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.

Degeorge’s Takeaways: We Don’t Need The Big 10, and the Big 12 is An Entertaining Joke

What Is The Big 12

I love Big 12 football, and the reason is it is the most unpredictable conference in the Power 5, and possibly all of college football. The consensus best team in the conference, Oklahoma, looked to be cruising against a Kansas State team that lost their opener to Arkansas State. And suddenly the Sooners lose to the Wildcats 38-35, for the second year in a row. Highly touted Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler looked impressive most of the game, but he struggled in crunch time and made big mistakes. He was 30 of 41 for 387 yards and four touchdowns, great stats until you add in three interceptions, with one of them to end the game.

The presumed second-best team, Texas, beat Texas Tech in overtime 63-56, but they needed to come back down 15 points with a little over 3 minutes to play to tie it up, and then an overtime victory. The third best team, Oklahoma State, narrowly won for the second week in a row, this time beating a bad West Virginia team 27-13. And then you have Iowa State beat TCU 37-34, even though signal-caller Brock Purdy threw possibly the worst pick-six I have ever seen. This conference does not play defense, and there offenses just compete to outrun the other down the field.

If I have to pick a favorite right now I would say Baylor because they have experience at quarterback with Charlie Brewer, and they are the only team to play anything resembling defense. Am I confident in picking that? Not at all. The Big 12 right now is like March Madness, I have no conviction with any pick.

If you’re looking for a fun football game, I suggest watching the Big 12. That being said, if you’re looking for good teams who live up to expectations… do not watch.

An All SEC Conference Schedule Is A Bruiser

Mike Leach

In every other power five conference, there are two or three games you know are going to be difficult on your schedule, and the rest you do not generally have to worry about, but that is not the case in the SEC. The SEC West has six teams that any team could lose to on any given day. Alabama and Auburn are brutes, LSU is too talented to ever take for granted, and although Texas A&M has not put it all together, they have too many pieces to be taken lightly. Then theres the wonderful emergence of the Mississippi schools. If any state deserves Mike Leach of Mississippi State and Lane Kiffin – the Lane Train – of Ole Miss, it is Mississippi. Mississippi State knocked off the defending national champions, LSU 44-34, and there quarterback, K.J. Costello, threw for 623 yards, 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, effectively leading Mike Leach’s air-raid offense. Meanwhile, Ole Miss lost 51-35 to Florida, but they played the Gators competitively and really impressed me. Even Arkansas, who lost 37-10 to Georgia, looked competitive, leading the ‘Dawgs 7-5 at halftime.

Yes, we did already know the SEC West is tough, but is the East? Yes. Florida and Georgia are always powerhouses, Tennessee recruits at a high level, but does not seem to put it together, but they can win games. Florida’s offense was pretty much impossible to stop as Kyle Trask threw for six touchdowns. Georgia was slow out of the gate, but they eventually rolled Arkansas with their third-string quarterback, and the Vols gutted out a tough road win at South Carolina. Kentucky lost to Auburn 29-13, but the Wildcats were a couple plays away from a different game. Missouri got wiped by Alabama, but traditional cellar-dweller Vanderbilt only lost 17-12 to Texas A&M, So at best, there are 3-4 easy games. That is a grueling schedule for teams. We always see an SEC team come out undefeated or with one loss, and you know they are a legitimate team, because they need to go past so many dominant squads. If I am an SEC coach, there are not many game nights I would be able to get any sort of sleep.

BIG 10 and PAC 12, WE DO NOT NEED YOU

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I have been clear about my issues with the BIG 10, and I feel the same way about the PAC 12, but they are just followers of the BIG 10, so I will focus my anger on the BIG 10. Hear this loud and clear: we do not need you -and your shortened schedules – coming back. College football this weekend was extremely exciting. The SEC games were well played and interesting, the ACC games were competitive, the Group of Five games were close, and it was good football to watch, while the aforementioned Big 12 games were extremely hilarious and engaging. So Big 10, what gives you the right to jump in late because other conferences figured it out? And then think you can schedule Ohio State vs Michigan on the same day of Army vs Navy. This is a shame, and it is horrible that this was allowed to happen. Army-Navy is an American tradition. It is the only game played on week 16, and has been that way since 2008. This is the reason I boycott the BIG 10, because they do things like this. The average fan will watch Ohio State-Michigan and not Army-Navy. It is a shame for the game and a shame for the country. I will not be watching and I hope anyone who calls themselves a fan of college football will watch Army-Navy, not Ohio State-Michigan. BIG 10, how about you take The Game to the spring, and let us have the season we wanted, without you.

Heisman Tracker: 3 QBs, 1 RB highlight initial Top 4

Each week of the college football season, we will track the ‘leaderboard’ for the Heisman trophy, which will display – in my eyes – the current front runner to win it all, finalist favorites, and a follow-up 6 players who are knocking on the door (semifinalists). For the first few weeks, this board will be a little wacky, as we will not be including players who haven’t played. For instance, although you may love the Kyle Trask Heisman hype, he is 0-0 for 0 yards on the season, and so he has not earned a spot on this leaderboard yet. Undoubtedly, there will be some surprising names in the early weeks, but as the season (hopefully) rolls on, our Heisman tracker should begin to narrow in on the group of favorites.

That being said, here’s the Heisman tracker after the ACC completed its first week of play.

The Finalists

  1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
    This is fair enough. Clemson is ranked #1, and Lawrence threw for 351 yards and 3 touchdowns on an efficient 22/28 effort under center. He projected to be the #1 NFL Draft pick in the 2021 draft, and he’s an insant Heisman contender by being on a team with clear national championship potential.
  2. Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma
    I’m not all-in on Rattler, personally, but his debut was about as good as you could want if you are an Oklahoma fan. Yes, the competition was not stiff, and there are far greater tests ahead. But Rattler looked poised and ready to compete at the collegiate level with 290 yards and four touchdowns while playing just one half of the Sooners’ opener.
  3. Sam Ehlinger, QB, Texas
    Again, I’m not going to go all-in and say “Texas is back” or buy the Ehlinger hype being shoved down my throat by pained yet overconfident Longhorn fans. However, Ehlinger was lights-out against an admittedly horrible UTEP squad in the Texas opener. The Heisman hopeful threw for 426 yards and 5 touchdowns on 25-33 passing.
  4. Kyren Williams, RB, Notre Dame
    As the top performer on one of four top-10 teams to be 1-0, Williams gets the nod as the only non-QB to crack our initial list of Finalists. Williams was all over the field for the Fighting Irish in a 27-1`3 win over Duke. He averaged 5.9 per rush behind a shoddy offensive line performance, notching 112 rushing yards and an additional 93 yards in the passing game. He had two touchdowns and was far and away the best performer for Notre Dame on Saturday.

The Heisman Hopefuls (#5-10)

5. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Stats: 17 carries, 102 yards, 1 TD
3 receptions, 47 yards

6. Brady White, QB, Memphis
Stats: 26-36, 295 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT

7. Joshua Moore, WR, Texas
Stats: 6 catches, 127 yards, 1 TD

8. Cam’Ron Harris, RB, Miami
Stats: 17 carries, 134 yards, 2 TD
4 catches, 10 yards

9. Tyler Allegeier, RB, BYU
Stats: 14 carries, 132 yards, 2 TD

10. Marcus Williams, RB, Appalachian State
Stats: 14 carries, 117 yards, 1 TD

Others Considered

  • Javonte Williams, RB, UNC
  • Malik Cunningham, QB, Louisville
  • Myles Murphy, DE, Clemson

“Get Your Head In The Game” – Weekly Takeaways From Week 1

College Football is back and so are the boys with the weekly recaps of the week 1 action. Although we only saw six games this past Saturday, with a laugher of a contest being played out on Monday, the boys still discussed their takeaways from last weekend’s slate.

Who are players and teams of the week? What did each of our podcast personalities offer as their takeaway of the week? Check out the summary and be sure to listen to our latest episode!

Get Your Head In the Game

In this segment, Nathaniel Lapoint, Cal Christoforo, and Andrew DeGeorge looked at the teams, conferences, or even analysts who didn’t look ready for the season to start this past weekend. Lapoint questioned how safe it is for Navy to play after the epic 55-3 beatdown they suffered at the hands of BYU, while Cal didn’t have kind words for the American conference. DeGeorge wasn’t to keen on analyst Desmond Howard.

Teams of the Week

South Alabama, BYU, and Army all got shoutouts from our podcast personalities. South Alabama picked up their first road win since 2017, BYU throttled Navy, and Army walked all over Middle Tennessee in a season-opening victory.

Players of the Week

Cal and Andrew chose standouts from their teams of the week, as Cal highlighted Tyler Allgeier of BYU, who carried the ball 14 times for 132 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Andrew opted for South Alabama quarterback Desmond Trotter, who put up 299 yards and 2 TD while engineering the stunning win over Southern Miss.
Nathaniel steered away from his team of the week, instead choosing Grant Wells of Marshall, who posted 307 yards and 4 touchdowns under center for the Marshall Thundering Herd in a 59-0 demolotion of Eastern Kentucky.

3 Games That Will Shape Each Power-5 Conference Title Race

Well, the college football season is officially underway, proving many wrong who believed that no games would be played this fall. While there’s still a lot of uncertainty – what happens when games are almost inevitably postponed? SMU and TCU have already called off their September 11th contest due to COVID testing results, and if conference games begin to be afflicted, it could be very difficult to stay on course with a tight window to play the season.

But that’s the pessimistic view. The optimist in me is thrilled we have college football and ready to start taking a look at the conference championship race. In each of the Power-5 conferences, lets take a look at which games will shape the title races.

Big 12

  1. Texas @ Oklahoma State, October 31
  2. Iowa State @ Oklahoma State, October 24
  3. Iowa State @ Texas, November 28

There’s a clear pattern in the three games listed above, as these three squads – Texas, Oklahoma State, and Iowa State – are generally considered the three contenders to face Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship. The Sooners should be in it, even as they break in their third quarterback in three years, so none of their games make the list. The separation from #2-4 in the conference is slim-to-none, so these three games will be absolutely crucial in deciding who gets to challenge the Sooners in the Big 12 championship. In a season with just three Power-5 conferences in play, a 1-loss Big 12 champion is virtually guaranteed a Playoff berth, so if one of these teams can go 2-0 in these games, they give themselves a probable win-and-in situation in the title game.

Just from an early outlook, Oklahoma State is probably the favorite to emerge from this group. Chuba Hubbard is just an absolute monster in the backfield, and the Cowboys return a whopping 19 starters. They host both the Longhorns and the Cyclones, and although home field advantage is diluted this season, it still means something, and if the Cowboys can hold up in back-to-back weeks, with Oklahoma looming just two weeks after the Texas clash, then they could emerge. However, one slip from Oklahoma State, and Texas and Iowa State will be chomping at the bit to take advantage.

A worst-case scenario for the Big 12, is each of these teams knocking each other off and losing to Oklahoma, bringing into play a 2-loss Big 12 champion that may be left out of the CFP, a disastrous look for the conference. \

ACC
1. Notre Dame at UNC, November 27

2. Clemson at Notre Dame, November 7

3. Clemson at Virginia Tech, December 5

Notre Dame is a major factor in these games, as the Irish were a consensus pick to finish 2nd in the conference, but we will see if they can match the hype. They’ve got a November 7th showdown with Clemson that they hope to enter unbeaten. An October 24 road trip to Pitt, who always seem to play Notre Dame tough, may be their toughest obstacle to achieving that goal, and if they get to that point, beating Clemson in South Bend seems like a real possibility. But if they don’t, that will leave the margin for error absolutely razor-thin for Notre Dame, who will be forced to potentially play for a berth in the ACC championship with a late-season road trip to Chapel Hill to take on Sam Howell and the UNC Tar Heels. Can the Fighting Irish pull it off? That game may decide if they have a shot at bringing home their first ever conference championship.

I’m listing the Clemson-ND game as the 2nd game, because it leaves the loser with a series of must-win games. This may seem more perilous for Notre Dame, but Clemson has some tricky games as well. The winner of this game is a virtual lock to be one of the two teams in the ACC Championship. Not to mention, it’s arguably the biggest regular season game of the year.

And finally, I’m listing the season-ending contest between Clemson and Virginia Tech. Blacksburg is not an easy place to play, and the Hokies might look forward to a Senior Day clash with the Tigers. If Clemson has lost a road game to Notre Dame and is caught looking ahead to a rematch with the Irish, Virginia Tech may do more than just step on Clemson’s toes in the season finale. Clemson is definitely the favorite in the ACC, but don’t write their name in the championship game in sharpie just yet.

SEC

  1. Georgia at Florida, November 7
  2. Alabama at LSU, November 14
  3. Georgia at Alabama, October 17

The SEC has the best chance of putting two teams in the College Football Playoff, so making the SEC championship could be a ticket to the postseason. Georgia faces Florida in what is listed as a home game, but it is being played in Jacksonville. The pressure is on Dan Mullen to break through and win the SEC after back-to-back New Year’s 6 bowl victories. Can he make it happen against Kirby Smart and Co? This game, barring any surprises, should decide the SEC East.

Alabama at LSU could very well decide the SEC West. Alabama is hosting the Iron Bowl, which makes this their biggest obstacle to an undefeated season. LSU has been hit hard by opt-outs, but the defending national champs won’t go down without a fight at their home stadium against the Tide. Texas A&M and Auburn are also interesting picks in the division, but ultimately, I believe the West comes down to this battle.

That being said, Alabama has to escape an early-season battle with the Georgia Bulldogs. A loss there puts the Tide on the edge, well before they get to Death Valley. By the same vein, it puts Georgia behind the 8-ball in the SEC East race, so that game will serve as a critical clash en route to deciding who makes it to Atlanta in December.

3 Headlines To Watch In College Football’s Opening Week

Since watching the conclusion of the LSU-Clemson national championship in January, I have watched parts of two college football games. And both have included FCS squad Central Arkansas. Tack that weird informational nugget onto what has been a year in sports like no other. The only FCS teams I watched growing up were my home-state Maine Black Bears, and occasionally the dynastic North Dakota State in the championship game. Yet I’ve watched Central Arkansas, a team that has never made it past the 2nd round of the FCS playoffs, twice in a span of five days.

The sports drought was real.

But, this weekend, we are kind of, almost all the way back. Although this season will lack some top teams and playoff contenders, my recent watching habits indicate that I would gladly watch just about any college football right now. And this Saturday, barring any late postponements, we have 6 full clashes occuring on the gridirion at the FBS level. Although there may be no national title contenders in action this weekend, it’s still a full day of college football. So, if you’re starved for college sports like myself, you’ll at minimum have these games on in the background of your primary Saturday quarantine activities. Might as well know what you’re watching.

A Primetime Quarterback Battle

While we may have to wait another week or two to see some of the popular Heisman candidates take the field, don’t assume there’s a lack of QB talent taking the field this weekend. One of Saturday’s primetime kick-offs slates Brady White and the Memphis Tigers against Layne Hatcher and the Arkansas State Red Wolves. Brady White is absolutely a top-10 quarterback in the country in my opinion, while Hatcher put up a very impressive season in his debut as a starter last year.

Brady White led an explosive Memphis offense last season that seemed to fly under the radar for most of the year. In the Cotton Bowl against Penn State, despite an eventual loss, White torched the Nittany Lions for 454 yards and led Memphis to 39 points, eleven more then Penn State had allowed all season in any one game. He’s back under center, and after a 4,000 yard, 33-touchdown season, I’d rank White inside my Top 10 quarterbacks, and likely as the best Group-of-5 signal-caller entering the 2020 season.

Meanwhile, Hatcher has been very impressive in his own right. After a year at Alabama, Hatcher transferred and started as a redshirt freshman with the Red Wolves. There he tossed 27 touchdowns and over 2900 yards in just ten games. Outside of his first start, a road loss to #3 Georgia, Hatcher threw at least two touchdowns in every game, notching at least four scoring passes in four different contests. He punctuated his season witha 393-yard, four-touchdown performance in the Camellia Bowl. If the Big 10 does not play this season, Hatcher will return as the #1 quarterback in passing efficiency (#3 behind Justin Fields and Tanner Morgan if the B1G season is played). He’s a special talent with likely another couple of college seasons ahead of him. There’s no Power-5 clash this weekend, but if there’s one game you want to watch, make it this one, because this is a pretty sweet QB duel to start off the season.

Can Army Rally Back Into Relevance?

Things were looking bright for Army – a two-season stretch saw the Black Knights go 21-5 with two bowl game victories, with one of those losses an overtime duel with the Oklahoma Sooners. Throw in their 8-5 season in 2016, and it was three straight years of 8+ wins for Army, a stretch they hadn’t matched since 1948-1950. They cracked the top 25, rising to #19, which was their first time in the poll since 1996. When their 2019 campaign started with a win and an overtime loss at Michigan, Army seemed in line for another big year. However, the Black Knights regressed in brutal fashion, fading to 5-8, ending their season with a blowout loss to Navy, ending a three-game winning streak over the Midshipmen.

There was some bad fortune involved in Army’s tailspin last season, as they lost five straight games, with three of the defeats by one possession, and none by more than nine points. When their offense was rolling, their defense couldn’t get a stop, such as in their 42-33 defeat to Tulane, or 34-29 loss to San Jose State. When the defense stiffened, the offense looked like a limp noodle, scorinng a combined 21 points in losses to Western Kentucky and Air Force.

My belief is that Jeff Monken is too good a head coach to let that type of season define what has ultimately been a successful tenure with the Black Knights. Jabari Laws is likely to take the reigns under center, and he looked good in his brief showings last year, going 16-20 for 311 yards. He also averaged 6.4 yards per carry on the ground as Army’s fourth-leading rusher. He’l be a key to Army having a resurgent year in the Covid-shortened season.

Army kicks off their season on Saturday against Middle Tennessee at 1:30. It’ll be the first clash of the day involving both FBS teams. The Blue Raiders saw a four-year bowl game streak come to an end last season, but they also haven’t put up 10 wins in a season since 2009. I like Army to come out and make as much of a statement as they can in their home opener.

Is SMU a NY6 Contender?

SMU, led by quarterback Shane Buechele, may have one of the most lethal offenses in the country. The Mustangs soared to a 10-3 record last season, their first 10-win campaign since 1984. They start their 2020 season with a battle against Texas State. The Bobcats haven’t had a winning season since 2014, and they finished 3-9 last season, but Saturday’s game isn’t just about the result for the Mustangs. SMU is a darkhorse contender for the Group of 5’s guaranteed berth in a New Year’s 6 bowl game, and this game, albeit not against the stiffest of competition, could give us an idea of how legitimate those lofty hopes may be.

SMU averaged 41.8 points per game last year, ranking 7th in the country, but their defense struggled, allowing over 33 points per contest. Buechele threw for nearly 4000 yards and 34 touchdowns, and he returns to lead the Mustangs into battle this season. He will need to help SMU navigate a tricky AAC, which boasts UCF, Memphis, and Cincinnati – all dangerous programs with New Year’s 6 aspirations. The Mustangs will need to be firing on all cylinders to escape that conference with one loss or less, so it’s important for them to get off to the right start on Saturday.

Degeorge: FCS ON ESPN? Takeaways From College Football’s Wild Season Opener

The 2020 season kicked off Saturday with the Austin Peay Governors versus the Central Arkansas Bears. The game was played at a neutral site – the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama. Central Arkansas won 24-17. This game was whacky from the start; The football was sloppy, which is always expected in the first game of the season, especially with a shortened offseason and so much uncertainty around the season. The first play of the game was a 75-yard touchdown run by CJ Evans Jr. of the Governors. This game showed why we all love college football. Although the play was sloppy, it was still a thrilling game that had viewers on the edge of there seats.

Central Arkansas

Breylin Smith, QB- 26/49, 283 yards passing, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, -9 yards rushing, 1 fumble lost

Kierre Crossley, RB,- 12 carries, 110 yards, 1 touchdown

Cameron Myers, RB- 13 carries, 76 yards, 0 touchdowns

Tyler Hudson, WR- 5 receptions, 82 yards, 0 touchdowns

Lujuan Winningham, WR- 6 receptions, 80 yards, 1 touchdown

Central Arkansas came into the game as 4.5 point favorites. In an early season game, I predicted the team that turned the ball over the most would lose. Surprisingly, this was not the case, as the Bears lost the turnover battle 3-2, but still pulled out a thrilling victory. Junior quarterback Breylin Smith, who was outstanding last season, was not that sharp, particularly in the early going for Central Arkansas. Entering the contest, Smith was my key factor coming into this game because of the experience and body of work he has. He did not put forth his best performance, but I really credit the Bears’ coaching staff because they did not abandon the passing attack, and they tried to get Smith high percentage throws to shake the rust off.

I will especially credit Smith with performing like a good, experienced quarterback down the stretch – he kept throwing and continued to get better as the game went on. Also, with the game on the line, wow was he clutch. He hit Winningham in the end zone with 37 seconds left to score the game winning touchdown. He also made two big throws to Tyler Hudson on the game-winning drive. Smith’s performance was comparable him to a pitcher who did not have their best stuff, but battles to get a win. He was not very accurate or consistent throughout the game, but he stayed out of pressure, kept battling, and did what he had to do to keep his team in the game. And when it was crunch time, he was absolutely money.

I also want to highlight Hudson and Winningham. The Bears have some FBS-level talent at receiver in this duo. They were both phenomenal and are big time athletes. Meanwhile, the defense stepped up in a big way, limiting the Governors to 10 points after that initial 75-yard gutpunch to start the game. Evans was held to 23 yards on 9 more carries, while the Bears forced Austin Peay quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall into an ugly 14-31 performance, with an interception and fumble. All-in-all, I was very impressed with the talent and the grit of the Bears, pulling out a tough win in a nationally televised game, kicking off what is sure to be a strange and unique 2020 season. Central Arkansas has a short week with a game at UAB on Thursday, September 3rd. I look forward to see what they can do against a high level Conference USA team.

Austin Peay Key Stats

Jeremiah Oatsvall, QB- 14/31, 181 yards passing, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception, 37 yards rushing, 1 touchdown, 1 lost fumble

CJ Evans Jr, RB- 10 carries, 98 yards, 1 touchdown

Brian Snead, RB- 13 carries, 43 yards, 0 touchdowns

Jay Parker, WR- 3 receptions, 55 yards, 0 touchdowns

BIG 12 Power Rankings, Award Predictions

Power Rankings

1: Oklahoma

  • To be the man, you gotta beat the man. And until they’re dethroned, the Sooners remain #1 here. To stay there, they’ll hope Spencer Rattler becomes the latest QB prodigy under Lincoln Riley, and playmakers aplenty populate the skill positions in Norman. They have plenty of talent to work with, and the Sooners should feature a loaded offense in 2020.

2: Oklahoma State

  • Chuba Hubbard is an absolute monster out of the backfield, and they may just have the offense around him to keep pace in the Big 12 this season. Quarterback Spencer Sanders was solid last season and looks to take another step forward, while his favorite receiver, Tylan Wallace, opted for another year wih the Cowboys.

3: Texas

  • Sam Ehlinger starts the season as the best quarterback in the big 12, although the development of Spencer Rattler for Oklahoma may change that. His Longhorns may not be ‘back’ just yet, as Texas looks good, but not great. The offense should be pretty good, but their defense that averaged over 30 points allowed per game must improve for the Longhorns to compete for a title.

4: Kansas State

  • Debuting a new coach last season, Kansas State went 8-5 and beat Oklahoma. They have to replace some production in the trenches, but Skylar Thompson is a fairly consistent quarterback not prone to making many mistakes. He should keep the Wildcats in a lot of ballgames.

5: Baylor

  • After nearly making the Playoff a year ago, Baylor figures to take a step back this season. They lost coach Matt Rhule to the NFL, They gave up under 20 points a game in the Big 12 – an extremely impressive feat. Their defense lost a lot of production (9 of their 11 top tacklers) but they return Charlie Brewer under center and have some intriguing offensive talent to keep them competitive in 2020.

6: Iowa State

  • Brock Purdy took a slight step back last season, but he remains a top-tier quarterback within this conference. Iowa State didn’t lose a single game by more than 10 points in the regular season last year, losing by more than 1 possession just once, losing five games by an average of 4.2 points. If they can turn some of those tight losses into wins, they’ll be improving on this 6th-place ranking.

7: Texas Tech

  • Texas Tech will hope to win a lot games 52-49, or by other similar scorelines. They return a lot of offensive talent from their 4-8 team a year ago, but they also lost lot of pieces from a defense that was already giving up a whopping 7.2 yards per play.

8: Texas Christian

  • TCU has struggled recently after a solid stretch of success in the middle years of the decade. Freshman 5-star running back Zach Evans could make an impact this season, and their defense appears to be solid, if not great. Solid defense can be good enough to win in the Big 12, if the offense is clicking, so the Horned Frogs will need to get their retooled offense up to speed pretty quickly with a conference-only schedule ahead.

9: Kansas

  • Not last – what a shocker here for the Jayhawks! Kansas showed marginal improvement in the debut season of Les Miles, including encouraging wins against Boston College and Texas Tech. They also lost 10 seniors off their defense and will be breaking in a new starter at quarterback. Running back Pooka Williams should be the bread and butter of Miles’ offensive scheme, and we’ll see if he can bring the Jayhawks a win or two.

10: West Virginia

  • West Virginia averaged only 19.6 points per game last season. In the air-raid, offense-heavy Big 12, that’s just not going to cut it. They could improve on that mark, with Jarret Doege returning under center and a promising group of receivers complementing him in the offense. However, the ground game is a major question mark after averaging just 2.63 yards per pop last season, so retooling the backfield and offensive line will be a must for the Mountaineers, if they are to stay competitive in any way shape, or form in 2020.

Offensive Player of the Year

Spencer Rattler- Quarterback, Oklahoma

  • Chuba Hubbard won this award last season, breaking a string of four straight Oklahoa players. Rattler is a 5-star recruit and figures to be an absolute stud in Lincoln Riley’s system. Far be it from us to start doubting Riley’s QB-whispering abilities now.
Peach Bowl

Defensive Player of the Year

Caden Sterns- Safety, Texas

  • Picking this award can feel like a crapshoot in a conference that routinely sees absolute slugfests, with both teams rising over 30 or 40 points. Stearns is an intriguing pick here, as he will have to be a leader for a Texas secondary that must improve if the Longhorns are to finally breakthrough.

Coach of the Year

Mike Gundy- Oklahoma State

The Cowboys haven’t made the Big 12 title game since it was re-instated in 2017, as 20`16 was the last year they finished top-2 in the conference. They haven’t taken home a Big 12 title since 2011, but they have as much promise as they’ve had in recent memory. Gundy came under fire this offseason for wearing a controverisal T-shirt in public, an act that was called out by some of his own players. If he can regain control of the locker room and get the Cowobys to the Big 12 championship, he is very deserving of this award.

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy takes the field prior to an NCAA college football game in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)

Championship Game

Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State

Oklahoma wins 42- 31

  • To be the man, ya gotta beat the man. And it’s not happening this year. Boomer. Sooner.

Preseason 2020 ACC Power Rankings

  1. Clemson
    The Tigers are the consensus favorite in the ACC. With Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne returning, their offense is loaded. Their defense lost a lot of pieces, but Dabo Swinney’s program usually reloads, rather than rebuild. The arrival of Notre Dame in the ACC gives them a stiffer challenge in-conference, but Clemson is certainly the team to beat here. 
  2. Notre Dame
    Notre Dame should be shooting for a conference championship appearance in what is likely their only year  – for now – in the ACC. They are widely assumed to be Clemson’s top challenger. Ian Book enters this third year as starter and 2nd complete one. They’ll need to rebuild their wide receiver corps, but the freshman playmakers have looked good in practice early for the Irish. 
  3. Florida State
    I’ll give the Seminoles a little of respect here. I think they’re not necessarily a championship contender, but I think FSU will put forth a better team than many expect. Cohesiveness has seemingly been the issue as of late, as they continue to rake in impressive recruiting classes. Next to Clemson, they have the 2nd-best recruiting in the ACC (including Notre Dame) over the past five years. They’ve had on-field struggles recently, but their talent is too tantalizing not to bet on. 
  4. Miami
    Much of what was said for Florida State can be said for Miami as well. The Hurricanes have disappointed on the field, but they continue to rake in pretty elite recruiting classes. With transfer quarterback D’Eriq King under center, the Hurricanes might be able to inject some life into their offense and put together a solid season. Prior to the merging of the divisions and addition of Notre Dame, Miami was my pick to reach the ACC Championship as a token sacrifice to Clemson. 
  5. Virginia Tech
    In my opinion, there’s a pretty decent drop off in talent after the top four teams in these rankings. Virginia Tech is a solid program, but their recruiting just does not compare with that of the aforementioned teams. They return arguably the most production of a defense that was pretty good in 2019. The Hokies looked very good for a 7-game stretch last year, that saw them go 6-1 with a one-point road loss to Notre Dame. I think this is a 7-8 win team if they play to their full potential. 
  6. UNC
    Count me in as a UNC-doubter. This ranking has little to do with Sam Howell. I think he leads an absolutely lethal offense, one I would probably rank 2nd to Clemson in the conference. Their defense should be pretty good, although maybe not the strength of their roster. I don’t think they’ll be bad by any stretch, and if a few bounces go their way, I could see the Tar Heels being a darkhorse challenger for a berth in the ACC Championship. But ultimately, I’m not positive this is UNC’s year just yet…it feels too early. 
  7. Pittsburgh
    Placing the Panthers smack in the middle of the power rankings feels about right. They are always pretty good and rarely terrible, but Pitt will rarely wow you with starpower. That being said, they can generally be counted on to be a feisty underdog, which makes them an undesirable opponent. I see this Pitt as exactly that – a solid roster with a defense I would argue may be a top-3 unit in the conference, and an intriguing offense led by NFL Draft prospect Kenny Pickett. 5-6 wins sound about right for Pitt, but you can be sure nobody will be exactly thrilled at the prospect of matching up with the Panthers. 
  8. Louisville
    This may be a tad low for the Cardinals, but I’m just not seeing Louisville take another big step forward after greatly improving their 2-10 mark in 2018 to 8-5 and a Music City Bowl victory last season. I don’t think they’ll be bad necessarily, but I think the Cards peak at around 6 ACC wins this season. Malik Cunningam is a talented quarterback, but I have questions elsewhere on the roster. The Cardinals avoid Clemson and face Virginia, Syracuse, Boston College, and Wake Forest to end the season, but the first half of their schedule involves a road trip to Notre Dame and clashes with Miami and Florida State. It’ll be tough road, and I’m thinking it’s a 5 or 6-win season in ACC play for Louisville. 
  9. Syracuse
    Some ACC rankings have Cuse as the worst team in the conference, and I don’t see it. They’re a year removed from a 6-2 ACC record, and while that may have been a one-off, I don’t see last year’s 2-6 record as a new normal. They lost two games by one score and one of their wins was an absolute slaughter of Duke in Durham, 49-6. I think Syracuse at least comes close to .500 this year. They’ll need Tommy Devito to play better under center, but the Orange look average, but not horrifically bad on both sides of the ball, so I’m seeing 4 or 5 wins for Syracuse in 2020. 
  10. Duke
    This won’t be a season to remember from the Blue Devils. Last season, they started 4-2 but then dropped five straight conference games last season, winning their Senior Day game over a floundering Miami team. I think it’s another tough road for the Blue Devils, who start with a road trip to Notre Dame on September 12. They have possibly the worst offense in the conference, as they still haven’t found answers in the post-Daniel Jones era, so it’s hard seeing much more than 2 or 3 wins from Duke in 2020. 
  11. Georgia Tech
    Georgia Tech is a team that I think may be sneakily good in a few years. But not this season. The Yellow Jackets are still moving on from the triple option, and they don’t have the playmakers to compete with many of the spread offenses that are taking over college football. Much like Duke, Georgia Tech should be happy if they exceed three wins in 2020, particularly with clashes against Notre Dame, Clemson, Florida State and Miami – three of which come on the road. 
  12. Virginia
    The Cavaliers became the 7th different ACC Coastal Champion is as many seasons last year, finally toppling archrival Virginia Tech en route to a 9-3 regular season. They finished with a ACC title game loss and Orange Bowl loss, but it was still their most wins since 2007, and first appearance in a major bowl game since a 1998 loss in the Peach Bowl. This year, however, with do-it-all quarterback Bryce Perkins off to the NFL, there’s a lot of questions about Virginia’s offense, and I’m not sure their defense has enough pieces returning to make up for it. I could potentially see Virginia stealing 4 wins, but I don’t think they’re better than Tech or Duke –  they just have an easier schedule.  
  13. NC State
    With Wake Forest, Duke, Virginia, and Georgia Tech all on the schedule, it seems unlikely that NC State can’t scratch out a win in 2020 – even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. But I don’t see the Wolfpack getting much more than that. After five straight winning seasons, NC State regressed to 4-8 last season, and I’m seeing another step back. They have a case for having the worst defense in the ACC, and their offense doesn’t raise any eyebrows. 1, maybe 2 wins for the Wolfpack in 2020. 
  14. Boston College
    I’m a believer in Jeff Hafley and that he can turn around the BC program. But not in Year 1. A team that has been mediocre at best returns a quarterback that had a 48% completion rate in 2019 in Dennis Grosel, and they lost A.J. Dillon to the draft in the 2nd round. Notre Dame transfer Phil Jurkovec may take the starting reigns under center, but I’m reserving judgement as he as only thrown 17 meaningless passes in his career. BC also were a huge loser of the ACC schedule expansion, as Wake Forest was taken off their schedule, taking away a potential victory for the Eagles. Maybe Jurkovec plays better than he ever did in trying to win the QB battle at Notre Dame, but I’m not seeing many Ws on this schedule for the Eagles.
  15. Wake Forest
    Losing Jamie Newman to the transfer portal is a brutal loss for Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons will struggle to replace their star dual-threat quarterback, and much like Boston College, they were disappointed to see their fellow cellar-dweller removed from the schedule. If I had to bet the house on 1 ACC team going winless, it would definitely be the Demon Deacons.

SEC Hot Takes: 1 Bold Prediction For Each Team

As many colleges across the country attempt to resume in-person classes – with varying degrees of success so far – at least 6 conferences are continuing their plans to start up the 2020 college football season, with the ACC slated to start kicking off the action on September 12. The SEC and Big 12, the other Power-5 conferences still intending to play, plan to start their schedules two weeks later. So as the clock ticks down – hopefully to the first day of games, let’s take a look at bold predictions for each SEC team, with one for a player and one team-based pick.

Alabama Crimson Tide: Finish 10-0, Najee Harris finishes in Heisman top-10, wins OPOY

I think Alabama enters the 2020 season as the favorite to take home the SEC title. Undoubtedly their toughest test comes with a trip to Death Valley and the defending national champions, but I’m not ready to say that one crazy dominant season makes LSU a favorite over a team that owned them for the entire decade. I think Alabama also takes care of business at home against a Georgia team that needs to prove their offense can support a defense that is sure to be dominant. 10-0 and another SEC championship and CFP appearance for the Tide.

Individually, Najee Harris enters this season as undoubtedly one of the best running backs in the country. I’m only putting him in the top 10 because running backs don’t get a lot of Heisman love, and Clemson running back Travis Etienne will likely steal votes from harris.

Arkansas Razorbacks: Win a conference game, Rakeem Boyd leads the SEC in rushing yards

The Razorbacks got royally screwed over by the additions to their conference schedule, and while they certainly didn’t add any wins by adding a couple of top-10 teams to their schedule, I still think Arkansas finally picks up a conference victory this season. In a normal season, I probably wouldn’t make that call, but heavily reduced or nonexistant crowds will make homefield advantages much less noticeable, so I like Arkansas’s chances at winning a crossover game versus Missouri in their penultimate game.

Boyd returns as the focall point of the Arkansas offense and the third-best returning rusher in the conference. Whether he can outpace Kylin Hill of Mississippi State and Harris of Alabama remains to be seen, but I like Boyd to rack up more touches simply due to the fact that his team has the worst passing attack of those three squads.

Auburn Tigers: Finish .500, KJ Britt has 7+ Sacks

I’m not high on Auburn this year at all. Trip to Alabama and Georgia just smell like big losses to me, while hosting LSU won’t be a picnic. I’m a little higher on Texas A&M than normal, and I like Ole Miss as my darkhorse team in the SEC, so toss in a pair of upset losses, and Auburn’s general inconsistency, and I don’t see the Tigers as a contender in the SEC.

Britt is the key piece of the Auburn defense, and he notched 3.5 sacks while playing in the shadow of 7th-overall pick Derrick Brown last season. I like Britt to double his total despite the shortened schedule. He’ll be a force to watch on the defensive line.

Florida Gators: Lose 3 of first 4 games, Kyle Trask leads the SEC in passing \

I really thought the SEC East might see a new champion at first, but upon further analysis, I’m just not confident the Gators are ready to compete. I also think they start their schedule in brutal fashion. A game I originally listed as a trap game – at Ole Miss – was bumped up to their season opener, and they also travel to Texas A&M and host LSU in the back to back weeks. It’s a gauntlet to start the year, as I think the Rebels surprise the Gators, and the Aggies take advantage of Trask and Co. looking ahead to their duel with the defending champs, who will also take care of business. Florida will go 5-1 after that start, but it won’t be nearly enough for an appearance in the SEC Championship.

I think due to the fact that Florida is trying to take the next step, and that they lost their top running back, Kyle Trask will be asked to do a lot more for this offense in 2020. With the aforementioned brutal schedule, I anticipate Trask to be throwing the ball a lot in come-from-behind situations, and I think he racks up significant yardage. He’s the top returning SEC quarterback in passing efficiency, so I definitely high on Trask, if not the Gators as a whole unit.

Georgia Bulldogs: 9-1 SEC East champions, Lecounte has 5 INT

Georgia continues their run of success in the SEC East post Jake Fromm, recovering from the departure of their quarterback and top two running backs to go 9-1. A road loss to Alabama will mark their only loss in the regular season, but their CFP hopes will be dashed by a second loss to the Tide in the SEC title game clash. The Bulldogs will ride their defense, which was one of the best units in the country last season and returns about 80% of their production.

Leading that defense will be Lecounte. I’m not ready to say he will be DPOY, but I think he improves on last year’s total of 4 interceptions, picking off five passes in 2020. He’s an absolute force in the secondary, and should be terrorizing opposing quarterbacks this season.

Kentucky Wildcats: Under .500 record, Jamar Watson leads the SEC in sacks

Kentucky may have a pretty great defense entering 2020, but I’m simply not sold on their offense, and I think their schedule is far too tough to merit prediction more than 3 or 4 wins this year. Road trips to Auburn, Alabama, and Florida will prove brutally difficult, while hosting Georgia. Those games alone make me think Kentucky’s ceiling is 6-4, but I’m also calling losses at Tennessee and vs. Ole Miss to drop them below .500 for the year.

Jamar Watson was tied for sixth in the SEC in sacks with 6.5 – I think he pushes for double digits in 2020 and leads the SEC. Statistically, it’s unlikely, but I think Watson is an absolute beast on a defense that will need to carry Kentucky if the Wildcats have any hope this coming season.

LSU Tigers: Start off 6-0, Derek Stingley wins DPOY

LSU faces as much of a cakewalk of a schedule as you can get in the SEC West, with their crossover games coming against Vanderbilt, Missouri, South Carolina, and Florida. Outside of the Gators, that’s a pitiful collection of opponents, and I truly think LSU is the 2nd-best team in the SEC entering this season. They will start 6-0 with big wins at Florida and Auburn, before dropping their clash with Alabama. Ultimately, I’m seeing a 9-1 record for the Tigers and a potential case for a CFP berth at the end of the season.

Stingely is a freakishly goo dathlete, and there’s talk of him playing two ways in 2021. That could be accelerated to this year, if LSU runs into depth issues caused by quarantines, leading them to utilize one of their stars on both sides of the ball. However, even if he’s just used defensively, I think Stingley is one of the best players in the SEC, and he led the conference with 6 picks last season. I think he’s a major asset for a very good LSU defense and earns him DPOY honors.

Mississippi State Bulldogs: Winless on the road, CJ Morgan collects 3 interceptions

Mississippi State’s brutal road slate includes games at LSU, Alabama, and Georgia, which should be three automatic losses for the Bulldogs. I don’t think they have the offense to take down Kentucky on the road, and I think the end the year with an Egg Bowl loss to Ole Miss. It’ll be a tough path to ganering many victories in 2020, but home games versus Arkansas, Missouri, and Vanderbilt offer hope that wins are there for the taking.

I think CJ Morgan takes a step up this season for the Bulldogs, after he broke up eight passes and picked off one in 2019. Look for him to continue to grow as a main contributor for the Mississippi State defense, snaring at least three picks in 2020.

Missouri Tigers: No Wins by more than 7 points, Tyler Badie has 700+ receiving yards

Missouri has a schedule with pleny of opportunities to pick up victories, but I’m not confident if they have the ability to capitalize. I don’t think this team is dynamically strong enough to run away from any team in the conference.

Tyler Badie looks likely to emerge as Missouri’s #1 receiver in a corps that is full of question marks. Look for Badie to emerge as a leader of the offense, becoming a go-to guy on third downs for the Tigers.

Ole Miss Rebels: Winning Record, Plumlee posts a 2000/1000 stat line

Ole Miss is my favorite darkhorse pick in 2020, and I think they have a ceiling of 7 wins, so I’m going to pick them to come close that, either matching it or going 6-4 for a winning record in SEC play. They’ll take care of business against the teams they need to, and then I like the dynamic John Rhys Plumlee to lead this Ole Miss offense to victory in one or two upsets this season.

Speaking of Plumlee, I think he’s the best dual-threat quarterback in the conference, although he needs to improve his efforts in the passing game. I think Plumlee carries the Ole Miss offense and puts up huge numbers, particularly on the ground, en route to 2000 passing yards and 1000 rushing yards in 2020.

South Carolina Gamecocks: Start off 3-1, Mon Denson rushes for 800 yards

I think South Carolina is a .500 team in 2020, and they’ll make most of their progress towards those five wins in the early portion of their schedule. They’ll lose to Florida in Week 2, but take down Tennessee and Vanderbilt, before topping Auburn at home in what may essentially be their “Super Bowl” game. The Gameocks woun’t challenge for the SEC East title, likely finishing third or fourth in the division, but they’ll have at least a strong start to the season.

Mon Denson ran for just 232 yards last season, but his impressive average of over 5 yards per carry, combined with the potential for an increased workload in 2020, make him a prime breakout candidate. He’ll give South Carolina arun game that can be at least respected, giving quarterback Ryan Hilinksi more of a chance on play action passes.

Tennessee Volunteers: No losing streaks longer than 2 games, Guarantano posts 3:1 TD to INT ratio

I think Tennessee’s time may be coming, but the boys in Knoxville are not quite back yet. The Vols look like a 4-5 win team in 2020, but I think they’ll at least stay consistent and avoid skids that could completely tank their season. Look for Tennessee to go 2-3 both before and after their bye week en route to a mediocre season all the way around.

Jarrett Guarantano doesn’t scream elite when it comes to SEC quarterbacks, but I like his numbers to at least take a small jump in 2020. He put up 16 TDs and 8 INT last year, so let’s account for the shortened season and say 15 touchdowns, 5 interceptions this season for the Tennessee signal-caller.

Texas A&M Aggies: 8-2 record, Kellen Mond throws 20 TD

Unfortunately for the Aggies, in a loaded SEC West, this prediction will only land them a third place finish in the division, but I think Texas A&M finally deserves some of the preseason hype they get. The Aggies were notably ranked #5 in Phil Steele’s preseason rankings, and while I’m not sure I’d have put Texas A&M that high with every conference in play, I think Steele was onto something. A&M will struggle to put away LSU or Alabama, but they should certainly able to win their other eight games.

Kellen Mond threw for 20 TD, and I think he improves his numbers this season, which esentially means he should cut down on the 9 interceptions from last season and throw another twenty touchdowns in a shortened season.

Vanderbilt Commodores: Winless, Andre Mintze has 5 sacks

I just don’t see Vanderbilt winning a game. I’ve looked at the schedule frontways, backwards, upside down, and inside out, and I don’t see a win there for the Commdoores. They’re going 0-10 this season, as their fans go into hibernation until baseball season.

Defense should be the better side of the ball for Vanderiblt in 2020, and I like Andre Mintze to record five sacks, cracking the Top 10 in the SEC in that statistic.