The College Football season is right around the corner and its time to make my SEC Week 1 Picks. The game of the week in the SEC is Alabama vs Wisconsin, with Arizona State at Texas A&M being another interesting game to watch. I went 70-19 on my SEC picks last season.
Thursday, September 3
23 North Carolina vs South Carolina 34
Connor Mitch will make his first career start against the Tar Heels on Thursday, the same team that former quarterback Connor Shaw made his first start against. Mitch is fortunate enough to have a star at receiver in Pharoh Copper, who might be the best receiver in the conference. The Gamecocks do have to replace running back Mike Davis and it looks like senior Brandon Wilds and sophomore David Williams will share the carries.
Steve Spurrier hired Jon Hoke to be co-defensive coordinator this season, which should help improve a defense that was absolutely horrendous last season. The defense should be much better with the team adding seven defensive lineman in the recruiting class, with junior college transfer Marquavius Lewis leading the way. North Carolina will be a tough game for the Gamecocks with 17 starters returning for the Tar Heels, but the team did go 6-7 last year. This game will definitely be a test for the Gamecocks, but at the end of the day I think coaching wins this one.
21 Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt 17
Saturday, September 5
10 Louisiana-Monroe at #9 Georgia 42
3 Tennessee-Martin at #17 Ole Miss 40
17 UTEP at #18 Arkansas 41
21 Louisville vs #6 Auburn 31
This is my upset alert of the week and I think this game can go two ways. First, it could be a blowout with Auburn having no issues against the Cardinals. It could also be a very close game with Louisville shocking the world and upsetting the Tigers. Either way I think this game could be very entertaining. Louisville lost seven players on their fifth ranked 2014 defense, while Auburn added one of the better defensive minds in college football in Will Muschamp. The Cardinals have quarterback issues and it looks like Reggie Bonnafon will be the starter if everything goes as planned, while Auburn has Jeremy Johnson, who’s considered to be a Heisman candidate by many. Auburn is the more physical team and I predict that Johnson will have a big game in his first start as the Tigers full time starter.
3 Southeast Missouri State at #24 Missouri 49
14 Bowling Green at #25 Tennessee 45
38 #15 Arizona State vs Texas A&M 35
Texas A&M could be a surprise team in the SEC this season, with the addition of defensive coordinator John Chavis. The Aggies also have touted sophomore quarterback Kyle Allen, who could develop into the league’s premier passer before the end of the season. Allen will have weapons like Speedy Noil and Ricky Seals-Jones at receiver, I expect both players to have big seasons. The defense should definitely be better with Chavis, but what really could be make this defense great is defensive end Myles Garrett, who might be the best defensive end in the conference.
I think Arizona State should’ve been a preseason top 10 team after the way quarterback Mike Bercovici played to close out the season. The Sun Devils will miss Jaelen Strong, but D.J. foster is capable of taking over a game and will be the number one target for Bercovici. Arizona State doesn’t have a premier pass rusher and lost a lot of their defensive line, but return most of their back seven and should be able to shut down Texas A&M passing game. In the end I think Arizona State’s defense will be the difference, but this game could go either way and the Aggies will win if their running game gets going.
13 Louisiana-Lafayette at Kentucky 37
9 McNeese State at #14 LSU 52
3 New Mexico State at Florida 37
6 #20 Wisconsin at #3 Alabama 34
Nick Saban is still undecided on who the starting quarterback will be this season, but the team returns Derrick Henry at running back, with Cam Robinson and Ryan Kelly returning to their offensive line. That right there should be good enough to drive Wisconsin crazy. The Wisconsin defense is good again and is considered by most to be ranked in the top 20, but Alabama is too physical for the Badgers to handle.
Alabama’s defense is without a doubt the best in the country yet again and should have no problem shutting down Wisconsin’s running attack. I think the Badgers can keep this game close early, but Bama will pull away in the second half.
42 Mississippi State at Southern Miss 17