SCOTT PICKS THE SEC

Finally, the opening week of college football has arrived. The opening week provides us with all 12 SEC teams in action with games spread out over a 5 day period. That being said, we should get a good early look at what the SEC teams will look like this year. Here are my best bets for what I see happening this weekend. This week VandyMania welcomes Scott (AKA Vandyman74) to its prediction team.

Thursday Games :

Vanderbilt (+10) @ Wake Forest : Vanderbilt finished the season strong offensively in 2004 while Wake Forest got trounced 52-7 by Miami, giving up over 400 yards passing in the process. Jay Cutler will be foaming at the mouth to get a hold of this secondary. The Wake Forest running game took a hit with the suspension of Barclay, but does have quality depth at the RB position. Look for Vandy to end its 7 game opening day losing streak and pull the upset over Wake Forest. Vanderbilt 34 Wake Forest 28

Central Florida @ South Carolina (-19) : After a chaotic summer break and the hiring of new head coach Steve Spurrier, the Gamecocks finally get to hit the field. Central Florida was one of if not the worst team in the NCAA last year. SC has a new young QB, a new old head coach, lost their top WR to the NFL and numerous players were suspended or dismissed. It is really hard to know what to expect from their here. Playing CFU certainly helps though and provides lots of room to make errors and still escape with the win and that's what I think SC will do. Can you believe this game is on ESPN? Man, Spurrier is the hype machine! S Carolina 27 Central Florida 10

Saturday Games :

UAB @ Tennessee (-23): The Vols have won 9 straight openers by a combined score of 348-99. Look for them to add to the lopsided numbers playing UAB. UAB has played respectable over the past few years, but playing in Neyland on opening day vs the #3 team in the land is too much for them to handle. Eric Ainge was named the starter, but look for Claussen to get lots of PT in this game as it gets out of control early. Tennessee 52 UAB 17

Boise St @ Georgia (-7): This is one of the more interesting matchups of week one. Boise St cracked the BCS last year and had lots of fanfare. Who did they really beat though? They will face something vs Georgia they are not real familiar with seeing. It's called a defense. Georgia had a very bad off-season as well with players getting in trouble, but they have plenty of depth and a fine head coach in Richt. Boise St will be the media darlings of week 1 and many will call for an upset. Sorry folks, it isn't happening. Shockley starts his road to being a star in this league with a convincing win over Boise St. Georgia 34 Boise St 16

Wyoming @ Florida (-22) : Let the Urban era begin. The first victim, err, I mean opponent is Wyoming. Wyoming really took a step forward last year and went to a bowl game, defeating UCLA. Wyoming will prove a decent opener for Florida. Coach Meyer is very familiar with Wyoming being that he coached at Utah the last several years. He defeated Wyoming last year 45-28 with a team not nearly as talented at the Gators, so why should this outcome be any different? It won't. I think Wyoming will prove to be a decent team as the year moves along, but they will have to wait on Week two before they start winning. Florida 38 Wyoming 14

MTSU @ Alabama (-22) : MTSU gave Bama quite a battle in the season opener of 2002, losing by a score of 39 - 34 as their furious comeback fell just short. That is why I don't see it happening again. Lots of the players still recall that game for Bama, so there will be no sneaking up on them. Bama's stellar defense will win this game and if Croyle is all he is "hyped" up to be, they will put some points on the scoreboard as well. Alabama 31 MTSU 10

SW Missouri St @ Arkansas (NL) : Who cares?? Arkansas wins this one in a blowout. They can focus on getting ready for Vanderbilt in this scrimmage game. Arkansas 52 Missouri St 7

Murray St @ Miss St (NL) : Yawn............ Miss St 38 Murray St 14

North Texas @ LSU (-33) : North Texas is a good team, if they are playing Sun Belt teams. The last two times these teams have met, LSU won by a combined 101-7 score. Another new coach makes his debut here and will try and impress the home fans. This is also a night game. North Texas beware! LSU will win this one in a romp. LSU 45 North Texas 14 [Note: this game has been postponed due to the hurricane]

Georgia Tech @ Auburn (-7): This is one of the better matchups of the weekend. Auburn is coming off an undefeated season, but lost their whole backfield. They have restocked and are poised to start another successful season in 2005. I think Auburn wins this game just because it is at home. With a new QB and youth at RB look for the defense to provide the spark for the Tigers. Georgia Tech will prove to be a quality win as the season goes on. Auburn 20 Georgia Tech 17

Sunday Game :

Louisville @ Kentucky (+22): Louisville plays @ Kentucky in an odd Sunday game. This will be their first game representing the Big East. Louisville wasn't known for their defense last year but still managed to shut out UK 28-0. UK was bad last year, and I don't see them getting much better this year. Louisville may play "name that score" in this game. Louisville starts their run towards a BCS bid here with an easy win. Louisville 38 Kentucky 13

Monday game :

Ole Miss (+2) @ Memphis : These two teams meet up for a Monday matchup. Memphis has developed a very high powered offense the past couple of years and with Heisman candidate RB DeAngelo Williams leading the running game, Memphis will score lots of points again this year. Look for Williams to start the year off strong with a big game vs Ole Miss. Oh where oh where is Eli Manning? He isn't at Ole Miss, and that's why they can expect a long season in Oxford. Memphis 31 Ole Miss 20


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