The Southeastern Conference came out of the blocks well last week and when the dust had settled there had been 12 victories in 13 games, including Alabama being the only ranked team in the nation to defeat another ranked team (downing Wisconsin, 35-17 in Dallas). The nation took notice of the SEC as a record 10 teams were ranked in the Associated Press top 25.
There are more cupcakes this week, including Bama having a rare seeming breather in hosting Middle Tennessee State in Bryant-Denny Stadium at 3 p.m. CDT Saturday. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.
There are also a handful of games that will be challenges for the Almost Perfect Picks braintrust. Here is how we see them:
Jacksonville State (1-0) at Auburn (1-0) at 11 a.m. CDT on the SEC Network (There is no line on the game) – Auburn had much more trouble than expected against Louisville, in great part because Auburn did not get what was expected from its quarterback. Although the Tigers continue to be a poor defensive team based on that one game, this is a mismatch that shouldn’t be allowed. Auburn 63, Jacksonville State 0.
Georgia (1-0) at Vanderbilt (0-1) at 2:30 p.m. CDT on CBS (Georgia is favored by 20 1/2 points and the over/under – the number of points expected to be scored by both teams – is 51) – Does anyone seriously think that Vanderbilt can stop Georgia’s running game? All Vandy followers don’t live to be 100, but with long season after long season, it must seem like it. Georgia 42, Vanderbilt 10.
Fresno State (1-0) at Ole Miss (1-0) at 2:30 p.m.CDT on ESPN (Mississippi is favored by 28 1/2, o/u 54) – Ole Miss has a dreadful non-conference schedule, but this is probably just the way the Rebels want it this week since the following week is a trip to Tuscaloosa. There may be a little looking ahead and maybe even pulling some of the top players early, but Ole Miss still has an easy time of it, 47-14.
Toledo (0-0) at Arkansas (1-0) at 3 p.m. CDT on SEC Network Alternate Channel (Arkansas favored by 21 1/2, o/u 54) – They’ll be calling the hogs into the night as the improved Razorbacks take it out on another helpless opponent. Arkansas 45, Toledo 13.
Oklahoma (1-0) at Tennessee (1-0) at 6 p.m. EDT/ 5 central on ESPN (The game is Pick, meaning no favorite, o/u 61 1/2) – There was a great preseason expectation in Knoxville that the Vols would be back among the contenders this year. It didn’t look like it in the opener as the Vols gave up a ton of real estate and 30 points to Bowling Green. Tennessee may have been looking ahead. But that disappointment was nothing compared to what this will be. Oklahoma 37, Tennessee 28.
Missouri (1-0) at Arkansas State (0-1) at 6 p.. CDT on ESPNU (Missouri favored by 10 1/2, o/u 59) – It’s one thing for an SEC team to play a cupcake, but shouldn’t there be some penalty for going to Arkansas State to do it? This is asking for trouble for the Tigers, but they’ll pull it out. Missouri 35, Arkansas State 20.
East Carolina (1-0) at Florida (1-0) at 7 p.m. EDT, 6 central on ESPN2 (Florida favored by 20, o/u 53 1/2) – East Carolina is historically a tough out for the big boys, and Florida is not even a big boy these days. But the Gators are on the way back with Jim McElwain showing he’s capable of restoring Florida to the SEC elite. Florida 42, East Carolina 17.
Ball State (1-0) at Texas A&M (1-0) at 6 p.m. CDT on ESPNU (Aggies favored by 29 1/2, o/u 63 1/2) – David Letterman went to Ball State, but not even Letterman will find anything funny about his alma mater’s football team going to College Station. Texas A&M has the offense and it appears John Chavis may make a difference for the defense and have the Aggies among the contenders in the SEC West. Texas A&M 48, Ball State 13.
Kentucky (1-0) at South Carolina (1-0) at 7:30 p.m. EDT, 6:30 central on SEC Network (Gamecocks favored by 7, o/u 57) – South Carolina opened the season with a nice win over North Carolina, but something about the Gamecocks just doesn’t provide a lot of confidence in the chances for the self-proclaimed Ball Coach. Still, it is Kentucky. South Carolina 31, Kentucky 21.
LSU (0-0) at Mississippi State (1-0) at 8:15 p.m. CDT on ESPN (LSU favored by 3 1/2, o/u 49 1/2) – If a team makes the most improvement between its first game and its second game, then in most cases all teams improve the same. But Mississippi State played a full game last week in defeating Southern Miss, albeit unimpressively, while LSU played less than five minutes against McNeese State before the game was canceled because of storms. This appears to be one of those games in which the winner will gain momentum and the loser could begin to slide. We see LSU as a team that will get better every week, beginning with a 31-17 win over the Bulldogs.
Middle Tennessee State (1-0) at Alabama (1-0) at 3 p.m. CDT on SEC Network (Alabama favored by 35, o/u 56 1/2) – There are two things we want to see from quarterback Jacob Coker: lead a long drive downfield (and by that, we don’t mean handing off to Derrick Henry for a 50-yard run) and show that he can handle a sophisticated blitz defense. Those challenges may not come this week. Bama’s defense may be tested by MTSU’s fast-paced offense, though. Alabama 49, Middle Tennessee 13.