Well, there’s no question what the biggest game in the SEC (and perhaps college football) this week is – and it again involves the Georgia Bulldogs.

Last week the Dawgs lost the Game Of The Week at Clemson 38-35, and this week they’ve got to pick themselves off the proverbial tarmac and play South Carolina, home of one of their most hated rivals, one Steve Spurrier.

In other games, there’s a Miami-Florida game, and Western Kentucky go for their second straight SEC victory with a win over Tenneseee.

South Carolina at Georgia

As mentioned, Georgia lost its first game of the season to Clemson 38-35 in a bruising encounter. In the process, it lost its top wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who was injured during a touchdown celebration. You could not make it up. Oh, and it would have tied the game up in the third quarter had they not missed an easy field goal. And quarterback Aaron Murray didn’t throw a touchdown – despite throwing for over 300 yards, and had an horrific fumble. South Carolina, on the other hand, ghosted past North Carolina 27-10, despite star defensive end and potential NFL first round pick Jadeveon Clowney looked well below par.

Defensively, Georgia gets Josh Harvey-Clemons back from suspension, which should be a big plus. On the other side, watch out for Carolina’s OTHER pass-rusher, Chaz Sutton. He’s nasty.

Well, it all comes down to this.

This rivalry has been brutal on Georgia in the past three meetings, with South Carolina winning the last three. Carolina’s QB tandem of Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson are great, and should test Georgia’s secondary, while Mike Davis, the Gamecocks RB, should help to pound the ‘D’. On the other side, Carolina’s going to have to deal with Georgia’s RB tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, and if Aaron Murray can get any support from his offensive line, they might be able to get some points on the board.

BOTTOM LINE: Go with South Carolina. Georgia – a 3-point favorite has got too many problems at the moment (including a poor offensive line playing a NASTY Gamecocks pass-rush) 

Florida at Miami

If Miami beats Florida on Saturday, it would be one of the biggest upsets of the season. Yes, we know that Hurricanes coach Al Golden has recruited well, and the team is on the rise after years in the gutter, but can they compete with one of the best defences in college football – Florida’s? Florida choked a very good Toledo offense last week – despite having six players suspended. In other words, they are pretty good. Talented cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy and linebacker Antonio Morrison are back for the Gators after suspension, and running back Matt Jones is going to provide some power.

Listen, we know Miami’s got speed – Duke Johnson shows that, but the Gators play tough. This one will be close.

BOTTOM LINE: Take Florida – favored by just 3 points – for the victory.  We think Florida could win this by much more.  

Western Kentucky at Tennessee

Western Kentucky beat Kentucky comfortably last week, and we look forward to seeing how they will do against a team who’s not the SEC’s worst. Tennessee has a filthy offensive line, and some confidence after its win over Austin Peay – however big you think that is, but can Justin Worley perform well two in a row? With Butch Jones as new coach, we have confidence that he might just. And he’ll get support from RB Rajon Neal, too.

But kids, this is Bobby Petrino’s Hilltoppers team. Bobby Petrino’s an offensive genius and we’d argue that if Arkansas had been under his tutelage last year, they would have been bowl eligible. The Hilltoppers can put up points, and Tennessee’s ‘D’ is still a work in progress.

BOTTOM LINE: Tennessee’s favoured by 13 points, which isn’t a bad bet. We’ll take Tennesssee and the points. 

Miami (Ohio) vs Kentucky

There weren’t a lot of nice things to say about Kentucky’s performance against WKU last week, so we’re not exactly excited about seeing how they play against Miami of Ohio – even though this is a ‘battle for the first win’ game (Miami lost convincingly to Marshall). Kentucky.

There were some good things. Maxwell Smith went 8-for-13 with 125 yards and a TD, although he was sacked twice. We think WKU’s pass-rush is better than Miami’s, and Miami’s defense gave up a 287 yards to Marshall through the air. Look, we still think that Kentucky’s new ‘Air Raid’ offence has a long way to go, but this could be OK.

BOTTOM LINE: Kentucky’s a 17-1/2 point favourite in this one, and we think they’ll beat the spread. But they’d be grateful for ANY victory, wouldn’t they?

Arkansas State at Auburn

Auburn’s win over Washington State ignited hope on the plains, which means that when Arkansas State comes into town, this game looks like less of an upset than it would have done in 2012. Arkansas State can no doubt put up a hell of a lot of points and yards (they put up 672 on Arkansas Pine-Buff on Saturday), and Auburn’s ‘D’ had better be ready to hold ASU’s rushers, who put up over 500 yards – with three players putting up over 100 yards each.

We look forward to seeing how Nick Marshall, the Auburn QB, deals with Arkansas State’s ‘D’, which will include a lot of players formerly coached by Gus Malzahn, who was at ASU last year. We can’t wait.

BOTTOM LINE: This one’s going to be high scoring – of that there’s no doubt. Auburn’s a 10-1/2 point favorite to win this, and we think it’s going to be tighter. Nevertheless, Auburn wins, and the Tigers roar to 2-0.

UAB at LSU

In LSU’s victory over TCU in Dallas, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger looked good, and Jarvis Landry looked like the country’s best wide receiver. Well, this week they face a UAB side who must be feeling a little dispirited after losing 34-31 to Troy in overtime.

LSU won’t face a Blazers defence which is as nasty at TCU’s – they gave up nearly 500 yards in offense last week (almost evenly matched between pass and rush), so expect Les Miles to continue to try and make his point by using pass and rush evenly. Don’t sleep on UAB playmakers QB Austin Brown and WR Jamarcus Nelson by the way. Austin  threw for 309 yards and 3 TDs in the Troy game, and Nelson had 199 yards receiving in 10 catches for two TDs. That’s pretty good.

BOTTOM LINE: LSU’s favored by 34-1/2 points, and we think that they’ll squeeze past the over. The Tigers defense is too good – even if their ‘D’ has an early scare with Brown and Nelson.

Toledo at Missouri

Toledo was predicted to beat Florida by Kirk Herbstreit on Saturday, and they were choked by the Gators en route to a miserable 24-6 loss. They should fine Missouri’s defence somewhat more accommodating – the Tigers struggled early against Murray State before outclassing their opponent.

James Franklin got a lot of plaudits for playing well against Murray State (318 yards, 3 TDs), so we’d be really thrilled to see what he’ll do against a better team who didn’t exactly collapse against the Gators themselves. Oh, and can the rushing duo of Henry Josey and Russell Hansborough repeat their 100-yard games on Saturday? And we’d love to see Dorial Green-Beckham have a good game, because the ‘overrated’ chants are still loud in his ear after a disappointing 2013.

BOTTOM LINE: Mizzou’s a 17-point favorite in this one, but we think it’s going to be tighter. We think Missouri will win though.

Sam Houston State at Texas A&M

Johnny Manziel rescued A&M in the second half of Saturday after a horrible first half performance by the Aggies’ ‘D’ in the first half against Rice, but we don’t think the Aggies are going to have the same problems against Sam Houston State at Kyle Field on Saturday.

The biggest question will be: How long will it be in this game before Texas A&M takes off its starters in preparation for Alabama in Week 3? Aggies fans should be worried if EVERYONE plays in the fourth quarter….

BOTTOM LINE: Texas A&M is a 37-point favorite, which Vegas seems to think should be the third quarter score. We think it’ll be more. A&M to win (obviously) and beat the spread.

Alcorn State at Mississippi State

Despite losing in Week 1 against Oklahoma State, MSU will have less trouble with ‘mighty’ Alcorn State, despite their opponents’ 62 point-fest last week. All eyes will be on MSU QB Dak Prescott in his first SEC start, after a head injury to Tyler Russell  in the Oklahoma game ensured that he won’t play this Saturday.

BOTTOM LINE: Cowbell’s favored by 42-1/2 points. We think Mississippi State wins comfortably, but win by 30 or 35 instead of 42. This is a new QB, remember….

Samford at Arkansas

Arkansas should win this one, unless hell freezes over. Expect a pounding from Bret Bielema’s powerful running game, Samford.

BOTTOM LINE: Arkansas will win this one comfortably. And by this we mean by more than Vegas’ predicted 32-1/2 margin.

SE Missouri State at Ole Miss

Ole Miss won one of the best games of Week 1 on Thursday night against Vanderbilt, but the game against the Redhawks won’t be close at all. Ole Miss has momentum, it’s got Bo Wallace, and it’s got a great wide receiver in Laquan Treadwell. And the Rebs will tread all over the Redhawks.

BOTTOM LINE: Ole Miss wins by more than the 50 points that Vegas expects it to.

Austin Peay at Vanderbilt

Austin Peay was trounced by Tennessee. Vanderbilt lost in a heartbreaker to Ole Miss. There’s only one way this one is going.

BOTTOM LINE: Vanderbilt’s favored by 47-1/2, which we think is easily in reach – especially with Jordan Matthews, the Commodore’s excellent wide receiver.

 

 

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