Last week: 9-0 straight up, 6-1-1 against the spread
Season: 38-4 straight up, 23-11-1 against the spread
Fair warning: the way my schedule worked out this week, I pre-wrote this picks piece on Wednesday morning (Eastern time, anyway; afternoon for me). Typically I write it on Friday morning, so the point spreads I quote here are from the Yahoo game, but they're the Wednesday lines. I also don't know how many games might be affected by wet weather from Hurricane Joaquin, but what can you do?
Missouri (-4) over South Carolina 20-17
I was really tempted to take the Gamecocks outright with Kentrell Brothers not 100% if he plays at all this weekend. At time of writing, it's still up in the air. Anyway, I don't have faith in Missouri's skill players to exploit the weaknesses in South Carolina's defense to a great degree, and this being Drew Lock's first full game with Maty Mauk suspended gives me pause as well. I also think that the explosive potential of Pharoh Cooper, Lorenzo Nunez, and Jerell Adams could make up for the 12 sacks that Mizzou will rack up on Nunez and Perry Orth. This game has been tight the past two years, so I'll call for it to be close again.
Alabama (+2.5) over Georgia 24-20
It's not often you get to put a plus by Alabama.
There are two ways you beat the Tide, generally. You either do it with a fleet of great pass catching options like Ole Miss, Ohio State, or 2012 Texas A&M had, or you match Bama's brutality like LSU or (again) Ohio State. Georgia does physical, but it doesn't do brutal. I can't really explain the difference; I just know it when I see it. UGA also doesn't have much that scares you running upfield beyond Malcolm Mitchell and to a lesser extent Jeb Blazevich. I know Greyson Lambert has had a couple of great games in a row, but an encounter with Vandy's defense made everyone say, "Oh, so that's why he lost the Virginia job". Nick Chubb will get his, but I worry about the rest of the attack.
Alabama is a bad matchup for Georgia, while Georgia isn't really a bad matchup for Alabama. Give me the Tide.
Auburn (-20.5) over San José State 38-10
A humbled Tiger team will take this more seriously than it did the Jacksonville State team, and the pieces will start to come together. SJSU lost at Oregon State by two touchdowns, and that was closer to home against a worse team. I think AU can beat them by three touchdowns.
Ole Miss (-7) over Florida 37-7
Robert Nkemdiche will spend so much time in Florida's backfield that a Gainesville real estate company will sue him for unpaid rent. This is the game where the weakness of UF's offensive line gets fully exposed.
Tennessee (-6) over Arkansas 27-24
If I could, I'd pick both teams to lose. UT has real letdown potential after blowing another double digit fourth quarter lead, while Arkansas's follies in finishing drives means it's not in position to fully take advantage. If I could I'd just skip this one, so instead I'll take the home favorite to win but not cover.
LSU (-44.5) over Eastern Michigan 52-3
EMU has a horrendous run defense, so the Tigers should breeze through this one.
Vanderbilt (PK) over Middle Tennessee 23-17
MTSU has scored 70+ on a pair of bad teams, lost to Bama 37-10, and lost to Illinois by two last weekend. Does that make it even with Vanderbilt? I dunno. The S&P+ ratings have Vandy at 53 and MTSU at 64; previous victor over the Commodores WKU is at 30. I'll go with the Vandy defense to win this one, but it might be close.
Texas A&M (-7) over Mississippi State 28-17
Mississippi State's good pass defense will keep this from getting out of hand, but its spotty tackling will hurt it. The Aggie pass rush will also make a big impact against the newly pass-happy Bulldogs.
Kentucky over Eastern Kentucky