Week 2 SEC picks, games, odds: Texas A&M and LSU take the main stage in massive matchups
The SEC could get back on top after a tough Week 1
The SEC had a tough start in Week 1 with four teams suffering upsets, including South Carolina's rivalry loss to North Carolina in Charlotte. It wasn't all bad, though. No. 10 Auburn stunned No. 16 Oregon in the week's biggest matchup, and No. 6 LSU and No. 12 Texas A&M both cruised to easy victories.
What will happen in the SEC on Saturday? Let's break down the matchups and make some picks.
2019 record straight up: 8-4
2019 record against the spread: 6-6
No. 6 LSU at No. 9 Texas (-6.5): The Tigers offense racked up 472 total yards, including 278 passing yards, and quarterback Joe Burrow set a school record with five touchdown passes. Is this the effect of new passing game coordinator Joe Brady? Maybe. But it's much easier to showcase a new offense when you want to than it is when you have to. That's been LSU's problem for the better part of the decade, and that aspect of the new-look, spread offense will be tested against the Longhorns. Speaking of the Longhorns, quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw for 276 yards and four touchdowns while adding 34 yards on the ground in the opener vs. Louisiana Tech. He will have to play a big part of the rushing attack since Keaontay Ingram is really the only experienced running back in the backfield. Always bet on Longhorns coach Tom Herman as an underdog. He has won five games straight up as the head coach at Texas, and his teams are 8-2-1 as underdogs. Herman will get creative with Ehlinger in the running game, wear down the LSU defense and take smart shots deep with receiver Colin Johnson to win it outright. Pick: Texas (+6.5)
No. 12 Texas A&M at No. 1 Clemson (-17.5): The Aggies took the Tigers to the brink last year in College Station, but it'll be much harder to repeat the feat this time around. Quarterback Kellen Mond only ran the ball five times last weekend vs. Texas State, while running backs Jashaun Corbin and Isaiah Spiller each topped the century mark. That'll be the key vs. the Tigers, who replaced all four starters up front. Tigers defensive coordinator Brent Venables has been down this road before, and his defense looked fine against a remarkably one-dimensional offense. But Texas A&M has a stud receiving corps that coach Jimbo Fisher will use off play-action after the running game gets going. Texas A&M can't cover, though. Trevor Lawrence will find Justyn Ross, Tee Higgins and his stars outside to give the Tigers a late win ... but not a cover. Pick: Texas A&M (+17.5)
Arkansas at Ole Miss: The only conference game of the weekend features two teams that might need this win to make a bowl game. The Rebels struggled offensively in the loss to Memphis, but allowed only 2.68 yards per rushing attempt against a Tigers team that typically is as explosive as any team in the country. That plays well against a Razorbacks team that couldn't pass last week against Portland State. The Rebels will load up against the run and force quarterbacks Ben Hicks and/or Nick Starkel to win it through the air. As long as Rebels quarterback Matt Corral takes care of the football, I don't see that happening ... at least, not enough to cover. Give me the Rebels in a close one. Pick: Arkansas (+6.5)
West Virginia at Missouri: The Tigers gave up 297 rushing yards in a loss at Wyoming last week, but the Mountaineers averaged 1.42 yards per rush in a tight win over James Madison in Week 1. Neither team will establish the run, which will put the game in the hands of the quarterbacks. Kelly Bryant lit up with 423 yards, but Mountaineers signal-caller Austin Kendall completed 64.3 percent of his passes, tossed two touchdowns and didn't throw a pick. I haven't been high on Bryant since his Clemson days, and will side with Kendall -- and more importantly coach Neal Brown -- in this one straight up. Pick: West Virginia (+13.5)
BYU at Tennessee (-4): Tennessee didn't just look bad in the loss to Georgia State, it looked overmatched in the trenches. Now the Cougars roll into town with grown adults on both lines of scrimmage. Last week wasn't "rock bottom" for the Vols. It's about to get much worse after they drop to 0-2 this weekend. Pick: BYU (+4)
Tulane at No. 10 Auburn (-17.5): Quarterback Bo Nix shined late in the win over Oregon, but the defensive line's performance in the second half will rule the day. This won't be a blowout, but Auburn's physicality will allow the Tigers to cover late. Pick: Auburn (-17.5)
Vanderbilt at Purdue (-7): The Commodores offense was brutal against Georgia, and will have to get into a shootout against a Boilermakers team that is mad after falling at Nevada. That doesn't bode well for Derek Mason's crew. Pick: Purdue (-7)
Southern Miss at Mississippi State (-16.5): Quarterback Tommy Stevens looked solid in his debut for Mississippi State, and he will build off that now that Joe Moorhead saw what he is capable of. This will be close for a while, but Stevens and running back Kylin Hill will lead the Bulldogs to a cover in the fourth quarter. Pick: Mississippi State (-16.5)
New Mexico State at No. 2 Alabama (-55.5): Crimson Tide games with big spreads against cupcakes should be avoided at all costs, because covering always depends on when coach Nick Saban takes his foot off the gas. With a road conference game next week -- albeit against South Carolina -- he'll put it in cruise control earlier than normal. Pick: New Mexico State (+55.5)
Eastern Michigan at Kentucky (-15): Expect a heavy dose of Kentucky running back Kavosiey Smoke on Saturday after he averaged 11.14 yards per carry against Toledo. The combination of Smoke and quarterback Terry Wilson will lead the Wildcats to a win, but Eastern Michigan will slide in the back door to keep it within two touchdowns. Pick: Eastern Michigan (+15)
Murray State at No. 3 Georgia (-49): The Bulldogs didn't show much in the win over Vanderbilt, and that won't change this weekend against the Racers. Quarterback Jake Fromm will get a little bit more comfortable with his receivers, but quickly make his way to the bench because coach Kirby Smart will have to have Stetson Bennett ready in case of emergency. Because of that, take the Racers and the points. Pick: Murray State (+49)
UT-Martin at No. 11 Florida (-44.5): Feleipe Franks looked like the Franks of old (which isn't a good thing) in the opener vs. Miami. Coach Dan Mullen got an extra bye week to coach up Franks, which will allow the Gators to cover on Saturday. Franks will play into the third quarter in order to get right, and the Gators will hang on for a cover. Pick: Florida (-44.5)
Charleston Southern at South Carolina (-40): Quarterback Ryan Hilinski will take over for an injured Jake Bentley, and coach Muschamp will put the ball in his hands for the entire game. Why? Because he will make a few mistakes and Muschamp will turn those into teachable moments. They'll get the win, but 40 points is too much. Pick: Charleston Southern (+40)
So what picks can you make with confidence in Week 2, and which favored top-25 team goes down hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,500 in profit over the past four seasons.
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