Week 4 SEC Game Predictions

by Dan M | Posted on Friday, September 26th, 2014

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By Robert Cortinez
rcortinez2@hotmail.com

The SEC West is flexing its muscles in the AP Top 25 poll. The SEC has a total of 8 teams ranked in the AP top 17, with four out of the SEC West, Alabama Auburn, Texas A&M and Ole Miss, ranked in the top 10.  The entire SEC West division, with the exception of Arkansas, is ranked in the top 17 of the AP top 25.  Mississippi State stormed  into the AP top 25 debuting at #14 by dispatching LSU in Baton Rouge.  Missouri gets the jock strap award with a let-down home defeat against  Indiana.
The SEC’s prime time game features Arkansas and Texas A&M in a 2:30 pm CBS telecast at the Dallas Cowboys home stadium.  #3 Alabama, #14 Mississippi State, and Florida have byes this week.
Season Results:  Straight up: 39-4     Against the line: 24-13-1

Tennessee (2-1)@ #12 Georgia (2-1)
Line:  Georgia -17 / 57
Georgia took out frustrations last week on the Troy Trojans, 66-0.  The Bulldogs rested RB Todd Gurley (6 carries,73 yards) for most of the blow-out.  Georgia freshman RB Sony MIchael stepped in  and ran for 155 yards on 10 carries with 3 touchdowns.  This performance garnered Michael the SEC freshman player of the week recognition.
Tennessee is coming off a bye week after getting manhandled by  #4 Oklahoma in  week 3.  The Volunteers average only 240 passing and 130 rushing yards per game, putting them near the bottom 100 of NCAA rankings in total offense.  Tennessee HC Butch Jones’s team is playing better in year two, but don’t expect an upset between the hedges.  The Bulldogs get their first SEC win of 2014.
Pick:  Georgia 38  Tennessee 17

Vanderbilt (1-3) @ Kentucky (2-1)
Line:  Kentucky -17 / 50  
Both of these teams are coming off “moral victories”. The Wildcats had already scored a touchdown on the first possession of overtime and were looking to snap a 10 year losing streak against the Gators in the Swamp.  On Florida’s first possession of overtime,  the referees clearly allowed Florida to snap the ball with zeros on the play clock on a 4th and 9 play that resulted in a TD for the Gators.  Kentucky eventually lost in triple overtime and more or less got  screwed.
Vanderbilt led South Carolina until just before halftime last week, and stayed within range for the entire game before succumbing to the Gamecocks, 48-34.   Kentucky should channel their justifiable anger into a home victory to surpass their season wins from last season.
Pick:  Kentucky 35 Vanderbilt 16

Arkansas (3-1) vs. Texas A&M (4-0)
Line:  Texas A&M -9 / 71.5  
Arkansas  dominated a salty Northern Illinois team last week from start to finish, 52-14.  The Razorbacks were up 14-0 on before their offense even took the field by virtue of a TD on  the opening kick-off and a fumble recovery for a TD by the defense.  HC Brett Beliema called plays to allow his QB Brandon Allen to  repeatedly ding Northern Illinois with 10-20 yard passes instead of relying on his vaunted running game.
The Aggies had a fun time in Dallas whupping up on SMU  58-6.  A&M QB Kenny Hill asserted himself as a  top quarterback in the SEC.  Coach Kevin Sumlin called off his Aggies early in the third quarter to coast to victory.  This game is billed as a neutral site but there are thousands of transplanted Arkies as well as a huge A&M alumni base in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex area.  Throw in the fact that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was a guard on the only Razorback team to win a national championship  and the stars may be aligned for an upset marquee victory for Brett Beliema’s Hogs.
Pick:  Arkansas 37 Texas A&M 31

Louisiana Tech (2-2) @ #5  Auburn (3-0) Auburn -32.5 / 61.5
Auburn HC Gus Malzahn almost admitted last week that his Tigers should have lost their first road game of 2014 to Kansas State.  The K-State Wildcats missed three field goals, had a pass dropped in the end zone and another pass picked off in the end zone.  So much for home field advantage.
Louisiana Tech started out the season with a road loss to #4 ranked Oklahoma and then won their next two road games before blowing a big lead due to turnovers in the fourth quarter to in-state rival Northwestern State.  Auburn may have been rusty last week after their bye.  K-State exposed chinks in the Auburn armor that the Rajun Cajuns will try to exploit. Auburn gets back on track to continue its run at  the inaugural football final four.
Pick: Auburn 42  Louisiana Tech 17

Missouri (3-1) @ #13 S. Carolina (3-1) Pick: South Carolina -5 / 62.  
ESPN chose this game as its game of the week and will have it’s Game Day Crew in Columbia, S.C.  The selection was made before Missouri suffered a humiliating loss, 31-27, to Big 10 cellar dweller, Indiana.  Missouri had one eye on this game last week resulting in the sloppy loss which included 10 penalties  called on the Tigers.  South Carolina also struggled, overcoming a 14 point early deficit to beat Vanderbilt.  South Carolina stumbled through much of their game before their superior size and speed overwhelmed the Commodores.  Gamecock HC Steve Spurrier was quoted after the Vandy game that watching his team play “is not fun”.   Missouri HC Gary Pinkel’s TIgers are playing for an undefeated record in the SEC and taking the lead in the East division.  Going with the underdogs.
Pick:  Missouri 24 South Carolina 22

New Mexico State (2-2) @  #17 LSU (3-1) Pick:  LSU -42.5 / 56
The New Mexico State Aggies will face the angry “eye” of the  LSU Tigers in a game that should be over by halftime.  The Aggies have lost two in a row, including an 18  point loss to UTEP.   The Bayou Bengals were shocked at home by Mississippi State last week, losing 34-29.  The loss was only one of threes losses by Tiger HC Les Miles in night games in Baton Rouge in 10 seasons. Coach  Miles will re-energize his running game and motivate his defense to attain their third shut-out of the season in this bounce-back game.
Pick:  LSU 41 UTEP 6

Memphis (2-1) @ #10 Ole Miss (3-0)
Line:  Ole Miss -19  
Ole Miss and Memphis are separated by only 85 miles and the series has been played off and on since 1921.  Ole Miss rested up last week after hammering Louisiana- Lafayette in week three.
Memphis has a winning record after three weeks of football for the first time in 10 years.  The Tiger’s  only loss was on the road at  #11 UCLA by seven points.    Rebel QB Bo Wallace can’t afford to come out rusty after the bye week and needs to be sharp from the first snap.  Memphis relies heavily on its defense and Tiger HC Justin Fuentes is looking for a signature win in his 3rd season.  Memphis will have plenty of fans in the Grove, but Ole Miss wins at home to go 4-0.
Pick: Ole Miss 30  Memphis 23

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