published Saturday, September 10th, 2011

SEC football games, picks for Sept. 10

OK, we all knew that Auburn was rebuilding, but who had the Tigers pulling a Houdini act like that? Two touchdowns and an onside kick in the final 128 seconds to beat the third best team from Utah is not exactly a statement of "reloading rather than rebuilding."

Now, there's a great deal of growth between the first and second games for teams. That's often inversely appropriate for lines-makers, who set point spreads after one sample case.

It was not the Tigers' best day for sure, but was it a bad day or are they a bad team?

Everyone will know before supper time tonight after Auburn welcomes No. 16-ranked Mississippi State into Jordan-Hare. The Bulldogs are strong -- running back Vick Ballard is a monster -- and confident offensively after gaining more than 300 yards rushing and 300 yards passing in their opener.

But the Bulldogs must answer the Week No. 2 question: Was that performance in the opener a good day. or are they poised to be that good?

We'll know today -- and so will the oddsmakers.

Last week's guesses: 9-1 overall; 6-4 against the spread.

Central Michigan at Kentucky

Noon, Commonwealth Stadium

• TV: ESPNU

• Breakdown: If Kentucky strings together many more games like the gross-fest that was the Wildcats' 14-3 season-opening win over Western Kentucky, here's saying that when the SEC adds Texas A&M it may contract Kentucky rather than adding a 14th school. Maybe, but only in football. Rest easy, UK fans, hoops practice starts in five weeks.

• The line: Kentucky minus-11.5

• The pick: Kentucky, 24-20

Mississippi State at Auburn

12:21 p.m., Jordan-Hare Stadium

• TV/Radio: WDSI/1370 AM

• Breakdown: Boy, it sure would be nice to have a dollar for every time Mississippi State has gone on the road to face the defending national champs as a touchdown favorite. You'd have enough to buy two copies of today's Times Free Press. MSU looked great in week one; Auburn looked awful. Are those traits or trends?

• The line: Mississippi State minus-6.5

• The pick: Mississippi State, 33-31

Alabama at Penn State

3:30 p.m., Beaver Stadium

• TV/Radio: ABC/97.3 FM & 99.3 FM

• Breakdown: Two traditional power programs meet in a game likely to be dominated by power running and even more powerful defenses that could be over by 5 p.m. Seriously. Somewhere you know former Alabama star and Pennsylvania native Joe Namath may watch this one and think, "I still want to kiss Suzy Kolber."

• The line: Alabama minus-10

• The pick: Alabama, 24-7

Southern Illinois at Ole Miss

6 p.m., Vaught-Hemingway Stadium

• TV: Pay-per-view

• Breakdown: Expect to see Randall Mackey get some time at quarterback. Mackey, an athletic, dual-threat guy who missed the season opener after being arrested for being involved in a bar fight, likely will be used as change-of-pace to new starter Zach Stoudt, who replaced an ineffective Barry Brunetti in last week's opener. But as badly as the Rebels and coach Houston Nutt need this one, the Rebel Black Bear may take some snaps if the offense struggles.

• The line: Ole Miss minus-6.5

• The pick: Ole Miss, 38-24

South Carolina at Georgia

4:30 p.m., Sanford Stadium

• TV: ESPN/102.3 FM

• Breakdown: Georgia fans, have you met Marcus Lattimore? OK, great. Well, you have lots to talk about then. We're predicting that Lattimore will have a very similar workload -- and stat line -- to his breakthrough showing of 37 carries for 182 yards in USC's 17-6 win last year. Not exactly the best time to be starting a walk-on inside linebacker, huh, Georgia fans?

• The line: South Carolina minus-3

• The pick: South Carolina, 28-20

Cincinnati at Tennessee

3:30 p.m., Neyland Stadium

• TV/Radio: ESPN2/106.5 FM

• Breakdown: This is the sneakiest game on the board in the SEC this week. The line looks skewed, right? Well, Cincy may be experienced, but unless the Bearcats can find a way to put a lot of pressure on UT quarterback Tyler Bray, the visitors are going to have trouble scoring with the Vols.

• The line: Tennessee minus-5

• The pick: Tennessee, 42-30

New Mexico at Arkansas

7 p.m., War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock

• TV: ESPNU

• Breakdown: If there were a college football fantasy league, Bobby Petrino's quarterbacks would be first-round picks.

• The line: Arkansas minus-36

• The pick: Arkansas, 62-17

UAB at Florida

7 p.m., Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

• TV: FSN

• Breakdown: The Gators scored in a variety of ways in last week's cakewalk over Florida Atlantic. The Gators will have another chance to score in a variety of ways today. Florida's young defenders will only get better as they and the season mature.

• The line: Florida minus-23

• The pick: Florida, 56-14

Connecticut at Vanderbilt

7:30 p.m., Vanderbilt Stadium

• TV: CCS/1370 AM

• Breakdown: New Vandy coach James Franklin is on pace to win every game he ever coaches. Ever. High times indeed, Vandy fans. If the 'Dores win today, they will be favorites.

• The line: Vanderbilt minus-1.5

• The pick: Vanderbilt, 31-27

Northwestern State at LSU

8 p.m., Tiger Stadium

• TV: Pay-per-view

• Breakdown: Northwestern State can cash the check -- and it's a nice check, by the way -- and use a large portion of the money to help soothe the bumps and bruises -- and there'll be some nice bumps and bruises, by the way.

• The line: LSU minus-40

• The pick: LSU, 62-0

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
please login to post a comment

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement

Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.