Remember how everyone thought the SEC was awesome, since they got ten teams into the AP Top 25? Or, at least, that's the narrative ESPN tried to feed us. Then Arkansas lost at home to Toledo, Tennessee choked late against Oklahoma, Auburn got outplayed by Jacksonville State, and Missouri had to rally back to beat Arkansas State.
Meanwhile, in conference play, Les Miles tried really hard to blow a 21-6 lead to Mississippi State and came up just short. Of course, LSU will still get plenty of credit for that and the general idea is the SEC gets a leg up by playing more early conference games than anyone else. But should they? After all, it means they play mostly awful* nonconference games in November, and it sure seems like that should come with penalties, especially if they struggle.
*Mizzou has a November nonconference game against BYU that I would imagine is not one Gary Pinkel is too thrilled about right now.
We've got another pair of intriguing SEC games this week, both of which are included as Jon and I make our picks For Entertainment Purposes Only. Because of how easy it is to eventually move up in the polls after an early loss and how infrequently teams move down after a late-season win, regardless of how weak it was, there's probably an advantage to playing some of these games and getting losses early. Think about it. If Auburn was No. 6 in November and nearly lost to Jacksonville State, would they have been heavily penalized in the polls? Probably not. Of course, the Tigers probably won't be near the top 10 by November. But you never know. I guess what I'm saying is the unique scheduling is just another way the SEC games the system, or perhaps a way the system is geared towards the SEC.
My apologies for the longer than usual intro, but I needed to rant about that. Plus, now maybe some of you will skip the part where I am obligated to note Jon and I were both equally terrible last week, going 3-7. I maintained my lead at 10-10 overall, while Jon is 8-20.
|Saturday, 1 p.m. Autzen Stadium, Eugene OR|
LT: Yep, we're doing this. As noted before, Georgia State is an awful football team, even if it did win an actual Sun Belt game last week against New Mexico State. The Ducks are going to score as many points as they want, and since they lost last week, they're going to want to score a lot. Oregon covers.
JM: This absolutely has 1980s Houston written all over it. If you woke up Sunday morning and saw that Oregon had beaten Georgia State 59-13, your first reaction would be "They let Georgia State score twice?" Your second would be to assume the Ducks let off the gas. And yet that's exactly the score the line and the over/under projects. Ducks cover.
|Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend IN|
LT: Well, here's an interesting line. The No. 14 team in the nation is favored by nearly a field goal on the road against the No. 8 team in the nation. Even Vegas thinks Notre Dame is wildly overrated. Of course, the fact that Notre Dame lost starting QB Malik Zaire for the season must be a large factor. Either way, I tend to agree, and I'm even going to overlook the fact that the Fighting Irish have had a fairly stout run defense against Texas and Virginia. Georgia Tech is a different beast entirely. Yellow Jackets cover.
JM: I wish the statement "Also, Georgia Tech has only allowed 16 points in two games" had any meaning, but it doesn't. Not against Alcorn State and Tulane. Still, I tend to agree here; I think Tech is simply a better team than the Irish, and since Notre Dame isn't actually an ACC member in football the Wheel of Destiny matters not. Tech covers.
|Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge LA|
LT: I'll actually be at this game, and I must say I'm quite as excited about it as I was a week ago. Auburn does not appear to be what the pollsters thought they were, but it's not exactly like LSU has made any kind of statement yet, either. If this were less than a touchdown, I'd probably take LSU, but that line just seems a little large. Auburn covers.
JM: Auburn barely covered this line at home against Jacksonville State. Come on. (Sorry, it had to be said.) They're not covering it in Death Valley. LSU covers.
|Saturday, 8:15 p.m. Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa AL|
LT: The SEC nightcap looks much more appealing. We're pretty sure both of these teams are good, even if Ole Miss hasn't played anyone yet. I don't care who's on the other side, when you average 74.5 points over two games, you have a high-quality offense. With that being said, Alabama's defense is very, very good, and so are their running backs. The Rebels managed to pull off the upset last year in Oxford. I don't think it happens again. Bama covers.
JM: I feel dread. I still think Alabama is going to win this game, but I think it's going to be a close affair. The Alabama defense is not impregnable, the secondary has been prone over the last couple of seasons to getting beat, Wisconsin might not be all that hot, and Alabama didn't look sharp against MTSU. So I will summon up all my bravery here and do the unthinkable: Ole Miss covers.
|Saturday, 9:30 p.m. Rose Bowl, Pasadena CA|
LT: Clearly, Vegas is not impressed by BYU's two hail mary-fueled wins. Maybe that's because no one actually stayed up late to watch the games. That might happen again here, and UCLA probably is just a little too good to get beat by a hail mary. The Bruins have looked quite strong so far and will probably win this game. But can the Cougars get within two touchdowns? Absolutely. BYU covers.
JM: Yeah, this is a stupid line. BYU has been impressive in every aspect this season, and while they could easily be 0-2 they'd be considered unlucky to be 0-2 if they were. They played toe-to-toe with both Nebraska and Boise State for 60 minutes. Their luck may run out this weekend, but they're not getting blown out. Cougars cover.
Jon's tired of losing, so we're going to dig through the schedule and look for even more stupid lines.