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Best bets for college football weekend
We had a little bit of a bounce-back performance last week with the picks, tallying a 4-2 record — including nailing all three big games. That puts us at 8-6 through the first two weeks of the season. Not great, but not that bad either.
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This week I'm going with the five biggest SEC games and then, to me, the second-best game of the weekend, which is Ole Miss at Texas.
I've also included my viewer guide so that you can follow along with me all day long watching games.
So without further ado, let's see if I can make you guys some money again this week.
Let's roll, you degenerates.
I think Alabama will win this game something like 31-27. But it wouldn't surprise me at all if Johnny Manziel makes a play or two to swing this in the other direction. Getting A&M plus a touchdown is just too good to pass up here. In the game of the year, A&M's the bet.
I'm going to admit something to y'all: This game terrifies me.
I tweeted about the opening line early Sunday morning, Louisville -7.5, and by the time I landed back in Nashville, Tenn., the line had moved all the way to Louisville -13.5.
Ninety-five percent of all the money is on Louisville, and we've finally settled at two touchdowns.
Why is this line hanging here?
Because Vegas believes that the Louisville story is a bit of a myth. First, Outkick told you that Louisville's schedule is so weak that 26 different teams would be favored in every game. Second, look at Louisville's 2012 schedule. Yes, they put a whipping on Florida, which really launched Louisville as a "top 10 team" story. But the Cardinals beat only two teams by more than 10 points last year. (Granted, one of those teams was Kentucky). They also lost to really bad/mediocre Syracuse and UConn teams.
So, drum roll . . . I'm taking Kentucky plus two touchdowns.
I believe that Louisville's dominance is a bit of a myth.
And if I'm wrong on this, you guys can call me a complete and total idiot. (Which happens every day anyway on Twitter, but still, I'll deserve it for not picking Louisville to destroy a bad Kentucky team.)
This is the second-largest line in the history of Tennessee football. (The Vols were 30-point underdogs at Florida in the first year of the Lane Kiffin era).
I would have taken Oregon at -20, where this line opened.
But at -28?
That's just too many points, I think.
Tennessee's not great, but the Vols aren't awful either. Even with Mo Couch suspended on the defensive line, Tennessee has some decent weapons up front defensively. The defensive team speed is bad — and will doubtless be exposed — but Tennessee has one of the top offensive lines in the country. Oregon will stack the line and dare Justin Worley to make plays. Can he make many? I doubt it. But can he avoid complete disaster? I think so.
That's why I think the Vols cover even though Oregon wins by double digits.
Vanderbilt at South Carolina -13.5
If the rape trial and investigation weren't hanging over Vandy's football team, this would be my upset pick of the week. This is way too many points for the Commodores to be giving up to South Carolina. I tend to think Ole Miss and Vandy are both good teams, and I think we'll find that out this weekend.
I expect South Carolina to win this game, but I think Vandy will keep it close.
Nearly two touchdowns is too many points here.
Mississippi State is not a good football team. Auburn isn't a good football team yet, but I think by the time November rolls around they will be good.
In Gus Malzahn I trust.
Ole Miss at Texas -3
I think Ole Miss wins this game outright, and I thought this even before Texas went out and looked awful against BYU.
Hugh Freeze had to be delirious with joy when he watched that Texas defense against BYU. The Longhorns won't play that poorly again, but Ole Miss is much better offensively than BYU is. Toss in injuries for Texas on offense, and I really think Ole Miss could not just win this game but own it.
This will be the win that makes Hugh Freeze a household name among college football fans.
Even if most of y'all will be unable to watch this game on the Longhorn Network.
OK, here's my viewer guide:
1. Start off with us on "FOX College Saturday" from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET.
You all have FS1. It's 1620 on Comcast. You might as well get used to typing in our station.
2. Louisville at Kentucky, noon ET, ESPN
You guys can start talking Twitter trash to me early if Louisville immediately jumps out to a three-touchdown lead.
3. UCLA at Nebraska, noon ET, ABC
Nebraska will either win by three or lose by 30. Both are equally likely.
4. Alabama at Texas A&M, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
The game of the year. Nothing more needs to be said.
5. Tennessee at Oregon, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
The game that Tennessee fans will be watching while peeking through their fingers. Can Butch Jones keep it respectable, or is Oregon intent on sending a message that they can run up the score on SEC teams, too?
6. Ohio State at California, 7 p.m. ET, FOX
I don't think Cal will pull off the upset, but should the Buckeyes be a little bit nervous about this trip? I think so.
It's worth keeping an eye on this one. Doubt me? Ask Northwestern.
7. Vandy at South Carolina, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
I told you, I think this game will be closer than expected. Remember, Vandy almost pulled off the upset in last year's season opener. The Commodores' defense struggled with Ole Miss's offense, but South Carolina doesn't do anything fancy.
8. Mississippi State at Auburn, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
We really don't know much about either of these teams. This is a massive game for Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen. Meanwhile, Gus Malzahn can start off his Auburn coaching career 3-0. This is one of several 7 p.m. games to be keeping tabs on.
It's hard to know which game will be the best.
9. Ole Miss at Texas, 8 p.m. ET, Longhorn Network
This is the second-best game of the day, and most of us will struggle to find it on television.
I can't wait to see what's going to happen here. I'm predicting a deep Freeze for Texas.
10. Wisconsin at Arizona State, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Can y'all finish strong? Come on, I'm up at 4:30 a.m. PT, and I'll last through all these games. Can you guys finish the night off with me? This is a huge game for both teams and both conferences here.
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