One of my favorite parts of football season is predicting the winners and losers of each SEC game week in and week out. We at Hailstate Takeover will be having a competition throughout the season to see who can correctly predict the winners of every SEC game each week. For the most part, week one is filled with cupcake games, but there are a few gems this week.
Florida A&M at Arkansas (Thursday 7:00)
Cooper: Florida A&M beat Texas Southern 29-7 last week, but Arkansas isn’t Texas Southern. The Razorbacks should run away with this game and be able to pull their starters in the second half. Arkansas wins 49-14.
Blake: Although Brett Bielema’s teams have usually gotten off to a slow start in seasons past, I don’t see that being a factor against Florida A&M. The Razorbacks have a talented quarterback in Austin Alllen, and the unproven backfield shouldn’t have a problem against an FCS opponent. 45-14 Hogs.
Peyton: No challenge here for Arkansas. Austin Allen has a field day and they win 52-10.
Trey: Arkansas should have no problems on Thursday night against Florida A&M, an FCS team. Arkansas wins big by a score of 52-14.
Matt: Arkansas in a blowout 49-17.
Missouri State at Missouri (Saturday 11:00)
Cooper: Missouri State lost their opener to Youngstown State 65-20 and this one should be no different. Missouri wins 55-10.
Blake: Drew Locke is silently a talented quarterback, and Missouri State is openly an untalented defense. Tigers rout in Colombia, 56-13.
Peyton: Another straight blowout, not as high scoring though but the Mizz defense will be too much. 31-3
Trey: Missouri should be able to handle Missouri State in this one. This game might be close for a quarter and a half, but Missouri’s offense led by Drew Locke should be able to put up a lot of points and pull away in this one. Missouri wins 42-20
Matt: Look for this one to stay close for a quarter, but I expect Missouri to run away with it late, 35-14.
NC State at South Carolina (Charlotte, North Carolina Saturday 2:00)
Cooper: This is a fun one for me. NC State is a sleeper team for me in the ACC this season. Do I think they’ll win the ACC? No, but I do believe they can win eight to ten games. South Carolina on the other hand has some question marks, and I feel are a year away from being really good. I’ll take NC State 27-21.
Blake: Will Muschamp is a great defensive coordinator, but so far he’s been a subpar head coach. I think NC State has a chance to be at the top of the pack in the ACC, pun sincerely intended. Wolfpack 31-20.
Peyton: People have high hopes for SCAR and I do as well, but just not in this game. It will be an all out battle for sure, but NC State prevails 27-17.
Trey: This game is a real toss-up game for me. I think these two teams are evenly matched teams and I believe both teams are on the rise for 2017. NC State is favored in this game, but I’m going to take the SEC team here and go with South Carolina to win this one, 31-23.
Matt: I’m still not a Muschamp believer. NC State wins a close one, 34-30.
Michigan at Florida (Arlington, Texas Saturday 2:30)
Cooper: As much as I’d like Florida to beat Michigan I just don’t see it happening. Florida has now suspended ten players for the season opener, including star receiver Antonio Calloway. I’ll take the Wolverines 27-13.
Blake: With redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks starting at quarterback and last year’s leading receiver Antonio Callaway and leading rusher Jordan Scarlett suspended, Florida faces a tough task in Dallas against Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines. The Gators may have a chance to contend in the SEC East, but this will be a tough task in a season opener. Even with a young roster for Michigan, I give the edge to Harbaugh, 28-24.
Peyton: Florida has too many stars that won’t be playing in this game, and Michigan will take full advantage of it. I see a slightly back and forth game with Michigan running away with it in the end. 35-24
Trey: Florida has ten players suspended for this game, including star players Antonio Calloway, Jordan Scarlett, and others. With that being said, I think Michigan will be too much for a depleted Florida roster. Michigan wins 31-17
Matt: Even without suspensions, Florida would have lost this one. With them, it will be a big win for Big Blue, 34-14.
Charleston Southern at Mississippi State (Saturday 3:00)
Cooper: This is another case of an FCS school coming to play an SEC school for cash and a beating. As long as the Bulldogs come to play, this one shouldn’t be close. Mississippi State wins 52-13.
Blake: Nick Fitzgerald will throw for 250 and rush for 80, despite having less than 10 carries. The Bulldogs run away and Todd Grantham’s defense will fly around the field against inferior talent. After last year’s debacle, I see Mullen putting it out of reach emphatically. MSU wins 52-10.
Peyton: Slow start but beautiful finish. I see a sloppy first quarter, but stars emerge in the end and State wins 59-17.
Trey: This should be a blowout win for the Bulldogs. This game might start a little slow, but State should be able to out-talent and out-match an FCS team like Charleston Southern. State wins 52-10
Matt: With last year’s opening game fresh on the player’s minds, don’t expect anything less than a blowout. The defense will want to prove something. 43-6 Dawgs.
Kentucky at Southern Miss (Saturday 3:00)
Cooper: Last season Southern Miss went up to Lexington and walked away with a 44-35 victory. With the game being in Hattiesburg this year, it would be easy to go with the Golden Eagles again this season. I think this will be one of the best games of the day that nobody talks about come Sunday. I am going with the Wildcats to sneak out of Hattiesburg with a 38-34 victory.
Blake: Kentucky was sloppy against Southern Miss last year, but with a whole off-season to prepare and think about the embarrassment, the Wildcats will win this one in Hattiesburg 42-31.
Peyton: Super tough call after last year’s game, but this is a different Kentucky team. I see them pulling away in the second half. 34-20 Cats.
Trey: Kentucky blew a big lead against Southern Miss to open the season last year, but revenge will be on Kentucky’s mind in this one. Southern Miss lost Nick Mullens, the Golden Eagles prolific passer off of last year’s team, and there are questions about who Southern’s quarterback will be for this one. On the other hand, Kentucky returns an experienced quarterback and running back, among other players from last year’s team. For that reason, I’m taking Kentucky in this one 38-24.
Matt: Kentucky won’t allow history to repeat itself. UK wins 42-21.
Appalachian State at Georgia (Saturday 5:15)
Cooper: Ten years ago almost to the day, Appalachian State went to the Big House and knocked off Michigan. Can they do it again? I don’t think so, but I do believe it will be closer than most people think and will leave Georgia fans sweating. Georgia gets by with a 31-21 win.
Blake: So many people think that Appalachian State will upset Georgia, or at least give them a chance, but that feels like it is mostly because of the name brand of, well, knocking off name brands. I think Georgia is clearly superior. Bulldogs win 45-14 between the hedges.
Peyton: No upset here. Georgia runs away with this one. 49-10
Trey: We all know what happened last tear when Appalachian State nearly knocked off Tennessee to start the season. Will they be able to do the same to Georgia this year? I don’t think so. This game might be close for a while, but Georgia has too many weapons and too much talent in this one. Bulldogs win 34-17
Matt: App State is very well coached but lack the athletes to pull out another big upset. UGA wins 28-17.
Georgia Southern at Auburn (Saturday 6:30)
Cooper: Georgia Southern has had limited success against SEC teams in the past, but hasn’t been able to pull off the major upset. I expect Georgia Southern to move the ball and put up a few scores, but ultimately Auburn pulls away late in the first half. Auburn wins 52-17.
Blake: The debut of Jarrett Stidham will be the story out of the Plains in week one, but unless it’s a major failure it won’t tell us much. The Tigers should dominate both sides of the ball and run away early. Auburn 56-17.
Peyton: I expect a real slow start for Stidham and Auburn, but in the end they pull it together. 35-17 Tigers.
Trey: This one shouldn’t be a problem for Auburn. Auburn’s offense might take a few series to get going, but they should be able to feed their two headed backfield of Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson right through the Georgia Southern defense. Auburn handles this one 48-13
Matt: I’m not nearly as sold on Auburn as most, but still this should be an easy win. Auburn wins 42-14.
South Alabama at Ole Miss (Saturday 6:30)
Cooper: As Mississippi State fans well know, South Alabama isn’t a team to take lightly, and I know State fans would love to see the Jags upset Ole Miss. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. Ole Miss will throw the ball all over the field and end up with nearly 400 yards through the air. Ole Miss wins 52-24.
Blake: I hate this, but the Rebels will win this one fairly easy. Enjoy it while it lasts, I don’t see this scenario playing out often this season. Ole Miss wins 55-24.
Peyton: I wanna say upset alert here, but I just don’t think it will happen. I think Ole Miss pulls out the dub 35-20.
Trey: Ole Miss will be alert and ready for this one after seeing what happened to Mississippi State to open the season against South Alabama last year. Ole Miss will have too much talent on offense for South Alabama in this one. Rebels win 45-24
Matt: With all the problems, one thing still remains: OM has talent, especially on offense. Expect them to try to prove a point. OM 51-17
Vanderbilt at Middle Tennessee State (Saturday 7:00)
Cooper: These two teams faced off last season in Nashville, where Vandy came out with a 47-24 victory. Middle Tennessee did however knock off another SEC team in Missouri last year. With Middle Tennessee playing at home and having one of the more talented QBs in the country in Brent Stockstill, this game is intriguing. I’m going out on a limb and picking the Blue Raiders 35-34.
Blake: Vanderbilt under Derek Mason may not last that much longer if he can’t build on last year’s limited success. The Commies need to win this one despite being on the road. Whether or not that happens is another story. I give the edge to the Blue Raiders offense, MTSU 31-26.
Peyton: Low scoring affair here. If it’s high scoring it falls in the Blue Raiders favor but I think Vandy gets it. 20-10
Trey: This is a game that Vanderbilt better be ready to play because Middle Tennessee State is no pushover. I think this is a close game, but I believe Vanderbilt’s defense and their running back Ralph Webb will just enough in this one. Vandy wins 31-27.
Matt: Middle Tennessee is going to be a very solid team this year. Stockstill is a legit threat at QB. I just think that Vandy’s D will be stout and lead them to victory, 28-24.
Florida State at Alabama (Atlanta, Georgia Saturday 7:00)
Cooper: Man oh man is this going to be a good one. I honestly have no idea who wins this one. I think it’s quite possible both of these teams are in the College Football Playoff come January. I think whoever wins this game is the team that wins the turnover battle. I’ll go with FSU 41-38.
Blake: Alabama is a scary team, and now the defense is carrying sidearms. The Tide rolls despite a talented Seminoles team and a motivated Jimbo Fisher. Hurts is better than Francois. Bama 35-24.
Peyton: Huge game here. I think Florida State has a great team but no way Saban loses this one. I feel it’s close till the 4th and FSU wears down. 34-24
Trey: This is the most highly anticipated game of the weekend and it’s sure to be a good one. Florida State is very talented and built much like an SEC team, plus they have a quarterback I’m really high on in Deandre Francois. However, I will not pick against Nick Saban in a game in which he has months to prepare for. Also, Alabama has a lot of talented players returning off of their team last year that played for the National Championship. I’m taking Alabama in this one 34-27.
Matt: FSU is one of the few teams in America with a talent level even close to Bama. There is never a good time to play Bama, but if you have to play them then it’s best to play them early. I give FSU the edge here, 38-35.
BYU at LSU (New Orleans, Louisiana Saturday 8:30)
Cooper: BYU struggled against Portland State last weekend in a 20-6 victory. I watched part of that game and I’m not sure what exactly to take away from it. What I do know is that the Cougars are tasked with replacing both their QB and RB from last year and that they have a really solid defense. LSU wins this one in a fairly low scoring game 24-10.
Blake: LSU will win this one, despite Orgeron and Etling. Guice is too much for the Cougars, LSU 28-14.
Trey: BYU struggled against Portland State, an FCS team last week. BYU looked slow and their offense was really poor last week. I’m not real high on LSU this year, but the tigers should win this one with relative ease. LSU wins 28-13
Matt: LSU just out talents BYU. The Cougars just didn’t impress against a weak opponent last week. LSU wins 34-14.
Texas A&M at UCLA (Sunday 6:30)
Cooper: I’m not buying A&M heading into the season with questions at quarterback, a defense that is never very good, and a coach firmly on the hot seat. At the same time I don’t know much about UCLA outside of the fact that Josh Rosen is a stud. I picked UCLA in this game last season, and even though I was wrong, I’m sticking with the Bruins. UCLA wins 45-31.
Blake: I trust Josh Rosen more than Kevin Sumlin. Bruins win in a shootout, 49-38.
Peyton: I don’t feel very good about this A&M team. And Sumlin may not be with this this time next year. UCLA 42-24
Trey: I really don’t know what to make of A&M this season. They are likely going to be starting a redshirt freshman at quarterback, and they lost most of their best defensive players off of last year’s defense that wasn’t very good. However, A&M always starts the season off strong before they fall apart late. For this reason, I am conflicted about this game, but I’ll take UCLA and Josh Rosen to be too much in this one. UCLA wins 42-31
Matt: TAMU is a complete unknown to me. I am going out on a limb and picking them but have little confidence in my pick. Aggies win 42-35
Tennessee at Georgia Tech (Atlanta, Georgia Monday 7:00)
Cooper: Tennessee enters the season with questions at QB following Josh Dobbs’ departure from Knoxville. It appears that both Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano will play against the Yellow Jackets. We all know how devastating Georgia Tech’s triple option can be, and I don’t expect it to be any different Monday night. Georgia Tech wins 31-21.
Blake: With the injury to Darrin Kirkland at linebacker, Tennessee is in trouble on defense. I think Butch Jones is staring down the barrel, and he may not last the season. Yellow Jackets 27-20.
Peyton: As much as I want to pick a SEC team vs an ACC team, I just can’t here. The option will be to much for the Vols to stop. GT 31-20
Trey: Tennessee has a lot of question marks going into the 2017 season and I think Georgia Tech’s triple option offense will give them fits in this game. I got Georgia Tech in this one 31-24
Matt: Butch Jones is in his last season opener as the coach at UT (fired mid season is my guess) and they can’t muster a win. GA Tech 32-24.