And So It Begins Again: Week One SEC Picks

Eric MariottContributor ISeptember 2, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 02:  Kick returner Javier Arenas #28 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates with head coach Nick Saban after Arenas scored on a 73-yard punt return in the second quarter against the Utah Utes during the 75th Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Authors Note: Here are my weekly SEC Predictions for the week of Sept. 5.  Please bear in mind that these predictions are based in order of the helmet schedule pinned up in my office.  This will be published on the Alabama page at and on my Facebook page under notes.  This is based on the format I used during the 2008 season at  Those interested in seeing my Big 12 predictions can link to my profile page or the Oklahoma State page here at
The 2009 season should start off strong for most of the SEC teams this season.  Looks like only two games are of major consequence this week, so without further delay, let’s get this show on the road.
#5 Alabama at #7 Virginia Tech  (September 5, 8:00 PM ET, ABC)  The marquee game of the week will be held in Atlanta with this being the ABC game of the week and ESPN Gameday location.  This game will be a hot and tight matchup between two fantastic schools.  Expect to see some hard hitting defense that will take this game to the 4th quarter.  Va. Tech will not lay down like Clemson did last year in the opener against the Crimson Tide, but I have a sneaky suspicion that Coach Saban has stressed the entire offseason to play hard til the whistle blows. 
My pick:  Alabama by 6.
Arkansas vs. Missouri State (September 5, 7:00 PM ET,, ESPN Gameplan)  A short distance game, as the drive from Springfield to Fayetteville is a hair more than two hours.  Expect to see Arkansas try to jump out ahead early and quickly as they try to make a statement in the SEC east.
My pick:  Razorbacks by 13.
Auburn vs. La. Tech (September 5, 7:00 PM ET, ESPNU)  Something has to go right for Auburn quickly this season.  Coach Chizik will have to gain the confidence of his fans and his team here and now for this program to start the turnaround they sorely need, however Coach Dooley down at La. Tech won’t make it easy for Auburn, or for the rest of the SEC schools he plays this season. 
My pick:  Auburn by 7.
#11 LSU @ Washington (September 5, 10:30 PM ET, ESPN,  For those who like to watch a late game on Saturday night, this should be interesting to watch as LSU plays late.  This should be a good test for the LSU defense, but should also come out as a victory for the Bengal Tigers. 
My pick:  LSU by 14.
#8 Ole Miss @ Memphis (September 6, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN,  We will find out if the hype is all true about Houston Nutt and Ole Miss.  Interesting note about a top ten ranked team playing away to a non-ranked team.
My pick:  Ole Miss by 12.
Mississippi State vs. Jackson State (September 5, 3:30 PM ET, ESPNU)  Dan Mullen takes the helm as head coach for the Bulldogs.  This should be a win for MSU.
My pick:  Mississippi State by a touchdown.
#1 Florida vs. Charleston Southern  (September 5, 7:00 PM ET,, ESPN Gameplan)  Can you say cupcake game?  Everybody in the country has heard about how great Florida is going to be this year, so this game should be a sacrificial lamb blowout.  If the defense doesn’t hold Charleston Southern to a field goal, something is wrong, VERY wrong here.
My pick:  Florida by 35.
#13 Georgia @ #9 Oklahoma State (September 5, 3:30 PM ET, ABC, ESPN Gameplan)  One of two key matchups in the SEC that will define a program for the year.  My opinions were pretty clear where I stand on this game in my Big 12 picks. 
My pick:  Oklahoma State by at 13.
Kentucky @ Miami of Ohio (September 5, 12:00 PM ET, ESPNU)  Probably a ho-hum game for those who are not Kentucky of Miami (OH) fans.  Could be a surprise, but don’t expect any major BCS implications from this game.
My pick:  Miami (OH) by 6. 
South Carolina @ NC State (September 3, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN,  The opening game of the 2009 college football season with a Thursday night interstate battle.  Look for NC State to hit the Gamecocks hard and heavy. 
My pick:  NC State by 9.
Tennessee vs. Western Kentucky (September 5, 12:21 PM ET,, ESPN Gameplan)  Good opportunity for the Vols to see what they can do under Coach Kiffin.  Should be an easy win at Rocky Top. 
My pick: Vols by 14.
Vanderbilt vs Western Carolina (September 5, 7:30 PM ET,, ESPN Gameplan)  This could be a toss up in the normal season, but Vanderbilt is a good team and can contend with anybody. 
My pick: Vandy by a touchdown. 
There is where we are for Week One.  Please feel free to comment and leave your picks.  I will post my score next week with Week Two picks.
Roll Tide.  Go Pokes.