I said this would be a Wednesday thing (obviously); but I couldn’t concentrate, and there is no point posting in the middle of the night.
A friend and somewhat of a fan of my content passed away at the age of 28, and it’s been extremely hard to focus on anything. I mentioned this on twitter (@TheBayouBlogger) and you can find out his name from there. Just out of sensitivity for his family I don’t want to post his picture or elaborate further on his identity. He was a big FSU fan, so that’s why I say “somewhat”. He really wanted them in the top 10. I will miss his perspective and support.
Anyway, Saturday started about as well as I could have hoped as far as predictions. The first four games went exactly as I’d predicted. South Carolina went just past the line, Alabama fell just short of it. LSU fell a little more short of it than I’d hoped, and Georgia beat Southern (ESPN didn’t have a line on that one).
Then it all came crashing down. After my good luck was snapped by Florida’s comeback, I got all of the remaining picks against the spread wrong to finish 3-5 for the day.
I only got two other of the winners wrong (I had picked Missouri and Auburn), so in that category I was 6-3.
The first two partly hinge on ones reaction to the 52-20 Georgia win over South Carolina. I’m going to fault South Carolina for being bad rather than credit Georgia for being great. Central Florida is absolutely atrocious, and the Cocks were lucky to win on a neutral field against North Carolina. So I’m taking Missouri minus the points. They may only win by 3 like they beat Connecticut (even though they had a 90+ yard drive during which they failed to score), but I still think they may be another somewhat late-blooming team like last season. Anyway, even 3 is still better than the line.
So since I’m not heaping praise upon Georgia, I also have a feeling Alabama will win that one (though I’d love if the Tide never won a game again the rest of the year).
Saban doesn’t lose two conference games in a row, at least apart from his first year at Alabama in 2007. He didn’t lose consecutive conference games at LSU even once, although he did lose to Auburn and UAB in consecutive weeks in his first year (2000).
Anyway, speaking of Auburn, I’ll pick them to win. However, they were so far away from the line the last few weeks, there are probably only about 15 teams in the whole FBS I’d pick them to beat by 20. 2-2 San José St. isn’t one of them. The Spartans did lose to Air Force by 21, and that’s probably where that line comes from, but only after the Falcons scored 20 points in the fourth quarter. I’m just not seeing a similar offensive output from Auburn.
I’m going to take my lesson from previous games and resist the temptation to take a road favorite against the line, especially when it’s 7.5 like the Ole Miss/Florida line is. Last year, Ole Miss was #3 and they visited a team who was ranked #24. That team was LSU, and LSU not only kept it within 7 but won. I don’t pick Ole Miss to lose this one because despite the final record LSU was a bit better last year than Florida is this year, but I will take the Gators and the points.
Tennessee is favored by 6.5 over Arkansas, and even though they’re at home, I’m taking the underdog again. Arkansas is having a bad year, and Tennessee may do all right. But the Hogs gave A&M all they could handle, and I don’t think the Vols can run away (or throw away?) with it like Texas Tech did. I will pick Tennessee to win though.
This brings me to LSU, who is favored by 44.5. It’s rare that LSU beats anyone by that much, but they did beat NMSU and Sam Houston St. by 56 apiece last year. In 2013, they only beat UAB by 39, but what sold it for me is late last year Western Michigan even beat the Eagles by 44. So it is a generally insane margin, but I think LSU will more likely than not beat it. EMU is a team that gave up 58 points to Army (who scored 17 and 14, respectively, in the Cadets’ other games against FBS opponents). Les Miles does take his foot off the gas at times, so there is some hesitation; but LSU could score over 50 without even trying particularly hard, and I don’t see the defense giving up more than a score or two.
Next up is Vanderbilt. At least they’re not a favored road team. The Commodores have done better than I would have expected in their last three games, and they did better than they were supposed to in Week 1 (I just wish they could have gotten that 2-point conversion and won in overtime). I’ll take Vandy and the point and a half. I’ll even take them to win.
Another team that keeps surprising me is Mississippi St. I definitely would not give seven points in that one, but I think the 12th man gives the Aggies another close win.
There is no line for the FBS/FCS games, but of course I’m picking Kentucky over Eastern Kentucky.
To win – Missouri, Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Tennessee, LSU, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Kentucky
Spread – Missouri -2.5, Alabama +2, San José St. +20, Florida +7.5, Arkansas +6.5, LSU -44.5, Vanderbilt +1.5, Mississippi St. +7