Week 4 Recap
Mississippi was the "Lock of the Week" last week, and it turned out that they weren't a lock at all. Vanderbilt threw the ball 42 times, which was probably a bad idea. However, Derek Mason's decision to not hire a defensive coordinator and oversee the defense himself has improved Vanderbilt's defense, and kept this game close. I picked Kentucky, and they did cover, largely because Russell Hansbrough still isn't 100%. The voters went 1-3, also wisely picking Kentucky, but missing Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. I admittedly forgot about the LSU game against Syracuse, but our voters typically vote against out of conference teams, so I may have accidentally done ourselves a favor by forgetting about that game.
Lock of the Week: 2-2
Overall Votes: 12-13
South Carolina at Missouri (MIZZ -2.5)
If Russell Hansbrough was 100%, I would be on board with Missouri. It is doubtful that he is, and if he was, the line would be higher anyway. This game is a difficult one to predict because of the emerging QBs for both teams. Maty Mauk was suspended for "violating team rules" which means he could have done anything. Drew Lock is a true freshman who will start for Missouri in Maty Mauk's place. Connor Mitch is still out for South Carolina, and Lorenzo Nunez may have taken his spot anyway. Nunez had a very good week last week against UCF, but UCF did lose to Furman. Starting runningback Brandon Wilds is also expected to be out for South Carolina.
Alabama at Georgia (UGA -2)
I am glad the MSU game is at 6:30, because that means I might actually get to watch all of this CBS game without missing the start of the MSU game. Georgia's superior QB play and home field advantage should be enough to win and cover the two point spread. Alabama does have the better defense. With their improved secondary, this game should be decided late in the fourth quarter. This is the first time Alabama has been the underdog since they put a beatdown on Tim Tebow in the 2009 SEC Championship game.
San Jose State at Auburn (AU -20)
If Auburn gets a decent sized lead early, at what point does Jeremy Johnson get some playing time? Does he get playing time? San Jose State played Oregon State close, didn't play Air Force close, and blew out Fresno State. All three of these games were still close going into the fourth quarter. If I had to pick I would go San Jose State to cover, but I haven't watched enough of the Spartans to weigh in on this one.
Mississippi at Florida (UM -7.5)
This should be a good one to watch during MSU vs.Texas A&M commercial breaks. Mississippi should have trouble running the ball against Florida, and Florida does have one of the best defensive backs in the nation in Vernon Hargreaves. Mississippi does have an extremely good defense as well, and while Florida's offense is well rounded, nothing about it is exceptional (QB Will Grier will be a great QB at some point). Mississippi probably wins this one, but it should be a competitive game, and Florida does have a chance in this one.
Arkansas at Tennessee (UT -6.5)
Arkansas is better than their record indicates, and they showed that against Texas A&M last week. So far, Bret Bielema has continued to lose one possession games. Despite an injury to Jonathan Williams, Arkansas has run the ball very well, except against Toledo. Arkansas has struggled replace the defensive linemen they lost to the NFL last year. Usually when teams lose lots of close games, it eventually evens out, but that won't happen this week. However, I'm leaning towards Arkansas covering the spread.
Eastern Michigan at LSU (LSU -44.5)
This one really depends on how much Leonard Fournette gets the ball. Les Miles shouldn't use him very much, which won't kept the game close, but should keep the spread close. If Eastern Michigan puts up some garbage time points they should cover.
Vanderbilt at Middle Tennessee State (MTSU -1.5)
Vanderbilt may not be favored against an FBS opponent for the entire season. Vanderbilt's defense is improved, and Ralph Webb should be able to run the ball well against MTSU. MTSU is a very good team by FBS standards, and could win Conference USA, which really isn't Conference USA because it is where all the Sun Belt teams went after the recent conference realignment that occurred. It is going to be difficult for Mason to convince Vanderbilt that they are making progress if they lose this game, but they might.
Mississippi State at Texas A&M (TAMU -6.5)
I'll leave this to the writers previewing the game, but will point out that Texas A&M is extremely deep at receiver, and if one or two of our veteran starters in the secondary has a bad game, a win is unlikely. This game should be close, and hopefully we can actually have a productive game running the ball.
As usual, EKU vs. Kentucky isn't an option because I don't include FCS schools in the poll. I'm picking Georgia this week.