Pat's Picks: Coach Dye Predicts the SEC

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye's prediction column returns for another season.

There are several exciting SEC games to open the season and a few no-contest games, too, as we start a new year of picking football winners and losers. With the league expanding to 14 teams there will be plenty of games for SEC fans to keep up this year.

Every team in the conference was scheduled to be in action in week one, but the tropical storm has postponed Texas A&M's game that was scheduled in Shreveport, La., vs. Louisiana Tech.

Ware Jewelers

Starting with Southeastern Conference games:

Thursday, August 30

South Carolina (0-0) at Vanderbilt (0-0)--I've mentioned before how much I like South Carolina's quarterback, Connor Shaw. The real difference-makers in this game, however, will be South Carolina's defensive ends, Devin Taylor and Jadeveon Clowney. Look for South Carolina to win on the road, but this should be a good test for the Gamecocks as star running back Marcus Lattimore returns from knee surgery.

Friday, August 31

Tennessee (0-0) vs. N.C. State (0-0) at Atlanta, Ga.--I think North Carolina State is expected to do better in the ACC than Tennessee is expected to do in the SEC, but this should be an interesting game because the SEC is the stronger league. I am going to take Tennessee.

Saturday, September 1

Jacksonville State (0-0) at Arkansas (0-0)--Despite being John L. Smith's first game as the Razorbacks' interim head coach, Arkansas will win this game with ease with the arm of quarterback Tyler Wilson and the return of Knile Davis at tailback leading a potent offense.

Bowling Green (0-0) at Florida (0-0)--The Gators have a strong defense and despite second-year coach Will Muschamp announcing he's going to play both Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel at quarterback, Florida should cruise.

Buffalo (0-0) at Georgia (0-0)--Starting the season with high expectations after winning the SEC East last year, quarterback Aaron Murray and a talented defense will put the Bulldogs in the win column in their opener. One thing to keep an eye will be the tailback position after Isaiah Crowell was dismissed during the offseason.

North Texas (0-0) at LSU (0-0)--The Tigers will get a chance to break in new starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger in what should be an easy win.

Central Arkansas (0-0) at Ole Miss (0-0)--The Rebels may not win many games this year, but new head coach Hugh Freeze should open with a victory.

Alabama (0-0) vs. Michigan (0-0) at Arlington, Tex.--I like Alabama in this one because Coach Nick Saban has quality players coming back from last season's team with an experienced quarterback. I don't think the speed of Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson will affect Alabama the way it does teams in the Big 10.

Jackson State (0-0) at Mississippi State (0-0)--The Bulldogs will use this as a tune-up win for next week's SEC opener vs. Auburn.

Southeastern Louisiana (0-0) at Missouri (0-0)--With Georgia traveling to Columbia for a week-two meeting, talented quarterback James Franklin will lead the Tigers to victory in their first game as a member of the SEC as they warm up for conference play.

Auburn (0-0) vs. Clemson (0-0) at Atlanta, Ga.--I know I'm picking the underdog, but I think Auburn will beat Clemson. At some point this Auburn team will stand up and be men and it could be Saturday night in what has the potential to be an exciting game.

Auburn sophomore Kiehl Frazier will make his first start at quarterback vs. Clemson.

A key for Auburn will be getting solid play for its rebuilt offensive line and new starting quarterback, Kiehl Frazier. Look for the Auburn defense to be better than the one that gave up 38 points at Clemson last season.

In other games around the country:

Hawaii (0-0) at USC (0-0)--With Matt Barkley at quarterback and with a strong receiving corps, the Trojans will only be tested a few times in the Pac 12. Hawaii will not be able to challenge this team.

Miami (Fla.) (0-0) at Boston College (0-0)--With returning quarterback Chase Rettig and running back Montel Harris, I believe Boston College will win a close one.

Notre Dame (0-0) vs. Navy (0-0) at Dublin, Ireland--Notre Dame has a long history of success vs. Navy and that shouldn't change this year.

Boise State (0-0) at Michigan State (0-0)--This should be a good intersectional battle that go either way, but I will go with the Spartans because they are playing at home.

Arkansas State (0-0) at Oregon (0-0)-This is a tough debut for new Arkansas State head coach Gus Malzahn. Oregon features one of the fastest backfields in the nation with Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas, who should put up a lot of points and lead the Ducks to an easy win.

Ohio University (0-0) at Penn State (0-0)--Despite distractions and defections the Nittany Lions should not have major problems in their opener.

Sunday, September 2

Kentucky (0-0) at Louisville (0-0)--The Cardinals enter this game as a heavy favorite. With a solid defense and homefield advantage look for the Cardinals to to win their in-state rivalry game.

Monday, September 3

Georgia Tech (0-0) at Virginia Tech (0-0)--An early ACC matchup, this has the potential to be a close game, but I like the home team.

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