Almost Perfect Picks Almost Can’t Miss

As has been pointed out many times, the Almost Perfect Picks is for entertainment value only. We are not so naive, however, to believe there are not some who want more than just their college loyalty rewarded by a football result. To that end, we know there are occasional wagers.

We cannot stress enough that we are convinced that gambling is a dangerous game and strongly advise against it. Nevertheless, it may be interesting to know how the Almost Perfect Picks (APP) performed last week. Although we are concerned only with who wins or loses (not how they play the game or the spread or the over-under), we are aware of considerations beyond W and L.

Last week there were 12 games scheduled for Southeastern Conference teams, but horrendous weather precluded Florida from playing its game against Idaho in the Sunshine State. (That game will not be made up.) In the 11 games that were played, the APP was 9-2 straight up – correct on Alabama, Auburn vs. Arkansas, Ole Miss, Georgia, Mississippi State, LSU, Tennessee, Missouri, and Kentucky. We were wrong on Vanderbilt and the South Carolina-Texas A&M game.

Against the spread – in other words, how the teams did against the published betting lines – APP was 6-3, missing on the Bama, Ole Miss, and Vandy games.

The over-under – picking against a projected number of points scored by both teams – APP was 8-1, missing on the Mississippi game.

Thus, someone making wagers on all the available games (Missouri and Kentucky were playing such weak teams that lines weren’t available), going with the APP on the winner against the point spread and betting the over-under, would have won 14 bets and lost four.

Having missed that winning opportunity, we would suggest the boat has sailed and don’t try to make up for it based on this week’s picks.

Week Two in the SEC is abominable. Alabama is hosting Florida Atlantic, a team that gave up almost 800 yards of offense and was beaten 55-7 by Nebraska last week, and that’s not even the worst game in the conference this week. About the only way to miss a straight up winner in the 12 games this week would be to choose by flipping a coin.

Florida Atlantic (0-1) at Alabama (1-0) at 11 a.m . CDT on SEC Network – The only thing that could make this game less attractive would be if it rained – and there’s a 60 per cent chance of rain, although it’s expected to come later in the day. Bama Coach Nick Saban wants fans to stay until the end, and the real story may be looking at Crimson Tide back-ups playing after the game is well in hand. Alabama 45, Florida Atlantic 0.

Ole Miss (1-0) at Vanderbilt (0-1) at 3:30 p.m. CDT on ESPN – This is the only true conference game of the week, but if athletics directors don’t start getting some decent competition in the second week of the season, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive might start making some conference games for them. After all, the SEC in now in the television business and needs some decent content. Although Ole Miss had a slow start last week, at least the Rebels came on strong. Vanderbilt under new coach Derek Mason could not have looked much worse for all 60 minutes in getting trounced by Temple. Ole Miss 35, Vanderbilt 10.

Arkansas State (1-0) at Tennessee (1-0), Noon EDT on SEC Network Alternate – Before the season, many expected this to be a surprisingly good game. After Tennessee’s fine performance last week in crushing Utah State, look for another encouraging performance from the Vols. Tennessee 35, Arkansas State 14.

Missouri (1-0) at Toledo (1-0), 11 a.m. CDT on ESPN – What in the world is Missouri doing playing at Toledo? True, it is the home of Nick Saban’s first head coaching job. And it does offer the opportunity to play in the Glass Bowl. This is playing with fire for Coach Gary Pinkel, and he should know it having spent 10 years as head coach of the Rockets before taking over the Tigers’ program in 2001. Missouri 35, Toledo 31.

UAB (1-0) at Mississippi State (1-0), 1 p.m. CDT on FoxSouth – One of the big surprises in college football in the first week was UAB trouncing Troy. Does this represent a caution sign for the Bulldogs? Probably not, though State can’t expect to duplicate its 49-0 win over Southern Miss. MSU 42, UAB 14.

Ohio (1-0) at Kentucky (1-0), 3:30 p.m. EDT on ESPNU – This could be an entertaining game. Kentucky was quite a bit better than expected in trouncing UT-Martin last week and Ohio is generally a sound football team. Kentucky 31, Ohio 21.

Eastern Michigan (1-0) at Florida (0-0), 4 p.m. EDT, SEC Network, weather permitting – From the time Florida started being a decent football program in the 1990s (being mediocre at best in the first century of competition), the Gators have had a history of starting the season with creampuffs. After last week’s game with Idaho was washed out, the Gators should make up for it with a real beatdown. Florida 49, Eastern Michigan 9.

Nicholls (0-1) at Arkansas (0-1), 3 p.m. CDT on SEC Network – Arkansas showed a bit of a pulse on offense in losing at Auburn in the opening week, but there is nothing special about the Auburn defense. And the Razorbacks couldn’t even score on the Tigers in the second half, eventually getting smeared. There should be some enthusiastic fans in hog faces Saturday. Arkansas 42, Nicholls 17.

San Jose State (1-0) at Auburn (1-0), 6 p.m. CDT on ESPN2 – Barring an unlikely drug test, Auburn should be at full strength this week. Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall – drug free or not – has an uncanny ability to walk the walk, even if he has a bit of trouble with the talk part. Auburn 49, San Jose State 14.

East Carolina (1-0) at South Carolina (0-1), 7 p.m. EDT, ESPNU – The self-proclaimed Ball Coach was humiliated in Columbia last week by Texas A&M, so job one this week had to be getting his team to forget that one and get ready for East Carolina. Although some are predicting an upset, expect the Gamecocks to look more like the team that was ranked among the nation’s top ten in pre-season. South Carolina 42, East Carolina 21.

Sam Houston State (1-0) at LSU (1-0), 6:30 p.m. CDT, SEC Network – This will be the first meeting between Sam Houston State and LSU and it won’t be recalled again unless the teams happen to be scheduled in the future. Fortunately, the LSU faithful can make any game a fun event if they have enough tailgate time. LSU was impressive in its comeback win over Wisconsin last week. There won’t be a comeback this week. LSU 45, SHS 10.

Lamar (1-0) at Texas A&M (1-0, 6:30 p.m. CDT, SEC Network – What can Kenny Hill do for an encore? The Texas A&M sophomore went to the front of the line as pre-season All-SEC quarterback as he completed 44 of 60 passes for 511 yards and three touchdowns – breaking two Johnny Manziel records – in a win over top ten South Carolina on the road. At home against Lamar, the sky is the limit for the Aggies and their potential of 106,000 fans. Texas A&M 59, Lamar 9.

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