Last week I warned you that I had never correctly picked a game against the spread in print. That has all changed now, as I correctly predicted the outcomes of three of last week's SEC contests! Unfortunately, I picked six games. With one push due to Mississippi State inexplicably scoring a touchdown against Alabama in garbage time, my official SEC ledger now stands at 3-2-1.
Though there are seven contests involving SEC squads this week, Vegas has not seen fit to assign point spreads to four of them. With only three games to pick against the spread, the odds of my record improving are not good. Accordingly, I urge you to treat each of these picks like the wiseguys treated each of the majority of this week's outings: Don't Bet On It!
Mississippi State Bulldogs at Arkansas Razorbacks (-13) - Despite the loss of all-star running back Knile Davis, the Hogs have largely lived up to their preseason hype and have ridden the SEC's best offense to within one game of setting up a 3-way tie for the tough Western division crown. The Bizarro Bulldogs, on the other hand, have unexpectedly struggled to a 5-5 record after losing superstar DC Manny Diaz to the Longhorns in the offseason. Neither team has a great defense, so you have to go with the superior offense. Since Arkansas is outscoring Mississippi State by 13 points per game, why not take them plus exactly that many points?
LSU Tigers (-29.5) at Ole Miss Rebel Black Bears - Ah, the Insanity Bowl. The Mad Hatter facing off against the Reverend Nutt. The two craziest coaches in the conferences butting heads. This is the type of game in which anything could happen... in years past. This year's Ole Miss team is just awful, with the league's worst defense and second worst offense. They also just suspended their starting quarterback and starting running back. Yeah, I'm taking #1 ranked LSU and the points.
Vanderbilt Commodores (-1.5) at Tennessee Volunteers - You're not misreading that line. Vanderbilt is favored over Tennessee. It's not as crazy as it sounds. The Commodores have a better pass defense, rushing defense, scoring defense, rushing offense, and turnover margin than the Vawls. Even the potential return of Tyler Bray won't help the Creamsicles. Vandy covers comfortably.
Samford Bulldogs at Auburn WarTiglesMen (N/A) - Didn't the Bulldogs already beat the 'Barn? Man, that was awesome. I think I'll rewatch that game while the Tigers get
their only a second victory over Bulldogs for the year. (I don't care for Auburn.)
Citadel Bulldogs at South Carolina Gamecocks (N/A) - Earlier this year the Gamecocks struggled against Navy's option offense. Citadel runs the same option offense. Could these Bulldogs give South Carolina the same trouble? No. No, they could not. South Carolina wins going away.
Furman Paladins at Florida Gators (N/A) - In French medieval literature, the paladins were the most talented warriors in Charlemaigne's court, responsible for defending the realm from invasion. Historians dispute the veracity of these accounts. In other words, the Paladins' namesakes' exploits are about as real as their chances of winning on Saturday. Florida gets its money's worth with a win to become bowl eligible.
Georgia Southern Eagles at Alabama Crimson Tide (N/A) - Would you believe that Alabama and Georgia Southern have the same record? It's true. They're both 9-1 with comfortable margins of victory over their opponents. However, with a win over the Wofford Terriers last week, Erk Russell's former team secured the Southern Conference crown, while Nick Saban's SEC hopes ride on Arkansas defeating LSU next week. Hopefully that conference championship will provide some small comfort to the Eagles on Saturday while the Tide take out their frustrations in a big win.