SEC Football Predictions | Week 2
Week 1 Record (6-7) | Overall Record (6-7)
Welcome back to SEC Football Predictions. I don’t know what to believe in anymore. Okay, outside of Alabama, I don’t know what to believe in anymore. The SEC stands on the shoulders of its top three or four teams in the conference and through chants of “SEC! SEC! SEC!” claims comprehensive dominance. It’s time to strip away that veil and throw it in any two or three dumpster fires that are burning white hot in Starkville, Lexington, and Baton Rouge, or you can stoke the fires that are beginning to smolder in Knoxville and Auburn. The choice is yours.
All fires are the property of each respective school. FBSchedules and its subsidiaries (or guest correspondents and contributors) will be held harmless and immune from liability for said fires and resulting damage.
I freely admit with 100 percent accountability that Week 1 was my worst performance in the much vaunted about SEC Football Predictions. But I nailed that overtime prediction for Texas A&M-UCLA game, though.
Anywhom, how was your weekend?
As promised during Week 1, the beauty of last week’s greatest opening weekend in the history of all college sports will become dull and pedestrian in Week 2. Not every game is terrible. Tennessee and Virginia Tech will run four-wide at Bristol and Arkansas travels to the land of Horned Frogs to face TCU.
Let’s try not to get loose in turn 2 of these Week 2 SEC Football Predictions.
All Times Eastern | Utilizing AP Rankings until the College Football Playoff Selection Committee Rankings are released in October.
SEC Football Predictions | Week 2 | Sept. 10, 2016
Nicholls State (0-0) at #9 Georgia (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Noon ET | SEC Network
Quick word of wisdom: The advantage Nicholls State brings into this game is the lack of game film from the 2016 season. Nicholls State tries to earn a little strength of schedule street cred by opening its season in Athens, Georgia to face a Bulldogs team coming off a nice win over North Carolina last week in the Georgia Dome.
Nicholls State is led by head coach Tim Rebowe. Rebowe. Tim REBOWE. This seems a little peculiar and should require an NCAA investigation to determine if this guy is legit and not some former SEC great and current SEC Network analyst. In keeping FBSchedules high level of integrity on the top shelf where it belongs, I don’t want to be one of those who names names. I will say that you are wrong if you are guessing this SEC and SEC Network great is not Greg McElroy or Jordan Rodgers.
The last team to be ranked No. 9 was Tennessee and they dropped eight spots for beating Appalachian State. The No. 9 ranking may be the cursed ranking of the 2016 season. The cursed ranking is a real thing. Look up a week-by-week poll from 2007 and you will see that No. 2 was the cursed ranking of that season. The next year, the No. 1 ranking was cursed for numerous weeks. Tim “Rebowe” and the Colonels may not win, but will they make the Dawgs appear pedestrian enough to drop from the ranking? Only time will tell.
Oh, and you’re welcome for giving you a reason to tune in to watch this game. That’s just one of many things the SEC Football Predictions can provide to you at the low, low price of free.
PREDICTION: Georgia 42, Nicholls State 7
Prairie View A&M (1-0) at #20 Texas A&M (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Noon ET | SEC Network
Quick word of wisdom: Who’s the real A&M? We’ll find out today at noon on the SEC Network. Texas A&M is ranked and coming off a big win over then-No.15 UCLA. The fans and experts won’t get excited about this game, but it’s a brilliant move to play a game like this after such a big weekend. The Aggies are just one of many SEC teams using this philosophy in Week 2 and it will pay off with an easy win even if they come out flat.
Former Clemson quarterback (2000-2002) Willie Simmons is head coach for the Panthers of Prairie View A&M.
PREDICTION: Texas A&M 52, Prairie View A&M 0
Kentucky (0-1, 0-0 SEC) at Florida (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
3:30 PM ET | CBS
Quick word of wisdom: Kentucky hasn’t defeated Florida since computers were things rich people owned so they could play Oregon Trail. The year was 1986. Good news for those who will write about this game in 2017 — The narrative will continue to be “Will this year be the year that Kentucky ends the streak over the Gators?”
PREDICTION: Florida 28, Kentucky 6
Western Kentucky (1-0) at #1 Alabama (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
3:30 PM ET | ESPN2
Quick word of wisdom: This game, to the naked eye, has the look of a Week 2 blowout. Those who follow college football and have the attention span to look at three or four of the top teams in every offensive statistical category know that the Hilltoppers are not a team to sleep on. They can move the ball quickly and can score at will against nearly any team in the country. No one believes they will beat Alabama, but the Tide get a great sparring partner to scout the quick offense of Ole Miss for next week’s game in Oxford.
Watch for a flat start in Tuscaloosa and the early “Oohs” and “Ahhhs” that will no doubt come from those who see that WKU leads 7-0 in the first quarter, but Alabama will wake up and win easily before beginning the type of game week that does not occur often in the Nick Saban era, but has occurred twice in the last two years against Ole Miss — preparing to play a team that beat them last season.
One more note before you read the final score. The WKU defense is nearly as deficient as the offense is efficient. Once Alabama gets on track, they won’t have problems scoring against this substandard defense.
PREDICTION: Alabama 63, Western Kentucky 7
Wofford (1-0) at #19 Ole Miss (0-1, 0-0 SEC)
4:00 PM ET | SEC Network
Quick word of wisdom: The team coming in with the better record for this game is Wofford. Granted, the Terriers opened the season with a win over Tennessee Tech and Ole Miss opened in Orlando against No. 4 Florida State. Ole Miss should win.
One interesting note is Mike Ayers has been head coach at Wofford since 1988. If you read the Florida-Kentucky prediction, you would know that he has been coach since Florida’s winning streak was only one game over Kentucky.
PREDICTION: Ole Miss 45, Wofford 7
MTSU (1-0) at Vanderbilt (0-1, 0-1 SEC)
4:00 PM ET | SEC Network
Quick word of wisdom: Middle Tennessee State is 3-1 in the last four games they have played against Vanderbilt. The Blue Raiders were in the lead much of the game in Murfreesboro last year, but Vanderbilt did something Vanderbilt does not do often — they pulled out a win in the fourth quarter.
The advantage for the Blue Raiders in this one is that this game will be played in the friendly confines of Vanderbilt Stadium. Vanderbilt plays better on the road because they forget who they are when away from their own stadium. I don’t mean that to be mean. I’ve seen enough games in person on West End in Nashville and can give first-hand accounts of the Commodores looking completely lost and frustrated by being at home and outnumbered by the opposing team’s fans or by the negative results that have plagued this football program year-after-year after year.
“They were so close” is one of the traditional post-game cheers you will hear inside Vanderbilt Stadium. “Sit down! I can’t see!” is probably the most popular cheer you will hear during a game from the Vanderbilt faithful.
This game has less to do with talent and more to do with the weight of history, tradition, the pressure to do something positive, and/or the pressure not to “mess things up.” That is why MTSU gets the win in Nashvillle on Saturday afternoon.
PREDICTION: MTSU 20, Vanderbilt 17 (OT)
South Carolina (1-0, 1-0 SEC) at Mississippi State (0-1, 0-0 SEC)
7:30 PM ET | ESPN2
Quick word of wisdom: Will Muschamp and the South Carolina Gamecocks would be champions of the SEC East if the season ended as of this very moment. It is doubtful we will be able to make that claim much at all after this very moment.
Mississippi State is coming off an ugly loss and they are feeling the embarrassment of it. South Carolina is coming off an ugly win and they more than likely feel like they are doing okay because they found a way to win. The Gamecocks will be the only team in the conference to have played two conference games to open the first two weeks of the 2016 season. That may build character for the down the road, but will do nothing for the Muschamps this week. Hopefully, South Carolina can use this loss as another character building opportunity.
PREDICTION: Mississippi State 24, South Carolina 17
Arkansas (1-0, 0-0 SEC) at #15 TCU (1-0)
7:00p.m. ET | ESPN
Quick word of wisdom: There’s something about this game that just has that upset feeling. Arkansas has gone into the Big 12 before and beaten teams like Texas Tech, but they have also lost to teams like Toledo in 2015 and needed a fourth down touchdown to defeat LA Tech last week.
Arkansas gives the SEC a boost on Saturday night after showing they can run the ball and control the clock against a TCU team that doesn’t mind playing physical, but does not want to grind out a victory against a big, physical team like the Razorbacks. TCU may run over and around Arkansas in a complete thumping, but this is the game that gets Arkansas excited about 2016 before losing more than one game they should have won later in the season.
PREDICTION: Arkansas 31, TCU 27
Arkansas State (0-1) at Auburn (0-1, 0-0 SEC)
7:30p.m. ET | SEC Network
Quick word of wisdom: Auburn’s offense is a mess if Week 1 is any indication. Arkansas State was where Gus Malzahn coached before leaving to take the Auburn job. There are fans on both sides who feel Arkansas State may have gotten the better end of the deal. For Week 2 of the 2016 season, Auburn is better. But it is very dull and unimpressive.
PREDICTION: Auburn 28, Arkansas State 9
Jacksonville State (1-0) at LSU (0-1, 0-0 SEC)
7:30p.m. ET | ESPNU
Quick(ish) word of wisdom: Don’t go to sleep on Jacksonville State. Auburn nearly did a year ago and the Tigers required overtime to escape with a win. LSU is coming off a loss and it won’t take much to feel like life is piling on in Baton Rouge.
The floods and police shootings over the summer have taken more than a fair toll on those in Baton Rouge and to pretend it has zero effect on the team is naive. Piling on from those outside Baton Rouge is not the problem. It’s the piling on from the closest supporters that are the most restless. There have been stories of fans who spent a ton of money to go make the trip to Green Bay in hopes of grabbing a dose of respite that was never delivered.
Talk of a national championship and resurgence under Les Miles has grown to a roar of complaints from a fan base that is watching the game pass by their head coach right in front of them in plain sight. The administration had a chance to cut ties at the end of last season, but emotions won the day. Our emotions can get in our way when making the tough decisions that are required for a program or business to succeed in the long term. When the hard decision is usually the right one, allowing emotions to rule the day will delay the inevitable. Letting Les Miles go seems cruel, but it takes nothing away from what he’s done for LSU and Baton Rouge.
When Tennessee made the tough decision to let Philip Fulmer go, it seemed like the right decision until Fulmer sat at the press conference with tears running down his cheek and a lump in his throat the size of a grapefruit. Once the tears were dry and the emotions had melted into the record books, the fact of the matter was that the game had passed him by. Even in the days when the Tennessee administration was driving the program directly in the path of a cliff, the Fulmer decision was the only one they got right. They missed on two hires and even in getting a great recruiter of talent in Butch Jones, the jury is still out on whether or not Butch can avoid being out-coached by the opposition with similar or less talent.
Since this is an LSU prediction, I’ll get back on track. I’m not sure LSU fans want to read past this point. Baton Rouge was in an uproar after losing to Wisconsin on a neutral field in the state of Wisconsin. Imagine the outrage following a loss to a team from Alabama not located in Auburn or Tuscaloosa.
The talent at Jacksonville State is not bad. It may actually be good. There are a number of SEC transfers that have landed on campus in Jacksonville and if the talent can gel in a short period of time, the SEC will be on the wrong side of the headline that states a program from a mid-major conference in Alabama defeated a team out of the SEC West.
PREDICTION: Jacksonville State 20, LSU 17 (OT)
Eastern Michigan (1-0) at Missouri (0-1, 0-0 SEC)
7:30p.m. ET | SEC Network
Quick word of wisdom: The old stomping grounds of former NFL journeyman quarterback Charlie Batch is ready to make some noise and send those who support the SEC as one collective unit into a tailspin.
Eastern Michigan trailed LSU by one score last year in a 44-24 loss in Baton Rouge. Missouri showed last week in Morgantown that they remain unimpressive on offense in a 26-11 loss to West Virginia. Any credibility the SEC built with Arkansas’ win over TCU on Saturday will be obliterated after Jacksonville State and Eastern Michigan deliver the fatal blow to what’s left of the SEC’s swagger.
PREDICTION: Eastern Michigan 34, Missouri 24
Virginia Tech (1-0) vs. Tennessee (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
8:00 p.m. ET | ABC | Bristol Motor Speedway
Big game word of wisdom: This is a game that has been in discussions between these two teams for two decades. Some don’t understand the excitement, but Bristol Motor Speedway is an iconic track in NASCAR circles. Some have said that it’s like racing fighter jets in a high school gym. It’s a half-mile race track and is bowled like a football stadium. It’s actually a larger version of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium.
Although small in the world of NASCAR, Bristol will hold 150,000 for a football game. Neyland Stadium has always been considered one of the biggest stadiums in college football, but it will be like a car in a garage when comparing the two venues. Neyland can fit comfortably inside Bristol Motor Speedway.
Other than venue, the story-line for Tennessee fans will be a chance for the Vols to come out and dominate an opponent they should beat. This will be one of many tests for Butch Jones to prove he can beat the coach on the opposing sideline somewhere besides the recruiting trail.
Justin Fuente is in his first year in Blacksburg and he will get the Hokies back to the prominence that Frank Beamer built from near-scratch in his 28 years as head coach. I’m not sure one game will be enough time for Fuente to build a team and game-plan strong enough to beat this Tennessee team.
PREDICTION: Tennessee 24, Virginia Tech 14
Eric Taylor is a contributor to FBSchedules.com. Follow him on Twitter @EricFromSpfld or contact him via email at Eric–at– TaylorCreativeGroup–dot– net. Eric is also President and Founder of Taylor Creative Group, home of the Punt On Third Down blog and podcast. Be sure to Like the Facebook page Facebook.com/EricTaylorWritesStuff for the latest on the 2016 SEC Football Predictions and all POTD Blogs and Podcasts