Like nearly everyone else in the SEC East, I strugged last week, posting a 3-4 record against the spread. (Texas A&M's game against Louisiana Tech was postponed until October 13th due to Hurricane Isaac.) Was this just a case of the first week jitters? Don't Bet On It! (Please note that while Dawg Sports was able to compile its top 25 already, the AP can't get their act together, so the indicated rankings are based on the preseason AP top 25.)
Auburn (+3) at Mississippi State
Last Week: The 'Barners led Clemson 19-16 early in the 4th quarter before giving up 10 unanswered points in a loss in the Dome, and the Bizarro Bulldogs trounced Jackson State 56-9, scoring touchdowns on their first seven (!) possessions.
The Lean: It's tempting to look at the scores of last week's games and blindly pick the Western Division Bulldogs, but it's important to account for the quality of opponents played. Auburn played a legitimate top 25 team close while Mississippi State blew out a middling SWAC team. You've got to like the Tigers plus the points based on sheer talent alone.
East Carolina (+23) at No. 9 South Carolina
Last Week: Marcus Lattimore scored the Gamecocks' only two touchdowns, and QB Connor Shaw hurt his throwing shoulder in a 17-13 victory over Vandy. East Carolina dominated Appalachian State 35-13.
The Lean: Connor Shaw can't even lift his shoulder right now. Take the Pirates and the points since SCar is one-dimensional without their starting QB.
Western Kentucky at No. 2 Alabama (-40)
Last Week: Alabama took a 21 point lead over Michigan in the first quarter and never looked back in a 41-14 victory. The Hilltoppers beat Austin Peay 49-10.
The Lean: I'm just going to take Bama and the points until further notice.
No. 23 Florida (+2) at Texas A&M
Last Week: The Sunshine State Saurians were tied with Bowling Green midway through the third quarter before pulling out the win. (Texas A&M's game was postponed.)
The Lean: It's Texas A&M's turn to have their first week jitters, so I'm taking Florida and the points. (Plus, the Gators even have a starting QB now! Lock of the century of the week.)
Georgia State at Tennessee (N/A)
Last Week: The Volunteers' Cordarrelle Patterson rang up 165 all-purpose yards and 2 touchdowns in an easy win over NC State. The Panthers lost to South Carolina State 6-33.
The Lean: Tennessee will win. Too bad there's no spread here.
Washington at No. 3 LSU (-23.5)
Last Week: The Bayou Bengals cruised to an easy 41-14 victory over North Texas, but QB Zach Mettenberger took a serious hit and sat out part of the game. The Huskies got out to an early lead and never looked back against San Diego State (21-12).
The Lean: Washington went 6-6 last year. LSU will cruise.
No. 10 Arkansas (-30.5) v Louisiana-Monroe
Last Week: The Razorbacks scored 49 points with 564 yards of total offense, but turned the ball over thrice and gave up 24 points to Jacksonville State. The Warhawks were idle.
The Lean: Johnelle is going to wreck the Porsche at some point, but I don't think it will be this week. Take the SEC's best offense and the points.
Kent State at Kentucky
Last Week: The Wildcats were dominated in every phase of their 14-32 loss to in-state rival Louisville. Kent State handled Towson, 41-21.
The Lean: There's no spread here, which is probably a good thing. I'll be rooting for Kentucky.
Vanderbilt (-3) at Northwestern
Last Week: Vanderbilt put up a good fight against South Carolina but ultimately lost 13-17 in the fourth quarter. Northwestern kicked a field goal with 44 seconds left to slide by Syracuse, 42-41. [Ed: It was a touchdown with 44 seconds left, but still...]
The Lean: Vanderbilt is a good football team, and Northwestern literally had to kick a last-minute field goal to beat Syracuse. This is a pretty easy pick.
UTEP at Mississippi (-7.5)
Last Week: Ole Miss dominated the second half in a 49-27 win over Central Arkansas, while UTEP hung with Oklahoma for 3 quarters before finally losing 7-24.
The Lean: I'm taking Ole Miss, but I don't like it. I guess we're hanging our hats on the fact that UTEP only managed to score on a blocked field goal.