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Don't Bet On It!: Around the SEC (Week 9)

Let's try to take a break from hating Florida to look at the other contests around the conference.

Streeter Lecka

It's hate week. Nevertheless there are other SEC games being played this weekend. We notched our fourth consecutive week of winning picks against the spread last week, going 3-2 and bringing us to 29-24-1 on the season. (We would have one fewer loss if James Franklin hadn't inexplicably decided to go for it on fourth down instead of kicking a field goal when the Commies were up 17-13 in the fourth quarter. Is there anything James Franklin won't do to make us hate them too?) I must confess that I'm a little preoccupied with hating Florida this week, so, while we might make it five winning weeks in a row, Don't Bet On It!

Kentucky (+15.5) at Missouri
(Not so) fun fact: Missouri has a better run defense than Georgia. Kentucky's starting their second freshman back-up QB, so they can really only rely on the run. Moreover, Kentucky is only scoring 7 points per road game, and we know how tough Columbia be on visitors. But still: that seems like an awful lot of points for a Tiger team whose starting quarterback will likely miss his second straight game. Let's hold our noses and take Kentucky to cover. I hate Florida.

Tennessee at No. 13 South Carolina (-14)
Volunteer fans have given up on the season. It will be interesting to see whether the players have too. South Carolina won't be very inviting; the Gamecocks are undefeated at home, with an average margin of victory of 35 points. Plus, Steve Spurrier enjoys humiliating Tennessee almost as much as he enjoys embarrassing Georgia. We're taking Cocky to cover at home. I hate Florida.

Ole Miss (+5.5) at Arkansas
The Narrative is that Johnelle Smith has the Razorbacks back on track after a rough start. The reality is that Arkansas won back-to-back games over the two worst teams in the conference (Auburn and Kentucky). Neither of those teams can pass, and neither of those teams can defend the pass. The RebelBlackBears' passing attack ranks fourth in the conference (just behind the Hogs'), and their passing defense is average. That should be enough to keep things close, so we're taking Swole Miss plus the points. I hate Florida.

No. 20 Texas A&M (-14) at Auburn
Auburn is terrible, really, truly, fantastically, satisfyingly terrible. Texas A&M, on the other hand, hung with LSU for a half. It's true that the final score of the Auburn-LSU game was closer than the final score of the Aggies' tussle with the (other) Tigers, but A&M's offense is far better than LSU's. In fact, the SEC's Texans now lead the conference in scoring offense. That's probably why the line jumped from 7 to 14 almost immediately, and it's why we're taking A&M to cover on the road. I hate Florida.

Massachusetts at Vanderbilt (-32.5)
Massachusetts is one of the worst teams in the country. They're allowing more than thirty points per game while scoring less than twelve. All of this is despite the fact that the Minutemen play one of the weakest schedules in the FBS. The Commodores have shown no shame in running up the score on inferior competition, so you have to take Vanderbilt to cover at home. I hate Florida.

No. 11 Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama (-23.5)
Nick Saban's Tide has beaten Dan Mullen's Bizarro Bulldogs by an average of 21 2/3 points per game since The Hunchback took over in 2009. This may be St. Nick's best team yet. (No, really -- their defense is just as dominant, and their offense appears to be much better so far.) It might be Mullen's best too, but they still haven't played anyone other than Tennessee, whom the Tide beat by a much larger margin. We're taking Bama and the points until further notice. I hate Florida.

Go Dawgs!