Almost Perfect Picks Has Little To Choose

Decades ago when Ted Turner started his television network, there was a news department of sorts. One day the commentator announced that the news budget had been cut in half. Instead of subscribing to both the Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Constitution, the network would get by with only one newspaper.

We thought about that this week because our analysis is handicapped, so to speak, as we prepare for Week Four of the Southeastern Conference college football season. he critical research time required for Almost Perfect Picks has been drastically reduced because Auburn and Kansas State are filling that Thursday night television time slot usually reserved for the Sun Belt and Conference USA and the like.

The brand names, of course, play on Saturdays, a few exceptions on opening week, Thanksgiving week, and bowl season.

It’s a light week in Dixie with only eight games involving SEC teams. The big game is Saturday when Alabama hosts Florida.

For the year, our record on picking the winner is 32-2 (94 per cent). On the gambling opportunities (point spread and over/under) it is a more modest (75 per cent) 38-19. As for the straight up predictions, almost anyone could do at least as well as we have done since the SEC teams have played few tough-to-figure games. As for the gambling part, the Almost Perfect Picks record is based on every possibility. If we had selected just a few “lock” games, it would have been worse. So that’s blind luck, and more reason than ever to take our advice and never gamble on college football.

Here’s a look at this week’s predictions:

Auburn (2-0 overall, 1-0 SEC) at Kansas State (2-0) at 6:30 p.m. CDT Thursday with television coverage by ESPN – It is amusing to hear or read sports coverage in Alabama this week proclaiming Bill Snyder to be one of the nation’s greatest college football coaches. Not that it may not be true, but we’ve never heard it before in this part of the country. Auburn may be at a slight disadvantage in Bill Snyder Stadium because Kansas State is in charge of the elevators, so their coaches will be able to get to the halftime team meeting for adjustments. That wasn’t the case for Arkansas’s coaches, who were trapped in the Auburn elevators. Still, the Tigers have more good players: Auburn 49, Kansas State 14.

Florida (2-0, 1-0) at Alabama (3-0) at 2:30 p.m. CDT Saturday with television coverage by CBS – Florida Coach Will Muschamp knows what to expect from Alabama Coach Nick Saban. So what? Every opposing coach knows what to expect from Nick Saban, and that expectation is a whipping. Is this the week we know whether the quarterback competition is still on? Is this the week Alabama’s defense forces a turnover? Is this the week O.J. Howard gets a reception? So many questions. And the answer in the Crimson Tide’s first SEC game of the year: Alabama 38, Florida 20.

Troy (0-3) at Georgia (1-1, 0-1) at noon EDT (11 a.m. central) Saturday on the SEC Network – This is probably not a good time for Coach Larry Blakeney’s Trojans, and about the worst time for Blakeney since he was an assistant coach at Auburn caught on tape paying a player. He has had a wonderful run at Troy, but this year has been a disaster, and there’s more bad news to come starting this week. Georgia had worked so hard for South Carolina and now has to bounce back. They will: Georgia 49, Troy 14.

Texas A&M (3-0, 1-0) at SMU (0-2) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2/ABC – The Longhorns must be pulling out their hair. “Why won’t the Aggies get out of here!” While UT’s misery continues, Texas A&M is flying high, and Kenny Hill and friends will show off their stuff in Dallas this week: Texas A&M 49, SMU 14.

Indiana (1-1) at Missouri (3-0) at 3 p.m. CDT Saturday on the SEC Network – Not much is being heard from Missouri, much like last year when we looked up and saw the Tigers in the SEC Championship Game. Other than Texas A&M, Missouri has done about the best job of replacing a quarterback. Maty Mauk is getting the job done. Indiana might do well in the Big Ten, but the Hoosiers are coming off a loss to Bowling Green and looking at another one at the hands of Mizzou: Missouri 35, Indiana 17.

Northern Illinois (3-0) at Arkansas (2-1, 0-1) at 6 p.m. CDT Saturday on ESPNU – If Northern Illinois had another name, such as Army of Northern Virginia or North Carolina, the team would likely be nationally ranked. Arkansas is on a high affter last week’s rout of Texas Tech, but the Razorbacks had better be ready for a tough fight. Arkansas runners and a strong offensive line should get the job done: Arkansas 46, Northern Illinois 31.

Mississippi State (3-0) at LSU (3-0) at 6 p.m. CDT Saturday on ESPN – Raise your hand if you have heard that Mississippi State is a lot better this year? And that LSU “has issues”? And have you heard it in other seasons? LSU was slow off the mark against Wisconsin, but has posted back-to-back shutouts. Mississippi State has probably made up some ground in recruiting, but the Tigers have many, many athletes. There’s a reason no Bulldogs player was born the last time State defeated LSU in Tiger Stadium: LSU 28, Mississippi State 10.

South Carolina (2-1, 1-1) at Vanderbilt (1-2, 0-1) at 6:30 p.m. CDT Saturday on the SEC Network – Most people believe that next to Nick Saban, South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier is the best coach in the SEC. No one can think of who might be in contention with Vandy Coach Derek Mason at the other end of the spectrum. The Gamecocks are coming off a huge win against a ranked team. Vanderbilt got its first win when UMass self-destructed. This could be uglier: South Carolina 45, Vanderbilt 13.

Kentucky (2-1, 0-1), Ole Miss (3-0, 1-0), and Tennessee (2-1, 9-0) have bye weeks.

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