And here’s Part Two of our look ahead to college football’s Week Six games of the year. If you missed Part One, then CLICK HERE. Among the highlights in this second part include two of the five most important SEC games of the campaign. We’re 52 days away from the Saturday these games are played, but just 15 short days away from the start of the season. These lines courtesy of 5Dimes.
LSU -5.5 vs Florida….Its no secret the SEC West is better than the SEC East. Ever since Tebow left Florida, the East has been without a power team, while the West has had two, if not three, top-5 caliber nationally squads. This year looks no different. The betting public needs a bushel of points, even at the Swamp, to bite on any Florida action. The Gators are in line to be home underdogs for just the fourth time in the last 15 years. Of course, two of those times were a year ago, when the Gators scored just 17 combined points in drubbings at the hands of Alabama and Florida State. Ron Zook didnt last more than three seasons losing games at home as chalk on the reg. How long does Will Muschamp remain if the Gators continue to be outclassed in the Swamp in games the bettors dont even think they’ll win in the first place? Meanwhile, LSU went 8-2 ATS a year ago in games against SEC foes. In Les Miles’ first six seasons in Baton Rouge, the Tigers were just 15-34-4 against the spread in conference games. Hey Les, you just lost the Honeybadger, you’re crazy, so lets suppose some regression to that mean this year, maybe? And, with that butchering, I will take a lap and pledge thats the last Call Me Maybe I’ll make around here.
Arkansas -4.5 at Auburn……for the second week in a row, a John L Smith team is road chalk in an SEC game. That seems wrong. Oddsmakers are trying to tempt me, right? Then again, did you see Auburn play a year ago? I thought they were terrible, especially on D, against better teams. Are those issues ironed out at all? Arkansas should be about as good as last year, but can the offfense and program go a year without impoloding under Smith? Meanwhile, it’s hard to have faith on Auburn being improved from a year ago until I see them play. If you’re forcing me to play their games on any line during the summer, my first images are of the Tigers last year giving up 34 or more points in half of their regular season games.
Georgia -2 at South Carolina…….I caught a replay of the Florida-Georgia game the other night. It reminded me of a few things about the Dawgs. They have a great college quarterback in Aaron Murray. When he’s on, the Dawgs are as explosive as any outfit. He made several big third and fourth down throws in that game as Georgia climbed out of a 17-3 hole to take the lead. But he also has innacurate bouts bogging down the offense. During the meat of the second half in that Florida game when the Dawgs had several chances to put some distance between themselves and the Gators, he misfired on nine straight throws and took a sack, enabling Florida to stay in striking range the whole way. In Michigan terms, he really knows how to sprinkle in a little of 2003 John Navarre with 2002 John Navarre to make things interesting. Their special teams were rotten and need to dramatically improve for a better season. Why did they give up a combined 155 points to Boise, South Carolina, LSU and Michigan State? Mostly because of ill timed poor special team gaffes. In the points allowed category, it crushed an otherwise stellar effort from UGA’s D, which sees nine starters back this year. But the bottomline is those were the best four teams the Dawgs played a year ago, and Georgia lost them all. When its all over this year, this Gamecock squad will again probably be among the top-4 teams Georgia will have played during the campaign, if not the best considering they skip all three expected SEC West heavyweights. I’m going to miss this game in what had become a Week 2, early September SEC East benchmark traditional spot on the calendar. With its new placement in early October, I wouldnt be surprised if its more of a deciding game in this year’s East chase. At the final gun, half of both of their SEC slates will be complete. Thats not a lot of time for the loser to overcome any head-to-head tiebreaker against it after dropping this one. Georgia has to improve on its special teams, but it also has to find away to corral Marcus Lattimore. He’s killed the Dawgs, rushing for 356 yards in the last two games between the two, both South Carolina wins. The Dawg D has had no answer for him, but just how healthy and what level of play is the Gamecock back ready to play in 2012? They’re claiming he’ll be one hundred percent by the start of the season in the wake of ACL surgery. He had at least one vintage Lattimore carry during South Carolina’s scrimmage last weeked.
Ohio State -4.5 vs Nebraska……..We’ve seen Nebraska a lot on the early betting board. They’ve gone from -13.5 to -17 in Week One vs Southern Miss. They’re -7 at UCLA in Week Two and -3 vs Wisconsin in Week Five. Now as they travel to Columbus for this grudge match against the Buckeyes, we see the Cornhuskers installed as an underdog for the first time all season. Being a road dog hasnt been the best of roles for Nebraska. They’re just 6-13 as road dogs over the last decade, including 0-2 a year ago in losses by a combined 59 points to Wisconsin and Michigan. Until he got knocked out of this game a year ago, OSU QB Braxton Miller was on his way to leading to Bucks to a road upset. This game spun out of control against OSU once he got injured and left the game. Both teams enter this game after tough outs in Week Five with OSU travelling to MSU and Nebraska hosting Wisconsin. If a loss here is part of a 2-game losing streak for either team, expect a lot of uneasy feelings amongst the local masses. Could you say I’m rooting for that happen to at least one of those teams? Of course I am. There’s a lot of upside either way for this Michigan fan.