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Vince’s Vibe: Week 1 Picks

Vince Ferrara

SEC Has Top Games

After talking to every team at SEC Football Media Days, going to practices, interviewing beat writers for every team, talking to analysts, studying news from camp, watching practice videos and more, I thought it would be fun to preview and predict every SEC football game this season here on MrSEC.com.

Below you’ll find each game for Week 1 of the season, with my view on some games and a score prediction on each. College football is finally here. Enjoy the games!

THURSDAY, AUG. 30

South Carolina (11-2) at Vanderbilt (6-7)

7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • ESPN

Nashville, Tenn. • Vanderbilt Stadium (40,550)

Vince’s View: Steve Spurrier has been frisky in dropping jabs at opponents in the off-season, which typically means he likes his team a lot. The Gamecocks lost two of their 5-back-deep group of running backs to injury. How good will Marcus Lattimore be for SC coming off of his knee injury? Will Vandy’s experienced offense and good skill position players be able to have success against a stout South Carolina defense that will be without injured starting CB Akeem Auguste? Will Connor Shaw show improvement throwing the football? I think SC’s defensive line will terrorize Jordan Rodgers all night.

Winner: South Carolina 34-17

Texas A&M (7-6) vs. Louisiana Tech (8-5)

7:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. CT • ESPNU

Shreveport, La. • Independence Stadium (49,147)

###Postponed due to Hurricane Isaac until October 13. That was an open week for both teams.

FRIDAY, AUG. 31

Tennessee (5-7) vs. N.C. State (8-5)

7:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. CT • ESPNU

Atlanta, Ga. • Georgia Dome (71,147)

Vince’s View: This might just be the most entertaining game of the first weekend. Even without talented but immature WR Da’Rick Rogers (failed drug tests, suspended then transferred to Tennessee Tech,) the Vols offense has the potential to be prolific, especially in the passing game. NC State has a gunslinging QB, Mike Glennon, and talented skill players also. The Wolfpack won’t have Sr. CB C.J. Wilson (eligibility issue) for this game. Both teams have numerous questions and unknowns, but both should put up lots of points. I think Tennessee’s improvement at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball should give UT a slight edge over four quarters. This looks like a game in the 30s.

Winner: Tennessee 38-35

SATURDAY, SEPT. 1

Buffalo (3-9) at Georgia (10-4)

12:21 p.m. ET / 11:21 a.m. CT • SEC Network

Athens, Ga. • Sanford Stadium (92,746)

Winner: Georgia 52-6

Bowling Green (5-7) at Florida (7-6)

3:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. CT • ESPN

Gainesville, Fla. • Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field (88,548)

Winner: Florida 41-10

Jacksonville State (7-4 in FCS) at Arkansas (11-2)

7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • Arkansas PPV

Fayetteville, Ark. • Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium (72,000)

Winner: Arkansas 56-17

Central Arkansas (9-4 in FCS) at Ole Miss (2-10)

7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • Ole Miss PPV

Oxford, Miss. • Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (60,580)

Vince’s View: Ole Miss takes on former WR Jesse Grandy and the Bears of Central Arkansas. This is not a pushover game for Ole Miss, especially since the Rebels lost to an FCS opponent two years ago. Central Arkansas only lost to Louisiana Tech by 6 points late last year 48-42. Grandy had 7 catches for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns in that game against a good bowl team. He will be motivated against his former boys. Ole Miss better get some clarity at quarterback from this game.

Winner: Ole Miss 38-31

Southeast Louisiana (3-8 in FCS) at Missouri (8-5)

7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • Missouri PPV

Columbia, Mo. • Memorial Stadium / Faurot Field (71,004)

Winner: Missouri 63-13

North Texas (5-7) at LSU (13-1)

7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • ESPNU

Baton Rouge, La. • Tiger Stadium (92,542)

Winner: LSU 49-3

Jackson State (9-2 in FCS) at Mississippi State (7-6)

7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • FSN

Starkville, Miss. • Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field (55,082)

Winner: Mississippi State 45-20

Auburn (8-5) vs. Clemson (10-4)

7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • ESPNU

Atlanta, Ga. • Georgia Dome (71,147)

Vince’s View: Talk about a game with lots of unknowns. Auburn (in standard fashion under Gene Chizik) has barely allowed the media to see a thing in camp. Chizik and players have been tight-lipped on team progress. The team has had plenty of departures and suspensions. Both teams had coordinator changes with new philosophies. Clemson is without spectacular WR Sammy Watkins due to suspension. Clemson will have a great offense. Auburn should be very good on defense. The team that gets the better of the Auburn new offense vs. Clemson new defense match-up will win this game.

Winner: Auburn 23-20

Alabama (12-1) vs. Michigan (11-2)

8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT • ABC

Arlington, Texas • Cowboys Stadium (86,798)

Vince’s View: There’s no doubting what the marquee game is in college football the first week. Nick Saban likened Michigan QB Denard Robinson to Cam Newton. On the surface, Robinson isn’t like “Cammy Cam” in stature, ability or achievements, but I actually think I know what he means by that. Saban’s comparison is fair because “shoelace” has the ability to control a game and make great plays even when your defense does all the right things. He has that ability. If Robinson has improved throwing the football, WR Ray Roundtree is healthy and the passing game is a real threat, look out. Michigan has had more personnel issues and questions coming into this game than Alabama. Bama’s questions are the youth on defense and the health of RB Eddie Lacy. I don’t think there’s a more physically gifted 1-85 roster in the country than the Crimson Tide. It is NFL’ish in so many ways with that team. There may be some breakdowns on defense in this game but Alabama’s 9 scholarship seniors and dominant offensive line will be too much for the very game Wolverines.

Winner: Alabama 31-21

SUNDAY, SEPT. 2

Kentucky (5-7) at Louisville (7-6)

3:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. CT • ESPN

Louisville, Ky. • Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium (55,000)

Vince’s View: Kentucky went safer and younger at QB with Maxwell Smith. There’s some experience on the team but, overall, this is an extremely young team that Joker Phillips will send out with possibly his job future hanging in the balance in their young paws. Kentucky’s best shot to win this game is for their two lines to be better than most believe. Louisville is a team on the rise with a terrific, improving quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, and a highly regarded head coach in Charlie Strong. Louisville is at home, and has too many playmakers for the Wildcats.

Winner: Louisville 37-23

Follow me @VinceSports on Twitter and see everything I’m working on in sports. Download the WNML App for your mobile device, so you can hear the “News Sentinel Sports Page” radio sports talk show that I host (weekdays 10am-12pm ET/9-11am CT) at www.sportsanimal99.com.

 

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