Last week’s results and comments
I had a much better week this time. I was 7-2 in picking results and 6-2 against the spread. This brings my overall records to 13-5 and 9-7.
I’ll start with the ones I got wrong. I should have gone with my gut on LSU. Instead, I looked up a bunch of results from this year and last year and convinced myself LSU would suddenly score a bunch of points like they did against teams like New Mexico St. last year.
The only other one I got wrong was Texas A&M-Mississippi St. I thought the Bulldogs were good enough to keep it close like Arkansas did. But I was mildly surprised by Arkansas’s win over Tennessee, so the Hogs may not be so bad after all. Tennessee is apparently awful at winning close games though.
Other than Arkansas, the only winner I got wrong was Florida. I thought they got a bit lucky to beat Kentucky and Tennessee, but they didn’t let luck even come into play against Ole Miss. Maybe the Rebels shouldn’t have left their powder-blue helmets at home this time.
South Carolina and Georgia were significantly worse than I thought they would be. The Gamecocks usually have at least one good game by this point. Other than a close win over North Carolina and beating the spread against Central Florida (and even in that game it looked pretty bad early), it has been a dismal year for Darth Visor (click the link for the “Rivalry Series” post).
I thought top 10 was a reach for Georgia going into the year, but I thought they would have a good chance in the division. Not if they keep playing like they did against Alabama though. Last year Florida derailed what looked like a straightforward path to the conference title for the Bulldogs. It will be interesting to see if UGA turns the tables on the Gators. If not, I don’t think the SEC championship game will be in the cards. I’m still not looking past Missouri in the SEC East. I learned my lesson the last two years.
The other correct pick that surprised me a bit was Kentucky. I know a little bit about FCS teams, and Eastern Kentucky did not strike me as one capable of pulling off an upset of even a low-tier SEC team. Given that they needed overtime, the Wildcats have to be concerned after the late-season collapse last year that things may be doing downhill again.
Predictions for this weekend
I hate to do this again, but I’m picking a Ole Miss minus 6 touchdowns (43.5 to be exact). I do not believe that New Mexico St. is good at all. I mentioned they lost to LSU by 8 touchdowns last year. Being that Ole Miss beat Fresno St. (most likely a better team, at worst a similar team) by over 50, I have to expect a similarly high number.
Now back to LSU. This would have been an easier pick at South Carolina, but still there is no way I’m giving 18.5 points after what happened with Syracuse. Eastern Michigan was even on the verge of finishing within that margin in Baton Rouge last Saturday night. LSU could run away with it like they did with the Auburn game; but unless South Carolina has no fight in them at all this season, I have to consider that unlikely. I will pick LSU to win, however. A loss would be embarrassing given the Gamecocks’ prior performances this season, especially with the change of venue.
I will go ahead and side with the favored road team in Knoxville, but Georgia is only favored by three. I see no reason the Dawgs can’t beat the Vols just as well as the Hogs just did. The Alabama game wasn’t pretty, but a couple of big plays at the end of the half broke that open. I don’t see Tennessee getting a long passing play and a punt block like that.
Next, Troy travels to Mississippi St. Troy’s prior games against P5 teams were losses by 28 (North Carolina St.) and 25 (Wisconsin), respectively. Troy to lose but by fewer than 30 points.
I’m a little leary about this one, but I’ll take Alabama -16.5. The Tide beat Wisconsin on a neutral field by 18. I don’t think Bret Bielema’s current team is better than this former team, and let’s not forget the Hogs lost 52-0 there two years ago.
Finally, I don’t really like the five-point window in Columbia (the Columbia that actually will be having a game), but it’s too many points to take from Florida. I don’t know how the Gators came up with so many points against Ole Miss, but I am skeptical we’ll see a repeat performance against a good defense on the road. Florida won at Kentucky by five, so I think they’ll win this one but by fewer than five.
Texas A&M and Vanderbilt shall be resting on their laurels this week after exceeding the oddsmakers’ expectations last week. Kentucky and Auburn, who have both now needed overtime to beat Ohio Valley Conference (FCS) opponents, are also idle.