Wow. So this is it. It’s the start of the 2013 college football season today, and this is a wonderful thing. In fact, I’m in tears of excitement just thinking about it.

Anyways, here are our SEC Predictions

THURSDAY

North Carolina at South Carolina

South Carolina’s defensive superstar and potential NFL No.1 pick Jadeveon Clowney is getting re-unleashed on the world against a North Carolina offence trying to pick its offensive line back up. South Carolina have to replace running back Marcus Lattimore but quarterback Connor Shaw is more than capable of winning the game – especially when’s it at home at a very, very loud Williams-Brice Stadium. South Carolina is a 12 ½-point favourite against a team that on its day can score a ton of points.

WHAT COULD SCREW UP A SEC WIN: Connor Shaw gets injured, Dylan Thompson throws too many INTs, Clowney gets ejected for ripping a UNC player’s head off. Chaz Sutton gets ejected. Hell freezes over.

PREDICTION: South Carolina beats North Carolina and by more than the 12 ½ point spread.

Ole Miss at Vanderbilt

This is an interesting game for a ton of reasons. Ole Miss come to Nashville with plenty of hope after a brilliant end to the 2014 season, a fantastic recruiting off-season, and a brilliant first-year player called Robert Nkemdiche, who’ll be playing with his really talented brother, Denzel, in the Rebels’ defence. Quarterback Bo Wallace leads a talented offence that includes WR Donte Moncrief and RB Jeff Scott. Vanderbilt, on the other hand, is doing some slight rebuilding, with new QB Austyn Carta-Samuels, but excellent WR Jordan Matthews is a potential match-winner.

WHAT COULD SCREW UP A SEC WIN: IT CAN’T. SEC! SEC! SEC! SEC!

PREDICTION: Ole Miss is a three-point favourite in what could be the game of the night. We think Ole Miss will win and beat the handicap.

SATURDAY

GEORGIA AT CLEMSON

This is the biggest game in college football by an absolute mile and we can’t separate the two sides. Clemson has the wide receivers, while Georgia has a better quarterback (Aaron Murray vs Tajh Boyd). Running backs-wise, Georgia’s running back combo of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are going to seriously hurt Clemson’s defence – even though their offence can keep up with anybody. The ‘X’ factor could be the atmosphere – Clemson’s at home, at night in what will be the loudest atmosphere this weekend in college football by a mile. Clemson is a 1-point favourite.

WHAT COULD SCREW UP A SEC WIN: Georgia’s secondary not existing. Aaron Murray not coping (again) against ranked teams. Gurley and Marshall looking human. Georgia’s defense – again – not learning how to tackle.

PREDICTION: Clemson wins in a cracker, and beats the handicap, but only by a whisker.

LSU VS TCU

LSU’s clash with TCU promises a lot. How will LSU cope without 14 of their starters going to the NFL, including most of their defence? Will RB Jeremy Hill be back for the game? Will DE Davonte Fields be back for TCU? Can TCU’s QB Casey Pachall and coach Gary Patterson conjure up a massive upset victory? How good will LSU QB Zach Mettenberger be now he’s been coached by former NFL offensive co-ordinator Cam Cameron? LSU’s a four-point favourite in this one, which could well be wild.

WHAT COULD SCREW UP A SEC WIN: Whatever happens, it’s all going to get blamed on Les Miles.

PREDICTION: LSU wins, and by more than the handicap suggests – they have a pounding rushing game and the offensive to help Mettenberger sort out some of the problems of last year. In Cam we trust.

ALABAMA VS VIRGINIA TECH

National Champion Alabama is an overwhelming favourite in the first game of the season against Virginia Tech – especially with all the injuries the Hokies have had recently. ‘Bama coach Nick Saban has constantly warned his side against complacency – and he’s got the weapons in QB AJ McCarron, WR Amari Cooper, RB TJ Yeldon, and the best defence in the country to win and win this game in style. It’s just going to be a matter of how much 20 ½-point favourite Alabama’s going to win by, and if Saban decides to take his foot off the gas in preparation for the September 14th super match-up with Texas A&M.

WHAT COULD SCREW UP A SEC WIN: Logan Thomas has the game of his life, while Nick Saban’s head (literally) explodes on the sideline, leaving Alabama feeling coachless. Kirby Smart can’t do it all himself. TJ Yeldon and Derrick Henry run into each other in a complicated offensive play, knocking each other out. AJ McCarron sprains his neck running into his offensive linesman’s behind.

PREDICTION: Alabama wins and beats the handicap – but only just as the Crimson Tide take their foot off the accelerator for the reasons explained earlier.

RICE AT TEXAS A&M

Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel has been highlighted for just about everything apart from football this off-season, and he’s going to suspended for the first half of the Aggies home opener with Rice for signing too many autographs. In the mean-time, the Aggies will kick off proceedings with either Matt Joeckel or very talented first-year Kenny Hill (we’ve actually seen the latter in action, and he’s really, really good). They’ll face a Rice side that returns 19 starters (9 offence, 10 defence), but should be no match.

WHAT COULD SCREW UP A SEC WIN: Johnny Manziel sees a hottie in the crowd and doesn’t come down for the rest of the game. Kenny Hill and Matt Joeckel simply suck. Michael Evans gets injured. A&M’s ‘D’ actually gets worse from last year. Rice run riot.

PREDICTION: Aggies win by (far more) than 27 points.

OKLAHOMA STATE VS MISSISSIPPI STATE

Oklahoma State’s clash against Mississippi State looks interesting from a lot of angles. Oklahoma State definitely has a high-scoring offense, but their defence is one of the more leaky in college football, and Mississippi State has QB Tyler Russell and RB LaDarius Perkins that can cause trouble to the Cowboys. Having said that, MSU have lost the best members of their secondary, and Oklahoma State sure know how to the throw the pigskin. This one’s going to be FUN.

WHAT COULD SCREW UP A SEC WIN: In fact, we’ll be shocked if MSU wins this one. They’re going to have to deal with an extremely good offense, with a weakened secondary.

PREDICTION: Oklahoma State wins. I’m nervous about the 12 ½ points though….it depends on how improved the Cowboys’ defence is.

 WASHINGTON STATE AT AUBURN

Mike Leach vs Gus Malzahn. Hmmm. We know one thing: This could be point-heavy, folks! It’s going to be interesting how Auburn’s new QB Nick Marshall copes with the pressure on the plains (and despite a crappy year in 2012, there IS PRESSURE ON THE PLAINS), and how Tre Mason runs at the Wazzu’s defense. Speaking of ‘D’ , how will Auburn cope with a Mike Leach offense? Auburn’s a 15-1/2 point favourite in this one….but is it a little high?

WHAT COULD SCREW UP A SEC WIN: Mike Leach, folks. And Auburn’s defense being….Auburn’s defense

PREDICTION: Auburn wins, but by less than the 15 1/2 points. Leach exposes some of Auburn’s defensive frailties, but this game is indeed fun.

TOLEDO AT FLORIDA

Florida’s missing Mike Gillislee and some key offensive components from last year’s excellent season, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Gators struggle early against Toledo, who’s a 23 1/2 point dog. If you remember the Jacksonville State game, Will Muschamp’s offense didn’t get it together until the second quarter. So what will happen here? The same?

WHAT COULD SCREW UP A SEC WIN? Jeff Driskel gets injured, and Florida’s offense remains clueless, and remain camped in their own 50.

PREDICTION: Florida wins, but we’re not so sure about the spread. We’re really not. 

KENTUCKY AT WESTERN KENTUCKY

Western Kentucky’s actually a 4-point favourite for this one….and frankly we’re not surprised. We’re only surprised that it’s not more. Sure, we like the hiring of Mark Stoops and half of Tallahassee. Sure, we think that Kentucky’s going to break its SEC duck – although we don’t know who against (yet). But Bobby Petrino and the fun that he’ll have with this WKU offense is going to cause Kentucky problems. You watch.

WHAT COULD SCREW UP A SEC WIN? Bobby Petrino.

PREDICTION: Western Kentucky wins by more than 4 points.

AUSTIN PEAY AT TENNESSEE

Tennessee by a mile. Tennessee’s a 50-point favourite with the best offensive line in the country, and a good offensive co-ordinator in Butch Jones. But should they win by more than 50-points? Erm…

WHAT COULD SCREW UP A SEC WIN: Nothing.

PREDICTION: Tennessee wins, but just squeezes by the 50-point victory margin.

 

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