In week one of my SEC Predictions I went 13-0 straight-up and 5-3 against the spread (losing out on UGA/Buffalo, Kentucky/Louisville and Bama/Michigan). This week is going to be a bit tougher as the SEC has the toughest in-conference slate of any of the major conferences this week.
Saturday, Sept 8th
Auburn (0-1) at Miss State (1-0), Noon, ESPN
Mississippi State is favored by three points. Auburn is coming off of an emotional loss against Clemson and Mississippi State rolled over Jackson State by the score of 56-9. The last time these two faced it went down to the wire with Gene Chizik and the gang sneaking out with a victory. I think this one once again goes down to the wire. The key will be whether the bizarro Bulldogs can stop the Auburn running game and make them one dimensional. I don't expect too many points to be put on the board and I also have a hard time thinking that the Tigers fall to 0-2.
Auburn 24 Mississippi State 20
East Carolina (1-0) at South Carolina (1-0, 1-0), 12:21 PM, SEC Network
South Carolina is favored by 21.5. Last week, the Gamecocks struggled to a four point win on the road against a stingy Vandy team and were aided by a late pass interference non-call. The Pirates pulled away from FCS power Appalachian St in the second half en route to a 22 point victory. Last year South Carolina won by 21 in this match-up but had to put up 56 points to do so. Neither team is going to put that many points on the board this year and I think with this Gamecocks offense and uncertainty surrounding the health of Connor Shaw this one will be closer.
South Carolina 31 East Carolina 17
Florida (1-0) at Texas A&M (0-0), 3:30 PM, ESPN
Texas A&M is favored by 1.5. I had to do a double take on that line. Yes, Florida struggled mightily against Bowling Green. Yes, this game is in College Station. The big quesion is if we saw the Florida we will see for all of 2012 or if Florida got their stinker out of the way early. A&M has a ton of question-marks with a new staff and a new QB. This one is going to be close but I think the Gators find a way to win.
Florida 27 Texas A&M 24
Western Kentucky (1-0) at Alabama (1-0), 3:30, SEC Network
Alabama is favored by 40. Alabama is riding high off the waves of crushing Michigan and last year in the two games that they played against teams the caliber of WKU, they won both by 41.
Alabama 38 Western Kentucky 0
Georgia State (0-1) at Tennessee (1-0), 4 PM
Georgia State lost to South Carolina State last week by 27. This one is going to be ugly.
Tennessee 56 Georgia State 7
Louisiana-Monroe (0-0) at Arkansas (1-0), 7 PM
Arkansas is favored by 30.5. This is the first game for the Warhawks as they are coming off of a 4-8 season in 2011 in which they lost to FSU by 34, TCU by 21 and Iowa by 28. The concern in this one is that the Hogs gave up 21 first half points last week. Overall, Arkansas just has too much for the Warhawks but stay away from the line.
Arkansas 42 ULM 17
Washington (1-0) at LSU (1-0), 7 PM, ESPN
LSU is favored by 24. I was high on Washington coming into the year but they struggled a bit last week in their victory against the Aztecs of San Diego State. The Huskies struggled to run the ball last week (106 total yards on 3.4 ypc) and they scored 1/3 of their points on a fumble return. The Huskies will find it even tougher to run the football this week.
LSU 35 Washington 10
UTEP (0-1) at Ole Miss, (1-0), 7 PM
Ole Miss is favored by 7.5. This could be the best shot at a true upset this week in the SEC. Ole Miss struggled at times against Central Arkansas as they went to half-time down six. UTEP on the other hand, hung around with Oklahoma and was tied when they went to half-time in that game. UTEP's offense will have to be better as their offense scored 0 points. Look for Ole Miss to get on the board with a W but not by much.
Ole Miss 24 UTEP 14
Kent State (1-0) at Kentucky (0-1), 7:30 PM
Kentucky is favored by 7. Kent State debuted with a 20 point win over a Towson team that went 9-3 last season in the FCS. Kentucky looked better at times on offense last week against Louisville and I think they will show progress this week.
Kentucky 24 Kent State 14
Georgia (1-0) at Missouri (1-0), 7:45 PM, ESPN2
Georgia is favored by two. This is the game of the week in the SEC and probably in all of college football. Georgia sleep walked through Buffalo last week and Missouri played an FCS team that won just three games last year. Missouri scored 62 points last week with 28 of those coming on defense or special teams. The key to this game will be the secondaries of both teams. How will the Missouri secondary match-up with the Georgia receiving corps of Tavarres King, Marlon Brown, Michael Bennett, Chris Conley and Rantavious Wooten? Can they cover Tavarres King on the deep ball and if they can't can he and Murray connect better than they did against Buffalo. On the flip side, can the Georgia secondary (which will again be without suspended starters Bacarri Rambo and Sanders Commings) match-up with the Missouri receivers (TJ Moe and DGB). Another factor will be how the Georgia defense contains James Franklin, as Georgia got gashed a bit by Buffalo's QB taking off on runs after the play broke down. Players to watch in this game for Georgia are freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. If Georgia gets the passing game going early look for big things out of those two rookies. This will be an emotional game for Missouri as it's their SEC debut and it's at home. Look for Missouri to jump out to an early lead but for Georgia to weather the storm and hang on late for a close victory.
Georgia 31 Missouri 24
Vanderbilt (0-1) at Northwestern (1-0), 8 PM, BTN
Vandy is favored by 3.5. Last week, Northwestern survived Syracuse despite allowing Syracuse to come from 22 points down to take the lead with just under three minutes left. Vandy will be looking to get back on the winning side as they lost a close, hard fought game to South Carolina. Look for Vandy to be a bit better offensively and take advantage of some plays they missed last week.
Vanderbilt 30 Northwestern 24
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