Zane’s Picks Week 1

Quick picks with brief comments will be coming to you each week! I’ll be picking games with top 25 ranked teams and all SEC teams!

Boise State vs #18 Ole Miss
This isn’t the Boise State we’re used to. Without Chris Peterson coaching the team the Mustangs will not be able to achieve what they used to with the talent they have always had. Ole Miss will have ESPN talking after a big win but it’s more of a sign of the decline of Boise State.

Ole Miss 45 – Boise State 17

#19 Arizona State vs Weber State

Arizona State a lot, Weber State not much

Vanderbilt vs Temple

Vanderbilt is still a SEC team even though they’re a lower-tier one.

Vanderbilt 38 – Temple 14

#8 Michigan State vs Jacksonville State

Jacksonville State takes their big check for this game and get a new massage chair for every player and coach.

Michigan State 52 Jacksonville State 6

#7 UCLA vs Virginia
The team trending upward the most will stomp a team that seems to have been on a constant downfall for the last few years.

UCLA 24 – Virginia 10

#5 Ohio State vs Navy
Ohio State will come out and score a stupid amount of points to try and make a pint. Navy will continue to cling to the awful triple option offense.

Ohio State 52 – Navy 3

#2 Alabama vs West Virginia
This game may have looked intriguing in some years but not this year. West Virginia is nowhere near what they used to be and Alabama is going to want to show off early with an easy schedule ahead this will be a chance to have a win that looks impressive.

Alabama 42 – West Virginia 17

#24 Missouri vs South Dakota State
Tune Up Game

Missouri 56 – South Dakota State 10

#22 Nebraska vs FAU
See the previous game predicted

Nebraska 42 – FAU 10

#17 Notre Dame vs Rice
The return of Everret Golson at quarterback for Notre Dame after sitting out a season for poor grades is the sole reason for the new found faith in Notre Dame.

Notre Dame 38 – Rice 17

#11 Stanford vs UC Davis
A lot to a little and can you guess who i chose for a lot?
Yeah…It’s going to be Stanford

#12 Georgia vs #16 Clemson
Probably the biggest game of the week as far as rankings go but I don’t think it will be as entertaining as the hype will lead you to believe. Georgia is pumped up and healthy and Clemson has lost so many key pieces this game is going to become lopsided.

Georgia 38 – Clemson 17

#23 North Carolina vs Liberty
Let’s just say Liberty walks out with more money for their program and North Carolina gets to look impressive

North Carolina 45 – Liberty 0

#4 Oklahoma vs Louisiana Tech
Coming off a big win against Alabama, playing a team like this just doesn’t seem right.

Oklahoma 38 – LA Tech 3

#20 Kansas State vs Stephen F. Austin
Kansas State wins by a lot

#15 USC vs Fresno State
USC gets to remain overrated for week 1

USC wins by overkill

#1 Florida State vs Oklahoma State
I love watching Oklahoma State play football and they are usually a well run team that can hang up 50 points on even solid teams. However, this is the worst team they will be fielding in years and FSU really didn’t lose a lot from last year.

FSU 42 – Oklahoma State 21

#13 LSU vs #14 Wisconsin
This is truly the game of the week in my eyes. In all honesty I have been thinking about this matchup since it was announced and i honestly can’t say which team has the edge. Almost every other season if this matchup were to occur I would have chosen LSU in a heart beat. Ultimately my connections to the SEC and my respect for LSU is how i decided the result on this one.

LSU 24 – Wisconsin 21

#3 Oregon vs South Dakota
The state of Dakota must be a bunch of masochist

Oregon 8,532 – South Dakota 3

#25 Washington vs Hawaii
This is a game worth watching solely because Chris Peterson is the new coach at Washington and they have had some excellent recruiting classes by their standards as of late.

Washington 38 – Hawaii 10

#10 Baylor vs SMU
Bryce Petty will begin padding his Heisman hopeful stats in this game.

Baylor 52 – SMU 7

SEC East Preview

Injuries plagued Florida more than any team in recent memory last year and because of there worst season in over a decade Will Muschamp’s head coaching job is at risk this season. Unfortunately it is looking like this really may end up being his last year coaching in the swamp due to a difficult schedule and questions remaining on offense. The defense, if it remains healthy, will debatably be the best in the SEC this year as it managed to impress last year even when everything seemed to be going wrong for the Gators.
I don’t see Florida turning around a heavily flawed offense fast enough to beat Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, or Alabama. Whether or not a four loss season will be accepted in Gainesville with the fan base’s patience for Muschamp running thin.

South Carolina
The player pictured above is Mike Davis, but don’t worry his name should be pretty well known by the end of his tenure at South Carolina. He is a little cannon ball out of the backfield with tremendous talent and ridiculous speed when he gets daylight in front of him. The Gamecocks have lost two major players in QB Connor Shaw and defensive end Jadaveon Clowney both finished with their careers in college.
The Gamecocks lack name recognition but they boast one of the most complete rosters in the SEC East and they are my pick to take the division this season.

The Bulldogs, as usual, are rather confident this is their year to take it all and they have very little worries for the season. Sorry to burst their bubble but there will be a drop off between Aaron Murray (who could never win a SEC Championship) and his replacement Hudson Mason. Yes, Todd Gurley will make highlight reels and will be the most flashy running back in the SEC but how long will that last? The question for Gurley is if he can remain healthy, and the question for the defense is if they can replace the numerous starters they lost to off season arrest and disciplinary actions.
Georgia is still talented enough to come close to winning the SEC East but i’m not buying in to a team thats hype is based off an injury prone running back and a new defensive coordinator.

This is Matty Mauk. Missouri will be as successful as Matty is and that is the very simple truth to this season for Missouri. The tigers will play some close games but the loss of two all-sec defensive ends in Kony Ealy and Michael Sam is going to slow down an impressive defense and the loss of star wide receiver DGB due to a domestic abuse charge will hurt the receiving core immensely.
Look for this to be a rebuilding year of sorts for the Tigers of the SEC East.

An excellent recruiting class and a new head coach has both fans and commentators raving over Tennessee’s chances to finally turn it around this season. However, their schedule is their biggest enemy and their talent level at quarterback coupled with completely new lines on both sides of the ball will lead to disappointment. Tennessee will be improved but I see 7 games on their schedule that they shouldn’t win and it will be ugly.

Former head coach James Franklin had this believing they could win for the first time since I have been alive. However, he is gone and at a time where this team has very little experience left on the roster too. This season will be ugly for Vanderbilt and they will return to the cellar of the South Eastern Conference until another coach come in with the fire that Franklin did.

Let’s be honest here. Kentucky is just waiting for basketball season..
There is a new coach for the wildcats and they have some excitement around the program but the talent just simply is not there to compete in the SEC or any major conference to be honest.

SEC West Preview 2014

The first year of a playoff system in college football is upon us and the SEC is stacked with potential contenders looking to reclaim the crown that the SEC held for so long. In total there are 8 teams from the SEC that earned preseason rankings from AP poll lead by Alabama (2), Auburn (6), South Carolina (9), Georgia (12), and LSU (13). This season the top 4 teams will move on to the college football play offs and with 8 teams starting off in the rankings there’s a chance the SEC could claim two of those spots.

Auburn Tigers
Thirteen seconds away from a National Championship, Auburn is looking for an encore performance in 2014. Long gone are top level talents Greg Robinson, Tre Mason, and Dee Ford all have moved on to the National Football League and the Tigers will be looking for their replacements to improve upon their success from last year. Fortunately for Auburn their dynamic combination between Nick Marshall and Sammie Coates returns to the Auburn with added help from stand out JUCO wide receiver D’Haquille Williams.
In order for Auburn to return to the big game this season Auburn is going to need to overcome away games at Georgia, Alabama, and even Mississippi State. Not to mention their home game against LSU is nothing to sneeze at and has proven to be a close game year in and year out. Ultimately I believe Auburn earns a spot in the first ever College Football Playoff.

Alabama Crimson Tide
There has been a crack exposed in the infallible Nick Saban’s armor. The Crimson Tide struggles against a hurry up offense and if it weren’t for an unexpectedly impressive offense last season their year would have been uglier. Alabama will try and follow their usual template of having an okay quarterback, solid offensive line, oversized running back, and a stellar defense. However, I don’t see Alabama “reloading” as well as they have in years past. Their recruiting has remained unbelievably impressive but the issue at quarterback seems to have fans a little worried as a back up from Florida State is Alabama’s last hope at quarterback and i’m not too sure if he will be able to get the job done. Derrick Henry and TJ Yeldon will be monsters at running back but Alabama’s defense has shown some an obvious weakness to teams with hurry up offenses and a multiple threat quarterback.

The First four games will be a cake walk for Alabama and their first real challenge will come from Ole Miss, who doesn’t have the quarterback or the coach to turn the tide. All odds point towards Alabama heading into the Iron Bowl undefeated and whether they win or not it’s unlikely a one loss Alabama is snubbed a playoff spot.

During this offseason there were two coaches crying to the NCAA to try and tattle and possibly get their way. Arkansas’ Bret Bielema was the louder of the two cry babies attempting to get a 10 second delay between plays in order to slow down hurry up offenses in order to “protect player safety”. Unfortunately for Bielema, every study that has occurred shows the exact opposite of what Bielema is trying to argue and ultimately leaves him looking like a fool. The 2014 season is going to do the same exact thing to Bielema unfortunately for the razorbacks. Without absolutely drastic improvement at quarterback and key losses along the offensive line leads to a rather negative year for Arkansas and anything more than a 3 win season would be overachieving for the Razorbacks.

The Bayou Tigers had a three loss season last year and they have lost a lot of crucial talent since then. To expect the Tigers to improve from last year would defy logic as they are being likely being lead by a freshman quarterback (Anthony Jennings) and a rushing attack that will be lead by a freshman back (Leonard Fournette) as well. While these two will show that there is a lot of potential for the future in Louisiana they will not quite be ready for the rigorous schedule that LSU is about to face in this upcoming season with a rough start against Wisconsin and a tough SEC slate I think LSU will finish fourth in their division.

Texas A&M
There is a reason that many people scoff at the idea of preseason polls and teams like Texas A&M are a prime example as to why. While the Aggies had a tremendous recruiting class their defense was horrendous last year and there is a vert slim chance it will turn around fast enough for Texas A&M to have much of an impact on the SEC at all. An easy schedule should allow Sumlin to manage a minimal of 6 wins which isn’t a terrible finish considering their defense and the talent the team lost on offense including Manziel and Mike Evans.

Mississippi State
The Bulldogs are loaded with heisman hopeful Dak Prescott, and experienced offensive line, and an entire defense boasting returning starters all adds up to a potential dark horse season for Dan Mullen’s team. It is very likely that the Bulldogs will shoot off to a (6-0) start before a home game against the Auburn Tigers. With a bye week before their game against the Tigers, and follow up games consisting of Kentucky and Arkansas, the Bulldogs will be putting all of their effort into winning this game and continuing a potential run at the SEC West title.

Ole Miss
Unfortunately for the Rebels they are about to experience a rather common issue that many football teams have. They have a solid depth chart, a manageable schedule, but their quarterback is ‘meh’ at the absolute best. Bo Wallace is not a championship caliber quarterback and never really will be at this level of competition. Even if Wallace were an excellent quarterback he would be handicapped by the decision making of Hugh Freeze who can not quite match up against coaches like Nick Saban. Ole Miss should enjoy their continued success compared to years past but shouldn’t expect much more than an 8 win season.