Game of the Week Preview: The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry

The History

This is one of my favorite rivalries in all of sports. From memories like The Miracle at Jordan-Hare, to the countless meetings that eventually decided an SEC champion, no matter what the circumstances, this game is important and both teams seem to bring a little more to the table in this game each year.

Offense

Bo Nix vs Kentucky

Both teams are led by star studded, but young and generally unproven quarterbacks. Bo Nix is playing in his second Auburn-Georgia game. Last year, he was 30/50, for 245 yards and 1 touchdown. He also had 13 carries for 42 yards and a touchdown with one lost fumble. J.T. Daniels on the other hand, was just cleared to play at Georgia and has yet to play an SEC game. He was highly touted out of high school, committing to play at USC, but it did not work out and now he goes into his first game as a Georgia Bulldog. Expect to see a lot of power running, and a lot of talented play makers at wide receiver. The connection to look for will be Bo Nix to his best wide receiver Seth Williams. This duo linked up for two touchdowns last week against Kentucky. The offenses will score points, but the question is which defense will get the stops.

Defense

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When you think defense you think of the SEC, and when you think of SEC defenses, you have to mention Auburn and Georgia – two of the top five defenses in the SEC last year, and they’re looking to do it again. Typically, Auburn’s defensive line is the focal point of their defense, and this year is no different. They are young, but Big Kat Bryant is the veteran stud in the lineup this year. Also, they return a lot in the back seven, including all three starting linebackers from a year ago. Georgia also has a strong defensive unit at all positions. The star is Richard Lecounte, their safety, who racked up a pair of interceptions in Georgia’s season opener.. Both defenses are going to make a lot of stops, and I think whoever forces the most turnovers wins this game.

The Keys To Victory

I believe the quarterback play will decide the outcome of the game. Bo Nix vs J.T Daniels. I have Nix winning this matchup due to his experience and his dual-threat skillset, so I am going with Auburn winning 27-17, but I think it will feel even closer throughout the game.

Best SEC Bets – Week 2: If Kentucky is playing, bet the under

Last week, our team went 6-4 with our recommended SEC bets, part of a 14-8 overall performance to kick off our year. A $10 bet on each of our selections would have net a $60-65 profit, depending on the exact odds when you laid down your money. So, after a decent first week, we’re back with another set of recommendations, now that we’ve seen every team in action. Be sure to check out our “Money Minute” episode on Instagram (@college_talking) where Nathaniel Lapoint and 1 other member of our team offer their top 3 picks each, regardless of conference.

Best SEC Bets

Ole Miss @ Kentucky, UNDER 61.5, Ole Miss +6

I know Ole Miss was impressive on offense last week, but this is a pretty stiff Kentucky defense that is tough to pass the ball against. And while Ole Miss’s defense is pretty porous, Kentucky doesn’t exactly light up the scoreboard. Last week, they held the ball for over 21 minutes in the first half and came away with just 7 points. I’d be surprised if Ole Miss can put up more than 30, and I’d be stunned if Kentucky matches that. I’m pretty shocked the O/U is this high, and I’d absolutely take the under in this matchup.

I’m also posting the double-bet in this contest, as given Ole Miss’s high-powered offense last week, I don’t see Kentucky scoring enough points to cover a 6-point spread. I could be wrong, but if the Rebels can put up 24-28 points, I find it hard to believe that Terry Wilson and a one-dimensional Kentucky offense notch between 30 and 34. The Ole Miss moneyline is +185 and definitely an intriguing bet, but with Kentucky playing at home, I’m not going that far at this point.

Arkansas @ Mississippi State, UNDER 69.0

Yeah, I know, you can save me your “But the air raid” comments. This over/under is like Big 12 territory, and the reason Big 12 totals run so high, is because every offense (except Kansas) is generally capable of putting up 40 points. Arkansas is (usually) not. They didn’t score more than 27 in any SEC game last season. Arkansas held Georgia in check for a half on offense last week, and I just am not comfortable betting on Mississippi State to put up 45-50 points. I think that’s what will be needed, as I don’t see Arkansas notching much more than 20. This just isn’t an SEC over/under total, and Akransas’s offense is too bad to make me even think about the over.

Auburn (+7) @ Georgia

Auburn won by 16 against a ranked Kentucky opponent, while Georgia needed to bench their quarterback and rally from a halftime deficit to defeat Arkansas, who hasn’t won a SEC game since 2017. If Georgia’s J.T. Daniels is given the start under center, that will make it three quarterbacks in two games for the Bulldogs, who were already experiencing a lot of turnover on the offensive side of the ball. Bo Nix and the Auburn offense looked effective – if not explosive – against a stingy Kentucky defense, and I anticipate they can keep this contest a one-possession clash. In my eyes, worst case scenario here is a one-touchdown win for Georgia and a push on this spread.

Episode 47: Central Arkansas AD Brad Teague Talks Scheduling Football During COVID

In the latest episode of our twice-a-week podcast, we brought on two guests. First, we welcomed Central Arkansas athletic director Brad Teague – Teague has had an extremely busy fall, putting together a 10-game schedule for the Bears, with just 14 FCS teams playing. The unique season opened up opportunities for games with 3 FBS opponents, and a road trip to FCS powerhouse North Dakota State. Teague joined our show to discuss these challenges.

We also welcomed former Navy football linebacker Tyler Goble, who joined as our guest picker of the week, celebrating the start of the Commander-in-Chief Trophy series this weekend, as the Midshipmen travel to take on Air Force. Check out a packed episode, as we break things down with our two guests and offer up a preview of this week’s action!

Rattler’s Youth A New Challenge For QB Guru Riley

When the odds came out for this past weekend’s college football games, and Oklahoma was listed as a 28-point favorite against Kansas State, I thought it was absolutely ridiculous. Kansas State may have looked bad in their season opener, but they beat Oklahoma last season, and the Sooners’ Spencer Rattler was making his first start against Power-5 competition. Rattler has been much hyped as a darkhorse Heisman candidate, due partly to his talent level, which is clearly high, but also due to Lincoln Riley, the ‘QB whisperer’. Riley has produced a Heisman finalist in each of his four years as the Oklahoma head coach, including two winners. One potential factor, brought up by many analysts, was that each of those prior quarterbacks had been transfers. 

Despite the question marks, Rattler quieted many doubters in his debut as a starter, dicing up an inferior Missouri State offense for 290 yards and four touchdowns in just one half of play. Yes it was Missouri State, but Rattler hardly looked wowed by the collegiate stage. It looked like more of the same in the early going against Kansas State, as Rattler posted a 17-19 stat line, tossing three touchdowns. However, those two incompletions fell into enemy hands, as two interceptions kept Kansas State in the game. The second pick led to the Wildcats’ only scoring drive of the half, as the Sooners led 21-7 at halftime. 

Oklahoma kept up the pressure at the start of the second half, racking up two more scores to go up 35-14 with 2:46 to go in the third quarter. 

If you’re a Sooners’ fan…look away now,. 

After taking a 21-point lead, it took a total of 13 snaps for their advantage to be narrowed to a single touchdown. The Wildcats utilized a 78 yard pass to score in three plays. They forced a fumble on Oklahoma’s next possession, and then they punched in another touchdown, grinding it out on a 8-play, 38-yard drive. Suddenly, it was 35-28, but Rattler still had an advantage, and the ball. 

To be fair, it wasn’t just Oklahoma’s redshirt-freshman quarterback that melted on Saturday, but he didn’t inspire anyone with his clutch-time performance. He went 2-5 on the ensuing drive, getting to midfield before stalling out. A blocked punt set up the Wildcats for another touchdown to tie the game, and Oklahoma got the ball back with 8:17 left in the game. Rattler completed one of three passes there, taking a bad sack on third down, which led to Kansas State getting great field position at their own 40. The Wildcats banged through a field goal, but hope wasn’t yet lost for the Sooners. 

Rattler and Co. would get two more chances with the ball. But neither possession was a productive one, as the Sooners went 3-and-out and punted it away. They got one more shot, starting at their 24-yard line, but Rattler was picked off on the second play of the drive, securing the stunning comeback upset victory for the Wildcats. All-in-all, after taking a 35-14 lead, Rattler completed 4 of 13 passes for 65 yards, throwing an interception and taking one very ill-timed sack. Prior to that, he was 26 of 28 with four touchdowns. 

The takeaway? Rattler is really good – but he is also really young. The talent was clearly there in his impressive early numbers, but the poise and clutch gene appeared to be lacking in a horrific finish to the game. Essentially, he’s young. Thus, Lincoln Riley, who has been elite with a varied batch of transfer quarterbacks, must now prove his mettle in mentoring a quarterback with virtually no collegiate experience. Rattler’s three interceptions was the most by an Oklahoma quarterback since 2014, before Riley arrived in Norman. It’s an entirely new challenge for the QB Whisperer. And he doesn’t have a lot of time to figure this one out. Oklahoma travels to Iowa State on Saturday, and the Cyclones are getting hyped up for the primetime clash, breaking out their all-black uniforms that they are 3-0 all-time in. They are not an easy game, and no one can be taken lightly after Oklahoma lost to K-State, who was 0-1 with a loss to Arkansas State. Following Iowa State? It’s the Red River Rivalry and another Texas-Oklahoma classic. 

Rattler’s got talent. But it takes more than just raw talent to survive in College Football, particularly in the offense-heavy Big 12. Can Riley work his magic once more, or are the Sooners done in 2020?