Greetings from the flood plains of Manhattan! I'm putting together this week's picks from a remote location because my apartment is in a mandatory evacuation zone. But enough about me: we have some SEC games to pick. We went 4-2 picking last week's conference contests against the spread -- y'all were completely right about UT giving SC all they could handle, by the way -- and now we're a perfectly respectable 33-26-1 on the season. Will we go to six consecutive weeks winning against the spread? Don't Bet On It!
Missouri (+16.5) at No. 7 Florida
Florida is a much better team than Missouri. The only question is whether the Gators will be suffering a hangover from last week's loss (not to mention playing LSU, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina in the three weeks prior to their contest with the good guys). Mizzou is scoring just 17.6 points per game in SEC play, and Florida fields the fourth best scoring defense in the country. Mizzou's rushing defense also probably won't be able to slow down Mike Gillislee. But something tells me that Florida is going to let Mizzou keep this one closer than it ought to be.
No. 16 Texas A&M at No. 15 Mississippi State (+6.5)
Johnny Football and the Aggies are scoring 50 points per game on the road. The Bizarro Bulldogs are allowing just 12.6 points per game at home, but Tennessee is the only major conference team to visit Starkville so far this season. Still, those clanging cowbells will be a distraction, and the Western Division Bulldogs are scoring 40 points per game at home. Let's take Mississippi State plus the points in a shoot-out.
Vanderbilt at Kentucky (+7.5)
Commonwealth Stadium is a tough place to play, and Vanderbilt's rushing defense is almost as bad as Kentucky's. This game should be a low-scoring struggle, so we're taking the Wildcats plus the points.
Troy (+18.5) at Tennessee
Tennessee is giving up nearly 218 yards per game through the air, which gives the Vols one of the worst passing defenses in the country. The Trojans' top-25 passing offense ought to be able to exploit this weakness. I'd really like to take the over here, but we'll settle for taking Troy plus the points.
Tulsa at Arkansas (-6)
The temptation here is to think that Tulsa's high-scoring offense can exploit the Razorbacks' questionable defense. But, Tulsa is gaining most of its yards and points on the ground, and, in wins over Kentucky and Auburn, Arkansas has shown an ability to shut-down one dimensional rushing offenses. The Razorbacks should win big at home.
New Mexico State at Auburn (-22.5)
Both of these teams are 1-7 and winless in their own conferences. Even if we hadn't beaten Florida last week, this would still be the best week of my life because I get to type that about Auburn. Unfortunately, I think Auburn will get its second week of the season here. I'm also certain that Auburn will hose me no matter how I pick this game. I hate to do it, but I have to take Auburn to cover because New Mexico State is just terrible.
No. 1 Alabama (-10) at No. 5 LSU
The 2012 Bayou Bengals are dangerously one-dimensional on offense and lack the spark they had on defense and special teams last year. The 2012 Crimson Tide are psychopathic killer in the movie sequel who gained superhuman strength after a brush with death in the original. They are better than LSU at everything except passing defense, and even that advantage should be nullified given that the Tide boast the conference's most efficient passing attack and second most efficient rushing attack. 2012 is the year that we realize that Nick Saban's death star is fully operational and won't be slowed down by the attrition that hobbles every other top-flight program at least every third or fourth year. We are taking Bama to cover any spread in any game until someone identifies a single flaw in The Process.