Week 1 Predictions: Football Has Returned


The 2013 season begins tonight with two games that involve SEC teams. It’s Ole Miss, Vandy, and South Carolina, but it’ll do. Football is back.

As I mentioned yesterday, this season’s picks will coincide with the pick ’em group I’m running over at PickOrPlay.com. You can use my picks here, which won’t be against the spread as they are in the pick ’em, but you can do the math once you make your picks over there. See yesterday’s post for details on how that works. It’s simple. No excuses. You like winning stuff weekly, right?

I’ve also decided to run each game through the EA Sports NCAA Football 14 simulator. The rosters have been updated to as close as they can be to real life, so there’s a little credence to them as well. Bottom line, you have about 500 different semi-educated predictions to help you through the pick ’em. Let’s do this.

Last Year: 132-45 (74.6%)
This Week: 12-1
(92.3%), ATS at PickOrPlay.com: 7-5 (58.3%)
EA NCAA 14 This Week: 11-2 (84.6%)

8/29

North Carolina at South Carolina – I’m not gonna look it up, but South Carolina has opened the season on a Thursday for, what, like 50 straight years? This is a decent little matchup to start the season, but it’ll be over soon once the Tarheels realize that Jadaveon Clowney’s favorite meal is North Carolina quarterback. EA Sports gives the slight edge to the ‘heels though.

EA: North Carolina 21, South Carolina 19 – FAILURE
WB: South Carolina 28, North Carolina 10 – SUCCESS!

South Carolina 27, North Carolina 10

Ole Miss at Vanderbilt – Ole Miss and Vandy are pretty much in the same boat. They are both little guys, with exciting coaches, that appear to be on the up swing. The difference is that Ole Miss might have something going, while Vandy is still Vandy. They are a better Vandy, but they are still Vandy. James Franklin will realize that soon and bolt for a real job. I’m not saying Ole Miss will be a real contender this year, but they are definitely a step above Vandy. EA Sports agrees.

EA: Ole Miss 44, Vanderbilt 17 – SUCCESS!
WB: Ole Miss 34, Vanderbilt 20 – SUCCESS!

Ole Miss 39, Vanderbilt 35

8/31

UL-Lafayette at Arkansas Does Lafayette run the hurry-up, no huddle? I hope so. I hope they score 100 points and run 500 plays. Seriously, guys, this is how I’m going to be all year. Arkansas, bad as they may be, will still win big. Not as big as EA Sports thinks, but we talkin’ SEC.

EA: Arkansas 38, UL-Lafayette 12 – SUCCESS!
WB: Arkansas 45, UL-Lafayette 31 – SUCCESS!

Arkansas 34, UL-Lafayette 14

Mississippi State vs. Oklahoma State (Houston, TX) – I guess we don’t have to worry about the Maroons tricking us all into thinking 7-0 really means something. A nice 0-1 start should temper expectations early this year. How good is Oklahoma State? I don’t know. But they are definitely going to beat Mullen’s Dogs. See, even EA Sports agrees.

EA: Oklahoma State 31, Mississippi State 24 – SUCCESS!
WB: Oklahoma State 34, Mississippi State 21 – SUCCESS!

Oklahoma State 21, Mississippi State 3

Toledo at Florida – I read somewhere that Florida is missing a few offensive starters. It won’t matter in this game. Sorry, Toledo. You may have rockets, but Gators eat rockets for breakfast, or something like that. EA Sports is far too conservative.

EA: Florida 24, Toledo 7 – SUCCESS!
WB: Florida 38, Toledo 10 – SUCCESS!

Florida 24, Toledo 6

Rice at Texas A&M – Johnny Manziel will be signing autographs during the first half of this game. Seriously, he’s not going to be there, and we know that he likes to fill his free time signing thousands of autographs for free, so it’ll probably happen. Seriously, though, the Aggies won’t do much with him out, but once he returns, the Aggie-faithful will cheer as loud as Auburn fans cheered when Cam was announced as the starter for the Georgia game in 2010. It will be on from then. It shouldn’t be on, but it will be. EA Sports and I completely agree.

EA: Texas A&M 42, Rice 7 – SUCCESS!
WB: Texas A&M 42, Rice 7 – SUCCESS!

Texas A&M 52, Rice 31

Austin Peay at Tennessee – The Butch Jones era begins in the big Orange. They are playing a school named after a guy. Those teams usually aren’t very good. We will know nothing about the Vols after this game, but it will be a big win. EA Sports doesn’t think so, but I do.

EA: Tennessee 24, Austin-Peay 13 – SUCCESS!
WB: Tennessee 34, Austin-Peay 14 – SUCCESS!

Tennessee 45, Austin-Peay 0

Murray State at Missouri – Other than breaking in a new coach, this one is pretty much the same as the Tennessee game. A mediocre team will beat down a much lesser team, and we’ll know nothing. Thanks guys. You’re really making it easy on me for Week 2. Slow down, EA Sports, it ain’t gon’ be that big.

EA: Missouri 48, Murray State 0 – SUCCESS!
WB: Missouri 31, Murray State 13 – SUCCESS!

Missouri 58, Murray State 14

Virginia Tech vs. Alabama (Atlanta, GA) – Virginia Tech has never beaten a team ranked in the Top 5. Virginia Tech is not near as good as they have been in the past. Alabama will trounce them and people will act like it is a big win. Bet on it. EA Sports must be reading my mind.

EA: Alabama 35, Virginia Tech 10 – SUCCESS!
WB: Alabama 35, Virginia Tech 7 – SUCCESS!

Alabama 35, Virginia Tech 10

Georgia at Clemson – This game is going to set the stage for the rest of the year. The winner will likely live within the Top 5 until they lose, and the loser will have to work it’s way back up from the depths. The only team that truly can do that is Georgia, thanks to the power of the SEC. Clemson will Clemson, but not as bad as EA Sports thinks.

EA: Georgia 42, Clemson 17 – FAILURE
WB: Georgia 31, Clemson 21 – FAILURE

Clemson 38, Georgia 35

Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky – The Bobby Petrino era begins at Western Kentucky as the Stoops era begins at Kentucky. To give you the state of Kentucky football, this one is being played at Western Kentucky. That’s like Auburn going to play at Troy, or Alabama going to play at UAB. This game, for some reason is being played in Nashville… huh?

Kentucky should be better in future years, but I honestly think Western Kentucky cares more about football at this point. I won’t go as far as EA Sports who apparently is a big Petrino lover, but I do smell an upset here.

EA: Western Kentucky 38, Kentucky 0 – SUCCESS!
WB: Western Kentucky 28, Kentucky 24 – SUCCESS!

Western Kentucky 35, Kentucky 26

LSU vs. TCU (Dallas) – This game probably looked really good two years ago. Both teams are still near the top, but neither are what they have been in recent years. That said, LSU will have no problem with the Boise State of the… what conference are they in now? EA Sports you are correct, but LSU doesn’t have the offense to score 49 points on anybody.

EA: LSU 49, TCU 20 – SUCCESS!
WB: LSU 31, TCU 13 – SUCCESS!

LSU 37, TCU 27

Washington State at Auburn – I will give my Auburn predictions in my Friday game preview, as I did last year, but as far as what EA Sports thinks, it will be a semi-close game with Auburn gaining 502 total yards of offense, with 308 rushing. Nick Marshall will rush for one touchdown, throw for one, and throw one interception. Tre Mason will run for 172 yards and one touchdown. And Auburn will only win by 10?

EA: Auburn 27, Washington State 17 – SUCCESS!
WB: Auburn 42, Washington 14 – SUCCESS!

Auburn 31, Washington 24