HST Staff Predictions Week 3

We are finally beginning to get into the teeth of SEC play after two weeks filled with FCS opponents, and that means the stakes are even higher. This week SEC play is headlined by LSU vs Mississippi State, Tennessee vs Florida and Kentucky vs South Carolina. We also get a few enticing non conference games with Ole Miss vs Cal, Kansas State vs Vanderbilt and Purdue vs Missouri. This is make-or-break time in the predictions championship race, and pressure is at an all-time high. This couldn’t be a bigger deal.

Standings after week 2:

1. Trey: 24-2 (92.3%)

2. Peyton: 23-3 (88.4%)

3. Matt: 22-4 (84.6%)

T4. Blake: 21-5 (80.7%)

T4. Cooper: 21-5 (80.7%)

Louisiana Lafeyette at Texas A&M (-24) Saturday 11:00

Cooper: Texas A&M has looked pretty bad through two weeks, and I don’t see them improving anytime soon. I believe Kevin Sumlin will be gone by the time Mississippi State takes on A&M in week nine. However, I do believe A&M is the better team this week. Sumlin survives for now. 31- 17 Aggies.

Blake: After the way weeks one and two went for the Aggies, I don’t exactly love the idea of picking them to win anything. But it is ULL, so that feels better. I don’t think A&M covers the -24, but they will get a W. Aggies 35-20.

Peyton: Well you wanna say A&M, but geez, after last week I’m not sure anymore. I’m gonna stick to my guns though and say they pull this one out. Texas A&M 35-24.

Trey: Texas A&M hasn’t looked very good in either of their first two games so far, but the Aggies should be able to win this game rather easily. I have the Aggies putting up a lot of points in this one against a Louisiana Lafayette defense that isn’t very good. A&M wins 56-24.

Matt: A&M is not a very good team, but they have more talent than the fighting Hud’s. I expect the Aggies to win but not cover the spread. Aggies 34-14.

Tennessee at Florida (-5) Saturday 2:30

Cooper: Tennessee snapped Florida’s win streak of eleven games in this series last year, but don’t expect them to make it two in a row. As bad as Florida looked week one, Tennessee simply isn’t on the same level as Michigan and The Swamp is a tough place to get a win at. I’ll take Florida in a defensive battle, 24-21.

Blake: I think neither of these teams is as good as Georgia, so at this point in time this game is for second place in my mind. And since we all know Butch Jones is about winning life, I don’t think he will want to finish in second. Oh, and Florida’s defense is incredibly more talented than the Volunteer offense. Gators defend The Swamp with a 24-20 win.

Peyton: I just don’t think Florida can score on any decent defense. I don’t think Tennessee is very good either, but I do believe they have a somewhat effective offense. I think it’s close the entire game. Tennessee 27-17.

Trey: This game is rather intriguing for me because I’m not sold that either one of these teams are very good at this point in the season. However, Florida had last week off due to hurricane Irma, so they essentially had an extra week to prepare for this game. Also, I anticipate Florida will get most of their players back from suspension for this game. Florida is the more talented team and I believe they have the better defense, so I’ll take Florida to win 27-17.

Matt: Should be a really good game between two mediocre SEC teams. I’m calling for the UT upset of Florida 27-14.

Mercer at Auburn Saturday 3:00

Cooper: I honestly had no idea Mercer had a football program. They are pretty good on the diamond, but this is football we are talking about here. Auburn gets back on track with a 56-3 win.

Blake: Tigers are way more talented than Mercer. Side note: my uncle is a professor at Mercer. Still doesn’t help them on the football field, but he teaches a mean film history class. Auburn 52-6.

Peyton: Blowout. And Auburn needs this game to regroup and regather itself. Auburn 49-10.

Trey: Auburn should have no problems in this one. Expect Auburn to try new things on offense and put up a lot of points. Auburn wins 45-7.

Matt: Auburn will use this game to try to get back on track. The offense is putrid, but should still have no trouble with such an inferior opponent. AU wins big 44-6.

Purdue at Missouri (-7.5) Saturday 3:00

Cooper: Purdue played Louisville close in week one, losing 35-28, and I think that Missouri is the worst team in the SEC. However, I do believe Drew Lock and Missouri will be able to score enough points to sneak away with a victory here. Mizzou 45-35.

Blake: I really thought Mizzou was going to win last week over what I felt was an inferior defense in South Carolina. I was wrong. So now I don’t know if SC’s defense is good or Mizzou’s offense is just a fluke. So I don’t have a clue who to pick in this one. Purdue is terrible, and it’s in Columbia. So give me the Tigers in a close one, 42-30.

Peyton: Missouri has proven nothing to me. But they are in the SEC and playing in the SEC can be tough. Mizzou 34-24.

Trey: I expect this game to be rather close. Purdue is much improved under new head coach Jeff Brohm. Missouri’s defense is atrocious and that will allow Purdue to hang around in this game. However, I have Missouri winning a close one by a score of 49-41.

Matt: The coaching advantage here certainly goes to Purdue, as Brohm is a top notch coach. However they are still a year or two away from beating an SEC team. Mizzou wins a close one, 45-38.

LSU (-7.5) at Mississippi State Saturday 6:00

Editor’s Note: For a more in-depth breakdown of this matchup, check out the 13 and 34 Podcast Powered by Elite Dawgs: LSU where John Bond and former LSU great Josh Booty discuss the game.

Cooper: This game has been the most anticipated game of the offseason for Mississippi State fans, and for good reason. The Bulldogs have the edge at quarterback and in the coaching department, which I think will be the deciding factor in a close, low scoring game. Both defenses will make the opposing quarterback beat them through the air, and I believe Fitzgerald makes a big play to give Mississippi State a huge win in Starkville. Mississippi State 24- 20.

Blake: So I think this game has a multitude of storylines, and each one will play a big part in the final decision. Mullen is a great head coach, and has proven to be a proficient play caller on the sideline. Add in Todd Grantham, and that’s a formidable foe. But LSU brings in the two of the best coordinators in the game in Dave Aranda and Matt Canada, and it will be a chess match for the ages. On the field, I think the talent is extremely close position to position. Fitz is a better quarterback than Danny Etling, but LSU has better threats on the outside than State does. Defensively, Jeffery Simmons and Arden Key will be the two names to watch as the main determining factors in which offense can have success. In the end, I trust Fitz more than Etling and the game is in Davis Wade. I’m nervous and I think it will be a brutal battle, but give me State outright 27-21.

Peyton: I have been debating this game the entire week. It’s gonna be a slugfest. Top defense vs top defense with both offenses more than likely using a similar game plan. I think it comes down to a 4th quarter turnover, possibly Cam Dantzler bringing a big pick down and we end up with the victory. MSU 27-20.

Trey: We’ve all had this game circled on our calendars since summer anticipating this to be a big game for both teams, and that is definitely the case in this one. LSU gets star defensive player Arden Key back for this game, which makes the LSU defense that much better. Key is considered by many as the top defensive player in the SEC, and that will no doubt present a challenge for the Mississippi State offensive line. On the other hand, Mississippi State’s defense has been dominant as well and LSU’s offensive line has struggled in is first two games, including starting a true freshman at one of the guard positions, so I would anticipate both defenses to play well in this one. I see this as a low-scoring defensive game that comes down to who makes plays in the fourth quarter. Mississippi State will have the home field advantage, as well as the better head coach, and the better quarterback in this game. I’m taking the Bulldogs in the upset 24-20.

Matt: I cannot wait for this game. The Dawgs will finally see what we have. Our inconsistency on offense is troubling, but I think defense will decide this game. The kryptonite for Matt Canada’s offense is a fast defense and one with great eye discipline. I think the Dawgs have that and will win 24-20.

Colorado State at Alabama (-28.5) Saturday 6:00

Cooper: What is there to say, Bama rolls 42-13.

Blake: It’s Alabama against Colorado State. So watch the highlights on SEC Now and don’t waste your time. Bama 45-10.

Peyton: Another blowout for Alabama as they continue to roll. Bama 42-10

Trey: Alabama will have no problems in this game. The Tide rolls by a score of 41-10.

Matt: Alabama will do Alabama things. The talent disparity is too much to even hope for an upset. Tide Rolls 45-10.

Samford at Georgia Saturday 6:30

Cooper: Samford put up over 600 yards of offense against Mississippi State last year but Georgia doesn’t have a Peter Sirmon coached defense. Georgia 45-17.

Blake: Samford can throw the ball, but it’s Georgia at home. The only hope the Samford Bulldogs have is that UGA is in sleep mode after an emotional win at Notre Dame and a tough SEC matchup against Mississippi State on the horizon. I think it will be an ugly game, but a win for Georgia. UGA 41-17.

Peyton: Samford has a great offense and I think they put up some points, but nowhere near enough. Georgia 42-24

Trey: Samford’s high powered offense gave Mississippi State fits last season, but I don’t see that being the case in this one. Georgia has a dominating defense and I expect Georgia to take care of business. Georgia wins 45-17.

Matt: State fans know all too well the numbers the Samford offense can put up. Luckily for the Georgia Dawgs, they don’t have Peter Sirmon trying to coordinate a defense to stop Samford. Georgia will win 40-17.

Kentucky at South Carolina (-7) Saturday 6:30

Cooper: South Carolina has been arguably been the most surprising team in the SEC this season, and has been forcing me to move them up further and further each week in my power rankings. Kentucky on the other hand has not impressed me at all through two weeks, and looks like a team that will struggle to get six wins. South Carolina gets a win in their home opener 31-17.

Blake: I think Jake Bentley is a stud, and Kentucky has taken a step back from last year. After a big win at Missouri last week, the Gamecocks will be ready to take control of the SEC East race early in the season. Mark Stoops and company will be competitive but just not quite good enough. Cocks win 45-24.

Peyton: I actually believe this is a blowout. Kentucky hasn’t shown me anything and SCAR looks like they have a pretty good ball club. Gamecocks 42-17.

Trey: I’m not convinced that Kentucky is a very good football team. They struggled with Eastern Kentucky, an FCS school last week. On the other hand, I think South Carolina is a good football team and they probably have a chance to compete with Georgia to win the SEC East this season. I’m taking the Gamecocks in this one by a score of 31-20.

Matt: South Carolina is not the great team the media has tried to make them out to be, but UK is not very good either. SC will win a close battle of mediocre teams, 28-20.

Kansas State (-3.5) at Vanderbilt Saturday 6:30

Cooper: Very interesting game here. Vanderbilt looks like a team that could give some teams in the East a hard time this season with a stout defense and a much-improved Kyle Shurmer. Kansas State should be the better team talent wise, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Vandy pulls off the upset. With that said, I will say Kansas State wins a close and hard-fought game 27-24.

Blake: I think Vandy is better than they have been in a long time. The defense is legit, and Kyle Shurmer is an actual quarterback. Kansas State always plays physical, and this will have an old-school feel to it. Expect kicking and turnovers to decide this one. It’s a program-defining win for Mason. Commodores in a close one at home, 27-20.

Peyton: I really like this group of Commodores. They are gritty and play relentless. Home field advantage won’t matter though, as it never does in Nashville, and the Wildcats pull out a victory in a heck of a game. Kansas State 31-30.

Trey: Vanderbilt has been one of the more impressive teams in the SEC through the first two games of the season. Also, they have Kansas State at home for this game. I feel like this will be a really close game, but it’s Vanderbilt, and I just can’t make myself pick Vanderbilt to beat a ranked team like Kansas State until I see them actually do it. Kansas State wins 31-24..

Matt: Vandy in the upset! I’m picking Vandy to win this game and also to win the East. You heard it here first. Dores win 24-21.

Ole Miss (-3.5) at California  Saturday 9:30

Cooper: If you want to stay up until 1:00 in the morning watching a game with absolutely zero defense, then this is the game for you. It wouldn’t be shocking if this game is close to 100 total points by halftime. What I’m saying is, if you are betting man, take the over on whatever the O/U is on this game. Cal has the ball last and comes away with a win at home 62-59.

Blake: Do you remember the old Nintendo 64 game NFL Blitz? This game will be similar to that, in that each team will only run Da Bomb and chunk it down the field 50 times a game and score 80 points. Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration, but you get the point. The Pac-12 doesn’t play defense, and Ole Miss doesn’t even field a defense. So expect an exciting arena football game to end your Saturday. Cal wins 59-48.

Peyton: All I’ve heard this week is Shea this and AJ that. Guys. They played South Alabama and some little FCS school. Oh they also played all 4 quarters of each game. I would expect their stats to be good. Wake up call here though, as this isn’t South Alabama or an FCS school. Cali 49-40.

Trey: California’s defense is absolutely atrocious, as they gave up 431 passing yards and 571 total yards to Weber State last week. That doesn’t bode well for California in this game. Ole Miss doesn’t have a very good defense either, so expect a lot of points in this one. Shea Patterson will have another big game through the air on a bad California secondary and Ole Miss will be able to outscore Cal in this one. Ole Miss wins 45-38

Matt: After seeing how many yards Cal gave up to Wofford, I feel safe in saying OM will Score 50 points. Cal will score too but in the end I think OM wins the battle of the Bears, 54-35.

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