HST Staff Predictions: Week 2

The SEC fared pretty well to start the 2017 season, going 12-2 on the weekend. Thanks A&M and Florida. While the majority of last weeks games were against less talented teams, the weekend did produce a few outstanding games. South Carolina went back and forth with NC State and was able to come away with the 35-28 victory despite being out-gained offensively. Texas A&M managed to summarize an entire Kevin Sumlin season in just four quarters, taking a 44-10 lead on UCLA in the Rose Bowl before giving up 35 unanswered points for a last-second loss. Then Monday night Tennessee and Georgia Tech topped off the weekend in a thrilling double overtime game that saw the Vols sneak away with a 42-41 victory.

Standings after week 1:

1. Trey: 13-1 (92.9%)

2. Peyton: 12-2 (85.7%)

3. Blake: 11-3 (78.6%)

T4. Matt: 10-4 (71.4%)

T4. Cooper: 10-4 (71.4%)

There are seven games this week in which SEC teams will face off against FCS teams, with multiple others playing lower level Group of Five opponents. But luckily for us, there are still a few really good games this weekend. Saturday will undoubtedly be highlighted by games such as Auburn at Clemson and Georgia at Notre Dame. A few of us (Cooper and Matt) struggled last weekend with our picks, but this is a new week and the comeback starts now. So let’s get the show on the road.

Editor’s Note: All lines given were correct at the time of publication. We will monitor and update the lines as much as possible prior to Saturday’s games. As always, use professional bookmakers to determine any and all lines prior to betting.

Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky (N/A)  Saturday 11:00

Cooper: FCS Eastern Kentucky travels to Lexington this weekend to take on the Wildcats. Kentucky struggled a bit against Southern Miss last week, but that won’t be the case against a much inferior opponent. Kentucky wins easily 42-10.

Blake: What is there to say? Despite some monumental upsets (45-point dog Howard beating UNLV at home!) last week, Kentucky is not losing to Eastern Kentucky. Big Blue remains undefeated and atop the SEC East for at least one more week. Cats 48-16.

Peyton: I don’t see much problem here for Kentucky. I expect a blowout. Kentucky 42-13.

Trey: Kentucky should have no problems against Eastern Kentucky, an FCS team. Kentucky wins this one 38-13.

Matt:  Here is your check, enjoy your beatdown. Visit a horse track while in Lexington. UK 51-13.

Tenn-Martin at Ole Miss (N/A)  Saturday 11:00

Cooper: Shea Patterson and A.J. Brown both put up insane numbers against South Alabama, and this week will be no different. Ole Miss wins 56-10.

Blake: As much as I would love to see UM get beat by UT-Martin this Saturday, I also know they won’t and want to win this pick’em across the season. So I pick Ole Miss in a runaway. Enjoy it while it lasts, there aren’t many good days left in 2017. Rebels 56-27.

Peyton: This will be another blowout but the Rebels’ shoddy defense will give up some points. Ole Miss 59-24.

Trey: Ole Miss should have no trouble in this one. Expect Shea Patterson and company to put up big numbers on offense again. Ole Miss wins 56-10.

Matt: More bucks for beatdowns as OM rolls 55-14.

Fresno State at Alabama (-43.5)  Saturday 2:30

Cooper: Fresno State travels to Tuscaloosa to face off against the Tide. As if playing Alabama isn’t tough enough, Fresno State has to travel over 2,000 miles to get there. This one won’t be close. Alabama wins 49-3.

Blake: If you’re a betting man, like I am, this line is a stone cold lock. But not for the reasons you think. Under Nick Saban, the Tide in six previous instances where they played an FCS or Group of Five opponent the week after a big matchup, the Tide have NOT covered the spread. I repeat, the Tide have NOT covered the spread. That’s about as lock a lock as you can lock in. Give me Fresno State to cover the 43.5 this Saturday! Upset city! Well, kinda. Bama 42-9.

Peyton: I feel bad for Fresno State. They will be lucky to even see the red zone. Alabama 49-3.

Trey: I don’t see this one being close. Alabama is on a different level than any other team in the country early in the season and I expect Alabama to win big in this one. Alabama wins 45-3

Matt: I actually feel sorry for Fresno St. They are going to be beaten by a team that is just much too physical for them. Tide rolls, 49-7.

TCU (-3) at Arkansas  Saturday 2:30

Cooper: This is a tough one to pick. I’m not sure what to take away from TCU’s 63-0 drumming of Jackson State last weekend. At the same time, what do you take away from Arkansas’ 49-7 win over Florida A&M? We will learn a lot about both of these teams this weekend. I’ll take Arkansas simply because they get the Horned Frogs at home. Arkansas wins 42-38.

Blake: Give me the road favorite to win and cover in this one. I picked TCU outright in my College Football Pick’em on ESPN, and I stand by that selection now. I don’t think the Arkansas defense is that good, and although Austin Allen can sling it, that’s not enough to beat a talented TCU club. Arkansas one last year in Fort Worth, so I think TCU and company are ready to play. Horned Frogs 41-30.

Peyton: Awesome game right here. I expect it to be close with the better coach prevailing in the end. TCU 31-21.

Trey: This is a tough game to predict, because both teams are very similar in my opinion. However, Arkansas did win a close game on the road in Fort Worth last season. Expect a lot of points and a back and forth game. I’m going with Arkansas in this one because I believe they are the more physical team, and I believe Arkansas is improved on defense this season. Arkansas wins 38-34.

Matt: To me this is not nearly as close as some think it will be. I feel that Gary Patterson is going to out-coach Bret in a big TCU win, 35-17.

Indiana State at Tennessee (N/A)   Saturday 3:00

Cooper: Another blowout here. Indiana State stands no chance against Tennessee, Vols win 52-7.

Blake: Man I thought Butch Jones was gone during Monday night’s game. Georgia Tech ran all over Tennessee, literally and figuratively, and would have won big had they not gift wrapped two turnovers and two missed field goals to the Vols. Indiana State won’t pose a threat to Tennessee, but this is not a good situation for Jones or the Vols moving forward this year. Tennessee 48-17.

Peyton: One word. Blowout. Tennessee wins easy. Vols 49-10.

Trey: I don’t think Tennessee is a very good football team, but Indiana State doesn’t get close in this one. Tennessee wins 49-7.

Matt: As much as I would love for UT to lose, they just simply have too much speed on defense to slip up against such an inferior opponent. UT wins big 45-3.

Alabama A&M at Vanderbilt (N/A)   Saturday 3:00

Cooper: Vandy may have had the most impressive performance of the weekend in a 28-6 win over Middle Tennessee State on the road last weekend. Alabama A&M is not a very good FCS program. Vandy wins easily to get to 2-0. Commodores 42-7.

Blake: I have an uncle and cousin who both graduated from Vandy, so I have always had a soft spot for the perennial cellar dweller of the SEC. This feels like the makings of a good year in Nashville, which I think ultimately is bad for Vanderbilt because it keeps Derek Mason around longer (side note: he is terrible). But the Dores are still much much better than Alabama A&M. Vandy 38-7.

Peyton: This game will never be close but the score will appear as if it wasn’t a blowout. Vandy 34-10.

Trey: Vanderbilt was a team I was impressed with in week one. They shut down a high-powered Middle Tennessee State offense and held them to just six points. Alabama A&M is an FCS team, and they are not a very good FCS team at that. Expect Vanderbilt to win this one big, 42-3.

Matt: Vandy manhandled a Middle Tennessee State team that many thought would be a very good team this year. This team will prove no match for them. Vandy big, 45-17.

Auburn at Clemson (-5.5)   Saturday 6:00

Cooper: This is by far the most intriguing game of the weekend. Both teams debuted new starting QBs in their wins last weekend. Both teams also displayed dominant defenses that can win them a lot of games. That’s about all we know about these two Tigers as of today, but we should know a lot more Saturday night. I am going to take the home team in this one strictly due to the game being in Death Valley. Clemson wins a close one 27-24.

Blake: Talk about a game I want nothing to do with from a betting perspective. While this one will be fun to watch, there is just too much we don’t know about both teams to feel comfortable dropping serious cheddar on a bet. Two new quarterbacks, two talented but still unproven defenses. The game being in Death Valley has me leaning toward Clemson, but I like the Auburn defense better. In the end, the question is who do you trust more, Jarrett Stidham or Kelly Bryant. I guess I will go with Bryant and the Tigers of Clemson. But don’t hold me to it. Clemson in a nail-biter, 38-30.

Peyton: I’m excited to watch this game right here. Will be a nail-biter until the end, when I believe an Auburn turnover allows Clemson to win. Clemson 34-30.

Trey: I expect this game to be much closer than people think. Most experts are predicting Clemson to win this one handily, but I don’t see it that way. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Auburn win this game, and something is telling me to take Auburn in the upset in this game, but I just can’t make myself do it. I’m taking Clemson in a close one 27-23

Matt: I repeat again this week, I am NOT sold on Auburn yet. Clemson will prove too much for them. Clemson wins 35-21.

South Carolina at Missouri (-2.5)   Saturday 6:00

Cooper: How Missouri is the favorite in this game is beyond me. South Carolina looked like a team that could be in the top half of the East in their 35-28 win over NC State last weekend, while Missouri looked like a team that had little business being in the SEC. South Carolina will win this game fairly easily 52-38.

Blake: I don’t know what people were watching this past week, but I saw the two teams in this game as similar versions of the same pile of crap. In Columbia West, Missouri has a potent offense that can score from anywhere on the field in mere seconds. The Tigers have elected to not field a defense this year. In Columbia East, South Carolina looks like a cheaper version of Missouri! South Carolina was dominated by NC State in every facet of the game except the score. The Gamecocks allowed 500 yards of offense in the win, and I don’t see that getting any better this week. So which offense do you trust to score more? Give me Drew Lock, Mizzou and the over in this one. Tigers 52-47.

Peyton: This game is such a toss up and could go many different ways. I think the Missouri defense finds some rhythm and stays in that backfield. They end up with the win late on the 4th. Mizzou 31-21.

Trey: It’s a real head scratcher to me that Missouri is favored in this one. South Carolina is coming off a huge victory against a very good NC State team, but somehow Missouri is favored in this game, even after giving up 43 points to Missouri State in week one. I have South Carolina in this one and I think they win by double digits. South Carolina wins 45-31.

Matt: Very intriguing matchup for me. Mizzou is legit offensively but may have the worst defense in the country. I’m going to say that the lack of defense will be taken advantage of by South Carolina and the Cocks will win a close one 45-41.

Nicholls at Texas A&M (N/A)  Saturday 6:00

Cooper: Texas A&M is coming off one of the biggest choke jobs in college football history after blowing a 44-10 lead over UCLA in Southern Cal. A&M should be able to get back on track this weekend against FCS Nicholls. Nicholls did give Georgia all they could handle last year, but I don’t see that happening this year. Aggies win in a blowout 56-7.

Blake: Kevin Sumlin needs to take pictures and relish the last few minutes of success in a Texas A&M polo. The Aggies will be changing head coaches soon, and while I expect Sumlin’s club to look pretty good this week, it’s Nicholls. So take it for what it’s worth. Aggies win 52-14.

Peyton: Nothing to see here. They always blow these teams out. A&M 59-17.

Trey: Texas A&M and Kevin Sumlin had a meltdown of epic proportions last week, giving up 35 points in the fourth quarter alone to blow a 34 point lead. However, they will get back on track with a win in week two. A&M wins 45-17.

Matt: Even Sumlin can’t mess this one up. A&M big, 51-14.

Mississippi State (-7.5) at Louisiana Tech   Saturday 6:30

Cooper: This is a game Mississippi State fans have been sweating all off-season. While the Bulldog defense did play well last weekend against Charleston Southern, Louisiana Tech will be a whole new test. La Tech wants to throw the ball 50+ times a game, so this will be a huge test for a secondary that wasn’t tested at all last weekend. I think La Tech keeps the game close early, but Mississippi State pulls away a bit in the second half, State wins this one 45-28.

Blake: If you haven’t heard the breakdown of La Tech by the 13 & 34 Podcast, I suggest you check it out. Suffice it to say, La Tech is not quite the pass happy team they were a year ago, but they can still sling it. Dual threat QB J’Mar Smith is a weapon, and they return two running backs with serious talent. State is the better team, with better athletes, but it will still be a test for Dan Mullen and company. I think Fitzgerald settles in for the season in this game if the offensive line can begin to improve. The real question is how does the defense look against a team that more closely resembles the style of offense MSU will face the rest of the year. I think we find out how scary this defense really is in this one. MSU wins for the first time ever in Ruston, 41-17.

Peyton: I believe we see just how dominant this State defense really is in this game. I don’t think it will ever be close and we run the ball all over them. State 42-10.

Trey: This is a game that many, including myself, have mentioned as a potential trap game for Mississippi State. State better come to play because Louisiana Tech is a good football team and they can put up some points in a hurry. The MSU Bulldog defense was absolutely dominant in week one, but they will be facing a completely different style of offense in week two. State’s defense is vastly improved from a year ago, I feel confident in saying that, but it will be difficult to shut down a high powered Louisiana Tech offense. On the other hand, I feel confident that Mississippi State will be able to rack up some points in this one. Mississippi State pulls away in the second half and win this one 42-24

Matt: In week 1 the secondary was not tested at all for the Bulldogs. That’s not going to be the case this week as the blue and red Bulldogs like to sling it. Something tells me Grantham and company will be ready. The Maroon Dawgs win 35-17.

Northern Colorado at Florida (N/A)  Saturday 6:30

This game has been canceled due to Hurricane Irma, our thoughts and prayers are with those who are currently effected and those who will be in the future. 

Chattanooga at LSU (N/A)  Saturday 6:30

Cooper: This could be a fun one for Mississippi State fans to check in on Saturday night as former Bulldog QB Nick Tiano will get the start for UT Chattanooga. With that said, LSU is clearly the better team and will win this one convincingly, 45-7 Tigers.

Blake: There’s a reason former MSU quarterback Nick Tiano left the program and is now the starter at UT-Chattanooga. He couldn’t cut it in the SEC. This will be no different. LSU’s defense allowed negative-five, yes that’s correct negative, rushing yards agains BYU. UT-Chattanooga is no BYU. This will be a bloodbath in Coach O’s official home opener in 2017. Bengal Tigers big in this one, 45-0.

Peyton: I’m gonna hate to see Tiano getting destroyed in this game but that’s exactly what is gong to happen. LSU 42-6.

Trey: LSU looked better than I anticipated in week one on offense and their defense is lights out. Expect LSU to dominate this one and win big. LSU wins 42-3.

Matt: Nick Tiano is the starting QB at UT-Chattanooga until the original starter returns from injury. He will be running for his life all day. LSU is just too athletic. 35-10 Tigers.

Georgia at Notre Dame (-4.5)   Saturday 6:30

Cooper: It’s somewhat surprising to me that Notre Dame is favored in this game. I know that Jacob Eason is out for the near future, but freshman Jake Fromm looks to be capable of leading the Bulldogs. It will, however, be interesting to see how the young signal caller handles himself in front of a hostile crowd. Regardless of what Fromm does, I think the Georgia defense is more than capable of leading the team to victory. I am going to take the Bulldogs 24-17 in South Bend.

Blake: Talk about a challenge. UGA loses Jacob Eason week one for who knows how long, and now have to travel to South Bend to face Notre Dame. Talk about a movie script. I like Jake Fromm under center, but I don’t know if he’s ready for this stage just yet. The Fighting Irish are not what they were thirty years ago, but Brian Kelly is coaching for his job and he has talent. It hurts me to pick ND over an SEC school, but I just don’t know if Fromm is ready to win this game. Give me ND in a stunner, 34-31.

Peyton: Another fun matchup here. One thing the past few years have taught me though, is not to believe the Notre Dame preseason hype. I believe it’s hard fought until the end but the Bulldogs prevail. Georgia 34-24.

Trey: This one should be a fun and entertaining game to watch. Georgia will be without Jacob Eason, their starting quarterback, in this one, however they do have former 5-star quarterback Jake Fromm making the start in this one, and he played well last week when Eason went down with the injury. I’m taking Georgia to win in a close one 31-27.

Matt: Love this match up. I wish MSU would play a home and home with ND. I actually think Brian Kelly is a good coach. It’s much harder to win at ND now than it used to be. UGA is the better team. They will win against the Irish 35-27.

 

As always, feel free to tell us how wrong we all were on our picks via Twitter! Follow along with us and see if you have what it takes to out-predict the HST team.

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