Do you pull for your school or your team?
That's the dilemma I'm facing this weekend. I spent four glorious years -- and quite a bit of my parent's money -- at the small school from Birmingham that Arkansas will host this weekend in Little Rock. Samford is my alma mater, and I, like you many of you, love my alma mater like a "Mother of mothers."
Not all of us have our names engraved on Senior Walk or were afforded the opportunity to attend Arkansas be it for academic, financial, or geographic reasons. We still love what the school stands for as a whole -- and of course its athletic programs.
Arkansas football has always been my team because of my family. And I know it behooves my team to win this game more than my school, but there is something inside that feels inherently wrong about pulling against Samford.
This is a normal feeling, right?
No. 12 Florida at Miami, ESPN (-2 UF)- Last week the Gators looked like the Will Muschamp Gators we know, strong defense with an unimpressive offense. Miami has one of the more underrated offenses in the country with running back Duke Johnson leading the charge. Bettors will usually tell you to not take the road team to cover. I am going against conventional knowledge and letting my SEC biases reign. Gators cover for the win in South Florida.
Western Kentucky at Tennessee, ESPN3 (-12.5 UT)- You think Bobby Petrino is fired up to start 2-0 against the SEC and against a team that many thought would hire him? We may never know the validity to these rumors, but don't think BP won't convince himself that he was turned down to help him this week. Last time he coached opposite of the Volunteers, he won 49-7, although the talent on his sideline was far greater in 2011. Tennessee blew out Austin Peay last weekend, 45-0, but that defense will no doubt be challenged much more this week. If UT coach Butch Jones loses this game, confidence in him will take a steep fall. All that said, I'll take Tennessee to cover because the Hilltoppers' win over Kentucky a week ago was much more like beating a Sun Belt team than playing against the SEC.
No. 2 Oregon at Virgina, 3:30 p.m. ABC (-23.5 Ore)- This spread is almost like stealing money. The Ducks will have to travel east, which is never easy on a team, and they may give up a few points. No worries though. They'll easily beat Virginia by 24 points.
No. 6 South Carolina at No. 11 Georgia, 4:30 p.m., ESPN (-4.5 UGA)- Once again, Georgia finds itself playing the most significant game of the day as they welcome the Gamecocks between the hedges. The Bulldogs season is not over. National title hopes should still be alive in Athens, though if they lose this game consider those gone and you Bulldog fans can enjoy your traditional trip to Orlando and the Capital One Bowl. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is 1-10 versus top 15 opponents. Tomorrow he improves to 2-10, but not by five points.
Samford at Arkansas 7 p.m., ESPN3 (-32.5 UA)- Here is the Arkansas' defense chance to pitch a shutout, which, because of aforementioned reasons, is hard for me to say. Samford won its first game in school history against an FBS opponent last week in Atlanta. The only real offensive threat to the Hogs is Bulldog running back Fabian Truss. Other than him, there is not too much home team to worry about. Arkansas covers and Bret Bielema coaches his defense play their game of the season
UAB at No. 9 LSU, 7 p.m., ESPU (-33.5 LSU)- LSU lingered under the radar coming into the season, but last week they put up what I thought was the most impressive victory in the SEC. At home, under the lights former Arkansas offensive coordinator, now UAB coach, Garrick McGee's offense will struggle to put up points. This is a dangerous bet only because I'm not sure Les Miles will leave his starters in long enough to cover the spread. But because it's Les Miles, commonplace thought is thrown out the window. I am admittedly unsure, but will take the Bayou Bengals covering.
No. 14 Notre Dame at No. 17 Michigan, 8 p.m., ESPN (-3 Mich)- Wolverine quarterback Devin Gardner had an underwhelming performance, tossing two picks to Western Michigan last week. Because of his arm strength and mobility though, I believe he allows the Michigan offense to be more explosive than it ever was with Denard Robinson. Yes, Notre Dame's Tommy Rees had a good week last week, with three TDs and nearly 350 yards passing, but this week's opposing defense will put up more of a fight than Temple did a week ago. This game reminds me how badly I need to take a trip to the Big House. I like Michigan to win by 10 points.
Washington State at No. 25 Southern Cal, 10:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1 (-12 USC)- Late night is your chance to watch some of the teams out west play. In their last game, the Trojans looked mediocre at best at Hawaii, but look for them to play a little better at home opposing a Cougar team that trailed Auburn by only 4 points in the fourth quarter.. USC for the win and cover.
Last Week: 5-3