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Monday, August 29, 2011

Week 1: SEC Predictions

The conference at the center of all the expansion talks. Will this be the last year the SEC plays with 12 teams? Will the other schools in the SEC even allow expansion? It's a mess right now that only looks to get more complicated in the next few weeks, but for now at least we have college football games to hold our attention.

Alabama RB Trent Richardson
Mississippi State @ Memphis
Prediction: Mississippi State 35, Memphis 14
In a Thursday night game on the first day of the college football season Mississippi State will travel too Memphis (seems strange to me) to fight a Conference USA team that only managed 1 win last year. Memphis will score a handful of points at home, likely late in the game against the second and third team defenses. It won't be nearly enough to take out Mississippi State. Memphis will not be able to handle the first team on offense or defense, so expect a route by halftime.

Auburn vs. Utah State
Prediction: Auburn 42, Utah State 17
Auburn is a better team than Utah State, Cam Newton or no. However, Utah State nearly beat Oklahoma last year in the first game of the season. Do I think that will happen again (they finished 4-8)? No, but I do think Auburn needs to come fully prepared. If Auburn rises to the occasion this game will be put away by halftime. Anything else and Utah State may close the score gap substantially.

Alabama vs. Kent State
Prediction: Alabama 63, Kent State 7
Alabama will be going for 70 points before the fourth quarter is over. I don't think they will quite reach that mark, but they will get close. The offense will click and the defense will be able to smother a weaker MAC opponent. Alabama is #2 in the nation for a reason, and I expect them to play like it.

Ole Miss vs. BYU
Prediction: Ole Miss 35, BYU 42
This should be one of the more exciting SEC matchups this week. At Oxford the game is a toss up. I feel like BYU QB Jake Heaps is a potential star who lacks the supporting cast to win big games. And I feel that Ole Miss is the weaker team, yet home field advantage can sway anything when the teams are so close. In the end, I give the edge to Heap's arm over the Ole Miss defense.

LSU vs. Oregon  @ Cowboy Stadium
Prediction: LSU 17, Oregon 24
Oregon and LSU will both be missing key parts of their offense when they take the field on Saturday. The game will be a question of who overcomes their losses to take a win in an exciting first weekend matchup. Lee will not be the problem for LSU, he is very comparable to Jefferson and will man the team just fine. It is Shepperd who I fear LSU will miss the most against an Oregon defense without their star CB Cliff Harris. The game is a toss up, so I will give my pick to the Oregon offense over the LSU defense. Either way, the game is sure to please.

Tennessee vs. Montana
Prediction: Tennessee 42, Montana 7
Tennessee almost had a very good year last season. They held Oregon down for a half, nearly beat LSU and put up a fight against almost every other team they played. This year, I expect them to upset at least one highly ranked team on their way to a good bowl game. Montana will not be able to handle the 100,000+ in attendance. Expect Tennessee to run Montana out of the stadium in the first half.

South Carolina vs. East Carolina
Prediction: South Carolina 35, East Carolina 14
East Carolina could (and I say could) be a dangerous game for South Carolina if they aren't ready. East Carolina is nowhere near as talented as South Carolina on either side of the ball, yet they do have the ability to score if South Carolina is not careful. If all things come to pass, South Carolina should run away with this game without too much of a hiccup.

Arkansas vs. Missouri State
Prediction: Arkansas 63, Missouri State 3
Missouri State gets props for scheduling some good teams this year (they play @Oregon in week 3) and for at least trying to expand their recruiting pyramids. Still, they are an FCS school and Arkansas is a very potent offense. Shouldn't be much of a surprise if this game is decided by more than 50 points.

Florida vs. Florida Atlantic
Prediction: Florida 49, Florida Atlantic 7
Florida had a down year last year. While I do expect more of the same this year, it won't be against Florida Atlantic. Expect a Florida offensive burst in the first and second halves to secure the win early and hold it late.

Vanderbilt vs. Elon
Prediction: Vanderbilt 35, Elon 3
I have never heard of Elon (you learn something new every day). I am simply going to make an educated guess and say that an SEC team, even the lowest SEC team, will be able to take them out in a football game. Elon did have a better record in the FCS last year than Vanderbilt did in the SEC, but I think you can tell the difference between the two teams opponents. |

Georgia vs. Boise State
Prediction: Georgia 28, Boise State 35
Boise State has a knack for winning these types of games, they seem to win at least one each year. This year the Georgia Bulldogs are the unlucky team who has to face Boise State in the first week. I expect them to keep it close until the fourth quarter. Kellen Moore will pull some tricks out of his magic hat, scoring on at least two fourth quarter drives to pull the game away from Georgia.

Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky
Prediction: Kentucky 28, Western Kentucky 24
Should be a close game between in-state teams. Western Kentucky should give Kentucky some scares, but ultimately fall flat against a stronger SEC foe. Kentucky won't win a ton of games this year but they will beat Western Kentucky.

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