There were good things and bad things as we struggled to a 3-3 record in Week Two.
First, the good. I picked Kentucky’s 35-28 win over Missouri right on the nose. I picked Pittsburgh to beat Tennessee in Knoxville and cover the three points.
I picked Georgia to cover the 26 ½ at home against UAB. The Bulldogs won 56-7 with their backup quarterback, Stetson Bennett IV, throwing five touchdown passes in the first half.
But there were some nasty misses:
I picked Texas to beat Arkansas and the game wasn’t even close (41-20). I picked N.C. State to beat Mississippi State but the Bulldogs looked sharp in winning 24-10.
I picked Florida to cover the 28 ½ against South Florida but the Gators only won by 22 (42-20). I should have known Dan Mullen would take his foot off the gas with Alabama coming up.
So that puts us at 7-5 against the spread. Here are this week’s SEC picks:
The game: Alabama (2-0) at Florida (2-0) (plus 14.5), 3:30 p.m., CBS.
The winner: Alabama
The score: Alabama 35, Florida 20.
The skinny: I don’t know for sure but it’s a pretty good bet that Florida has not been a two-touchdown underdog at home since Steve Spurrier arrived in 1990. But that’s what the boys in Vegas are saying about Saturday’s game in the Swamp. For the Gators to have a chance they’ll need a dynamic performance out of backup quarterback Anthony Richardson, who looked good in last week’s game with USF. This is Nick Saban’s 90th game as the coach of an Alabama team ranked No. 1. He is 81-8 those previous 89 games. Alabama has too much firepower. Tide covers.
The game: South Carolina (2-0) (plus 31.5) at Georgia (2-0), 7 p.m., ESPN.
The winner: Georgia.
The score: Georgia 42, South Carolina 7.
The skinny: The Georgia defense has yet to give up a touchdown in two games. The biggest question for the Bulldogs is whether or not quarterback JT Daniels will return from an oblique injury. He sat out last week and it didn’t matter as the Bulldogs prevailed over UAB 56-7. The last time the Gamecocks visited Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium they upset the Bulldogs. That won’t happen this time. The question is whether they can cover the 31 1/2. They will on a late touchdown.
The game: Auburn (2-0) (plus 5) at Penn State (2-0), 7:30 p.m., ABC.
The winner: Auburn.
The score: Auburn 20, Penn State 17.
The skinny: In a rare regular-season game between the SEC and Big Ten, Auburn makes its first-ever trip to Happy Valley. Two keys for Auburn: Can running Tank Bigsby get to 100 against a Penn State defense that has given up only 46 rushing yards in two games? Can Bo Nix have a good game on the road? In his nine true road starts at Auburn, Nix has thrown for more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (9). Penn State is having one of its famous “white out” games which are supposed to intimidate the opponent. But when you play in the SEC every game is a white out game. Auburn wins on a late field goal.
The game: Mississippi State (2-0) at Memphis (2-0) (plus 3), 4 p.m., ESPN2
The winner: Miss. State.
The score: Miss. State 35, Memphis 31.
The skinny: I was so tempted to take Memphis and the three points playing at home in the Liberty Bowl. But I liked some things I saw last week when Mississippi State beat N.C. State 24-10. The light is starting to come on for Will Rogers, the sophomore quarterback for Mississippi State. This will be a fun, entertaining game. Mississippi State scores late to win by four.
The game: Tulane (1-1) (plus 15) at Ole Miss (2-0), 8 p.m, ESPN2.
The winner: Ole Miss
The score: Ole Miss 45, Tulane 24.
The skinny: On paper, this looks like a closer game than the 21-point spread we have presented here. But, as the great Casey Stengel once said, “The game ain’t played on paper.” Tulane played Oklahoma tough (40-35) back on Sept. 4. Tulane’s Willie Fritz is a very good coach. Still, there is just too much firepower from Matt Corral and the Ole Miss offense. And now the defense has a little spark. Ole Miss easily covers the 15.
The game: Georgia Southern (1-1) (plus 18) at Arkansas (2-0), 4 p.m., SEC Network.
The winner: Arkansas.
The score: Arkansas 35, Georgia Southern 15.
The skinny: Expect the Hogs to have a bit of a letdown after their dominating performance against Texas last Saturday. And Arkansas could certainly be looking ahead to next week’s SEC opener against Texas A&M in Arlington, Tex. Normally Georgia Southern, who lost to Florida Atlantic (38-6) is a tough out in games like this. And the Eagles will get their quarterback Justin Tomlin back from academic suspension. Still, Arkansas covers.