Randy Moore eked out the IT regular-season SEC Picks title with a 90-15 record last fall. Josh Woodward and Danny Parker tied for second at 89-16. Riley Blevins was so embarrassed about finishing dead last at 85-20 that he left to take a job at the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.
Week 1 of the 2014 season begins with three games Thursday night – Texas A&M at South Carolina, Ole Miss versus Boise State in the Georgia Dome and Temple at Vanderbilt. All of the other SEC teams open Saturday except for Tennessee, which makes its 2014 debut Sunday night against visiting Utah State.
There are two new wrinkles in the SEC Picks for 2014. We’re adding one national game per week (Penn State vs. Central Florida in Dublin, Ireland is this week’s game) and we’re including the Las Vegas odds (for entertainment purposes only).
Here are this week’s IT staff picks:
RANDY MOORE (0-0)
Texas A&M at South Carolina (-10.5): I have Spurrier’s boys winning the SEC championship this fall, so I’ve got to believe they’ll win this one. Carolina, 34-20
Temple at Vanderbilt (-13.5): James Franklin bolted just as Vandy is returning to mediocrity. Still, the Dores should win their opener fairly handily. Vandy, 34-17
Ole Miss (-10) vs. Boise State in Atlanta: West Coast teams generally struggle when they travel and play in The Southeast. Rebels, 31-17
Southern Miss at Miss. State (-30.5): Dan Mullen faces a make-or-break year but 30.5 points is a big spread for Game 1. Bulldogs, 31-7
South Dakota State at Missouri (no line): The less said the better. Mizzou, 45-7
Utah State at Tennessee (-6): Both teams are young but the Vols have 102,455 screaming zealots cheering them on. Tennessee, 31-21.
JOSH WOODWARD (0-0)
Texas A&M at South Carolina (-10.5): South Carolina hasn't lost at home in 2 years, but this will be a close one. 31-28 Gamecocks
Temple at Vanderbilt (-13.5): Vanderbilt has a new head man and to me he needs to lay the wood to Temple, get those 10-12 fans they have fired up. 48-17 Dores
Ole Miss (-10) vs. Boise State in Atlanta: Ole Miss has a lot of momentum heading into this season, some have picked them to win the west. I see them winning 9 games and this being one of them. 34-17 Rebels
Alabama (-26) vs. West Virginia in Atlanta: Alabama has reloaded as usual with Saban at the helm. I look for them to pound the ball down West Virginia's throat and not give much away on the new QB's. I don't think they will cover, but will be close. 31-7 Bama
Arkansas at Auburn (-20.5): Auburn came out of nowhere last season to play for the championship, but this year will be different. I think they get the win against Arkansas, but not even close to a championship season. 42-21
Idaho at Florida (-36.5): What if Florida lost to Idaho? Would they fire Muschamp before he got off the field? Nah they won't get beat, but the new offense will sputter some. 35-13 Gators
Clemson at Georgia (-7.5): Toughest pick of the week for me, but going with the home team. Clemson lost a lot last year and Georgia has some good talent at running back and receiver. 24-20 Bulldogs
UT Martin at Kentucky (no line): Honeymoon is over for Coach Stoops, so time to get the ball rolling in Bug Blue Nation. 42-20 Cats
LSU vs. Wisconsin (-5) in Houston: Is Wisconsin really that good or just over hyped? You know that LSU has athletes all over the field. I have to go with the Tigers here. 35-21 LSU
Southern Miss at Miss. State (-30.5): I can hear the cow bells now, makes my ears hurt. Southern Miss is going to hear them a lot also. 48-14 Bulldogs
South Dakota State at Missouri (no line): Missouri should have just had a scrimmage, why play South Dakota State? 55-17 Missouri
Penn State (-2) at Central Florida: The James Franklin era begins at Penn State and Tennessee fans all over are thankful they don't have to listen to him anymore. He is a good coach and they will win some games. I think he will win this one. 17-14
Utah State at Tennessee (-6): The biggest question for me in this game is, can the UT defense stop the Utah State offense. If so Tennessee will win, I think the Tennessee offense will score almost at will. The defense has just got to bend and not break. 28-17 Vols
DANNY PARKER (0-0)
Texas A&M at South Carolina (-10.5): Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will the Aggies defense. Taking my pick to win the SEC East. South Carolina, 42-28.
Temple at Vanderbilt (-13.5): The Owls are Vandy’s top non-conference opponent. Let that sink in. Vanderbilt, 24-6.
Ole Miss (-10) vs. Boise State in Atlanta: The Rebels will get plenty of pub after throttling the smurf-turf visitors to the South. Ole Miss, 38-13.
Alabama (-26) vs. West Virginia in Atlanta: Asking Nick Saban who’s playing quarterback is like asking a promiscuous woman about her experiences. Guessing it’ll be Jakob Coker. The other question mark is who starts at cornerback opposite Tony Brown? Alabama, 34-12.
Arkansas at Auburn (-20.5): Opposing SEC West fans need to understand this now: Auburn is better than the 2013 team that won the league. Auburn, 49-17.
Idaho at Florida (-36.5): Tough call because no idea what to expect out of the Gators offense. Florida, 31-0.
Clemson at Georgia (-7.5): Intriguing matchup with so many stars from both now off to the NFL…or at Auburn. Georgia, 41-24.
UT-Martin at Kentucky (no line): Does Ashley Judd attend football games? I’ll hang up and listen. Kentucky, 40-6.
LSU vs. Wisconsin (-5) in Houston: All I know is LSU always have super freaks and Chief Chavis is excited about his personnel. Anxious to see how many carries Leonard Fournette gets. LSU, 22-10.
Southern Miss at Miss. State (-30.5): That’s a major spread and asking a lot of the Bulldogs offense. Show me. Mississippi State, 28-10.
South Dakota State at Missouri (no line): Who? Don’t think being a horse whisperer is going to help anyone defend Mizzou’s offense. Missouri, 53-3.
Penn State (-2) at Central Florida: Great to see a non-con game mixed into our picks contest. Tough call out of the gates. Believe in my guy Christian Hackenberg. Penn State, 23-20.
Utah State at Tennessee (-6): Much better game that many expect. That’s not a knock on the Vols as much as respect for Chuckie Keeton and the Aggies. Tennessee, 26-24.