Randy Smith: SEC Picks Week Two

Thursday, September 6, 2018 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
In week one, Tennessee was the only SEC school to not post a win. Which one of the winning schools posted the most impressive victory? That would be a tie between Auburn who defeated 6th ranked Washington and LSU who won over 8th ranked Miami. 

Arkansas State at Alabama
The top-ranked Crimson Tide looked tremendous in their 51-14 win over Louisville last weekend. Tua Tagavailoa who got the starting nod over Jalen Hurts at quarterback against the Cardinals, starts again this weekend against Arkansas State. 'Bama led 28-0 at the half and had the game well in hand.
The only person who didn't appear to be happy at all after the game was head coach Nick Saban. Saban took offense to a legitimate question by ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor and blasted her on national television. Saban called Maria the next day to apologize but to some people the damage was done. Kudos to Taylor who handled the situation with plenty of class. 
Alabama 45 Arkansas State 13

Arkansas at Colorado State
The Razorbacks scored an easy 55-20 win over Eastern Illinois last week, a super debut for new head coach Chad Morris. The Hogs will be tested a bit more this week at Colorado State. The Rams are already 0-2 with losses to Hawaii and Colorado. Coach Mike Bobo is knee deep in his fourth season right now and his team is not very good.   How good Arkansas is has yet to be determined, but I feel Chad Morris was the right choice to replace Bret Bielemma. The Razorbacks are very good offensively but will still struggle from time to time on defense. Not this week however.
Arkansas 38 Colorado State 28

Alabama State at Auburn
Gus Malzahn's Tigers seem to be every bit as good as advertised. They beat a very good Washington team last weekend on a neutral field and this week they host Alabama State down on the plains. Jarrett Stidham is proving to be one of the top two or three quarterbacks in the SEC. In addition, the Tigers have one of the very beat defensive lines in college football and as good as any in the SEC. That's the right combination for an SEC title run which begins next weekend at home against LSU.
Auburn 52 Alabama State 7

Georgia at South Carolina
This has all the makings for one of the top games in the SEC this season. The teams picked to finish one and two in the SEC East meeting in Columbia and this one promises to be a barn burner. Gamecock quarterback Jake Bentley is establishing himself as one of the best in the SEC and he will be tough for the rebuilding Georgia defense to handle. One the other hand, South Carolina's defense will also face some problems trying to contain Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm and the Bulldog ground game. This is the Game of the Week on CBS on Saturday and rightly so.
Georgia 30 South Carolina 24

Kentucky at Florida
After a sound defeat of Charleston Southern last week, the Gators invite the Kentucky Wildcats to the Swamp for another very big SEC East match up. Kentucky has one of the better teams Coach Mark Stoops has put together in Lexington and he's facing a Dan Mullen team in Florida for the first time. No one is sure just how good this Gator team is, and we should know more about them after the game with the Wildcats. Florida quarterback Felipe Franks completed 16 of 24 passes for 219 yards and five TD passes last week against Charleston Southern and Dan Mullen may be proving again just how good he is at developing quarterbacks.
Florida 33 Kentucky 21

SE Louisiana at LSU
The LSU Tigers surprised 8th ranked Miami last week, and they did with a swarming, speedy defense; one that kept the Hurricanes at bay the entire game. Quarterback Joe Burrow came out of nowhere to start for the Bengal Tigers and if he continues to impress calling signals, LSU may have found the steady quarterback it needs. The Tigers have another strong running game and all those things combine to form an SEC West title contender. The only way LSU loses this week to SE Louisiana, is a letdown from the big win over Miami, plus a distraction coming from looking ahead to a super SEC match up next week at Auburn.
LSU 38 SE Louisiana 14

Southern Illinois at Ole Miss
The Ole MIss Rebels got a big season opening win over Texas Tech last week and even though it's highly unlikely Ole Miss will be allowed to play in a bowl game by the NCAA, Coach Matt Luke will have his team ready to play each and every week. Southern Illinois has proven to be a tough opponent in the past but this week Ole Miss will prevail.
Ole Miss 37 Southern Illinois 12

Mississippi State at Kansas State
The Bulldogs opened the Joe Moorhead  era in Starkville with a win over Stephen F. Austin and this week, the Bullies head to Kansas State to face the Wildcats and if Coach Bill Snyder's team continues its recent trend of starting slow but finishing strong, it could spell doom this week. Believe it or not, Mississippi State is one of the better SEC teams in 2018 and there is no doubt they should be favored this week at Kansas State. Remember last year when K-State was 2-0 and nationally ranked and they lost to Vanderbilt 14-7? That occurred one week before Alabama blasted Vandy 59-0. 
Mississippi State 34 Kansas State 20

Wyoming at Missouri
The Missouri Tigers continue to be a mystery in the SEC. Are the Tigers really as good as they -appear- to be? Or are they really a sheep in wolf's clothing? A game with Wyoming won't really answer many questions at all. Quarterback Drew Lock continues to put up big numbers as Mizzou plays three of its four non-conference games at the beginning of the season. They won't be really tested until next week when they face Purdue from the Big Ten, but Wyoming could be a bigger test than the Tigers realize.
Missouri 37 Wyoming 24

Clemson at Texas A&M
This could be one of the biggest games of the day in college football. Texas A&M hosting the powerful Clemson Tigers. This one has upset written all over it. A&M has a new head coach in Jimbo Fisher who inherited more talent than a lot of people realize., Clemson is as good as any team in the country, period. Coach Dabo Swinney has at least as much talent on the field as any team not named Alabama and the Tigers are a two touchdown pick against the Aggies in College Station. There is no quarterback controversy in Clemson. Senior Kelly Bryant is the starter and freshman sensation Trevor Lawrence is the backup, period. Texas A&M is good, but Clemson is better.
Clemson 30 Texas A&M 17

Nevada at Vanderbilt
Vandy scored a much easier than expected win over Middle Tennessee last week, but we have to remember the Commodores were 3-0 early last season before going into a mid season tail spin and failing to go to a bowl game. Nevada is looking to improve on a 4-8 season last year and they should be better in 2018. The Wolf Pack has a potent, high powered offense but the big question is, can they be high scoring against an SEC defense? Vandy proved last week they can move the football and unless they fall apart completely will be 2-0 when they head to Notre Dame next week.
Vanderbilt  40 Nevada 27

ETSU at Tennessee
The Volunteers play at home this week hosting East Tennessee State for the first time ever. Buccaneer head coach Randy Sanders, a former Vol player and assistant coach has already stated if his ETSU team pulled the upset over the Volunteers, he would walk naked back to Johnson City. Tennessee is the only SEC team that is not 1-0 on the year after being whipped 40-14 by West Virginia last week. The Volunteers will get better as the season goes on, but they are not very good right now. They are better than ETSU however, so Randy Sanders can keep his clothes on this week.
Tennessee 45 ETSU 24

Last Week: 10-4    

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rsmithsports@epbfi.com



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