OK, you all have been sending emails and Tweets wanting to know my weekly game picks against the spread.
So here they are.
In general, I’ll give these picks to you on Thursday morning. I’m also going to give you my handy viewing guide for college football games every week as well in the same column.
Again, my picks and the viewer guide will be on Thursday all year long.
Every week all season long I pick five SEC games against the spread. This week since every team is playing, I’m giving you eight games. You’re either lucky or unlucky.
Last year our results were spectacular — 44-21 against the number.
This year? We’ll see. Here we go:
North Carolina +12.5 at South Carolina (Thursday)
Here’s the deal, Jadeveon Clowney doesn’t play offense.
More seriously, North Carolina has a lot of talent. I think South Carolina wins, but only pulling away late. My final? 31-21 ‘Cocks. Final: SC, 27-10
Ole Miss at +3.5 Vanderbilt (Thursday)
This is one of the best games of the weekend. I rate it a toss-up.
What do you do when you think the game’s a complete toss-up and the home team is a 3.5-point dog?
You take the home team and the points. Final: Ole Miss 39-35
Toledo +23.5 at Florida
Florida’s top offensive performers have been sick or injured. The defense loses quite a bit. Toledo’s offense returns a ton. Remember last year’s game against Bowling Green? The Gators will pull away late, but not enough to cover.
Mississippi State +12.5 vs. Oklahoma State
I’ll admit it, I’m still a Dan Mullen believer.
Especially when he isn’t playing against a team from the SEC West.
Alabama -20 vs. Virginia Tech
You know what happens when you give Nick Saban over a month to prepare for an opponent.
Lots of it.
It’s a rout by halftime.
Western Kentucky +4.5 vs. Kentucky
Last year, Western Kentucky beat Kentucky on the road. The year before the Hilltoppers should have beaten Kentucky in Nashville.
Here’s the deal: Western’s just better than Kentucky.
Georgia -1.5 vs. Clemson
My actual prediction on this game? Georgia, 38-35.
Aaron Murray will be the truth this year and will be incredibly clutch in big games.
Really, I believe this.
LSU -4.5 vs. TCU
LSU has put up some of its best performances in early season kickoff games.
Les Miles keeps it going.
Now for my Saturday viewer guide.
This year, unlike the past eight years, I won’t be on the road for games. Instead, I’ll be in studio at FOX watching games all day in front of our bank of 12 televisions. Yeah, I know, rough life. I’ll be watching pretty much every game all day — and Outkick the Coverage will be live on Saturday updating the top stories, pictures, videos and whatnot that you guys pass along to us, so please continue to do so.
So here are the Saturday games I’ll be watching in order of my primary focus:
1. Start with us. Our show on FS1, FOX College Football Saturday, will air from 10-12 ET every Saturday morning.
I mean, really, can you honestly think of a better face to start your weekend with than me?
OK, scratch that.
But we’ll have Stanford head coach David Shaw in-studio this week, which should be awesome.
Most of y’all don’t know Shaw that well. I’m hopeful you’ll have a better sense for what he’s like by the time we’re done with the show.
2. Toledo at Florida: 12:21 p.m. ET, SEC Network
I took Toledo to cover. Florida will win this game, but I don’t think the Gators offense will be in strong form without its top running back. Plus, Toledo’s offense is legit.
Toledo +23.5 looks like a really good bet to me.
3. Rice at Texas A&M: 1 p.m. ET, ESPN
Johnny Manziel is suspended for the first half. Will he play in the second? We don’t know, but I honestly can’t wait to see how much he has improved at quarterback. Is Rice a fair test of Manziel’s improvement? Of course not. Does anything that Manziel does on the field prior to Alabama really matter in how we’ll judge him? Nope.
4. Mississippi State vs. Oklahoma State: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Can you imagine the column I could write if the 10th-best team in the SEC beat the presumptive favorite in the Big 12?
I’m starting to wonder whether Bob Stoops intentionally threw Mike Gundy under the bus here.
5. Nicholls State at Oregon: 4 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1
OK, just to see how long it takes Oregon to score.
Also to see if Mark Helfrich has any cool signs on the sideline.
6. Alabama vs. Virginia Tech: 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Alabama’s offense is going to be deadly. I really think this game is going to be over by halftime.
7. Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
Bobby Petrino can dampen an awful lot of the Mark Stoops enthusiasm in a hurry.
I like Western to keep it close throughout.
8. Washington State at Auburn: 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Gus Malzahn makes his head coaching debut. I’ve never hidden the fact I love Malzahn. In fact, in 2010 I told Auburn fans they should fire Gene Chizik and promote Malzahn.
Well, here we are.
Plus, you can see my kickball teammate Dawn Davenport, an Auburn grad, make her SEC sideline debut. You’ll love her.
9. Georgia at Clemson: 8 p.m. ET, ABC
By far the best game of the day.
And, believe it or not, the first time we’ll have heard from Herby and Brent since they made Katherine Webb a national star.
10. LSU vs. TCU: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
There is nothing better than a Les Miles-coached team on television.
I’m all in.
11. Boise State at Washington: 10 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1
This game isn’t getting near as much attention as it should.
With all this talk about Louisville being the new Boise, what if Boise is still Boise?
Win this game and Chris Petersen’s crew would only be underdogs in one more game all season, at Fresno State.
I look forward to spending all day Saturday with you guys.
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