Thursday, September 8, 2011
SEC predictions: Week 2
By Edward Aschoff
We have one week in the bag and it looks like the new guy is on top.
Yes, it was a week littered with cupcakes, but like every coach in America says, "A win is a win."
After the first week of games, I sit at 11-1 (.917), while fellow SEC blogger Chris Low is 10-2 (.833). Chris and I both missed on Ole Miss and Chris went with Georgia. I tried to tell him, but he just wouldn't listen.
And while I'm gloating, how about my almost dead-on picks? I had Mississippi State beating Memphis 52-14 and the score was 59-14. I had Tennessee beating Montana 44-13 and the Vols won 42-16. And I had Alabama topping Kent State 56-7 and the Tide won 48-7.
I know, the kid is good.
Oh, and Chris, remember that Nick Saban likes his bad questions loud and right after some player has ticked him off.
We finally start the conference season with South Carolina visiting Georgia and Auburn hosting Mississippi State, so things are getting even more interesting.
On to the picks:
Edward Aschoff: This weekend is all about tuning up that passing game. Jarrett Lee passed for less than 100 yards, but was efficient in the win over Oregon. Look for him to reach triple digits before halftime. ... LSU 48, Northwestern State 3
Chris Low: The Tigers deserve at least one glorified scrimmage in the month of September, although the real trick might be getting their starters out of the game by halftime with next Thursday’s trip to Mississippi State looming. … LSU 42, Northwestern State 0
Edward Aschoff: Tyler Wilson was good, but not great in his starting debut last week. The Razorbacks didn't need him to be great, but he should improve this week and spread the ball around even more. ... Arkansas 44, New Mexico 7
Chris Low: The Hogs put a couple of special teams touchdowns on the board last week in the opener thanks to Joe Adams’ punt return prowess. Don’t be surprised if the defense gets into the act this Saturday in a second straight rout for the Hogs. … Arkansas 48, New Mexico 10
Edward Aschoff: Ole Miss' offense sputtered through the opener, while the defense looked much sharper than it did last year. It even scored a touchdown, while the offense didn't. The Rebels could use all three quarterbacks, but should win comfortably Saturday. ... Ole Miss 31, Southern Illinois 10
Chris Low: It’s hard to find much wrong with Ole Miss’ defensive performance in the opener, but the Rebels have to get a lot better on offense and will be without top running back Brandon Bolden for the next few weeks. … Ole Miss 35, Southern Illinois 7
Edward Aschoff: Kentucky's offense was mostly nonexistent until that very late game-winning drive, but the defense took a step forward. The Wildcats' offense needs to find playmakers and this week would be a good start. ... Kentucky 27, Central Michigan 14
Chris Low: It looks like Rick Minter has the Wildcats’ defense playing with an edge. Now, it’s on quarterback Morgan Newton, his receiver sand that offensive line to get it going. True freshman running back Josh Clemons looks like a keeper. … Kentucky 27, Central Michigan 13
Edward Aschoff: Vanderbilt's offense will get a nice test with UCONN's aggressive defense coming to town. This is a chance for Larry Smith to show that he can lead Vandy in the big game, but will it be enough? ... UCONN 23, Vanderbilt 21
Chris Low: Remember what happened the last time the Commodores started out 2-0? They had their first winning season in 26 years and won their first bowl game in 53 years. Here’s a great chance at home to get off to a similar start as the 2008 season. … Vanderbilt 24, Connecticut 20
Edward Aschoff: This is the kind of a game I love: an all-out southern shootout! Tennessee's passing game looked solid last week, but this will be a major test for the Vols' young defense. First one to 35 wins! ... Tennessee 41, Cincinnati 35
Chris Low: If you like offense, this one has a chance to be a dandy. Both teams can score quickly and from long distance. The home field will be enough for the Vols to survive along with three more Tyler Bray touchdown passes. … Tennessee 35, Cincinnati 31
Edward Aschoff: Chris Rainey said the Gators ran just six different plays on offense last week. I predict at least three new ones as Florida prepares for Tennessee. I also expect the offense click even more this week. ... Florida 45, UAB 7
Chris Low: The Gators historically don’t break much of a sweat in their first two games as they warm up for the SEC opener. They cruised last week in Will Muschamp’s debut and shouldn’t have much trouble in Week 2, either. You’ve got to be impressed with that front seven on defense. … Florida 37, UAB 7
Edward Aschoff: I'm going to put the over/under on how many times we hear the name Cam Newton during the broadcast at 10. I will also put the number of cowbells confiscated at the gates at 20, which is probably low. Oh, and Mississippi State's offensive players must be salivating at the chance to play Auburn's defense. ... Mississippi State 34, Auburn 23
Chris Low: We’ll dub this the Cecil Newton Bowl. Something says Mississippi State won’t be warmly greeted on the Plains, but the Bulldogs look ready to take that next step and become a legitimate contender in the West this season. That starts with winning on the road. … Mississippi State 31, Auburn 24
Edward Aschoff: Penn State is older and deeper this season, but so is Alabama, and that's going to be an issue. Alabama is taking two young quarterbacks on the road, but the defense should keep Penn State from giving the Tide a scare. ... Alabama 27, Penn State 13
Chris Low: Penn State couldn’t generate enough offense to have a chance last season against Alabama. Playing at Beaver Stadium will level the playing field a bit for the Nittany Lions, but not enough to take down the Crimson Tide. … Alabama 28, Penn State 13
Edward Aschoff: Mark Richt says he doesn't feel pressure. Aaron Murray says there is no pressure. But this game will go a long way to determining the SEC East champ and the Bulldogs came away from Week 1 with more questions than before. South Carolina's defense looked far from great last week, but the offense was actually in good hands with Stephen Garcia. ... South Carolina 31, Georgia 24
Chris Low: Regardless of what anybody in Athens says, this is one of those win-or-else games for Georgia. The Bulldogs will play with emotion and play with intensity. They just won’t be able to stop Marcus Lattimore when it counts. … South Carolina 28, Georgia 23