Thursday, September 4, 2014
SEC Week 2 predictions
By ESPN.com staff
There aren't any marquee games on the slate this week, but that doesn't mean we stop making picks. Along with game picks from all of our SEC reporters, Edward Aschoff and Greg Ostendorf are here to take you through the weekend with their thoughts on the biggest matchups.
Greg Ostendorf: You know how you feel the day after Christmas? That’s how I feel heading into Week 2 in the SEC. After an exciting first weekend full of Top-25 matchups, the league gives us this as a follow-up. Nicholls State, Sam Houston and Lamar? Really? The only conference game features a Vanderbilt team that lost 37-7 to Temple in Week 1.
Sure, I want to see how teams such as Kentucky and Missouri fare against actual FBS opponents, and I’m curious how South Carolina’s defense responds after it was taken to the woodshed against Texas A&M, but nothing this week really jumps off the page.
Edward Aschoff: You know, Greg, you're in unknown territory this year. You have the privilege of facing off with me -- you know, the ATL Kid -- in the picks. As in, the same ATL Kid who clobbered veteran SEC writer-turned-national celebrity Chris Low in the picks the past two years. I head into my fourth year on the blog defending back-to-back titles, and trust me, I'm no Bama. I'm going three-peat all the way, even if there are more contenders this year. I welcome all new challengers and welcome all new excuses for why you can't beat me. Also, to our beloved readers who have asked me time and time again: We don't pick against the spread. It's just straight up.
Ostendorf: I clearly learned my lesson last week after picking against Tennessee. Arkansas State can be a dangerous team, but the Vols look legit this year. I don’t think they get caught looking ahead to Oklahoma. Tennessee 31, Arkansas State 14
Aschoff: The Vols need to get their running game going before they take on Oklahoma. Tennessee knows not to overlook Arkansas State, which means you'll see an even better offensive showing from the Vols, starting with more plays from running back Jalen Hurd. Tennessee 41, Arkansas State 21
Ostendorf: To me, this is the biggest potential upset in the SEC in Week 2. No, I’m not taking Toledo. But if South Dakota State can put 18 on Missouri, then former Alabama quarterback Philip Ely and the Rockets will make it interesting. Missouri 31, Toledo 28
Aschoff: Gary Pinkel is the all-time winningest coach at Toledo and actually wanted to play this game on the road. While I like the idea of challenging yourself with an early nonconference trip, this is a tricky game. The Rockets will scare the Tigers until late in the fourth. Missouri 27, Toledo 24
Ostendorf: What Ole Miss team are we going to see: the one that struggled through the first three quarters or the one that dominated the fourth quarter? I’m going with the one we saw in the fourth quarter. I don’t think it’s close. Ole Miss 35, Vanderbilt 10
Aschoff: Vandy coach Derek Mason and his players insist the team we saw get thumped by lowly Temple isn't the real Vanderbilt. Well, Ole Miss players said the same thing, and though these games always seem to be close, the Rebels win big in what will essentially feel like a home game for Ole Miss. Ole Miss 31, Vanderbilt 10
Ostendorf: I think Texas A&M just scored again. But seriously, how bad was that performance to open the season? Shane Carden will present similar problems for the Gamecocks this weekend, but they have to play better, right? South Carolina 42, ECU 24
Aschoff: The Gamecocks just didn't look properly prepared against A&M last week. That won't be the case Saturday, but there's still some concern with this team on both sides of the ball, starting with a defense that will get tested for four quarters. South Carolina 34, ECU 17
More unanimous picks:
Alabama over Florida Atlantic: You'll see both quarterbacks, along with much better play in the secondary ... Alabama 41, FAU 13
Mississippi State over UAB: The Bulldogs own one of the SEC's best defenses and will barely miss a second straight shutout ... Mississippi State 41, UAB 7
Kentucky over Ohio: Even without RB Braylon Heard, Kentucky's offense will keep rolling, but the Cats actually get tested ... Kentucky 38, Ohio 24
Florida over Eastern Michigan: The Gators finally debut their new offense, and Jeff Driskel will look more comfortable than ever ... Florida 41, Eastern Michigan 10
Arkansas over Nicholls State: It won't matter if the coaches are stuck in the elevator for the whole game ... Arkansas 45, Nicholls State 7
Auburn over San Jose State: Nick Marshall is the starter again, but expect both QBs to have a field day ... Auburn 49, San Jose State 14
LSU over Sam Houston State: This is a prime opportunity for Leonard Fournette and the rest of the promising LSU freshmen to shine ... LSU 38, SHSU 14
Texas A&M over Lamar: Is 100 points possible? Not quite. But Kenny Hill and the Aggies will score a ton ... Texas A&M 66, Lamar 10
Edward Aschoff 9-2
Jeff Barlis 9-2
David Ching 9-2
Sam Khan Jr. 9-2
Chris Low 9-2
Greg Ostendorf 8-3
Alex Scarborough 7-4