Thursday, September 19, 2013
SEC predictions: Week 4
By Chris Low
Admittedly, the ATL Kid -- aka Edward Aschoff -- tried to warn me about picking against Ole Miss last week, but I didn’t listen.
I just figured Texas would come out swinging and make a gallant stand for Mack Brown. So much for winning one for your embattled and soon-to-be-retired head coach.
The ATL Kid is proud of his homeboys. Having grown up in Oxford, Miss., he’s pretty pumped that the Rebels are 3-0 for the first time since 1989. For the record, young Edward was just learning to talk the last time the Rebels started a season 3-0.
I have it on good authority that one of the first things out of his mouth was “Hotty Toddy.”
Anyway, he has moved back in front of me by a game. He was a perfect 8-0 last week and is 31-3 (.911) for the season. I was 7-1 and am 30-4 (.882) for the season.
Here’s a look at our Week 4 picks:
NORTH TEXAS at GEORGIA
Edward Aschoff: After a week of rest, the Bulldogs should have no problem with North Texas. This should be a good week to get that defense some more confidence.
Georgia 45, North Texas 13
Chris Low: Other than the open date last week, the Dawgs get their only breather of September when North Texas comes to town. They faced top 10 foes Clemson and South Carolina the first two weeks and get another top-10 foe, LSU, next week.
Georgia 48, North Texas 10
VANDERBILT at UMASS
Aschoff: Vandy's offense has been pretty fun to watch thus far, and taking on hapless UMass shouldn't change any of that. Expect another monster game from wide receiver Jordan Matthews.
Vanderbilt 45, UMass 10
Low: The Commodores have given up 35 or more points in each of their two SEC losses. They take on a winless UMass team that’s scored just 21 points in its first three games. A rout on the road is just what the doctor ordered for James Franklin’s club.
Vanderbilt 40, UMass 13
TROY at MISSISSIPPI STATE
Aschoff: Troy certainly isn't anything to mess with, and the Bulldogs know that. Outside of Auburn's game-winning drive last week, Mississippi State's defense has been impressive and it will make a few stops late to seal the win for the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State 31, Troy 23
Low: The Bulldogs are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Auburn on the road, and Troy is always dangerous offensively. This one will be close for a while, but Mississippi State will make enough plays to pull away in the second half.
Mississippi State 34, Troy 21
COLORADO STATE at ALABAMA
Aschoff: Well, we know that Alabama can move and score at will when that offensive line is clicking. Expect much of the same this weekend when Colorado State shows up in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama 48, Colorado State 6
Low: Colorado State coach Jim McElwain was a part of two national championship teams as Alabama’s offensive coordinator. Coaching the Tide is a lot more enjoyable than playing against them, but at least the Rams are getting a $1 million payday.
Alabama 42, Colorado State 7
SMU at TEXAS A&M
Aschoff: The Aggies might have lost a heartbreaker last week, but Johnny Manziel put on a real show. Saturday is a chance for this A&M defense to take some steps in the right direction against another overmatched nonconference opponent.
Texas A&M 55, SMU 21
Low: The Aggies are at home for the fourth straight week, and while there’s sure to be a natural letdown coming off that emotional loss to Alabama, they’re way too explosive offensively for this one to ever be in serious doubt.
Texas A&M 52, SMU 21
MISSOURI at INDIANA
Aschoff: Missouri’s offense is on a roll right now and the Tigers are still very healthy. It's like night and day this year in Columbia, Mo., compared to last year. Mizzou is averaging 539 yards a game and should be in for a high-scoring affair with the Hoosiers.
Missouri 38, Indiana 30
Low: As long as James Franklin and Henry Josey stay healthy, Missouri could be a team to watch. The Tigers get their first road test against an Indiana team that has put up 150 points in its first three games, but Missouri’s defense will be up to the challenge.
Missouri 41, Indiana 28
ARKANSAS at RUTGERS
Aschoff: The Hogs dropped this game at home last year and have to travel to Piscataway, N.J., on Saturday. Arkansas has the SEC's best running game (294.3 yards per game), but Rutgers is allowing just 59 yards a game on the ground. There's uncertainty surrounding quarterback Brandon Allen's shoulder, and something tells me Rutgers' defense will be the difference.
Rutgers 27, Arkansas 24
Low: Yes, Allen has a bum shoulder, and his status for Saturday's game is iffy. The Hogs have been good enough running the ball that it shouldn’t matter.
Arkansas 27, Rutgers 21
TENNESSEE at FLORIDA
Aschoff: The Gators have had some real issues in the red zone this year, scoring on just six of 12 trips there, but Tennessee's defense is fresh off surrendering 687 yards and 59 points to Oregon. Florida certainly doesn't have Oregon's offense, but it has been better moving the ball through the first 80 yards of the field.
Florida 27, Tennessee 10
Low: Florida has been stewing for two weeks after losing at Miami, and Tennessee is coming off its worst beating in the modern era last week at Oregon. This used to be one of the hottest rivalries in the SEC, but not so much anymore.
Florida 31, Tennessee 13
AUBURN at LSU
Aschoff: LSU has shown through the first three weeks that it might be the SEC's most balanced team. The offense has significantly improved from last year and the defense still looks as athletic as ever. This won't be the Earthquake Game, but something tells me Auburn will make this interesting with that up-tempo offense.
LSU 31, Auburn 17
Low: These two teams have played some classic games over the years, even a game 25 years ago at Tiger Stadium that registered as an earthquake on the seismograph after a late touchdown pass. This time, it will be several touchdown passes by LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger that will do in Auburn in this battle of the Tigers.
LSU 34, Auburn 20