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Your Guide to SEC Spreads and Hating FPI, Week 3

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This week's schedule is much better than last week's.

Last week was a calm week, with the closest thing to an upset being Arkansas's victory over TCU, which wasn't much of an upset.  The predictions are usually accurate when there are no big upsets, and that was the case last week.  Both FPI and S&P went 10-1.  Their results for the season are below.

Overall Record Locks (7 or more ATS)
FPI 22-5 0-1
S&P 20-7 1-1

There were no "locks" last week.  Changing the criteria to 4 points or more would give us more.  This weeks picks are below.  I was going to add Houston and Cincinnati, but it is currently on TV.

Ohio at Tennessee

Winner Margin of Victory
Spread UT 27
FPI UT 31
S&P UT 25

27 sounds like a lot, but Tennessee made the Appalachian State game look like an anomaly last week.  Ohio did beat Kansas last week, but that isn't convincing me that they will cover the spread.

Vanderbilt at Georgia Tech

Winner Margin of Victory
Spread Georgia Tech 6
FPI Georgia Tech 2
S&P Georgia Tech 6

Vanderbilt discovered offense last week against Middle Tennessee State.  The real question is if they can stop the triple option, which is difficult if your team doesn't see it regularly.  They have a good defense, so this should be an entertaining one.  I could see Vanderbilt covering the spread and losing.

Alabama at Mississippi

Winner Margin of Victory
Spread Alabama 11
FPI Alabama 6
S&P Alabama 6

Both teams are coming off boring games.  I'm expecting Alabama to win and Mississippi to cover, but I've thought that the last two years.

East Carolina at South Carolina

Winner Margin of VIctory
Spread USC 3
FPI USC 8
S&P USC 6

Muschamp is not telling us who will start at quarterback against East Carolina.  East Carolina has beaten some Power 5 conference schools in the past, and they shouldn't be ruled out in this one.  I am leaning towards USC.

New Mexico State at Kentucky

Winner Margin of Victory
Spread UK 21
FPI UK 16
S&P UK 10

Only being favored by three touchdowns against New Mexico State at home and not being expected to cover is the epitome of being on the hot seat.

Texas A&M at Auburn

Winner Margin of Victory
Spread Auburn 3
FPI Auburn 1
S&P Auburn 2

Maybe everyone is putting too much stock into their blowout win over Arkansas State.  I am picking Texas A&M in this one.  The players on both defensive lines are the ones to watch for this game.  This game should be the most competitive one of the weekend.

North Texas at Florida

Winner Margin of Victory
Spread UF 36
FPI UF 36
S&P UF 35

With Florida's offensive struggles last year, it is tempting to pick North Texas to cover with the spread being this big.  However, North Texas is one of the worst FBS teams in the country, so Florida probably decides the spread when they pick how early to put in their backups.

Texas State at Arkansas

Winner Margin of Victory
Spread Arkansas 31
FPI Arkansas 26
S&P Arkansas 29

Not that I've written anything lengthy, but I'm not going in depth on this one.

Mississippi State at Louisiana State

Winner Margin of Victory
Spread LSU 14
FPI LSU 15
S&P LSU 12

While I don't feel good about the actual outcome, MSU should stay within a couple of touchdowns.  MSU's run defense has been much better than the pass defense so far, so the big question is how much damage LSU will do on the ground.  On offense, the receivers need to have less dropped passes than they did last week

Georgia at Missouri

Winner Margin of Victory
Spread UGA 7
FPI UGA 1
S&P UGA 7

This seems bold by FPI.  Eason could struggle against Missouri's pass defense, so it isn't unreasonable to think this one will be close.

Miami at Appalachian State

Winner Margin of Victory
Spread Miami 3
FPI Miami 5
S&P Miami 5

I shared this one since Miami is on upset alert.  An upset would make Tennessee fans feel more at ease.

Ohio State at Oklahoma

Winner Margin of Victory
Spread OSU 2
FPI OU 1
S&P OU 5

I shared this one just to prepare you for the "Big Game Bob Stoops" takes, which will be heard regardless of the outcome.

The Bottom Line

I would pick Mississippi as one of the most likely to cover, but I don't want to get fired.  I expect Texas A&M's defensive line to wreck enough havoc to beat Auburn, even though Auburn's defense has actually been quite good themselves so far this season.