SEC Week 12 predictions (and bets)
If you love watching some ugly, non-competitive football games, this weekend’s SEC slate is for you! This is by far the worst weekend of matchups the SEC will have this season, which is typically the case annually leading into rivalry weekend.
A few games on the slate feature games against FCS opponents, which don’t feature nationally recognized point spreads, so we won’t be picking those games this week. Those games are Alabama vs. The Citadel, Florida vs. Idaho and South Carolina vs. Chattanooga.
Michael went 5-2 against the spread last weekend, improving his season record to 48-29-1. Chris tried his very best but managed to go 2-5 last weekend. His season total now drops to 35-42-1.
Chris offered up this special foreword along with his Week 12 selections:
There are two weeks to go in the season I would like to concede to my colleague Michael Wayne Bratton this season. While part of me wants to lash out irrationally at being unlucky because of a few backdoor covers and/or Nick Brossette pulling a Todd Gurley last week at Arkansas, I will be an adult and admit defeat. MWB killed it this entire season, so congrats on a job well done sir. Tip of the cap!
Great, now I feel bad for mocking Chris’ picks up above. Oh well. On to the trusted predictions as well as Marler’s.
Here’s how the guys predict the Week 12 games in the SEC:
UMass at Georgia (-41.5)
Michael: This late in the season, I always lean toward taking this many points, regardless of the teams playing. The letdown factor is very real in these matchups and there’s really no way to tell how significant a factor that will be heading into games sandwiched between an SEC game and a rivalry game. How soon will Kirby Smart empty his bench? How much playing time will Justin Fields get in this one? This would be an ideal time to get freshmen some reps and rest up some key players for the season finale and upcoming SEC Championship Game.
Georgia 48 UMass 7
Chris: UMass is allowing 40.8 points per game, but they’re also pretty impressive in the passing game. I expect the Dawgs to literally be called off pretty early in this one to rest after 3 straight games vs. ranked opponents and a “rivalry” game vs. Georgia Tech next weekend. I think UGA will win big, but I’ll take UMass to cover late.
Georgia 52 UMass 14
Missouri (-5.5) at Tennessee
Michael: Tennesse turned in a performance I clearly didn’t see coming last weekend by destroying Kentucky and taking one step closer to making a bowl. Thankfully for the Vols, they have two games remaining and need to win only one of them to reach postseason play as the matchup against Missouri isn’t a good one for this Tennessee team. While Kentucky proved to be too one-dimensional to threaten Tennessee, Missouri is the exact opposite. Drew Lock may get all the hype from outside observers but Mizzou features a run game that has managed to challenge every team on the schedule outside of Alabama. Barry Odom’s defense also features an underrated defensive line that could potentially wreak havoc for Tennessee’s offensive line. Come Saturday, we will see something rarely experienced in history, Derek Dooley’s team winning in Neyland Stadium.
Missouri 30 Tennessee 20
Chris: It kinda feels like Vegas is begging for you to take Tennessee with this many points after that big win vs. Kentucky last week. Also, outside of the Florida win, Missouri has been pretty terrible away from home under Barry Odom going 5-10 in three years. Last week I misspoke when I said Jarrett Guarantano had thrown the fewest INTs in the SEC, as I meant that Tennessee had the fewest as a team. This week my mistake became a reality as JG again played mistake-free through the air and is now tied with Tua for the fewest in the league with two. He’s been very impressive all season, and we all know how bad Mizzou can be on the road. However, I’ll take Barry Odom to continue his November hot streak of six straight wins if for no other reason than spite since my man Michael Wayne Bratton is a Vols fan. Haha.
Missouri 28 Tennessee 20
Middle Tennessee at Kentucky (-16)
Michael: Kentucky is a disastrous performance away from losing much of the respect it had gained this season with tough, physical play featuring a chip on their shoulder. That chip has disappeared in recent weeks and if the Wildcats don’t gain it back in a hurry, there’s a chance MTSU comes into Lexington and pulls off a stunning upset. One of the things I’ll have my eye on in this game is the performance of Benny Snell. His production has fallen off a cliff over the last month and following his latest performance, he called out the effort of many of his teammates. How will they respond to that public lashing? While I’m not ready to go that far and predict the outright upset, I’m picking MTSU to get the cover this weekend.
Kentucky 21 Middle Tennessee State 16
Chris: This is tough because it’s hard to know where Kentucky’s head will be at after two straight losses. Will they continue to roll over and give up? Or, will they refocus and finish the season on a strong note? I don’t like how bad their defense has played the last few weeks giving up an average of 428 yards in each game. However, it’s Senior day and I can’t see Josh Allen and this Senior class going out on a bad note. I think UK gets back on track and covers against the worst mascot in all of the FBS.
Kentucky 34 Middle Tennessee State 13
Liberty at Auburn (-28)
Michael: I honestly was unaware that Liberty was an FBS team until this moment. As sad as that may be, the fact that Auburn is only a four-touchdown favorite over this team has to be far more depressing for Tiger fans that entered the season with extremely high expectations for this team. While I’ve been down on Auburn all season long, I was genuinely impressed with the performance they put up on the road in Athens. That effort was in vain, of course, as the Tigers fell by 17 points to Georgia and I won’t be the least bit surprised if that loss stings the Tigers for two consecutive weeks. Don’t be shocked if Liberty hangs in this one for a half.
Auburn 24 Liberty 14
Chris: Liberty has the best name in all of college football on their roster – QB Buckshot Calvert, and they’ve beaten a Power 5 team on the road before when they beat Baylor last season. However, their defense is giving up over 500 ypg and almost 40 ppg. Surely Gus Malzahn can find a way to score points on Liberty, right? Well, he’s going to have to if he wants to save some face because those points aren’t coming next week vs. Alabama that’s for sure.
Auburn 48 Liberty 17
UAB at Texas A&M (-17)
Michael: All the advanced stats say UAB has a legitimate defense and Jimbo Fisher has certainly been building them up all week leading up to this game. The issue here is that UAB has gotten so much respect, there’s little chance the Aggies overrate them this week. The Blazers may be the best story in the country but they don’t have any athletes that could play for Texas A&M. Look for the Aggies to deliver a statement win of sorts, at least as much of one as an SEC team can have playing against a C-USA opponent, this weekend.
Texas A&M 30 UAB 7
Chris: UAB is the feel-good story of the college football season. They’re 9-1 and 8-2 ATS on the season after not even having a program 2 years ago. Also, statistically they have one of the best defenses in the country giving up 13.2 ppg and well under 300 ypg. The only bad news? Jimbo knows all of that too, and is now 28-5 in the month of November as a head coach. UAB’s starting QB has half as many TDs (7) as their starting RB does (14). That’s not the way to score on this Aggie defense who I think will be focused on the Blazers and not LSU next week.
Texas A&M 28 UAB 10
Arkansas at Mississippi State (-20.5)
Michael: Arkansas is terrible and this season can’t end soon enough for Razorback fans. That being said, their team continues to fight to the best of their abilities for Chad Morris. After failing to move the ball for three quarters last weekend, Arkansas kept fighting in the rough Fayetteville environment and put up a rally that had to have put in at least a scare for the Tigers. While Mississippi State’s defense isn’t going to allow the Razorbacks to have much success at all, with that unit coming off the Alabama game and Arkansas coming off a performance against a defense similarly talented, I like the Razorbacks to have some success in this game. Mississippi State wins but won’t cover.
Mississippi State 27 Arkansas 10
Chris: Arkansas continues to play better over the 2nd half of the season, and 21 points seems like a lot considering Mississippi State is dead last in the SEC in scoring offense (11.2 ppg) vs. conference opponents this season. However, Ty Storey has thrown a total of one TD in road games this season. I think Mississippi State comes out angry after last week and wins big at home.
Mississippi State 30 Arkansas 7
Rice at LSU (-42)
Michael: Of all the odd matchups on the board this week, this one is one of my favorites. While Rice ranks 129th in the nation (out of 130) according to the S&P+ rankings, I’m not sure LSU will even get to 42 points in this game. Even if the Tigers open up with a ton of points out of the gate, I anticipate LSU will empty the bench before long in this one with a big Texas A&M game looming the following weekend. LSU will obviously win comfortably but not by 42 or more.
LSU 45 Rice 7
Chris: I’m still not over what happened on the goal line last weekend at Arkansas, so maybe part of me doesn’t want to pick LSU to cover due to bitterness and resentment. Plus, 42 points seems like a lot for a team that’s scored over 40 points just once this entire season. However, Rice has lost 10 straight games, and this is a night game in Death Valley. I’ll take Coach O and the Tigers.
LSU 51 Rice 7
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt (-3.5)
Michael: I’ve been impressed in recent weeks with the two units of these teams that don’t typically get much respect, and for good reason, in SEC circles. The Ole Miss defense played their hearts out last weekend and had a solid game against the Aggies in College Station before the damn broke very late in that game. On the flip side, Vandy’s offense is really starting to come around thanks to the emergence of running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn — who leads the SEC in yards per carry. I expect this to be a back and forth game and while I lean with Vandy winning the game, I think the margin will be minimal, so I’m taking the points being thrown the Rebels’ way in this one.
Vanderbilt 33 Ole Miss 30
Chris: It seems like Vegas has been on high on Vandy all year, and I don’t really understand why. However, I will say this – Ke’Shawn Vaughn has been great at RB this season, and he leads the SEC in yards per carry in conference games. That doesn’t bode well for an Ole Miss defense that ranks 112th in the country in rush defense. Also, Kyle Shurmur has an 8-1 TD to INT ratio in his last four games. I’ll take Vandy and the points and hate myself for it later.
Vanderbilt 34 Ole Miss 28