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Week 1 SEC football schedule and score predictions

LSU head coach Les Miles & QB Anthony Jennings
LSU head coach Les Miles & QB Anthony Jennings
Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Here are my predictions for this week’s SEC football games. I’ve included a ton of info on each game including my analysis and a score prediction. I’ll post my record (straight-up) on my picks as the season continues.

Week 1 – SEC Football Schedule/Analysis/Predictions

THURSDAY, AUG. 28
(2013 RECORD)
#21 Texas A&M (9-4, 4-4 SEC) at #9 South Carolina (11-2, 6-2 SEC)
Series: First Meeting
6 p.m. ET • SEC Network
Columbia, S.C. • Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)
Sirius: 91 • XM: 91
SEC Network: Brent Musburger, Jesse Palmer, Maria Taylor and Kaylee Hartung
Westwood One Radio: John Sadak and Chris Doering
VegasInsider Line: South Carolina -10.5
Vinny’s Vibe: “Talking season” is over, Coach Spurrier! Let’s do this! College football’s two biggest stars the last two years are gone, but their teams match-up in a Top 25 Day 1 battle. Dylan Thompson gets the first crack at what better be a much improved defense for the Aggies. I’m skeptical. I think the A&M offense will still be pretty good, with a good offensive line, stacked talent at receivers and underrated running backs. Watch for #2 for Texas A&M, 5-star WR Speedy Noil. They’ll move him around a lot. He appears to be the real deal. SC has a good stable of backs as well, led by Mike Davis. The offensive line may be the best it has ever been in Columbia. I give SC’s defense a much better chance of getting stops than A&M’s. Plus, nobody wins at Williams-Brice these days under the HBC.
Prediction: South Carolina 33 Texas A&M 20

Boise State (8-5) vs. #18 Ole Miss (8-5, 3-5 SEC)
Series: First Meeting
8 p.m. ET • ESPN
Atlanta, Ga. • Georgia Dome (71,147)
Sirius: 108 • XM: 190
ESPN: Rece Davis Todd Blackledge, David Pollack and Samantha Ponder
ESPN Radio: Bill Rosinski, David Norrie and Joe Schad
VegasInsider Line: Ole Miss -10
Vinny’s Vibe: Boise State is still competitive and talented, but not what it was a few years ago when it was in position to bust the BCS. Laquon Treadwell and Vincent Sanders will have big days, as will QB Bo Wallace. The Rebels will wear down Boise with size and physicality that the Broncos can’t match.
Prediction: Ole Miss 38 Boise State 24

Temple (2-10) at Vanderbilt (9-4, 4-4 SEC)
Series: Tied, 1-1
8:15 p.m. CT • SEC Network
Nashville, Tenn. • Vanderbilt Stadium (40,350)
Sirius: 146 • XM: 191
SEC Network: Dave Neal, Andre Ware and Laura Rutledge
VegasInsider Line: Vanderbilt -12
Vinny’s Vibe: The only new coach on the SEC block debuts with the biggest name program on Vandy’s pathetic non-conference schedule, Temple. The other 3 NC games are either FCS or just recently moved-up to FBS. In essence, Vandy plays 3 FCS teams. I know why…to get bowl eligible. Anyways, Patton Robinette gets a chance to show that Mason picked the right guy in the extended QB race.
Prediction: Vanderbilt 37 Temple 14

SATURDAY, AUG. 30
(2013 RECORD)
Tennessee-Martin (7-5) at Kentucky (2-10, 0-8 SEC)
Series: First Meeting
Noon ET • SEC Network
Lexington, Ky. • Commonwealth Stadium (62,093) Sirius: 108 • XM: 190
SEC Network: Tom Hart, Matt Stinchcomb and Heather Mitts
VegasInsider Line: No Line
Vinny’s Vibe: Patrick Towles gets to show what he can do against an overmatched UT Martin team. The UK d-line will have a big day against an undersized o-line. Their RG is only 6’1, 230. Bud Dupree, Za’Darius Smith and the front seven will eat in this game.
Prediction: Kentucky 38 Tennessee-Martin 10

West Virginia (4-8) vs. #2 Alabama (11-2, 7-1 SEC)
Series: First Meeting
3:30 p.m. ET • ABC/ESPN2
Atlanta, Ga. • Georgia Dome (71,147)
Sirius: 91 • XM: 91
ABC/ESPNU2: Dave Pasch, Brian Griese and Tom Luginbill
ESPN Radio: Marc Kestescher, Trevor Matich and Ian Fitzsimmons
VegasInsider Line: Alabama -26
Vinny’s Vibe: Who’s the quarterback for Alabama? Will both QBs play? How will Lane Kiffin call plays? How will he handle being on the sidelines and screaming distance away from Nick Saban. All that aside, Bama is far too deep and talented to get a game from a down West Virginia team. How will Bama divide carries in another very deep backfield? Atlanta is generally goo to the Crimson Tide. Nick Saban’s guys handle his home-state school.
Prediction: Alabama 41 West Virginia 13

South Dakota State (9-5) vs. #24 Missouri (12-2, 7-1 SEC)
Series: First Meeting
2:30 p.m. CT • ESPNU
Columbia, Mo. • Faurot Field / Memorial Stadium (72,000)
Sirius: 108 • XM: 190
ESPNU: Clay Matvick, Anthony Becht and Cara Capuano
VegasInsider Line: No Line
Vinny’s Vibe: Maty Mauk should have a big day. We may get an early feel for which wide receivers will come up big. The Tigers should win handily.
Prediction: Missouri 52 South Dakota State 17

Arkansas (3-9, 0-8 SEC) at #6 Auburn (12-2, 7-1 SEC)
Series: AU leads, 12-10-1
3 p.m. CT • SEC Network Last: AU, 35-17 (2013 at Fayetteville)
Auburn, Ala. • Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451)
Sirius: 84 • XM: 84
SEC Network: Brent Musburger, Jesse Palmer and Maria Taylor
Sports USA Radio: John Ahlers and Gary Barnett
VegasInsider Line: Auburn -19
Vinny’s Vibe: This game has extra spice with the Malzahn vs. Bielema, pace of play duel those two had. Gus The Genius won’t think twice about cashing in some extra TDs at the end if he gets the opportunity. Auburn is too talented and too fast for Arkansas. When will we see Nick Marshall? How much will he play? I can’t wait to see dynamic Auburn JUCO WR D’haquille Williams for Auburn. He looks like he has special written all over him. This game has plenty of intrigue.
Prediction: Auburn 45 Arkansas 17

#16 Clemson (11-2) at #12 Georgia (8-5, 5-3 SEC)
Series: UGA leads, 41-18-4
5:30 p.m. ET • ESPN
Athens, Ga. • Sanford Stadium (92,746)
Sirius: 126 • XM: 205
ESPN: Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe
Compass Media: Gregg Daniels and Dale Hellestrae
VegasInsider Line: Georgia -7.5
Vinny’s Vibe: With a thin Georgia secondary, can Clemson throw the ball enough to make some plays? Will we see talented true freshman QB Deshaun Watson some for the Tigers. I think Georgia’s defense, especially the front seven will be much improved this year. As long as Hutson Mason is solid and UGA can avoid more devastating injuries, the Bulldogs should win this game going away.
Prediction: Georgia 34 Clemson 20

Idaho (1-11) at Florida (4-8, 3-5 SEC)
Series: First Meeting
7 p.m. ET • ESPNU
Gainesville, Fla. • Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field (88,548)
Sirius: 108 • XM: 190
ESPNU: Anish Shroff, Kelly Stouffer and Niki Noto
VegasInsider Line: -36.5
Vinny’s Vibe: Idaho is a great way to try out the new offense under Kurt Roper. Florida isn’t known as a high scoring team, but I expect the Gators to score in every way imaginable.
Prediction: Florida 45 Idaho 3

Southern Miss (1-11) at Mississippi State (7-6, 3-5 SEC)
Series: USM leads, 14-12-1
6:30 p.m. CT • SEC Network
Starkville, Miss. • Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field (61,337)
Sirius: 84 • XM: 84
SEC Network: Dave Neal, Andre Ware and Laura Rutledge
VegasInsider Line: Mississippi State -30.5
Vinny’s Vibe: It’s Mullen vs. Mullens…Mississippi State coach Dan against Southern Miss QB Nick. The once proud Golden Eagles program has been a disaster the last two years. USM won its final game in 2013 to snap a 23-game losing streak. Another losing streak starts in Starkville. Dak Prescott will have a monster game in an MSU win.
Prediction: Mississippi State 55 Southern Miss 16

#14 Wisconsin (9-4) vs. #13 LSU (10-3, 5-3 SEC)
Series: LSU leads, 2-0
8 p.m. CT • ESPN
Houston, Texas • NRG Stadium (71,054)
Sirius: 126 • XM: 205
ESPN: Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman and Todd McShay
Westwood One Radio: Jason Benetti and Derek Rackley
VegasInsider Line: LSU -5
Vinny’s Vibe: Love this game. Two tough, physical football teams that love to run the football. Melvin Gordon leads the Badgers rushing attack that will once again be dynamic. LSU true freshman super-stud Leonard Fournette is as hyped a player as we’ve seen in some time. I think he’s the real deal. AS long as neither QB is terrible, it should be enough for LSU to win where they win a lot…the state of Texas. All conference caliber PK Colby Delahoussaye will cash in on opportunities to put points and the board, and those will add up.
Prediction: LSU 29 Wisconsin 21

SUNDAY, AUGUST 31
(2013 RECORD)
Utah State (9-5) at Tennessee (5-7, 2-6 SEC)
Series: First Meeting
7 p.m. ET • SEC Network
Knoxville, Tenn. • Neyland Stadium (102,455)
Sirius: 91 • XM: 91
SEC Network: Joe Tessitore. Brock Huard and Shannon Spake
VegasInsider Line: Tennessee -6
Vinny’s Vibe: This game is soldout. It is the first sellout in a home opener since 2007. Tennessee is as young as it gets in the country. The talent is improving without question, thanks to Butch Jones’ recruiting efforts. 15 true freshmen and 19 newcomers are on the 2-deep for UT. 49% of the depth chart has never played in a game. 62% has never started a game. Tennessee is the only team in the country replacing every starters on the offensive and defensive lines. The 9 starters have combined for a total of 14 career starts. The flip side is they do have 108 games played. Then the question becomes, are the once non-starters now starting good enough? Utah State is a pretty decent way to get an early read on that. Heisman candidate QB Chuckie Keeton is back. All accounts are he looks like the old Chuckie. Will he be as willing to run? Can Tennessee contain him in the pocket? I think UT needs to hold him to under 50 yards rushing and less than 200 yards passing. How will Justin Worley play? Can UT get the ball out of his hands and to the playmakers fast to allow them to make plays? How effective will Curt Maggitt be in his long-awaited return? The defense and special teams should show improved speed. There will be some ugly moments, but also some exciting ones for the fans as well.
Prediction: Tennessee 35 Utah State 24

Here’s an SEC & Top 25 schedule for you.

College Football Schedule – Week 1 – Top 25 & SEC
Thursday, August 28, 2014
6:00 PM (21) Texas A&M Aggies at (9) South Carolina Gamecocks
8:00 PM (18) Ole Miss Rebels vs. Boise State Broncos (Atlanta)
9:15 PM Temple Owls at Vanderbilt Commodores
10:30 PM Weber State Wildcats at (19) Arizona State Sun Devils

Friday, August 29, 2014
7:30 PM Jacksonville State Gamecocks at (8) Michigan State Spartans

Saturday, August 30, 2014
12:00 PM Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks at Kentucky Wildcats
12:00 PM (5) Ohio State Buckeyes at Navy Midshipmen
12:00 PM (7) UCLA Bruins at Virginia Cavaliers
3:30 PM (2) Alabama Crimson Tide vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (Atlanta)
3:30 PM South Dakota State Jackrabbits at (24) Missouri Tigers
3:30 PM Florida Atlantic Owls at (22) Nebraska Cornhuskers
3:30 PM Rice Owls at (17) Notre Dame Fighting Irish
4:00 PM Arkansas Razorbacks at (6) Auburn Tigers
4:00 PM California-Davis Aggies at (11) Stanford Cardinal
5:30 PM (16) Clemson Tigers at (12) Georgia Bulldogs
6:00 PM Liberty Flames at (23) North Carolina Tar Heels
7:00 PM Idaho Vandals at Florida Gators
7:00 PM Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at (4) Oklahoma Sooners
7:10 PM Stephen F. Austin State Lumberjacks at (20) Kansas State Wildcats
7:30 PM Southern Miss Golden Eagles at Mississippi State Bulldogs
7:30 PM Fresno State Bulldogs at (15) USC Trojans
8:00 PM (1) Florida State Seminoles vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Arlington)
9:00 PM (13) Louisiana State Tigers vs. (14) Wisconsin Badgers (Houston)
10:30 PM (25) Washington Huskies at Hawaii Warriors
10:30 PM South Dakota Coyotes at (3) Oregon Ducks

Sunday, August 31, 2014
7:00 PM Utah State Aggies at Tennessee Volunteers
7:30 PM Southern Methodist Mustangs at (10) Baylor Bears