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Lock of the Week, Week 7

Most of the games should be competitive this week, even though only a couple of them have conference championship ramifications.

Week 6 Recap

I picked LSU.  Our voters picked LSU, and they covered by a point and a half.  If you picked LSU -13 before the game was moved to Baton Rouge, your spread was covered much more comfortably.  South Carolina fumbled the ball on their own 25 yard line with two minutes left to end any chance they had of covering the spread.

Our voters went 2-3 last week, correctly picking LSU and Florida, and missing Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas.  The two correct picks were by far the most decisive picks by our voters.

2015 Results

Lock of the Week: 6-2 (by far the best methodology at this point, compared to myself and counting all the votes)

Myself: 4-4

Overall Votes: 19-18

Auburn at Kentucky (AU -2.5) on Thursday

  • Maybe Auburn is too distracted with trying to get Butch Thompson to beat Kentucky?
  • Replacing Jeremy Johnson with Sean White has helped Auburn's passing attack, but Auburn doesn't have any receivers that are exceptionally good.
  • Kentucky's 4-1 record is deceptive.  They have beaten Missouri, South Carolina, Louisiana Lafayette, and Eastern Kentucky.  All of these have been one possession games, and Missouri is the only team that I expect to go to a bowl game of those four.
  • I expected Kentucky to exceed the general public's expectations this season, and despite their 4-1 record, I'm not convinced they are actually that much better than expected.  We will see when their schedule gets more difficult.
  • After missing the Kentucky game last week, starting runningback Stanley Williams is back.
  • It is more likely that Kentucky covers the spread, but not enough to the point to where I'll make them my pick for the week.

Mississippi at Memphis (MISS -10.5)

  • My initial reaction was that this line was legalized robbery.  After further examination, and realizing the game is at Memphis, it isn't that unrealistic.
  • Memphis hasn't lost in roughly 12 months.  Their coach is being mentioned for coaching vacancies.  If he pulls off the upset this weekend and wins the American Conference, he is coaching somewhere else if he wants to.
  • Their quarterback, Paxton Lynch, has played extremely well so far.  Lynch is 6'7, 245 pounds, is a decent runner for his size, averages over 10 yards per pass, and hasn't thrown an interception this season.  Both teams should have little problem throwing the ball.
  • My only expectation for this game is that Mississippi wins.  Memphis doesn't have a good defense considering how good of a start they are off to, and Mississippi has had no issues so far exploiting bad defenses.  Memphis could seize the moment and make this competitive, or the moment could seize them and this could be a blowout.

Alabama at Texas A&M (UA -4.5)

  • Alabama has increased their usage of Derrick Henry as their schedule has gotten more difficult, which will be important for them this weekend.
  • Calvin Ridley has emerged as Alabama's best receiver.  Alabama will try to establish the run with Derrick Henry, then drop a few play action bombs to Ridley.  Henry is going to have a good game, so the key for Texas A&M is to not fall for the play action when it inevitably comes.
  • Texas A&M arguably has the best passing attack in the SEC.  Unfortunately for A&M, Alabama's secondary is much better than it has been the last couple of years.
  • The spread might be a little too favorable towards Alabama, but it is close enough.  This one should be entertaining.  (No, this isn't another Alabama's dynasty is dead post.  Saban could win 9 or more games with a few more playoff runs for at least another five years).

Vanderbilt at South Carolina (USC -2.5)

  • If this was in Nashville, Vanderbilt would be favored.
  • Perry Orth is starting for now.  Lorenzo Nunez is a game time decision.  Connor Mitch is available, and I'm assuming we could see him play if Nunez isn't cleared to play.
  • Runningback Brandon Wilds was cleared to play last weekend against LSU, but told Spurrier he physically wasn't ready to play.  It is unclear if he will play this week.

Florida at LSU (LSU -9.5)

  • For two weeks in a row, the line has significantly shifted due to an out of the ordinary occurrence.  Florida quarterback Will Grier is out for the rest of the year and half of next year.  Unfortunately for Florida, this isn't like pro sports where you can postpone a suspension with an appeal.
  • Treon Harris, who started for Florida last year, will replace Grier.  He is a running threat, but isn't a very accurate passer.  Harris is a big downgrade from Grier, and Grier's suspension changes my outlook on this game.  I was slightly leaning towards LSU to win, and now I would be very surprised if they didn't.
  • Florida defensive back and special teams player Deiondre Porter was suspended this afternoon for much more disturbing reasons than Will Grier.
  • When the line was lower earlier in the week, LSU looked like a good pick.  It has risen high enough to where Florida's defense should be able to keep the spread in doubt.

Missouri at Georgia (UGA -16)

  • If LSU beats Florida, Georgia still might win the SEC East, despite this being another "Richt on the hotseat" season.  They will need to beat Florida in Jacksonville.
  • Maybe Russell Hansbrough is finally healthy?  He only got 9 rushing attempts last week, but he did average 8.2 yards per attempt.
  • After a decent first game against South Carolina, freshman quarterback Drew Lock had a very bad game against Florida.  That is in large part due to the gap in the quality of the two defenses that he faced.
  • Even with Nick Chubb out, Georgia should be able to run the ball well.  Sony Michel would be the best runningback on several other SEC teams, and Keith Marshall is a good backup runningback at the worst.
  • No one has emerged for Missouri at wide receiver, and their offensive line hasn't done a good job of protecting Drew Lock.
  • This spread could be decided by the second teams in garbage time.

Louisiana Tech at Mississippi State (MSU -13)

  • Remember Jeff Driskel at Florida?  He is starting for the other Bulldogs.
  • I've heard comparisons of Louisiana Tech and Troy from other MSU fans.  They are not valid.  The other Bulldogs are much better than Troy, which is admittedly not saying much.

The Picks

I don't really like any of the spreads this week, but picking no one would be a terrible conclusion to this article.  If Nunez is healthy and starts over Orth for South Carolina, and Brandon Wilds plays, I really like them against Vanderbilt.  In the real gambling world outside of this poll I would advise checking on Twitter close to game time to see if Nunez is playing.  Also, I think Brandon Wilds comes back.  I'll pick South Carolina right now, because all I have to lose by picking them is internet credibility.

I'll also pick LSU again, because Fournette is unstoppable and I anticipate Will Grier's suspension killing Florida's offense enough for LSU to cover the spread.  With Florida's defense, I am concerned about Brandon Harris making a few costly mistakes.