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Staff Picks - SEC Week 2

Who can really predict what will happen in this wretched league?

NCAA Football: Mississippi State at Louisiana State Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Well that was just what the SEC intended, right? None of the “Big 6” played each other, so they should all be undefeat....oh. That’s right. LSU decided to defend an endless series of mesh routes with man coverage and two high safeties. Welcome back Bo Pelini!

This week there are no such setups. Texas A&M attempts to prove they were just sloppy at home against Vanderbilt. Kentucky and Ole Miss face off to get their first win, and also to make Auburn/Florida fans feel better/worse about last week. LSU gets what should be a breather for that pass defense against Vanderbilt. MSU gets to try and light up what UGA fans have assured me is a very improved Arkansas defense. Tennessee and Missouri are also playing, and I’m sure they’ll get plenty of exercise.

This year I’m going to track everyone’s picks, not just my own. After one week:
Chief: 10-4
James, Josh Black: 9-5
Ryan, Josh W: 8-6
Jack: 7-7
Nerd: 6-8
Drew Mac, Dr Will: 5-9
Crow: 4-10

Yeah, that looks about right. JoshDub deserves the tie-breaker over Ryan for picking MSU outright. Chief managed to go 10-4 while also forgetting that MSU had hired Mike Leach! Go figure. On to this week:

Note: Just like last week, some of my brethren decided to include more than just a score. Some didn’t. [shrug emoji]

South Carolina @ Florida (-17.5) (O/U 57.5)

So how much do we believe in Florida’s offense? If they’re truly as good as they showed, and that wasn’t just a really poor Ole Miss defense, then this shouldn’t be too much trouble. Meanwhile, South Carolina didn’t really play that well on offense against an average Tennessee team at home. I don’t think Florida is as bad as some of the numbers showed against Ole Miss. That was a team pulling everything from under the kitchen sink to try and pull an upset. South Carolina will not have any of that fancy bullmess. Heck they’re still huddling! As far as the total, my only concern is that the Gamecocks slow things down to a crawl and try to get home healthy. I think they move the ball a bit between the 20s, but they don’t have the athletes to punch it in. That keeps the clock running enough to stop just short of the over. Florida 41-16 (Florida wins and covers; under by the hook)

Rest of the Staff

AUNerd: Florida 42 SCAR 14 (Florida wins and covers; under)
Jack: I went against the Gators last week and thought the Lane train would be able to make something funky happen. Wrong idea. Gators showed off the offense and Kyle Pitts will win the Mackey Award this season. Florida covers at home. Gators 41-17 (Florida wins and covers; over)
Drew Mac: Gatas 42-21 (Florida wins and covers; over)
Dr Will: Florida 38 South Carolina 20 (Florida wins and covers by the hook; over by the hook)
Josh Black: Florida 35 South Carolina 20 (Florida wins, South Carolina covers; under)
Ryan S. Sterritt: SC 13 UF 38 (Florida wins and covers; under)
Josh W: South Carolina 21, Florida 52 (Florida wins and covers; over)
Chief: @#$% Georgia. Florida 38 - SC 12 (Florida wins and covers; under)
Crow: Gators 52-12 (Florida wins and covers; over)

Missouri @ Tennessee (-11.5) (O/U 48.5)

Missouri had 7 players out for COVID and still (backdoor) covered against Alabama, which was a herculean effort. Tennessee was fine against South Carolina, but they needed a punt to carom off of a Gamecock blocker in order to avoid needing a stop from their defense. The Vols are the better team, and they’re at home, for whatever that means in COVID, but I think this number is a little too large. I’ll take both the underdog and the under: Tennessee 26-17 (Tennessee wins, Missouri covers; under).

Rest of the Staff

AUNerd: Tennessee 27 Missouri 21 (Tennessee wins, Missouri covers; under by the hook)
Jack: Tennessee looked alright last week on the road, Missouri started to figure things out against Alabama’s backups in the second half. I think Tennessee is about as good as Bama’s backups. Vols take it at home, but Missouri covers. Vols 27-23 (Tennessee wins, Missouri covers; over)
Drew Mac: Vols 23-21 (Tennessee wins, Missouri covers; under)
Dr Will: Tennessee 38 Missouri 17 (Tennessee wins and covers; over)
Josh Black: Tennessee 27 Missouri 14 (Tennessee wins and covers; under)
Ryan S. Sterritt: Mizzou 21 UT 24 (Tennessee wins, Missouri covers; under)
Josh W: Missouri 24, Tennessee 28 (Tennessee wins, Missouri covers; over)
Chief: @#$% Georgia. Tennessee 24 - Missouri 13 (Tennessee wins, Missouri covers; under)
Crow: Tennessee wins 35 15 (Tennessee wins and covers; over)

Texas A&M @ Alabama (-17) (O/U 51.5)

I want to believe that A&M just played a really sloppy game against Vanderbilt. They fumbled a ton, they committed penalties, and they even attempted to run a punt back out of their own endzone and made an illegal block in the process (that’s where the safety came from). I’ve just never had a lot of faith in Kellen Mond, and I don’t see that helping against Alabama. A&M’s best chance is to control the ball, try and string together a few first downs, and keep Alabama off of the field.

One of the perks of writing the picks article is that I get to see everyone’s picks before making my own. EVERYBODY has Bama laying the points this week. Well, time to try and zag and pick up a win on everyone. Alabama 33-17 (Alabama wins, A&M covers; under)

Rest of the Staff

AUNerd: Alabama 38 A&M 10 (Alabama wins and covers; under)
Jack: Saban assistants against Saban has literally never gone well, and this won’t either. There was the thought that A&M was preparing entirely for this game and skipped prep for Vandy, but I think most teams in this conference could beat the pants off of the Commodores without prep. A&M looked affected by the lack of practice, Alabama will hum at home. Tide 38-13. (Alabama wins and covers; under by the hook)
Drew Mac: HAHAHA, uat 42-13 (Alabama wins and covers; over)
Dr Will: Alabama 44 Texas A&M 14 (Alabama wins and covers; over)
Josh Black: Alabama 38 Texas A&M 13 (Alabama wins and covers; under by the hook)
Ryan S. Sterritt: TAMU 17 Bama 35 (Alabama wins and covers; over by the hook)
Josh W: Texas A&M 13, Alabama 42 (Alabama wins and covers; over)
Chief: @#$% Georgia. Alabama 33 - TAMU 15 (Alabama wins and covers; under)
Crow: Bams 47, aggy 7 (Alabama wins and covers; over)

Ole Miss @ Kentucky (-6.5) (O/U 61.5)

Now here is where we find out how good Auburn and Florida might actually be.

  • Does Kentucky allow Ole Miss to throw all over the place? They might, given how efficient Bo was.
  • Does Ole Miss allow Kentucky to run up and down the field? They could, given how many yards they allowed to Florida.
  • Does Kentucky just control the ball and play keep away?

Maybe I’m overrating them after watching them last week, but I think Kentucky controls the line of scrimmage in this game. The hardest hit areas under recruiting sanctions are always the lines. That’s exactly where Kentucky’s strength lies. Both PAPN (RIP) and Solid Verbal had the idea of teams like Alabama putting someone in the crock pot. I think Kentucky does a minor version of that to Ole Miss. The Rebels will make some plays when they have the ball, but they may have even fewer snaps than Auburn’s 57.
Kentucky 28
Ole Miss 21
(Kentucky wins and covers; under)

Rest of the Staff

AUNerd: Kentucky 35 Ole Miss 31 (Kentucky wins, Ole Miss covers; over)
Jack: Last week I took Ole Miss in an upset, and it backfired. This time I’m going Ole Miss in a milder upset and hoping it works out. Rebels upset Kentucky on the road and we get nervous watching it wondering how good our victory looks. Rebels 35-24 (Ole Miss wins outright; under)
Drew Mac: Rebel/Black Bear/Shark/Turnover Moneybags 27-20 (Ole Miss wins outright; under)
Dr Will: Kentucky 31 Ole Miss 27 (Kentucky wins, Ole Miss covers; under)
Josh Black: Ole Miss 28 Kentucky 24 (Ole Miss wins outright; under)
Ryan S. Sterritt: Ole Miss 28 UK 31 (Kentucky wins, Ole Miss covers; under)
Josh W: Ole Miss 28, Kentucky 31 (Kentucky wins, Ole Miss covers; under)
Chief: @#$% Georgia. Kentucky 36 - Ole Miss 29 (Kentucky wins and covers; over)
Crow: Ole miss 38-30 (Ole Miss wins outright; over)

Arkansas @ Mississippi State (-18) (O/U 69)

Arkansas was done in against Georgia by failing constantly on offense, save the long touchdown, and allowing Georgia to be efficient in the short passing game in the second half. That second one is a concern against Mississippi State. I do think they’ll have a better game plan than LSU did, but I don’t think it’s going to matter.

What I don’t understand is that, admittedly NICE, total. A full push assumes a 43.5 to 25.5 MSU win. I just don’t see Arkansas putting up 26 unless they get a defensive touchdown or two (which LSU did get last week, but that’s LSU and this is Arkansas). I think Arkansas tries to slow things down and keep it out of State’s hands. State handles business on their end, but this one stays under.
Mississippi State 44
Arkansas 17
(MSU wins and covers; under)

Rest of the Staff

AUNerd: Mississippi State 52 Arkansas 31 (MSU wins and covers; over)
Jack: Leach may have a little bit of a lull here after beating LSU, but this is the team you can afford a lull against. Since he knows no other way but to keep going, MSU covers after a close first half. Bulldogs 42-20 (MSU wins and covers; under)
Drew Mac: Staaate (YAR) 46-17 (MSU wins and covers; under)
Dr Will: Miss State 42 Arkansas 17 (MSU wins and covers; under)
Josh Black: Mississippi State 55 Arkansas 17 (MSU wins and covers; over)
Ryan S. Sterritt: Arkansas 16 MSU 40 (MSU wins and covers; under)
Josh W: Arkansas 24, Miss St 59 (MSU wins and covers; over)
Chief: @#$% Georgia. State 55 - Arkansas 17 (MSU wins and covers; over)
Crow: Mike Leach has a habit of losing to 1-AA teams. Arkansas 34-31 (Arkansas wins outright; under)

LSU (-20) @ Vanderbilt (O/U 48.5)

Vanderbilt got just about every break imaginable in College Station, and they lost by 5 in a game that wasn’t really that close. They’re happy with their new QB Seals, but less than 6 yards per attempt doesn’t excite me. I think LSU comes out angry. They should have Stingley back as well. I think he has the kind of day where he doesn’t allow a completion and maybe even has an interception. LSU gets a short field most of the day and makes this look worse than it really is.
LSU 45
Vanderbilt 17
(LSU wins and covers; over)

Rest of the Staff

AUNerd: LSU 34 Vanderbilt 17 (LSU wins, Vandy covers; over)
Jack: Vanderbilt showed some defense last week, and LSU is eager to prove themselves in a ton of ways. I think this ends up being like Dwight Schrute punching the karate dummy. Commodores know no pain that can affect them anymore, but LSU isn’t super effective anyway. Tigers 34-13 (LSU wins and covers; under)
Drew Mac: Fightin Tigas 23-16 (LSU wins, Vandy covers; under)
Dr Will: LSU 38 Vanderbilt 17 (LSU wins and covers; over)
Josh Black: LSU 38 Vandy 9 (LSU wins and covers; under)
Ryan S. Sterritt: LSU 30 Vandy 13 (LSU wins, Vandy covers; under)
Josh W: LSU 31, Vanderbilt 21 (LSU wins, Vandy covers; over)
Chief: @#$% Georgia. LSU 33 - Vanderbilt 10 (LSU wins and covers; under)
Crow: LSU 21-14 (LSU wins, Vandy covers; under)