SEC Football: Week 1 Picks
Everyone has an opinion, and you know what they say about those.
Good thing you've found me. I'm your perfect, infallible and all-knowing SEC expert, and I'm about to make you very rich.
Nice to meet you.
Each week I'll be providing commentary on each upcoming game, including picks to win and picks against the spread.
Don't worry, I'll be keeping track of my records. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong.
Good thing I'm never wrong.
Everyone gets at least a week to say that, right?
So go ahead, click ahead and get your undeniably insightful picks for Week 1. Correctness guaranteed!
No. 9 South Carolina at Vanderbilt
The season's first SEC tangle matches two squads with a big upside in 2012-13.
South Carolina is much more talented, so expect the Gamecocks to manage the win.
Don't expect it to be easy, though. The Nashville crowd should be massive for this opening-night bout, and a Commodore upset wouldn't shock me.
Pick: No. 9 South Carolina
Spread: (-7) No. 9 South Carolina @ Vanderbilt
Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech
Losing your record-breaking starting quarterback and beginning the season on the road isn't an easy task.
Couple that with a newly found SEC schedule looming in the distance, and the Aggies' opening game spells T-R-A-P.
Louisiana Tech took Mississippi State to overtime in Starkville in 2011-12, not to mention the 27-7 thrashing of Ole Miss, and finished with an 8-5 record.
I struggled with this pick, but I'm going with LA Tech. The Bulldogs are an experienced group playing a rebuilding squad at home and should win in a tough battle.
Pick: Louisiana Tech
Spread: (-7.5) Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech
Tennessee at N.C. State
A matchup of middlings will take on the Georgia Dome on Friday, as the recovering Volunteers of Tennessee meet the up-and-coming N.C. State Wolfpack.
Tyler Bray has been evicted from his apartment, banned from boating for a year and somehow avoided suspension, while superstar wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers pulled the ol' "violation of team rules" and is suspended indefinitely.
With N.C. State returning most of its playmakers and the Vols losing Rogers and lead tackler Austin Johnson, this is a tough call. I'll give the edge to N.C. State.
Pick: N.C. State
Spread: (-7) Tennessee vs. N.C. State
Buffalo at No. 6 Georgia
There is simply very little comparison between these two programs. Buffalo will be breaking in a new quarterback, and its defense looks to be ripped by Georgia's Murray-led offense.
Look for this to be a [cup]cake-walk for the Bulldogs.
Pick: No. 6 Georgia
Spread: Buffalo at (-37.5) Georgia
Bowling Green at No. 23 Florida
Head coach Dave Clawson has rebuilt Bowling Green into a legitimate conference challenger. Last year's squad fell just short of a bowl game, and that doesn't seem to be likely this season. Experience and offense will vault the Falcons into MAC relevancy.
With that said, the Gators, by definition, will rarely meet a team with talent supremacy. Though Florida won just a single game against a winning FBS program a year ago, things are looking up in Gainesville.
Ultimately, this much talent and a home field should win the game for Muschamp's Gators. If BGSU can figure out Florida's defense, though, this could be an upset.
Spread: Bowling Green at (-27) No. 23 Florida
Jacksonville State at No. 10 Arkansas
Experienced talent at skill positions makes Jacksonville State a squad that shouldn't be overlooked.
Picked to finish second in the Ohio Valley Conference, the Gamecocks return two semi-starters at quarterback and Georgia transfer Washaun Ealey, who rushed for 1,082 yards a year ago. This from a squad who took a victory on an SEC field two seasons ago and enters the season ranked 13th among FCS foes.
Arkansas is more talented at every position and should walk away with the win, but if the offseason troubles linger and the 'Backs forget to show up, it could be a game.
Pick: No. 10 Arkansas
Spread: Not Listed
No. 14 Clemson at Auburn
Competing with Alabama/Michigan for my choice of Game of the Week, this game will be a tone-setter for both squads heading into the season.
Clemson returns an enormous amount of talent, especially offensively, and looks to rank among the most elite offenses in the country. CU's lines on both sides of the ball, however, will be a weakness.
Gene Chizik's defense will be stretched to its max. With its running game and a weak Clemson defensive line, points should be available.
This should be a high-scoring, exciting shootout that will eventually come down to Clemson's offensive prowess.
Spread: (-3) No. 14 Clemson at Auburn
North Texas at No. 3 LSU
Losing 27 seniors from a 5-7 squad and opening in Baton Rouge is, well, painful.
Move along, folks; won't be much to see here.
Spread: North Texas at (-43) No. 3 LSU
Central Arkansas at Ole Miss
You will most likely never see me, or anyone for that matter, pick an FCS team to win a game on an SEC field.
With that said, the Rebels have a knack for losing recently, including a loss to FCS competitor Jacksonville State two seasons ago.
The Bears of Central Arkansas enter their season ranked just outside the Top 25 on the FCS level and aren't without talent. Ole Miss is seeking mere respectability.
If Freeze drops his first game to an FCS team, he very well could lose hope for 2012-13 by his fans and, worse, his players.
Pick: Ole Miss
Spread: Not Listed
Jackson State at Mississippi State
In a pass-happy offense, FCS squad Jackson State loses its starting quarterback and two hot wide receivers.
Mississippi State will use this time to help quarterback Tyler Russell warm up, as his performance will prove crucial to the remainder of the season.
Pick: Mississippi State
Spread: Not Listed
Southeastern Louisiana at Missouri
Though experienced, Southeastern Louisiana, coming off a 3-8 season against FCS competition, won't be providing any competition for Missouri.
The Tigers will cruise in this one.
Spread: Not Listed
No. 8 Michigan vs. No. 2 Alabama
Nick Saban has proven he knows how to shut down just about anyone.
Alabama's 2011-12 squad easily ranked as the top defense in the country and one of the best in all of college football history.
I mention this because it may take that kind of performance to hold back first-team All-American Denard Robinson. Robinson is perhaps the most mobile quarterback in collegiate football at the moment, and you can bet your houndstooth cap that Saban is creating his game plan around him.
The Tide prides itself on physical lines on both sides of the ball, and Robinson will need to find some holes in it. The Wolverines' talent at wide receiver is unimpressive and there are holes in the defensive line.
Saban's team is more talented, more well-rounded and playing closer to home. Advantage Tide.
Spread: Michigan at (-12) No. 2 Alabama
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