From now on, Thursday is pick day. It’s a kind of two days away reminder.
I am 11-1 after last week, and am kicking myself for missing the Mississippi-Brigham Young game by one point. The goal is .75%
So here we go:
Central Michigan @Kentucky, 12:00n, ESPNU
I refuse to believe the Wildcats are as bad as they looked against Western Kentucky last Thursday night. I know they lost Derrick Locke, Mike Hartline and Randall Cobb but they’re still (barely) an SEC football team. Morgan Newton and the defense get it done.
Kentucky 31, Central Michigan 20
(16)Mississippi State @Auburn, 12:20pm, SEC Network
Auburn is so clearly worse than last year that I don’t think this game will even be that close. Plus, MSU isn’t too happy about the whole Cam Newton saga. Chris Relf, Vick Ballard and Chad Bumphis run rings against an utterly defeated Auburn defense for a huge win on the Plains.
Mississippi State 41, Auburn 21
(3)Alabama @(23)Penn State, 3:30pm, ABC
It’s the top of the SEC vs. the middle of the Big 10. Really, there’s no way PSU should be ranked. They don’t even have a franchise QB. Alabama has two decent QB’s, Trent Richardson, a smothering defense and a whole lot of speed. Forget it, Penn State.
Alabama 34, Penn State 13
Cincinnati @Tennessee, 3:30pm, ESPN2
Zach Collaros will be facing a weak, thin, and inexperienced SEC defense. But it’s still an SEC defense, even without Janzen Jackson and Nick Reveiz. Cincy simply isn’t equipped with the weapons to pull off an upset. Not on the Vols’ home turf, anyway.
Tennessee 38, Cincinnati 14
(12)South Carolina @Georgia, 4:30, ESPN
The Aaron Murray-Orson Charles combination, good as it may be, can’t match the nasty street racing speed the Gamecocks have on offense. Aside from Alshon Jeffrey, Tori Gurley will get the ball plenty, and then there’s the little matter of stopping Marcus Lattimore. Isaiah Crowell can’t match that, either. Nor can UGA match South Carolina.
South Carolina 31, Georgia 17
Southern Illinois @Mississippi, 6:00pm, ESPN3
I can’t possibly believe a Houston Nutt team could lose another game like this, but they’ve lost so many you have to think it’s at least possible. Brandon Bolden will do just enough to keep Mississippi from facing a serious hangover of embarrassment Sunday morning.
Mississippi 17, Southern Illinois 7
New Mexico @(14)Arkansas, 7:00pm, ESPNU
Nothing anybody outside the SEC has the talent to stop this explosive offense. Even without Knile Davis, Arkansas still has a great running game in Dennis Johnson and Ronnie Wingo Jr. The duo, plus receivers Joe Adams, Greg Childs and Jairus Wright will each score at least once in a blowout.
Arkansas 59, New Mexico 20
UAB @(18)Florida, 7:00pm, FSN Florida
The Gators simply have too much speed for UAB, scrappy as they may be, to handle. That doesn’t mean you should count the Blazers out. Bryan Ellis has experience and talent. What he doesn’t have is playmakers outside of Patrick Shed. It won’t be quite as bad as the opener against FAU but Florida should win convincingly.
Florida 45, UAB 17
Connecticut @Vanderbilt, 7:30pm, ESPN3
The Commodores won their opener under James Franklin. Now can they beat a BCS team? The Huskies’ loss of RB Jordan Todman might be too much to overcome, and Chris Marve and co. should stuff UConn all day. Larry Smith gets the job done for Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt 21, Connecticut 7
Northwestern State @(2)LSU, 8:00pm, ESPN3
Jarret Lee has proven to be a legitimate starting QB, Michael Ford and Spencer Ware have proven to be legitimate running backs, and LSU’s defense has proven to be nothing short of spectacular against Oregon. NWU has no shot in Death Valley, especially not at night. This one gets ugly, fast.
LSU 51, Northwestern State 3