Last weekend I ventured up to Auburn to visit my BFF. A lot of people leave Athens on away games and in my terrified state I really didn’t want to be watching the Georgia game with a couple of my fellow alcoholics. Plus, I needed to see what the Auburn atmosphere was like to see if they are the best team in the West. I like to think that teams who are really good inspire that confidence in their fan base, an arrogance if you will. I know Alabama had it last year. I know they still have it this year. Of course, I’m all too familiar with that feeling. Georgia had it in 2008 and gave it to Alabama in the blackout game. In talking with people from Auburn they don’t have it yet. But perhaps it’s the kind of thing that has to be passed along. You can’t just assume an arrogance, it’s how you get beat down. Luckily for them, they have two great factors going for them.
First, Auburn has a fantastic home schedule. Their toughest games are at home (LSU, ARK, UGA) until they finally have to go on the road to earn that arrogance at Alabama. ‘Bama, as I’ve spouted out on podcasts and columns, has a brutal schedule and will inevitably be a bit worn down by the last week (every team they play from here on out comes off a bye week, Auburn included). Second, they have the best player in the SEC. Cam Newton was absolutely incredible last week against a very strong South Carolina defense. He’s huge, 6′6” 240 pounds, extremely fast, he runs a 4.5 40, and possess a rocket arm. I wouldn’t necessarily trust him to sit in the pocket and pick apart a defense. But if there’s ever a 3rd and 1 type situation, there’s no doubt in my mind Cam Newton will find a way to get that yard. He’s the most dynamic player in the conference and a legit Heisman candidate (though more likely for next year). Admittedly, the awe I felt for an Auburn player was disgusting and I’m not happy about it. But the kid’s good and he’s humble too. The complete package.
Now, lets get into the SEC lines of the week. I went 3-2 last week and if I weren’t a Georgia fan I would have gone 4-1. The total run is 9-6-1 but I’m not anticipating a big week here given the few decent games to choose from and the horrendous lines to go with it.
Kentucky travels to Mississippi and there’s no way in hell I can bet on Ole Miss given their atrocious start to the season. As a Georgia fan, I pity them which is really saying something. Kentucky has been covering well despite getting annihilated last week in Gainesville. That’ll have knocked some value off their team. I’ll take Kentucky +3.
The Vols have their first road game in the most hostile environment in the SEC, LSU. LSU is laying 16 points. SIXTEEN! Miles is a coach that rarely covers at home but UT is pretty bad and with a rookie coach on the road with a weak mentality it’ll be tough for them to cover. Winning is virtually out of the question. But LSU’s offense is so pathetic it’s so difficult to lay that many points. It really comes down to who makes the special teams and defensive plays. And only one team has Patrick Peterson. LSU -16
Game of the week is a rematch of the past two national championship games with one major difference: Alabama is favored this time. Laying 7.5 points against Florida is a dangerous proposition but Alabama is very good at what they do. Unfortunately for Florida, what Florida does well, Alabama doesn’t do. The Gaytors have capitalized on turnovers and playing the short field. Alabama doesn’t turn the ball over and has very good special teams. Yes, Florida will pull off a few big plays to keep this one close: it’s impossible to contain all that speed. But ‘Bama should control the clock and force Florida to pass the ball around, something they haven’t proven they can do yet. If ‘Bama can overcome Mallet they can overcome Brantley. ‘Bama -7.5
And finally, Georgia at Colorado. Last week, I hit my lowest point as a Georgia fan. The blackout blowout was pretty bad, but at least it was to the team who won it all. Getting beat down by Mississippi State with our backs against the wall is completely unacceptable. The problem is leadership. Quick, who’s the leader of this team on offense? Defense? Is there a leader at all? Murray comes close, but that’s a major red flag if a redshirt freshman has to step up to that task. I hate to make this parallel, but there is something to be said for Tebow when Florida lost to Ole Miss a few years back. He stepped to the podium and announced that they wouldn’t lose again if there was anything he could do about it. Douchebaggery aside, Georgia doesn’t appear to have anything close to that kind of leadership. You would think the players would have some kind of urgency or intensity about them when talking to the media after a loss like that. But no, it was almost business as usual. Perhaps that’s the demeanor Coach Richt wants them to have: it’s certainly the demeanor he’s had throughout his career. But I’d really like to see someone step up to the plate. Luckily, The Messiah AJ Green returns from banishment this week. I’m not sure he possesses the leadership qualities this team so desperately begs for but he certainly has the talent we need to win. Here’s the gamble: it’s pathetic that it’s come down to one player for Georgia to win. But maybe it hasn’t. Maybe Georgia’s just bad. A couple of my media buddies, who are more in tune to the team, believe that’s the case. If you believe AJ’s the difference maker, take Georgia -4. This is my last sense of hope. Faith will run out if we can’t cover this one.
Until next time, Ball Hard.