Same song and dance for the last 5 years now….Clemson looks bad early in the season as they dump their bench in the 2Q of conference games, everyone worries about the losses to the NFL, then they have a marquee game in which they smash a contender and remind everyone how loaded the roster still is. Georgia Tech is far ahead of schedule in evolving from the Paul Johnson days, including a young, dynamic QB that has me having flashbacks to Joe Hamilton. Like Joe Hamilton, Simms loves to throw interceptions in his freshman season, and this is a nightmare matchup for him. I’m rolling with the Tigers as they begin to ramp up for the playoffs (don’t think Dabo isn’t wanting to send a message prior to Bama vs UGA)
Projected Margin: Clemson -35
Auburn South Carolina over 51.5
South Carolina is 3-0 vs the over this season, with an offense that has been revived under Mike Bobo, and a secondary that has been highly disappointing. Auburn is Auburn….absolutely loaded with skill & talent at the skill positions, with an inaccurate QB that isn’t activating all of his weapons (basically Auburn since Cam left). The most alarming weakness of Auburn right now is that OL, which does not inspire confidence in the over, but the number is simply too low
Projected total: 58
Mississippi State +6
This is the ultimate buy low, sell high. Texas A&M is coming off of a great win over Florida at home, Miss St is coming of a kick-in-the-nuts loss to Kentucky. Seems like an Aggy blowout is in the cards, but when you peel back the layers, it appears that the wrong team is favored. The Aggies lost yet another dynamic WR in the win over Kentucky, and Kellen Mond is running out of targets. Speaking of Mond, at home he is regular season Clayton Kershaw….on the road, he’s playoff Kershaw. I really like Miss St.’s potential to attack this 4-2-5 scheme, and really take advantage of those big, run stuffing A&M LB’s with the Air Raid crossing routes. I also like Miss St’s defense……while my projection is a Bulldog victory, I’m simply taking the points until Costello stops throwing interceptions.
Projected Margin: Mississippi State by 3
NC State – 4
NC State Duke o60
NC State has found their guy at QB, and he take snaps in front of two very explosive RBs that no one pays attention to. Duke also has some juice at the skill positions, but their depth on the defensive side of the ball is concerning. We missed NC State overs for the first time last week when UVA’s starting QB went down in the 2Q, but we’re going back to the well this week. I also like NC State to cover with a double digit victory
Projected Total: 72
Projected Margin: NC State -10
Pitt Miami u48
I really hate betting unders. It’s the worst experience in football, and I suggest that no one tails this pick. I could talk about both DL’s playing great football, or the boom & bust nature of both offenses. I could talk about how hideous this game was last year, and how difficult it can be to score (especially field goals) at Heinz Field. Instead, I’m just going to get out the barf bag & suffer through 3 hours of cheering for 3 yard runs, punts, and missed field goals.
Projected Total: 38
There are a lot of things that I do not like about this Syracuse team, and much that I like about this version of the Liberty Flames. Liberty has balance on offense, and a defense that was nonexistent last year. Syracuse continues to set the standard for terrible OL play, but the defense continues to battle. This is a major step up in competition for Liberty, to play a team that has already traveled and played well in Chapel Hill & Pittsburgh. This is a major barometer game for the Dino Babers era…..a loss to a team name after an insurance company would be the beginning of the end. I like Syracuse to win outright, but like Miss State, just can’t find the heart to pick them on the ML. I’ll probably play a little Cuse + Miss State parlay to see if we can rub a few pennies together to get a dime.
Projected Margin: Syracuse +3.5