Here are my SEC football predictions for Week 5 of the college football season.
Record last week: 8-1
Season total: 39-3.
Saturday, September 28
GAMES OF SATURDAY, SEPT. 28
South Carolina (2-1, 1-1 SEC) at Central Florida (3-0)
Noon ET • ABC
Orlando, Fla. • Bright House Networks Stadium (45,323)
Series: SC leads, 3-0
VegasInsider Line: South Carolina -6 ½
Vinny’s Vibe: This is a dangerous game for South Carolina. UCF has athletes, swagger and home field advantage. QB Blake Bortles is completing 71% of his passes. RB Storm Johnson had over 100 yards in the win at Penn State. South Carolina has a bigger, deeper roster to go with The HBC. IF South Carolina is focused it should win a hard-fought game.
South Carolina 30 UCF 20
South Alabama (2-1) at Tennessee (2-2, 0-1 SEC)
12:21 p.m. • SEC TV
Knoxville, Tenn. • Neyland Stadium (102,455)
Series: First Meeting
VegasInsider Line: Tennessee -17 ½
Vinny’s Vibe: Justin Worley returns as Tennessee’s starting quarterback. We could see the college debut of true freshman quarterback Riley Ferguson for Tennessee as well. Question is, does Butch Jones plan to get him a series or two early in the game or only if or when the game is comfortably in hand for the Vols. South Alabama uses two quarterbacks, has a win over Western Kentucky and statistically has played pretty good defense. It is alarming that the Jaguars lost to FCS Southern Utah at home.
Tennessee 31 South Alabama 10
LSU (4-0, 1-0 SEC) at Georgia (2-1, 1-0 SEC)
3:30 p.m. ET • CBS Last: LSU, 42-10 (2011 in Atlanta)
Athens, Ga. • Sanford Stadium (92,746)
Series: LSU leads, 16-12-1
VegasInsider Line: Georgia -3
Vinny’s Vibe: Georgia’s struggles with North Texas last week was alarming. That was Aaron Murray’s 2nd bad game this year. Will be bounce back afterwards again against another fantastic defense? UGA has to have Gurley and Murray playing at a high level to win until the defense grows-up. LSU QB Zach Mettenberger might the most improved player in the country. The passing game to go with the stable of backs makes LSU a national championship contender. LSU stud WRs Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. will make plays against the young Georgia secondary. Georgia has been one-half of the best game in the country for the third time this year. Those tough tests and home field won’t be enough against the better overall team in LSU.
LSU 37 Georgia 28
Ole Miss (3-0, 1-0 SEC) at Alabama (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
5:30 p.m. CT • ESPN
Tuscaloosa, Ala. • Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821)
Series: UA leads, 47-9-2; Last: UA, 33-14 (2012 in Tuscaloosa)
VegasInsider Line: Alabama -14
Vinny’s Vibe: Alabama’s sleep-walking performance at home last week vs Colorado State was a concern. Nick Saban admitted this week that the players have a lot of “anxiety” from the expectations. Does that make them more vulnerable or is this the edge and motivation Saban needs to get his team better while it still wins? I think Alabama wins this game but Ole Miss is a threat. Let’s not forget that when Alabama has lost over the last few years. More of those losses have come at home. Ole Miss runs a spread and pace offense that has given the Tide problems. Treadwell and Moncrief will be tough to Bama to cover. Alabama’s offense should be better than last week and score enough.
Alabama 30 Ole Miss 21
Texas A&M (3-1, 0-1 SEC) at Arkansas (3-1, 0-0 SEC)
6 p.m. CT • ESPN2
Fayetteville, Ark. • Reynolds Razorback Stadium (72,000)
Series: ARK leads, 41-25-3; Last: A&M, 58-10 (2012 in College Station)
VegasInsider Line: Texas A&M -13 ½
Vinny’s Vibe: The line was extremely low (-3) to open and as you might expected, everyone has jumped on the Aggies side of the line including Floyd Mayweather. “Money” cashed-in a cool 200K off the Johnny Manziel led Aggies win over SMU. This week Floyd has bet 300,000 on A&M and the points. The guy is the best in the world of boxing and he’s rich, so I’ll go Texas A&M. Seriously, had Arkansas not coughed-up a big lead at Rutgers last week, this would be your upset pick of the week all over the country. Arkansas is a very different team than what A&M has seen before. Until Arkansas can get better throwing the ball to give them balance, it will remain an average team.
Texas A&M 38 Arkansas 24
Florida (2-1, 1-1 SEC) at Kentucky (1-2, 0-0 SEC)
7 p.m. ET • ESPNU Last: UF, 38-0 (2012 in Gainesville)
Lexington, Ky. • Commonweath Stadium (67,942)
Series: UF leads, 46-17
VegasInsider Line: Florida -12
Vinny’s Vibe: Florida has been decimated by injuries in the last week. The Gators lost All-American DT Dominique Easley in practice this week and QB Jeff Driskel last week in the Tennessee game. Injuries have slowed the Gators going all the way back to the spring. QB Tyler Murphy makes his first career start. Kentucky had an encouraging game two weeks ago in a two-touchdown loss to Louisville. However, injuries or not, that Florida defense is too good for that UK offense to deal with.
Florida 27 Kentucky 6
Arkansas State (2-2) at Missouri (3-0, 0-0 SEC)
6:30 p.m. CT • CSS
Columbia, Mo. • Memorial Stadium-Faurot Field (71,004)
Series: MIZZ leads, 2-0
VegasInsider Line: Missouri -21 ½
Vinny’s Vibe: Missouri is playing well, especially offensively. James Franklin is closer to what he was two years than last year. The Tigers have balance on offense and have mixed-in more physical power runs, as promised by Gary Pinkel in the off-season. Arkansas State is not as dangerous as recent years. Missouri should score often on the Red Wolves.
Missouri 52 Arkansas State 21
UAB (1-2) at Vanderbilt (2-2, 0-2 SEC)
6:30 p.m. CT • FSN
Nashville, Tenn. • Vanderbilt Stadium (40,550)
Series: VU leads, 1-0
VegasInsider Line: Vanderbilt -20
Vinny’s Vibe: Boy, Vanderbilt was incredibly disappointing while struggling to win at winless new FBS UMass last week. The Commodores looked like the old Vandy. Are all the off-field distractions taking a toll on the players? No longer having Chris Boyd as a threat opposite Jordan Matthews really hurts. QB Austyn Carta-Samuels has been inconsistent. UAB is not a great team. The Blazers are just average in many areas. This may be the last game to give Vandy the benefit of the doubt.
Vanderbilt 34 UAB 14
OPEN: Auburn (3-1, 0-1 SEC), Mississippi State (2-2, 0-1 SEC)
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