Week 5 Predictions: Dawgs? Tigers? Rebels? Or Tide?
The SEC wasn’t exactly up to scratch last week. Tennessee reminded us how poor the bottom of the conference actually is, while Arkansas reminded us that if they are truly ‘back’, they’d better beat superpowers like Rutgers…..which they didn’t but should have.
Anyway, on the slate today are exciting match-ups between LSU and Georgia, Alabama and Ole Miss, and a tricky one for Texas A&M (who can’t stop the run) against Arkansas.
So here we go…
LSU at UGA
There’s usually fireworks when these two play each other – which is why Les Miles and Mark Richt are 4-4 in the last eight meetings between each other. Some Georgia fans are still FUMING about the AJ Green celebration penalty in 2009.
This year, both sides have been pretty great. UGA is 3-1 after losing at Clemson (no disgrace), while LSU’s offensive co-ordinator seems to be making miracles with QB Zach Mettenberger, who’s looked sharp in his games for the Tigers. Of course, he’s been helped by the SEC’s best WR duo of Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, and a good running back stable which includes formerly disgraced running back Jeremy Hill, who was let off after just one game for one of the world’s worst blindside punches. Speaking of which, Hill’s been delivering a lot of those ON the field too- just ask Auburn.
However, Aaron Murray’s doing a pretty great job at QB this year for the Dawgs, and RB Todd Gurley continues to be something special. But what’s not special – we’re sad to say, are both team’s defenses. Their inexperience are a big reason why this one’s going to be fun.
BOTTOM LINE: It’s a three-point spread in Georgia’s favour, which means that Vegas believes this going to be pretty even. We predict Georgia by more than the spread. But in one hell of a game.
Ole Miss at Alabama
Dear University of Alabama, this is NOT the same Ole Miss side that you’ve played recently. This Ole Miss side can pass, catch, run, and also disrupt your offensive line, too. This is a pretty good Ole Miss side, Alabama. Hugh Freeze has got the Rebels energized, excited, and his incredible recruitments have meant that Ole Miss is on an upward curve.
Don’t worry, Alabama, you’ll be OK. You’ve got one of the best QBs and THE BEST game manager in AJ McCarron. Your offensive line is raw but it’ll be OK. Amari Cooper’s a great wide receiver. Your running back TJ Yeldon is almost unstoppable. And your defense – despite getting ripped to shreds by Hurricane Johnny at Kyle Field – is still great. Oh, and you’ve got the best coach in college football in Nick Saban. And you’re at home.
Alabama to win, but by under the 14-1/2 points that they are favorite.
Texas A&M at Arkansas
For a moment there, Texas A&M was a four point favorite against Arkansas. But now, we know Vegas was slightly out of its mind. In the quick of an Aggies drive, A&M moved to a more spirited 14-1/2 points in the favourite column. And we still think it’s a little low. Here’s why: Arkansas has pretty much struggle all season long. Yes, Alex Collins is no doubt a great running back. We get that. But Brandon Allen has struggled at Arkansas’ QB. The Arkansas defense has struggled in most of the games it’s been in – even the likes of lowly Samford.
Speaking of defensive struggles, Texas A&M’s ‘D’ is going to get a lot of credit for actually playing OK last week. The problem? It WAS AGAINST SMU. SMU ARE HARDLY WORLD BEATERS, PEOPLE. In what seems to be fashionable in the State of Texas, they can’t stop the run, and they aren’t great against the pass, either. But they have Johnny Football and one of America’s best wide receivers in Mike Evans.
BOTTOM LINE: And the Aggies’ offensive assets should carry them through. Aggies, on the road, by 17.
FLORIDA AT KENTUCKY
Are we so excited about Florida QB Tyler Murphy that we’re suddenly persuaded that the Gators offense suddenly is going to be wonderful and Florida’s going to be unbeatable, or are so excited about Tyler Murphy that we’re forgetting that Florida’s really struggling with injuries – and the injury to DT Dominique Easley that puts him out for the year hurts the defense….badly.
The good thing for Kentucky after killing Tennessee with turnovers on Saturday is that they travel to Kentucky this week…who really isn’t that good either. And by ‘isn’t that good’ we mean ‘really poor indeed’. The Wildcats might have an idea that Maxwell Smith is going to be their starter, but do they have any idea how to play their ‘Air Raid’? We think not.
BOTTOM LINE: Comically, Florida’s a 13-point favourite. We think that they’ll win by 2 touchdowns (or two pick-6s).
SOUTH CAROLINA AT UCF
Listen to us…..Central Florida is not a bad team. They aren’t a bad team at all. They put up 34 points on Penn State and did it using the speed of Storm Johnson, who’s a very good running back. We’re convinced he could play in the SEC. And Blake Bortles might be a minor celebrity in the view of the podcasters The Solid Verbal, but he’s a pretty good QB.
However, we think that if Carolina can sort its run defence and get Jadeveon Clowney somewhere near his best (he’s been struggling with THE BIGGEST BONE SPUR INJURY KNOWN TO MAN), and the Connor Shaw/Dylan Thompson QB duo continues its brilliant way….and Mike Davis can pound the UCF ‘D’ in the way that he has to defenses all season, then the ‘Cocks should win by more than 6-1/2.
BOTTOM LINE: South Carolina struggles, but wins by 10.
ARKANSAS STATE AT MISSOURI
Missouri delivered the SEC Football Blog a whole can of ‘shut up’ when they beat Indiana comfortably on the road last season, so we’re going to say this: James Franklin and Dorial Green-Beckham are a good QB/WR duo. In fact, they are above-average in the SEC. They aren’t world-beaters, but they are pretty darned good.
BOTTOM LINE: Missouri’s a 21-1/2 point favourite, and we think they’ll win by more against a team that managed 7 points at Memphis last week. And Memphis isn’t exactly Alabama.
UAB AT VANDERBILT
Vanderbilt struggled at a decidedly medicore UMass team. The offenses are quite evenly-matched (UAB’s 70th and Vandy’s 79th), but Vanderbilt’s far better defensively. Vanderbilt has a major difference maker in Jordan Matthews, and QB Austyn Carta-Samuels is improving every game. After Jonathan Krause’s great game last week, Vandy may well have found a weapon.
BOTTOM LINE: Vanderbilt’s a 20-point favourite. We think they’ll win by more than that.
SOUTH ALABAMA AT TENNESSE
Tennessee thanks God for Kentucky every day because without Kentucky, they would be the worst team in the SEC by an absolute mile.
But they are still a mile better than South Alabama (who beat Western Kentucky, who lost to Tennessee a few weeks ago).
BOTTOM LINE: Tennessee wins, and is better than the 20-points given to South Alabama by Vegas.
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