A new season. A fresh start. Fans back in the stands. This should be a great year. Let’s see if I can improve on my (pretty solid) 71.4% prediction rating from last season!
By Steve Wright
Week Results: N/A
Closest Pick: N/A
Season Results: 55-22 (71.4%). That was the record from 2020 after the Bowls. Let’s see if we can beat it this fall.
Tennessee vs. Bowling Green – Josh Heupel couldn’t face a better opponent in game one. The Falcons look like a JuCo team in terms of age and experience and the spread offense he is implementing – which will be prone to mistakes – will basically treat this as an extended practice on the way to a huge win. Tennessee 51, Bowling Green 7.
Kentucky vs. UL Monroe – Two outstanding running backs and a new offensive passing attack behind the monster arm of Penn State transfer Will Levis is going to make the ‘Cats a big threat in the SEC East this season. They romp to a win against the Warhawks. Kentucky 42, UL Monroe 10.
Arkansas vs. Rice – Arkansas will look to open this up behind quarterback KJ Jefferson against a Rice team that will be in it for a half but fade away as the Hogs’ linebackers and secondary clamp down. Arkansas 42, Rice 20.
(1) Alabama @ (14) Miami (Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA) – The ‘Bama linebackers – the best position group in the nation – against Miami quarterback D’Eriq King should be a blast to watch. ‘Bama doesn’t lose season openers- the last was UCLA in 2001 – and they have won by double-digits in every game since 2011 against some quality schools. This will be a statement win. Alabama 48, Miami 17.
Mississippi State vs. Louisiana Tech – Mississippi State was scary good against LSU in the 2020 season opener then averaged under 250 yards of total offense from that point forward. Will Rogers will look very good as the game progresses against a team without much of a pass rush to bother him. Mississippi State 49, Louisiana Tech 21.
Missouri vs. Central Michigan – Horrible opener for Mizzou against a CMU team loaded with age and experience where it matters. The deep passing game is going to be important here and the Tigers will do enough to win as long as they avoid turnovers and penalties. Mizzou 31, CMU 24.
Auburn vs. Akron – Is this the year Bo Nix puts it all together and turns his potential into legitimate threat against the best in the SEC? We won’t find that out here against a pretty bland Akron team, but Nix will need to look sharp for the tests to come. Auburn 58, Akron 7.
South Carolina vs. Eastern Illinois – Shane Beamer’s first opponent has lost 18 or its last 20 and went down to Indiana State last weekend. Look for the Gamecocks to run for 250 plus yards and end this one early. South Carolina 41, Eastern Illinois 10.
(5) Georgia @ (3) Clemson (Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC) – The best game of the weekend and the only one where it feels like the SEC team can lose (keep an eye on Mizzou). To high end defenses. Two big time running games. Two National Championship level teams. Georgia will just do a little more right than a Clemson team that will still be in the thick of it come December. Georgia 27, Clemson 21.
(13) Florida vs. FAU – Seeing former Miami quarterback N’Kosi Perry will be fun but the Gators – as inexperienced as they are – will have too much for FAU on both sides of the ball. Florida 41, FAU 14.
(6) Texas A&M vs. Kent State – Interesting one this as a Kent State team that led the nation in offense with eye-popping averages of over 600 yards and over 50 points per game brings everyone that matters back to face the No. 6 team in the country. Dustin Crum will be one of the top quarterbacks the Aggies face this season, but the Kent State rush defense is basically non-existent and that will be their downfall. Texas A&M 59, Kent State 31.
Vanderbilt vs. ETSU – Ken Seals is better than people think and the ‘Dores will do much better than the 330 yards per game they amassed in 2020. Clark Lea feels like the right hire for Vandy and he will get off to a winning start here. Vanderbilt 35, ETSU 17.
(16) LSU @ UCLA – LSU will trend more towards 2019 thank 2020 as Ed Orgeron continues his rebuild apace. The Tigers will be almost impossible to throw on for anything other than the very best quarterbacks and Max Johnson is going to have fun behind a monster line that will keep his jersey clean more often than not. UCLA played in Week 0 and ran for almost 250 yards and four touchdowns against Hawaii. That won’t happen against the Tigers. LSU 37, UCLA 24.
Ole Miss vs. Louisville (Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA) – Ole Miss are 7-2 when Matt Corral doesn’t throw a pick and 0-5 when he does. Louisville was No. 97 in turnovers forced last season. The math makes sense for the Rebels here. The Cardinals also have to replace their leading rusher and four of their top six pass-catchers. Ole Miss 52, Louisville 31