Pete's Pigskin Prognostications Wk 1

Pete Fox is the winner of several VandyMania Predict the SEC contest shares his vision for Week 1, 2

(Personal note:  I got this job by winning two of the three previous SEC picking contests in Vandymania.  Beat me and apply for the job next year.  Enter the VandyNation SEC pick'em contest….Pete)

At last, it's time for football.  Put away the recruiting lists, 40-yard dash times, and NCAA investigations, and focus on the real thing: football, and who's better on any given Saturday (or Friday, or Thursday, or…). All of the SEC teams are at home, mostly involved in cupcake games (virtually preseason exhibition games).  Here are the results of my crystal ball viewing:  (Quoted spreads are from USA Today.)

Money games:  (These games will put the loser's budget in the black for the year.)

Auburn (-26) def. Ball State (4:00 C)
Florida (-30) def. Marshall (7:15 E ESPN2)  
Georgia (-37) def. Arkansas St. (1:00 E)
LSU (-21.5) def. Tulane (7:00 E)
Ole Miss (-NL) def. Murray St. (6:00 C)
Mississippi St. (-18) def. Memphis (6;00 C ESPN2) (Monday)
South Carolina (-18) def. Boise St. (7:00 E)

Probation games:  (These games are really hard to figure.  They're the first games under new coaches in programs facing severe sanctions from the NCAA for major recruiting violations.  Who knows how the players will react?)

UCLA (+3) @ Alabama - UCLA embarrassed the Tide in last year's opener.  I'm picking the Tide.  They're at home, they've got something to prove, and the inevitable scholarship limitations haven't been levied yet. (6:45 C ESPN)

Louisville (-4.5) @ Kentucky - The ‘Cats downward spiral is nowhere near complete.  Louisville loves to beat them at anything, and will do so in football on September 1. (12:30 E JP)

Other games:

Syracuse (NL) @ UTK - Having dodged the "academic fraud" bullet, and having been embarrassed by Wade Gilley's sexual dalliance with a subordinate, UTK fans are happy to finally return to an area of competence; the football field.  The Big Orange should have no trouble subduing the little orange of Syracuse. (4:00 E ESPN2)

UNLV (+5.5) @ Arkansas - Probably the most interesting game of the week.  UNLV surprised the Hogs last year in the dice (Las Vegas) bowl 31-14.  Is UNLV for real?  Was last year's embarrassing Pig roast an aberration?  The spirit world is rather wishy-washy on this one, so I'm guessing the Razorbacks will pull one out at home against the Runnin' Rebels. (6:30 C ESPN) (Thursday)

The Opener: (VU and MTSU open the SEC schedule on Thursday, August 30.)

MTSU (+11) @ Vanderbilt - Since you're reading this on VANDYNATION, you've seen this game analyzed from every conceivable direction.  No matter how you slice it, MTSU is only one year from Division 1-AA and the upperclassmen are 1-AA recruits (chosen with an eye toward the move to 1-A, certainly, but still….). They may give VU problems for a while, as they did some of the better teams they played last year, but in the end SEC talent (even SEC VU talent) will prevail. (7:00 C) (Thursday)

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