It's that time again. It's time for the fearless forecasters at TMG to prove once again one of the great truths of picking games: There is a reason the boys in Vegas drive nice cars and live in big houses: They know stuff.
That is why the information shared here should be used for Entertainment Purposes Only.
Let's get on with the picks from this (soon to be) humble scribe.
The game: Auburn vs. Oregon (plus 3.5) at Arlington, Tex., 7:30 p.m., ABC.
The Pick: Auburn.
The score: Auburn 31, Oregon 27
The skinny: This game will mark the debut of Bo Nix, Auburn’s true freshman quarterback. Look for Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn, who will be back calling the plays, to put Nix into comfortable throwing positions early in the game. But sooner or later Malzahn has to turn Nix loose to make plays.
The game: Georgia at Vanderbilt (plus 21.5), 7:30 p.m., ESPN.
The Pick: Georgia.
The score: Georgia 45, Vanderbilt 20
The skinny: The Bulldogs, ranked No. 3 in just about every significant poll, begin what is projected to be a special season with an SEC game on the road. Georgia’s biggest question going into this game is a young, but talented, group of receivers. Keep an eye on Vanderbilt running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who had 1,244 yards rushing last season.
The game: Ole Miss (plus 5) at Memphis, Noon, ABC
The Pick: Ole Miss.
The score: Memphis 38, Ole Miss 35.
The skinny: Ole Miss is finally off NCAA probation and is eligible for a bowl. But the Rebels are going to have their hands full with a Memphis team that is picked to win the West Division of the AAC. Ole Miss has a pair of high-profile new coordinators in Mike McIntyre (defense) and Rich Rodriguez (offense). But there is only so much you can do with schemes. Memphis was a six-point favorite earlier in the week.
The game: South Carolina vs. North Carolina (plus 11) in Charlotte, 3:30 p.m., ESPN.
The Pick: South Carolina
The score: South Carolina 37, North Carolina 24
The skinny: Mack Brown begins his second tour of duty at North Carolina where he was previously the head coach from 1988 to 1997. This will be Will Muschamp’s best team in his four years at South Carolina but in order to make some noise the Gamecocks have to be better at protecting the football (eight red zone turnovers last season and 14 interceptions by quarterback Jake Bentley).
The game: Alabama vs. Duke (plus 32.5) in Atlanta, 3:30 p.m. ABC.
The Pick: Alabama
The score: Alabama 50, Duke 14.
The skinny: Alabama enters this season with a huge chip on its shoulder, which has been there since Clemson put a 44-16 beat down on the Crimson Tide in the CFP national championship game last January. This one might be a little closer if Duke Coach David Cutcliffe still had quarterback Daniel Jones. But Jones was the No. 6 pick overall in last April’s NFL draft. Cutcliffe is an Alabama grad but can expect no mercy from the Crimson Tide. This line was at 35 earlier in the week but Alabama lost starting linebacker Dylan Moses with an injury and may suspend some players for a part of this game.
The game: Georgia Southern (plus 27.5) at LSU, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network.
The Pick: LSU.
The score: LSU 45, Georgia Southern 10.
The skinny: This game is all about getting ready for next week’s trip to Texas. As a result, you’re not going to see a whole lot of LSU’s new, up-tempo offense that was installed by former Saints assistant Joe Brady back in the spring. LSU should cover but keep this in mind: The Georgia Southern option attack uses huge chunks of time and shortens the game. The Eagles went 10-3 a year ago.