Following a strong start to the 2018 SEC predictions column, the Week 2 picks have been made.

Once again, this season it’s news desk editor Michael Bratton (@MichaelWBratton) and SDS Podcast co-host Chris Marler (@CMarlerSDS) making the weekly SEC picks.

The guys both went 6-2 against the spread for Week 1 which means they are sure to disappoint this week.

The second weekend on the SEC schedule features a few cupcake games, including four games against FCS opponents. That means we won’t bother picking the Ole Miss vs. Southern Illinois, Tennessee vs. East Tennessee State, LSU vs. SE Louisiana or Auburn vs. Alabama State games this week — as those games don’t have nationally recognized point spreads.

As for the Week 2 games that matter, here’s how we see them playing out:

Mississippi State (-10) at Kansas State

Michael: I’m not only on the Mississippi State bandwagon, I helped start it all the way back in January and there will be no jumping off the Hail State hype now. Keytaon Thompson’s Week 1 performance may have been the main takeaway from MSU’s big win over Stephen F. Austin but for me, it was the performance of Bob Shoop’s defense. The defensive coordinator appears to have his mojo back following two awful years in Knoxville and that will serve this team well this week. Bill Snyder may have been a wizard for decades but it’s beginning to seem like the game has passed him by at this point.

Mississippi State 38 Kansas State 13

Chris: Kansas State welcomes the cowbells into the Little Apple this weekend in one of the more intriguing games of Week 2. I had this one circled before the season as a potential upset alert for Miss St. After all, K-St. is 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games as a home underdog and they have the only FBS coach who is possibly ageless or immortal in Bill Snyder.

However, Kansas St. had to stage a 4th quarter comeback to beat South Dakota last weekend. I’m honestly not even sure if that’s “the good Dakota.” Regardless, this is a Wildcat team that ranked 2nd to last in passing defense in 2017 giving up 319 ypg. It honestly doesn’t even matter who MSU starts at QB between Nick Fitzgerald or Keytaon Thompson. They could throw Joe Moorhead under center and still cover this spread.

Mississippi State 34 Kansas State 17

Nevada at Vanderbilt (-8.5)

Michael: MTSU was a popular upset pick to beat Vanderbilt last week but I went against that logic and proved to be right. This week, the Commodores get a Nevada team coming off a 72-19 win against Portland State. Both of these teams performed better than anticipated Week 1 which will make for a good game if that trend continues this week. Vandy got off to a hot start last season and I think Derek Mason’s program has a good handle on how to accomplish that yet again.

Vanderbilt 29 Nevada 20

Chris: Quick round of applause for Vandy y’all! They beat MTSU by 28 points last week. The fact that Vandy won anything that wasn’t women’s bowling or an episode of Jeopardy by 28 points is impressive. This week they face one of the best offenses in the country. Vandy was 4-0 against non-conference opponents in 2017 and held MTSU’s offense to under 300 total yards last week. Nevada has lost their last 5 games on the road. I don’t think that changes in Nashville, but I think it will be closer than Derek Mason would want it to be.
Vanderbilt 28 Nevada 24

Arkansas State at Alabama (-37)

Michael: I took the points last week, and lost, but I’m going to take them again as Arkansas State is an undervalued Sun Belt team. I certainly don’t expect them to compete with Alabama but given nearly 40 points to work with, I’ll take Arkansas State and the point here. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Alabama’s first-team units take nearly the entire second half off of this one.

Alabama 48 Arkansas State 13

Chris: ‘Bama has gone 10-1 ATS in season openers under Saban. However, in the game following those marquee matchups the Tide are just 1-4 ATS over the last 5 years. Bama isn’t going to lose to Arkansas St. However, this is a team that put up almost 700 yards of offense last week, and is led at QB by one of the best names in all of college football – Justice Hansen.

Hansen threw for 400+ yards last week and 6 TD’s. Arkansas St will put up enough points to cover against a secondary and pass defense that was anything but stellar last week.
Alabama 45 Arkansas State 13

Clemson (-13) at Texas A&M

Michael: I’m a big believer in what Jimbo Fisher is going to do in College Station and think he inherited more talent than many are giving the Aggies credit for heading into the season but until they man up against a nationally elite team like Clemson, I’m not going to be picking Texas A&M even with nearly two touchdowns to work with at home. While Trayveon Williams was outstanding last week, A&M had issues protecting Kellen Mond and his receivers separated at times to get open going up against Northwestern State’s defensive backs. Those are serious question marks given the talent Clemson has at those positions heading into this game. This one may be close into the third quarterback but I’ll take the Tigers to pull away in the end.

Clemson 35 Texas A&M 17

Chris: A&M looked really impressive in Jimbo Fisher’s coaching debut. Kellen Mond was steady at QB and Trayveon Williams and the Aggie run game put up over 500 yards rushing against Ed Orgeron’s alma mater, Northwestern St. This week College Gameday is headed to College Station, and I’m sure Kyle Field will be rocking come Saturday night. However, there is nothing that makes me believe A&M will be able to handle Clemson up front and stay with them for 4 Quarters. Clemson may be the best team in the country, and their defense will be in the Aggie backfield all night.

The Tigers are 6-2 ATS in September and are 14-1 on the road under Dabo the last three seasons.

Clemson 27  Texas A&M 13

Wyoming at Missouri (-18)

Michael: Upset special here, I’m going with Wyoming to not only cover but leave Columbia as an outright winner. I’m still not buying into the Missouri hype from late last season and no thrashing of UT Martin is going to win me over. After all, Derek Dooley is still on the coaching staff at Mizzou and the effects of his “coaching” in Knoxville continue to haunt my alma mater. Call it spite if you must but I’m going with Craig Bohl’s squad to pull the upset of the SEC season this weekend. I called the upset this offseason and seeing the forecast for the game (100 percent chance of rain/thunderstorms with 15 mile per hour wind) gives me more confidence than ever in the pick.

Wyoming 24 Missouri 23

Chris: You can throw out the record books when these two teams get together! Honestly, I don’t know what that even means. I’m just struggling to find anything that will make this game interesting. Wyoming heads to CoMo to face Drew Lock and Mizzou. Honestly, the only thing I know about Wyoming is that Josh Allen went there, and he has huge hands. Also, they were held to only 206 yards of total offense last week against Mike Leach and Washington State.

That doesn’t exactly bode well for the Cowboys. Maybe they’ll catch Mizzou looking ahead to next week’s game against Purdue? Probably not. Missouri will boat race Wyoming this weekend behind Drew Lock and a defense that will stop a one dimensional Cowboy offense. Here’s a fun fact, Missouri has won 5 of their last 6 against home games against non-Power 5 teams by an average of 47 points. Yikes.
Missouri 48 Wyoming 17

Arkansas (-13.5) at Colorado State

Michael: Here’s another team that I’m not ready to buy into just yet. I think the Razorbacks will win this game but I don’t believe they are good enough to go on the road and win by nearly two touchdowns against any FBS opponent. This spread is inflated due to the fact Colorado State has lost twice already and the Razorbacks won so such a convincing margin against Eastern Illinois. If Arkansas is going to play turnover-free football while forcing six fumbles and recovering five of them a game, sure, they’ll destroy everyone. Until that time, I still have plenty of questions about the Razorbacks.

Arkansas 31 Colorado State 21

Chris: I’ve had a lot of coffee this morning and have been pretty long-winded, so I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Colorado St is 0-2, and they’re giving up over 600 ypg on defense. Honestly, I don’t know what number will be higher – the total number of TD’s by Arkansas or the total number of Red Bulls Chad Morris has before the game. My guess is somewhere around 6-7 for each.
Arkansas 44 The Fighting Mike Bobo’s 20

Kentucky at Florida (-13.5)

Michael: This is finally the year — I’m going with Kentucky to win (against the spread). Of course I’m not picking Florida to lose to Kentucky. Although I have mentioned several times this week that I believe that Kentucky’s 15-point win over Central Michigan was very misleading. The Wildcats were minus four in turnovers and still won by over two touchdowns, that’s an accomplishment that should not be overlooked. If Kentucky does that again, the Gators will destroy the Wildcats in the Swamp but if Mark Stoops troops play turnover free, there’s a chance they do win this one. Florida was dynamic on offense last week but Charleston Southern looked truly pathetic. Feleipe Franks won’t be throwing for five touchdowns in this one.

Florida 30 Kentucky 26

Chris: Kentucky hasn’t beaten Florida in 31 years, yet every year they still believe that this is the year the streak will end. The streak should’ve ended last year but Kentucky forgot to put 11 total players on defense…TWICE. That’s almost impossible to do, but against all odds, UK accomplished that incredible feat. I don’t think this game comes down to Feleipe Franks, Benny Snell, or Dan Mullen. I think the most important factor in this game is Todd Grantham.

The offense looks improved in Gainesville. However, will Grantham’s D be able to stop Benny Snell? Grantham’s defense at Miss St last year held the Wildcats to just 260 yards and 7 points. It’s tough enough to overcome the talent gap and history UK has vs. Florida. It will be even more difficult to overcome that in The Swamp.

Florida 31 Kentucky 17

Georgia (-10.5) at South Carolina

Michael: College GameDay may not be in Columbia this weekend but the for my money, this is the biggest game of the week not only in the SEC, but in the nation. Time to find out what South Carolina is really made of and whether Georgia is ready to prove it belongs in the conversation to repeat for the SEC Championship and another College Football Playoff berth. Can Jake Bentley take advantage of Georgia’s secondary? Who is going to step up and limit Deebo Samuel? Can SC find creative ways to get him the ball? These are questions I have entering this game for Georgia but they pale in comparison to the concerns I have regarding South Carolina entering this matchup.

I get why many are hyping up the Gamecocks but for me, one aspect of this game hasn’t been close recently and I’m not seeing how South Carolina has closed the gap. Over the last two matchups, Georgia has outrushed South Carolina 568 to 73. South Carolina supports will point to Georgia’s loss of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel but it’s the offensive line that’s been clearing the way for those two and the Bulldog line is bigger and better than in year’s past. I don’t think this one is close in the end.

Georgia 38 South Carolina 10

Chris: The game everyone in the Palmetto state has talked about all offseason is finally here. UGA heads to beautiful Columbia, South Carolina to take on Deebo Samuel, Jake Bentley, and the new and improved offense under Bryan McClendon. This is always one of my favorite games of the year because it always seems to be close. Both Carolina and UGA looked strong in Week 1 against two inferior teams. This game will come down to SC’s pass offense and UGA’s pass defense. Can Carolina create enough ways to get Deebo Samuel the ball and have him be a difference maker? I doubt it.

UGA is 9-1 ATS in their last 10 road games, and they’ve won the last 3 games vs South Carolina by an average of 20 points.

Georgia 34 South Carolina 23

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