MTSU (1-1) at Kentucky (2-0, 0-0)
6:00 CDT, PPV
All Time Series:
Kentucky 1-0
Wednesday’s Line: Kentucky-16.5

The only real drama here will be if UK can open the season with three straight games of not allowing a TD on defense. The offense should continue to improve as the brutal conference slate draws nearer, but it’s still a work in progress. Look for a low scoring game and the Big Blue coming out on top.

Straight Up Winner: Kentucky
Against the Spread: MTSU

North Texas (0-2) at (#9,#9)LSU (1-0, 0-0)
7:00 CDT, PPV
All Time Series:
LSU 3-0
Wednesday’s Line: LSU -41.5

Like OM/Samford, there’s no way to make this game interesting if you’re not an LSU fan. It’ll be ugly from the opening kick.

Normally, I’m against giving anyone 6 TDs. But it’s a night game at Tiger Stadium against the worst defensive team in the country and LSU has some on—field practice to be had with Gustav postponing last week’s game. The Mean Green have already give up 101 points this season. Look for LSU to have 42 points at half time.

Straight Up Winner: LSU
Against the Spread: LSU

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