It's time to start another season and once again I will be doing weekly predictions on SEC games. Let's get right to it....
Thursday August 30th
The Gamecocks are a 6.5 favorite in this game. Last year, the Gamecocks handled the Dores by 18 in the fourth game of the year. A couple of things point to this being a closer game this year. Larry Smith was still the starting QB for Vandy when that game happened and once James Franklin switched over to Jordan Rogers the team played with a lot more confidence and moxie on offense. Vandy also played very well at home last year. They lost to Georgia by five and by Arkansas by three and they took Army and Kentucky to the woodshed. South Carolina is replacing a lot of key cogs on offense and defense. Their cogs are more talented then Vandy's but there could be some growing pains along the way. I think this is going to be a close game and it will make for some very nervous moments for the Gamecocks but when all is said and done I expect the Gamecocks to come out victorious.
South Carolina 20 Vanderbilt 14
Friday August 31st
The Vols are a 3.5 point favorite in this one. As much as Tennessee is hyped as a passing team with Tyler Bray and Justin Hunter, this one will come down to whether or not the Vols can run the football. Last year, the Vols were the worst rushing team in the conference and that has to change this season if they want to have any chance of competing in the East. This one can absolutely go either way but I think Derek Dooley gets off the hot seat, at least momentarily, as the Vols win a close one in the Georgia Dome.
Tennessee 28 NC State 24
Saturday September 1st
Georgia is favored by 37.5. The closest opponent Georgia played to Buffalo last year was New Mexico State and Georgia just annihilated them 63-16. I don't think Georgia puts quite that many points on the board but all of the young talented freshmen in Athens will have plenty of time to get in some game time simulation.
Georgia 48 Buffalo 6
Florida is a 28.5 point favorite which seems a little rich considering Will Muschamp doesn't even have a starting QB. Bowling Green has 19 returning starters and could be one of the better teams in the MAC this year. Don't look for an upset but I wouldn't be surprised if Florida struggles through the opening moments of this game.
Florida 33 Bowling Green 10
Southeastern Louisiana at Missouri, 7 PM
If it looks like a squash and smells like a squash, it's probably a squash.
Missouri 55 SE Louisiana 7
Central Arkansas at Ole Miss, 7 PM
Last year, Central Arkansas took Louisiana Tech to overtime in their second game of the season. They were also 26 points better than Missouri's opponent this week. That being said, look for Hugh Freeze to rack up win #1.
Ole Miss 45 Central Arkansas 24
Jackson State at Miss State, 7 PM
Remember last year when Mississippi State almost lost to Louisiana Tech? So does Dan Mullen. Jackson State went 9-2 last year and only lost their two games by a combined ten points but they didn't play anybody better than Alabama State and Grambling State.
Mississippi State 42 Jackson State 10
Clemson is a three point favorite in a very difficult game to handicap. Clemson will be without Sammy Watkins and will be breaking in a new DC but Auburn will also be breaking in two new coaches (OC and DC) and will also have a new starting QB that barely won the job. When everything looks even, which it does, I look at the QB position and I would rather have Tajh Boyd at this point in his career than Kiehl Frazier at this point in his career. Clemson beats Auburn for the second consecutive year as Auburn struggles to find the end zone.
Clemson 24 Auburn 16
Jacksonville State at Arkansas, 7 PM
Many SEC fans probably remember the Gamecocks victory over Ole Miss in 2010. What they probably don't remember is Kentucky rolling over them last year 38-14. Washaun Ealey returns to the SEC but he won't have anything to celebrate.
Arkansas 52 Jacksonville State 7
The last time the Mean Green played an SEC team they got thumped by Alabama 41-0. North Texas is an improving squad but they are playing an LSU team that has NFL talent all along the defensive line and they simply don't match up well with the Tigers.
LSU 42 North Texas 0
Alabama is favored by 14 points. This is the best possible time for Michigan to catch Alabama. Alabama is breaking in a bunch of new starters on defense and they also must replace workhorse Trent Richardson. Can Denard take advantage? I don't think so. This one will probably be close in the first half as Alabama searches for their new identity on offense but they will pull away in the second half and I wouldnt' be surprised if this one totally gets away from Michigan as they try to come from behind in the second half.
Alabama 28 Michigan 14
Sunday, Sept 2nd
Louisville is favored by 13 points. I really like what Charlie Strong and Louisville have going but that seems like a bit much for a point spread in this rivalry. Over the last three years this game hasn't been decided by more than seven points. Kentucky has been down under Joker Phillips but this is still a rivarly game and the Wildcats have a lot to prove after last season. Louisville pulls this one out but not as easily as most think it will be.
Louisville 24 Kentucky 14