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Staff Picks - SEC Week 1

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SEC football is back!

College Football Playoff National Championship - Winning Press Conference Conference Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

At last we have arrived. The SEC season finally starts on Saturday. This year, our against-the-spread weekly preview will be just like Auburn’s schedule: SEC only. So far everyone is playing this week, so let’s get to it.

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


Missouri vs Alabama (-27) (O/U 56)

Assuming this isn’t called off for COVID testing, this is a rough first game for Eli Drinkwitz. If they were 100%, I would like them as a home dog. Drinkwitz coming off the Malzahn tree might bring in some of Malzahn’s success against Saban under normal circumstances, but that isn’t the case here. To be honest, I wouldn’t blame Mizzou if they went run heavy and tried to get out of there as fast as possible. I doubt that’s what happens though. Alabama 49-10 (Alabama wins and covers; over)

Rest of the Staff

Josh Dub: Missouri 21, Alabama 49 (Alabama wins and covers; over)
Ryan S Sterritt: As much as I would love to see the Gus Malzahn tree flourish out of the gate, I don’t think this is it. The Alabama passing game is going to torch the Mizzou defense. 49-17 Alabama. (Alabama wins and covers; over)
Josh Black: Weird how Alabama gets to play a Big 8 team in a year where we’re supposed to only be playing SEC teams. Alabama 48 Missouri 13 (Alabama wins and covers; over)
Dr Will: It’s laughable (but not surprising) this game is the Primetime ESPN game but after all, it’s the team that has absolutely “No Excuses” this season. Alabama 42 Missouri 10 (Alabama wins and covers; under)
AUNerd: Missouri is an intriguing team this year. They brought in a bunch of transfers especially on the offensive side of the ball. However, they won’t be at full strength and we don’t know who will be missing. Even with a full roster this was a tall task but now with possibly some crucial pieces out I don’t see a path to victory outside of Mac “Pick 6” Jones throwing them a few scores. I think Jones puts up gaudy numbers by simply throwing the ball 5-8 yards and letting Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith do the work, you know kinda like that “generational” QB who only beat AU once and is now sitting behind Ryan Fitzpatrick in the NFL used to do. Alabama 45 Missouri 13 (Alabama wins and covers; over)
Drew Mac: uat 52-10 (Alabama wins and covers; over)
Crow: Mizzou? I didn’t know we were playing out of conference games this year? Bama 28-0 (Alabama wins and covers; under)
Jack: Like 14 deep balls will be thrown to Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle in this one. Missouri has nothing. Bama covers. 45-16. (Alabama wins and covers; over)
Chief: Alabama managed to not have their usually easy schedule affected with the additions for this season. Tide 48 - Tigers 10 (Alabama wins and covers; over)

Ole Miss vs Florida (-14.5) (O/U 57)

Florida has historically had some struggles traveling to Mississippi as a favorite. Specifically against MSU in 2000 and 2004 (the origination of #CROOMED, and the game that got Ron Zook fired) and even a 6-pt win over Orgeron’s last team in 2007. Florida is my pick to win the East, but I think they start slowly. Don’t be surprised if Ole Miss puts up some points. I’m just not sure they can stop Florida enough, as evidenced by the total. Florida 38-24 (Florida wins, Ole Miss covers; over)

Rest of the Staff

Josh Dub: Ole Miss 17, Florida 38 (Florida wins and covers; under)
Ryan S Sterritt: I want to think this game can be fun, as the Lane Train leaves the station in Oxford. But I also might have accidentally picked this Florida team to go 10-0. I think this is a case where talent wins, even if Mullen is still calling them tSUN. 27-10 Gators. (Florida wins and covers; under)
Josh Black: Trap game? Trap game. Lane’s gonna beat somebody he shouldn’t in his first year. It better not be us. It might be here. But I ain’t picking it. Florida 34 Ole Miss 17 (Florida wins and covers; under)
Dr Will: Dan Mullen returns to Mississippi but to Oxford as the Lane Train makes its Ole Miss debut. There’s a lot of hype for Florida QB Kyle Trask so we’ll see how far he takes the Gators this season. Florida 24 Ole Miss 13 (Florida wins, Ole Miss covers; under)
AUNerd: For some reason, I really wanna pick Ole Miss to win this game. I just think Lane Kiffin has enough offensive pieces to be a pain in the butt this year. However, Ole Miss ain’t stopping anybody so I think this turns into a shoot out where Matt Corral makes too many mistakes & the Gators escape with the W. Florida 48 Ole Miss 38 (Florida wins, Ole Miss covers; over)
Drew Mac: Gatas: 38-17 (Florida wins and covers; under)
Crow: Florida is supposed to be really good this season. Ole Miss had a player transfer there because it was less racist than another school. 2020 is weird. Gators 24-12 (Florida wins, Ole Miss covers; under)
Jack: I would love if the Rebels came out with something funky thanks to the Lane Train, but Florida will be stingier on defense, and ahhhhh heck, why not. Plumlee frustrates the Gators and wears them out by Manzieling all over the place. Rebels 24-23. (Ole Miss wins outright; under)
Chief: Kiffin seemed super pumped for this one huh? I remain unsold on Lane Kiffin. Florida looks to be in a position to possibly win the East this season. Gators 28 - Rebs 20 (Florida wins; Ole Miss covers; over)

LSU (-17) vs Mississippi State (O/U 55.5)

I know LSU still has a ton of talent from the way they have recruited under Orgeron, but given what they lost, I’m a little worried that they might come out of the gate a bit flat. That said, I just don’t see Leach turning Mississippi State’s roster from power-run to air raid in one year. They have enough talent that they won’t be killed this season, but I think this is a Year 0.5 for them. LSU 30-14 (LSU wins, MSU covers; under)

Rest of the Staff

Josh Dub: LSU 21, Miss St 24 (MSU wins outright; under)
Ryan S Sterritt: Seventeen is a big number for a team losing as much as LSU is, although I think Mississippi State is on track for a rough transition. No upset, but I’ll bank on LSU’s defensive talent holding firm. 23-10 LSU. (LSU wins, MSU covers; under)
Josh Black: LSU has lost a ton. For Whom the Cowbell Tolls thinks State has the greatest offensive collection of talent this world will ever see. Have fun with Kylin Hill getting 8 carries a game while you’re throwing the ball 55 times! At the end of the day, y’all, it’s State. LSU 31 Mississippi State 20 (LSU wins, MSU covers; under)
Dr Will: Welcome to the SEC, Pirate! Your first game is in Death Valley against the defending National Champions. Granted, this LSU team has 2011 Auburn vibes to me with all the talent they lost but we’ll see how it plays out. LSU 28 Mississippi State 16 (LSU wins, MSU covers; under)
AUNerd: The optimism for both of these programs this off-season is off the charts. LSU somehow thinks they will be the same type of juggernaught despite the mass defections. Mississippi State folks think KJ Costello and Mike Leach are going to immediately light up the SEC. I doubt either are true. LSU’s offense looks ok in debut while their defense smothers State’s WR. Costello throws multiple picks that make the score look worse than it should. LSU 42 Mississippi State 14 (LSU wins and covers; over)
Drew Mac: Miles Brennan does not have a better arm that Joey B....don’t you spread that blasphemy!. Tigas: 24-16. (LSU wins, MSU covers; under)
Crow: LSU is the returning champs and will be champs until someone beats them in my book. Moo State isn’t that team. Tigers 29-9 (LSU wins and covers; under)
Jack: If LSU was playing a tough first game, they’d be in trouble. They lost too much to come in fully lubricated, and Mike Leach will certainly take a moment to adjust to. It won’t be a blowout, but LSU wins sloppy. 28-19. (LSU wins, MSU covers; under)
Chief: If I expected any level of competency out of this State team, I’d expect an upset here. As things stand, no way. Tigahs 24 - Dawgs 10 (LSU wins, MSU covers; under)

Arkansas vs Georgia (-25.5) (O/U 52.5)

This combination of line and total doesn’t make sense to me. Georgia has one of the best defenses in their history. Arkansas is going to be terrible. However, if we have Georgia miss covering by the hook, and we miss the total by the hook, the expected final would be 38.5-13.5. I just don’t see Georgia going all out enough to score 38 or allowing 13. I think this one might be a shutout. Georgia 34-0 (Georgia wins and covers; under)

Rest of the Staff

Josh Dub: Arkansas 6, Georgia 41 (Georgia wins and covers; under)
Ryan S Sterritt: Oh man. I know UGA is replacing essentially an entire offense, but this Arkansas team is B A D. If Georgia just runs the ball with Zamir White and looks Pickens way on a few deep balls, this will be a blowout. Perfect to inflate their egos. 42-10 Georgia. (Georgia wins and covers; under)
Josh Black: Arkansas would be smart to show too many players having contact tracing so they cannot play this game. This is also something that will likely be said 10 times this season. Georgia’s gonna start one of their bevy of Heisman contenders at QB, most likely D’Wan Mathis. It won’t matter whether he’s any good or not for this one. This is also a big year for Georgia in terms of celebration of achievement. What better way to start it off with honoring that achievement with a point for every year since? With that in mind…Georgia 40 Arkansas 0 (Georgia wins and covers; under)
Dr Will: Georgia’s warmup for Auburn next weekend is a trip to Fayetteville to play the Hogs. Cool. Georgia 27 Arkansas 7 (Georgia wins, Arkansas covers; under)
AUNerd: I think UGA’s offense is gonna be a mess for the first part of the season but it won’t matter against a very bad Arkansas squad. That defense will protect the offense for much of the season. UGA 35 Arkansas 3 (Georgia wins and covers; under)
Drew Mac: puppies 49-13 (Georgia wins and covers; over)
Crow: The hogs are the most embarrassing thing to come out of Arkansas since those pics your cousin took on spring break at Hot Springs. She should not be wearing that. Dwags 35-3 (Georgia wins and covers; under)
Jack: Arkansas may not cross midfield on offense. Georgia’s looking for an offense as well, but they don’t have to try in this one. Dawgs 35-6 (Georgia wins and covers; under)
Chief: Georgia gets the luxury of playing a dead body the week before they have to host Auburn. Hopefully it will fill them with an undue level of self confidence. Even though things have been pretty unsettled in Athens, they easily take care of business here. Dwags 38 - Hawgs 3 (Georgia wins and covers; under)

Texas A&M (-30.5) vs Vanderbilt (O/U 46)

Okay I know there are a ton of people on the A&M Hype Train, but 30 points in a conference game? I’m going to play it safe on Kellen Mond. Not to say they won’t win, or that they won’t win comfortably. I just don’t know about a line this big when we know nothing about COVID A&M. Aggies 34-10 (A&M wins, Vandy covers; under)

Rest of the Staff

Josh Dub: Texas A&M 32, Vanderbilt 18 (Texas A&M wins, Vanderbilt covers; over)
Ryan S Sterritt: I guess the SEC wanted to be sure to keep cupcakes on the schedule for week one. I know we’re supposed to all believe in Kellen Mond finally, but despite all the talent, he’s still underwhelming. That doesn’t mean bad, though, and this Vandy team is way worse than bad. That said, 31 points in an SEC game is bonkers. 38-13 TAMU. (A&M wins, Vandy covers; over)
Josh Black: Like Arkansas, Vandy should really consider being noble with regards to player safety this season and just bail. No one would notice. A&M has gone from a media darling in the preseason to more opt-outs than Jimbo Fisher has cowboy boots that say 20?? National Champions across the front. You know he’s got at least 7 pairs. A man with that much money ain’t gonna just go for Ostrich when alligator, snake, and yes even stingray is right there to complete the set. A&M 37 Vandy 9 (A&M wins, Vandy covers; push....good luck with that)
Dr Will: Jimbo’s gotta win this year or he’s on the hot seat big time, amirite? He gets a layup Week 1. Texas A&M 37 Vanderbilt 10 (A&M wins, Vandy covers; over)
AUNerd: I don’t expect a ton out of this A&M squad this year despite them being the trendy off-season pick but they will look very good against a really bad Vandy squad. Texas A&M 52 Vanderbilt 16 (A&M wins and covers; over)
Drew Mac: Ags 52-3 (A&M wins and covers; over)
Crow: Vanderbilt keeps their GPAs higher than their scores. Aggy 35-3 (A&M wins and covers; under)
Jack: Jimbo better do something this year. Starting against Vandy is a nice jump-off point. Aggies 51-14. (A&M wins and covers; over)
Chief: Who would watch this game? I know I wouldn’t. Not even if it was the last game of football on earth. Fake Army Bros 24 - Fake Title Havers 14 (A&M wins, Vandy covers; under)

South Carolina vs Tennessee (-3.5) (O/U 42.5)

This one is probably the most intriguing matchup of the day, save for maybe Auburn/Kentucky. South Carolina is attempting to zag by hiring Mike Bobo and getting back to huddling. What a novelty! Perhaps they’ll even use a fullback!
I think Tennessee will be incrementally better than they were last year. Then again, last year they lost to Georgia State and BYU to open the season. Even on the road, I like their chances here. Tennessee 21-17 (Tennessee wins and covers; under)

Rest of the Staff

Josh Dub: South Carolina 31, Tennessee 28 (South Carolina wins outright; over)
Ryan S Sterritt: I’m pretty sure I’ve guessed this game wrong every time. The last 5-10 years or so, Vols vs Cocks has been a trash fire of offensive incompetency, regardless of the final score. Now, Tennessee thinks they’re going to be something this year, so what better way to screw it up than losing to Will Muschamp. Scarolina 19-12. (South Carolina wins outright; under)
Josh Black: Is Tennessee good? Also, why we talking up Kellen Mond when he’s basically a little bit less erratic than Jarrett Guarantano? Anyways, South Carolina is still coached by Will Muschamp, who has broken his own offenses for years. But Mike Bobo is there now! That sound you just heard was Georgia fans hitting the floor with a stroke when remembering how conservative of a coach Bobo was there only to realize that it’s just kinda the Georgia way, isn’t it? Tennessee 34 South Carolina 14 (Tennessee wins and covers; over)
Dr Will: This one to me could go either way but this is supposed to be the year the Vols take a huge step forward but I know they’ve had a lot of COVID issues in Knoxville, as have a lot of teams. I think Tennessee wins a close one though. Tennessee 23 South Carolina 20 (Tennessee wins, South Carolina covers; over)
AUNerd: Most interesting game of the day outside of AU/UK. I don’t really know how good or not good these two teams will be this fall. Tennessee from a talent perspective should be competing for the SEC East crown. But Pruitt has struggled to get all these individual pieces to play together consistently. South Carolina has a new OC and a new QB but I don’t know if they have many offensive weapons. Their defense will be solid as always under Muschamp and this ends up being a low scoring affair. Only upset pick for me this week. Gamecocks steal one from the Vols. USCe 17 UT 16 (South Carolina wins outright; under)
Drew Mac: Vols 38-17 (Tennessee wins and covers; over)
Crow: no pick. I assume he was disgusted by the matchup.
Jack: I really don’t like Jeremy Pruitt, but he’s got a little bit more talent I think. Put the kids to bed and watch the Bama’s next coach squeak by the Gamecocks. Vols 27-23. (Tennessee wins and covers; over)
Chief: Boom is gonna have the Cocks ready to play. Jeremy Pruitt’s Tennessee renaissance is put on hold as Boom and the boys pull off the only upset in week 1. Cocks 24 - Vols 23 (South Carolina wins outright; over)

A closing message from Josh Black

God that was fun. Regardless of what happens Saturday it’s good to have it back. Hopefully you and your loved ones are ok through this truly scary and downright wild 6 months we’ve all had. Maybe binge on some good food Saturday. Reward yourself with another drink. College football legitimately starts on Saturday, and we’re all along for this weird and hopefully normal as can be ride.

And just in case we lose, don’t do it. It ain’t happening. No one has the money and it’s not worth going through all that this year. The man has earned a reprieve with what we’ve been through in this country and how he led his football team in unity to peacefully protest, has been adaptable at every turn through this uncertainty, and oh yeah, finds a way to beat Nick Saban at a rate better than anybody else. You’re gonna want to scream for it at some point. You know you are. If we have another first 3 quarters of last year’s Georgia game I will too. Give it a year off and let’s just try to enjoy this. We need it.