Last week, I wrote that "Mississippi State has assumed Vanderbilt's former position as conference whipping boy". Oops. My picks weren't totally off - I got Oregon over Southern Cal right - but the estrangement from American TV is definitely taking a toll.
This week features a number of odd matchups; the SEC games aren't as compelling as they have been the last couple of weeks. Then again, "traditional" big games in the league are being supplanted, it would seem - parity is turning Florida-Vandy into a game with legitimate conference title implications. Here are the picks (odds from USA Today)
Florida -16.5 against Vanderbilt
The Gators have got to be seething after their humiliation last week against Georgia (and, for the record, I think Richt's move was classless, even if it was effective); they'll take it out on the Commodores.
Georgia -15 against Troy
I don't understand why this line isn't bigger; I really don't.
Tennessee -31 against UL Lafayette
I'm nervous taking the favorite with this big a line... but, seriously - UL-L is the kind of team you're supposed to schedule for your opener. The result will be about like you would expect.
Alabama +7.5 against LSU
The Sabanator! The Prince of Lies! With Saban coaching against his former team, Bama will pull off an upset... and throw the SEC race into even greater confusion.
South Carolina +4.5 against Arkansas
It's Spurrier! Even though Sebulba shut the cover to the intake port when he walked by in the prerace lineup, the Gamecocks will get their engines revving in the second half and take over the game. And I am sorry for the old, terribly stretched Phantom Menace analogy. There will never be a Jar Jar Binks joke in this column. I promise.
Hey! That analogy was like Britney Spears' face!
Hey! That joke was like the analogy!
Oregon -7 against Arizona State
Dixon, Stewart, & Co. should be able to top a surprisingly good Sun Devils team and continue their steady march towards the top of the Pac-10
Out-of-Conference Upset Special
FSU +4.5 against Boston College
Do you remember last year? Georgia Tech and Wake Forest were the out-of-nowhere success stories in the ACC. Then they realized it, and couldn't quite keep their magic alive. The magic ends here; BC escaped Virginia Tech last week when the Hokies went into a prevent defense. Won't happen this week.
Last Week: 4-3