The college football season slides into Week 6 with an assortment of very different games in the SEC. The featured game combines several different elements which create a fascinating backdrop to a prime-time clash.
Texas A&M Aggies at Alabama Crimson Tide
Odds: Alabama -24
This is a very layered game with so many components to sort through. First, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young suffered a shoulder injury last weekend against the Arkansas Razorbacks. He didn’t play in the fourth quarter of the game, and the team held him out as a precautionary measure. The Crimson Tide were able to win with backup quarterback Jalen Milroe under center. Milroe ripped off a very long run on 3rd and 15 to help Alabama fend off an Arkansas rally. If Young – who is currently listed as day to day, doing some very light work in practice – cannot play or cannot be effective, Milroe will fill in for him as a running quarterback who will give Texas A&M a very different look on the field. A&M knows that if Young plays, Alabama will throw the ball a lot. If Milroe plays, Bama will go to a run-heavy offense.
The other really big part of this game is that the two coaches, A&M’s Jimbo Fisher and Alabama’s Nick Saban, had a very public feud in the offseason, relating to the schools’ recruiting and their NIL involvements. (NIL stands for Name, Image and Likeness, the new world in which college athletes can accept payments for sponsorship deals and other commercial opportunities.) This has become a very personal rivalry between the two coaches. Fisher worked for Saban on the 2003 LSU Tigers’ national championship coaching staff. No one knows what will happen in this intense environment, and that’s part of why this game will be so interesting. You will want to get more information on Bryce Young’s injury status before you make a bet on this game, but if you’re not certain of his status, taking A&M plus the very large spread makes the most sense.
Pick: Texas A&M +24
Auburn Tigers at Georgia Bulldogs
Odds: Georgia -30
The Georgia Bulldogs were 30-point favorites one week ago at Missouri and barely won. They trailed by seven to 10 points for much of the game but rallied in the fourth quarter to pull of a 26-22 win. Georgia scored the last 17 points of the game. After that very shaky performance, one would think that Georgia will be extremely motivated to play well. Keep in mind that Georgia gave up 22 points the week before the Missouri game. UGA allowed 22 points to Kent State, meaning that the Dawgs have given up 22 points in consecutive games. That’s very rare. Auburn has been struggling the whole season. Georgia should be able to get on top of this game and dominate, but maybe the Bulldogs are weaker than we thought.
Pick: Georgia -30
Tennessee Volunteers at LSU Tigers
Odds: Tennessee -3
This is a day game, not a night game. LSU is really tough to beat at night in Tiger Stadium, but day games aren’t nearly as intimidating. This is a very important test for a Tennessee team which hopes to challenge Georgia for the SEC East title. If the Vols are for real, they will find a way to win this game.