Steps forward and steps backward were taken in Week 3. I managed 2-2 outright, and 2-2 ATS. That brings my yearly totals to 5-3 outright, and 2-6 ATS (Vegas is kicking my butt). Anyway I’m releasing the preview today for all you Auburn fans out there. This week I’ll preview Auburn vs. Kansas State, Alabama vs. Florida, Mississippi State vs. LSU, and Florida State vs. Clemson.
Auburn vs. Kansas State
In college football circles, Thursday night games are classically viewed as trap games. It’s like the Friday the 13th of college football. Furthermore, the Tigers are travelling to Manhattan on Thursday (the Little Apple). Very few people have been as successful with less overall talent than Bill Snyder over the last few years. Not so fast. Auburn is going to roll in this one. They are significantly more talented, Malzahn is still a young and hungry coach, and Auburn has covered the spread in 12 consecutive games. Auburn’s an 8-point favorite. I think they double it.
Kansas State has one chance to win this game, and that is to throw the ball effectively. To do that, they will need to get the ball to their star receiver, Tyler Lockett, early and often. Auburn was already most vulnerable in the secondary, before a suspension was handed down to Jermaine Whitehead this morning. Now they are even more vulnerable. If Kansas State can move the ball through the air, they might be able to hang around and make things interesting.
Prediction: Auburn-41 Kansas State-17
Alabama vs. Florida
I’m really torn in this one. On the one hand, my boyhood fandom says that I have to pick Alabama. On the other hand, Will Muschamp is scarier than Adrian Peterson with a switch. That being said, my head tells me that Alabama will win this game. Florida is one of the few teams talented enough to beat Alabama, but they don’t matchup particularly well. The recipe for Alabama is relatively simple. Make them pass, and pass the football to beat their hulking, run-plugging backers. It’s significantly harder to execute, obviously, or they wouldn’t have only four losses in the last 3 seasons. Florida isn’t very good at passing, hasn’t been in a long time. They have always been solid defensively, but this year they haven’t looked quite as stout defensively so far.
Florida hasn’t had a significant playmaker at receiver (several big name recruits though), since Percy Harvin left. That may be changing with Demarcus Robinson. He caught 15 passes against Kentucky, for over 200 yards and 2 scores. Alabama has had a lot of problems defending high-volume passing attacks in the last 5 seasons. Florida is hardly what I would call a high-volume passing team, but if Demarcus Robinson catches 15 passes again then this one will be interesting.
Prediction: Alabama-24 Florida-14
Mississippi State vs. LSU
This is the beginning of a very long schedule stretch for Mississippi State. This program is desperate to make waves in the West. With Dak Prescott at quarterback, they just might be able to do it. It all starts under the lights in Death Valley on Saturday night. This is typically an impossible place to go still a road win, even more so at night. I don’t think the Bulldogs pull off the upset, but I do believe that they keep it tight.
Mississippi State has a ferocious pass rush with guys like Preston Smith on the end and Kaleb Eulls plugging the middle. These guys have a real opportunity to make life difficult for the young LSU quarterback Anthony Jennings on Saturday. However, to do so they will have to get past the Bayou Bengals’ line, which is one of the best. La’el Collins and Vadal Alexander are legitimate stars on the left side of the line. Whoever wins this battle up front, will win the game. It really is that simple.
Prediction: LSU-20 Mississippi State-14
Florida State vs. Clemson
I suppose I’ll break up the SEC monotony a little with this one. This one gets significantly more interesting with Famous Jameis being suspended for the first half. This is Chad Morris’ opportunity to jump up on the ‘Noles in the first half, and control the pace and flow of the game with the lead in the second half. That sounds easy, but it really isn’t. Clemson has been reeling a little after the second half collapse against Georgia, but they took out their frustrations on South Carolina State last week. Clemson does still have a great D-Line that could pose a threat to Jaboo even win he returns in the 3rd quarter.
Clemson’s aforementioned defensive line is maybe the best in college football, despite a poor showing against UGA. Many people think Vic Beasley might be a top 10 pick in next May’s draft. Corey Crawford isn’t too bad at the other end either. If they can get a few sacks on the backup quarterback, Sean Maguire, in the first half, and continue that against Jameis in the second then they will give themselves a chance to win the game.
Prediction: Clemson-35 Florida State-31 (Jameis’ valiant comeback falls short).