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SEC Game Previews – 8/31/12

Here’s your rundown of the Week One SEC games scheduled for tonight, tomorrow and Sunday.  Everything from kickoff times, to odds, to our keys for each game are listed.

Good luck to your favorite school:

 

TONIGHT

Tennessee vs NC State at Atlanta

7:30pm ET on ESPNU

Opening Line:  UT -7

Current Line:  UT -3

Storylines:  Derek Dooley enters Year Three of his tenure squarely on the hot seat.  His team quit on him in its 2011 finale.  If the Volunteers can’t win in Atlanta tonight, will his team be ready to pack it in before the season really gets rolling?

Keys for Tennessee:  The Volunteers need an improved running game to help take the pressure off of quarterback Tyler Bray and D-Coordinator Sal Sunseri’s brand new 3-4 defense.  Facing a veteran NCSU secondary, Bray has to make good decisions in the passing game.

Pick:  NC State 28-27

 

For the rest of this weekend’s games, click below.

SATURDAY

Buffalo at Georgia

12:00pm ET on SEC Network

Opening Line:  UGA -37

Current Line:  UGA -38

Storylines:  Depth.  Georgia will enter the game with just 69 players who were recruited to be on scholarship.

Keys for Georgia:  Stay healthy.  Did we mention UGA’s injuries and suspension woes?  Also, it would be nice for the Dawgs if they could get a fat lead early, work on the run game, and determine a go-to back once and for all.

Pick:  Georgia 45-10

 

Bowling Green at Florida

3:30pm ET on ESPN

Opening Line:  UF -23

Current Line:  UF -29

Storylines:  The Gators will try to rely on rebuilt ground game and defense while Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel attempt to settle their quarterback battle once and for all.

Keys for Florida:  While Florida can win this game with spotty quarterback play, eventually the Gators will need a signal-caller who can make some plays if they’re to improve in the SEC.  Tomorrow would be a good time for either Brissett or Driskel to separate from the other.

Pick:  Florida 38-7

 

Southeastern Louisiana at Missouri

7:00pm ET on Pay-per-view

Opening Line:  No line, FCS team

Current Line:  No line, FCS team

Storylines:  Another of Saturday’s cupcake kickoffs around the SEC.  But this “cakeoff” is Mizzou’s first as an SEC squad.  So just seeing the new uniforms, new field and those new SEC logos on said field should be fun for the Tiger faithful.

Keys for Missouri:  Don’t get anyone hurt.  Especially not along an already banged-up offensive line.  And especially not quarterback James Franklin who is the key to Gary Pinkel’s attack.

Pick:  Missouri 51-10

 

Central Arkansas at Ole Miss

7:00pm ET on Pay-per-view

Opening Line:  No line, FCS team

Current Line:  No line, FCS team

Storylines:  Hugh Freeze makes his coaching debut in Oxford.  He’ll do so with a paper thin roster and no clear-cut starting quarterback.  This one probably won’t be as easy as most would expect.

Keys for Ole Miss:  Take care of the football.  Though the Rebels are down, they should still have more quality athletes than an FCS-level foe.  So long as Bo Wallace, Barry Brunetti and company don’t give the ball away, UM should be good enough to best Central Arkansas.  Just remember, Jacksonville State came into Oxford and won on opening day two years ago.

Pick:  Ole Miss 31-17

 

Jackson State at Mississippi State

7:00pm ET on FSN

Opening Line:  No line, FCS team

Current Line:  No line, FCS team

Storylines:  Bigger.  Faster.  Stronger.  After four signing classes, Dan Mullen and crew believe they now have a roster that is all of the above.  Time to prove it.

Keys for Mississippi State:  Enjoy a smooth takeoff for Tyler Russell’s passing attack.  The Bulldogs have veteran wideouts galore and all around Starkville, the buzz surrounds the possibility of Russell breaking more than a few passing records.  If that’s indeed to be the case, MSU should have their way with nearby Jackson State.

Pick:  Mississippi State 42-14

 

Auburn vs Clemson at Atlanta

7:00pm ET on ESPN

Opening Line:  CU -3.5

Current Line:  CU -3

Storylines:  Two new coordinators.  Two new systems.  Youth in a lot of positions, including right in the middle of the offensive line.  And a new starting quarterback who most feel won the starting job thanks in large part to his main competitor suffering with a sore shoulder.  That’s not the best way to enter a season, but that’s exactly how Auburn will welcome 2012.

Keys for Auburn:  Clemson allowed an astonishing 70 points their last time out (in January’s Orange Bowl).  Sure they’ve got a new coordinator, but if Auburn can get off to fast start, the Tigers in Orange might just lose some confidence.  Kiehl Frazier has to prove that he can throw the football effectively.

Pick:  Clemson 27-20

 

Jacksonville State at Arkansas

7:00pm ET on Pay-per-view

Opening Line:  No line, FCS team

Current Line:  No line, FCS team

Storylines:  Jack Crowe — fired as Arkansas coach 20 years ag0 — returns to Fayetteville with an FCS squad that won an opener at Ole Miss just two years ago.  Meanwhile, John L. Smith will try to step in for Bobby Petrino and keep the Razorbacks’ preseason goals — championships — within reach.

Keys for Arkansas:  Get Knile Davis back in the groove after a year away from football and limited contact this fall.  Unveil Paul Haynes new defense with positive results.  The quicker the Hogs’ defense shows improvements, the quicker Haynes’ pupils will buy into his system and his plan.

Pick:  Arkansas 49-17

 

North Texas at LSU

7:00pm ET on ESPNU

Opening Line:  LSU -48

Current Line:  LSU -44

Storylines:  LSU will get back on the field — a very soggy field — for the first time since January’s brutal 21-0 loss to Alabama in the BCS Championship Game.  The Tigers say that game is behind them.  Time to prove it.

Keys for LSU:  Show up.  Avoid injuries.

Pick:  LSU 45-3

 

Alabama vs Michigan at Arlington

8:00pm ET on ABC

Opening Line:  UA -11

Current Line:  UA -14

Storylines:  Will Eddy Lacy step right in for the departed Trent Richardson at tailback?  Will AJ McCarron become a bigger part of the offense as Bama tries to grow its passing game this season?  What about all those fresh faces on Alabama’s defense?  Oh, and here’s another one — this is the SEC versus the Big Ten.  It’s a chance for the SEC to establish some early-season dominance over a rival league.

Keys for Alabama:  Control and contain the man who makes Michigan’s offense go — quarterback Denard Robinson.  With 1,000-yard tailback Fitz Toussaint suspended for the Wolverines, all the more pressure will fall on Robinson.  Even with new starters on D, Nick Saban’s group is not the kind of unit that one man can whip by himself.  (Unless his name’s Cam Newton.)

Pick:  Alabama 27-13

 

SUNDAY

Kentucky at Louisville

3:30pm on ESPN

Opening Line:  UL -13

Current Line:  UL -13

Storylines:  Joker Phillips’ seat is scorching hot.  He’s ended long UK losing streaks to Steve Spurrier and Tennessee, but the program has actually gone a bit in reverse the past two seasons.  Fan apathy appears to be setting in and the coach actually felt the need to challenge Wildcat fans to come out and support his team.  A two-touchdown loss to rival Charlie Strong — who took over a Louisville program in worse shape than Kentucky’s when he arrived — would not be a good start for Phillips.

Keys for Kentucky:  Establish a running game (the team that’s won the rushing battle has won the last 16 Governor’s Cup games).  Eat the clock as much as possible.  Hope that quarterback Maxwell Smith has improved since last year when he did show a few late-season flashes.

Pick:  Louisville 28-16

 


1 comments
MoKelly1
MoKelly1

Well -- I will take the under on your 51-10 prediction for Mizzou. First - it could be quite wet for the game and second - if Mizzou gets a fast early lead my guess is they get the starters out fast. I am already 0-1 on SEC game bets this season so take it for what it is worth.

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