Time to get to another week’s picks. A ton of SEC games this week but also a bunch with no lines due to the competition. Rivalry week can’t get here soon enough after some of these snooze fest this week.
Last week was just another week in the roller coaster it has been for me ATS going 3-4 and running my season total to 40-37.
UTSA at #25 Texas A&M (-27.5)
This is a match-up that 2 weeks ago, you’d assume A&M covers whatever the number would end up being. Fast forward to now and it seems we are in the middle of the patented Sumlin late season melt. First off, the UTSA defense is awful as that was on full display giving up 63 to La Tech last week. On the year, they are giving up 30 ppg which is 78th in the country. The flip-side is they can score. They’re averting 32 ppg behind a balanced rushing attack that has many players who can burn you on the ground including QB Dalton Sturm. UTSA won’t have near enough defense to pull a stunner but they do have enough offense to keep it inside of 4 TDs. The A&M downward spiral continues.
My pick: A&M 38-21
ULL at Georgia (-23)
The Bulldogs big win last week vs Auburn set them up for a strong finish and 8 possible wins in year 1 of the Smart era. Not bad, especially considering the Vandy loss 4 weeks ago. This is a game that I don’t think UGA is in any trouble whatsoever. The offense looks to be gaining some confidence on the ground which does nothing but help Jacob Eason. The ULL defense has not been very good this year giving up over 27 ppg. They are a bit better against the run (3rd in the Sun Belt) than they are against the pass (8th in Sun Belt). What this line comes down to for me is UGA’s ability to score. The Dogs high point total on the year is 33 (in game 1). So in their high point total they can still give up 10 points and not cover.
My pick: Dogs 32-17
#23 Florida at #16 LSU (-14)
The first thing to consider in this game is the injury of Luke Del Rio and what the Gator offense looks like with Appleby at the helm. Hint, it’s not very good. In his 3 starts he’s lost to Tennessee and barely escaped Vandy and South Carolina. When you look at the Gator rushing defense statistically, they are nasty. When you look at the numbers a bit deeper you see they really beat up on the sister of the poor. In other games they gave up 223 to Arkansas, 265 to Mizzou, and 144 to Vandy. The LSU attack spearheaded by Fournette and Guice will be unlike anything they have ever seen. Night and day difference. Coach O knows how good that secondary is and will keep a tight leash on Danny Etling. If the Tigah rushing attack can get rolling like I think it should, it won’t be an issue.
My pick: Tigahs 27-10
Mizzou at #19 Tennessee (-16.5)
In some aspects, it seems that the UT season has been a dumpster fire. Another announcement of a player transfer (freshman RB Jeremy Lewis) gives credence to the narrative that Butch has lost the team. On the other hand, the Vols are playing for a birth to Atlanta should LSU take care of a beat up Florida squad. For all the problems the Vols have had, the offense has really got moving the last 2 weeks scoring 55 and 49 under the guidance of steady QB Josh Dobbs. The last 2 games he’s completing passes at a video game level and has 6 TDs to only 1 INT. The public money is on UT but I just don’t think they can hold Mizzou to a low enough point total. This Vol team in the SECCG will be the worst in my lifetime to play in that game.
My picks: Vols 34-24
West Carolina at South Carolina (NL)
Good bounce-back game for Jake Bentley and the Gamecocks after a tough outing at Florida last week. It was the teams first loss under Bentley’s guidance. The good news: this one will make the Cocks bowl eligible. Who saw that coming for Coach Boom?
My pick: SC 41-6
Austin Peay at Kentucky (NL)
It took way too long but this is the one that finally gets Marc Stoops and the Wildcats bowl eligible. Look away BBN because I’m about to get real. Sure this will get the elusive bowl trip but it’s not due to any improvement in the program under Stoops. This team is not a single bit better than the last 2 years that saw the Cats go 5-7. The difference this year is the worst East Division in my lifetime. The division got worse around them more than they got better within it. The Cats will get 6 this year and make a bowl and for that, I’m happy for the fan base. They deserve it. That said, this trip will give false hope to a program with a bad coach. Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina are all on the up-tick. Tennessee will always be pretty solid and Mizzou won’t stay down forever. When this division starts trending back up, which it will next year, will Stoops ride that rising tide or sink?
My pick: BBN 49-10
Chattanooga at #1 Alabama (NL)
I would like for all of you to join me for a moment of silence for the Austin Peay Governors. May the Lord be with you.
My pick: Bama 52-0
Arkansas at Mississippi State (Even)
Probably the most intriguing match-up of the weekend in the SEC. MSU is fighting to stay in the bowl conversation and Bielema desperately needs a win to appease a fanbase who have higher hopes than 6-7 wins. This game is one of strength on weakness match-ups. This isn’t your typical Arkansas team. Vs SEC competition, the Hogs are 13th in the SEC in rushing offense (120 ypg) and are last in rushing defense (288 ypg allowed). Not the hallmark of a Bielema team. They go against a MSU rushing attack that is 6th in the SEC getting nearly 200 ypg in conference play. The flip-side of this is the MSU passing defense which is giving up 277 ypg which is good for 117th in the nation. Arkansas QB Austin Allen is 3rd in the SEC in passing with 2,501 yards and an impressive 20 passing TDs to go with it. Whoever has the better night, MSU’s passing defense vs Arky’s rushing defense, will probably get the big W for their program. The MSU secondary was incredibly young to start the season and has gotten better. Add in that Mullen owns Bielema.
My pick: MSU 35-30
Alabama A&M at #15 Auburn (NL)
Auburn gets to practice with someone whose name on their jersey starts with Alabama before the real thing next week.
My pick: Tigers 52-3
Ole Miss at Vandy (+10)
You can throw all the Ole Miss stats out the window for this one. We are now in the Shea Patterson era and the Rebs are 1-0. New season, new team. Being at this point with Chad Kelly would have been a huge disappointment, not of the fault of Kelly, but having the chance to get bowl eligible under Patterson with 1 more game to play has totally different optics. Vandy has traditionally played the Rebs tough but what this line comes down to for me is the inability for Vandy to score points. We’re talking about an offense that can’t crack 20 ppg, ranks 120th in the country, and now has Ralph Webb battling an injury. This game being close early wouldn’t shock me but no way, no how does Vandy have enough to keep up with Ole Miss scoring.
My pick: Rebs 34-20