LSU’s title run didn’t change something however the channel. The SEC has returned to its recurrently scheduled dominance.
No. 2 Alabama is the one undefeated crew within the SEC West and already has demolished the division’s second-highest ranked crew (Texas A&M), whereas its biggest rivals (Auburn, LSU) have taken substantial steps backward.
No. 3 Georgia is the one undefeated crew within the SEC East and simply destroyed the crew with the nation’s longest win streak (Tennessee), whereas its biggest risk (Florida) to a fourth straight division title has proven its protection isn’t able to contending for a championship.
Conferences between Alabama and Georgia don’t happen as usually as they need to. Saturday’s preview of the SEC title sport would be the first regular-season assembly between the powers since 2015. Will probably be simply the third sport between the groups since then.
Alabama has the nation’s high offense, averaging 51 factors per sport. Georgia has the nation’s finest protection, permitting fewer yards per sport (236.7) than any crew has completed a season with because the Crimson Tide’s 2011 nationwide championship crew. That Alabama protection was led by coordinator Kirby Sensible, who spent 11 seasons by Nick Saban’s facet earlier than bringing Georgia again to prominence.
Scoring on Alabama is far simpler nowadays. The Tide have given up greater than 45 factors in three of their previous eight video games, together with final week’s 48-point, 647-yard explosion from Mississippi, a sport during which Saban nonetheless improved to 21-0 in opposition to former assistants.
The proper file was practically sullied twice by Sensible. Two years in the past, Jalen Hurts led a fourth-quarter comeback within the SEC title sport. The earlier season, Saban boldly inserted unproven backup Tua Tagovailoa into the nationwide championship sport and overcame a 13-point second-half deficit.
This time, Saban won’t be on the sideline, following his positive COVID-19 test Wednesday. However Sensible will likely be there, once more placing the Bulldogs (+6) in place to take down Alabama for the primary time since 2007.
(House crew in CAPS.)
Pittsburgh (+12) over MIAMI
As I mentioned final week, Miami would crash again to actuality in opposition to the primary official protection it confronted this season. The Hurricanes’ offensive struggles will proceed, dealing with the nation’s third-ranked run protection and Patrick Jones II, who leads the nation with seven sacks.
Clemson (-27) over GEORGIA TECH
Because the epic showdown with Lamar Jackson in 2016, the Tigers have made a behavior of following marquee wins by including extra exclamation factors the following sport. It’s why they’ve been one of the best program in faculty soccer since then. “To me, that is the form of sport you may make a press release. It’s on the street, it’s a midday sport, lots of people speaking about you’re coming off a giant sport,” coach Dabo Swinney mentioned this week. “I need to see our crew come out with some hearth and play our greatest sport.”
SOUTH CAROLINA (+3) over Auburn
Bo Nix’s erratic throws will forestall the Tigers offense from constructing momentum anytime quickly. Take the factors in a low-scoring battle.
Kentucky (+6) over TENNESSEE
The Volunteers had been shut out within the second half of final week’s loss to Georgia, whereas dashing for adverse yards. The bottom sport received’t discover rather more success in opposition to the nation’s eighth-ranked run protection.
NOTRE DAME (-17.5) over Louisville
The final time the Combating Irish had been questioned — following a 14-point season-opening win over Duke — they responded with a 52-0 win over South Florida. Final week’s underwhelming effort in opposition to Florida State pays off right here.
MEMPHIS (+3.5) over Ucf
It was two years in the past that the Knights — within the midst of their second straight undefeated common season — pulled out a one-point win at Memphis. The Tigers haven’t misplaced at house since.
Mississippi (-1.5) over ARKANSAS
With a reliable officiating crew, the Razorbacks’ solely lack of the season could be at Georgia. As an alternative, they’re heading for a 1-3 begin. The Hogs will construct much-needed offensive confidence in opposition to the worst protection within the SEC, however matching factors with Lane Kiffin’s second-ranked offense is an excessive amount of to count on. Even his former boss — the best defensive coach in faculty soccer historical past — had no solutions with Alabama’s considerably extra proficient roster.
MISSISSIPPI STATE (+6.5) over Texas A&M
Jimbo Fisher has a brand new set of believers for the primary time since leaving Florida State. Mike Leach and Ok.J. Costello have skilled dizzying inventory drops prior to now two weeks. I’m at all times pleased to take what nobody else needs.
North Carolina (-13.5) over FLORIDA STATE
It might be years earlier than the Seminoles are “again,” however Tar Heels star sophomore Sam Howell is on observe once more after finishing 18 of 23 passes for 257 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, as North Carolina put up 56 factors in opposition to Virginia Tech.
Boston Faculty (+12) over VIRGINIA TECH
The Hokies have misplaced their previous two conferences with B.C. and have allowed the Tenth-most yards per sport this season. If Phil Jurkovec may throw for 358 yards and three scores in opposition to Pittsburgh, Tech’s protection shouldn’t pose a lot of an issue.
Finest bets: Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Boston Faculty
This season (finest bets): 45-27 (9-6)
2014-19 file: 772-756-13