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College football welcomes the SEC back this week, plus Army-Cincinnati & Florida State-Miami

After a few weeks of pretty bland college football slates, things get a little spicier with the return of the SEC.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 19 LSU at Mississippi State Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last week ATS: 6-1

Season ATS: 9-5

Hopefully more weeks like last week are on tap for MC&J. The only loser in the bunch was a total misread on Miami/Louisville, but it’s hard to be mad at that result when we cashed the other six picks.

More games are on the schedule this week around college football with the SEC returning to action, but MC&J isn’t going to go crazy, since there are some pretty ugly spreads with Alabama, Georgia, and Texas A&M all favored by at least four touchdowns. No sense in trying to figure out those games when the action is already tough enough to figure out around college football.

No. 23 Kentucky v. No. 8 Auburn (-7.5) - 12:00 PM EST - SEC Network

What a way for the SEC to kick off their season. Kentucky lost quarterback Terry Wilson early last season, leaving Lynn Bowden Jr. to shift to quarterback and run an offense that primarily stayed on the ground. Bowden is gone, but Wilson is back, and he’ll be joined by three running backs who ran for over 500 yards. My favorite out of the group by name alone is Kavosiey Smoke.

Auburn has quarterback Bo Nix back after Nix started every game as a freshman. Nix has a trio of outstanding wide receivers to work with in Seth Williams, Anthony Schwartz, and Eli Stove. The Tigers also have a strong defense, which will be tested right out of the gates against a more dynamic Kentucky attack than we saw last year.

With it being just the opener of the SEC season for both teams, I think there might be an adjustment period. Even though both teams have experienced quarterbacks, I think it will take the offense a little longer than the defenses to get going. This game comes down to the wire and it feels like one of those games that Bo Nix pulls off in the end, much like last year’s season opener against Oregon.

Auburn 24, Kentucky 20

No. 5 Florida (-14) v. Ole Miss - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN

Kyle Trask was thrown into the fire last year when Feleipe Franks was injured early in the season, but Trask was up to the task, tossing 25 touchdowns. Trask will have to be even better this year, as the Gators lost their leading rusher and three of the their top five leading receivers from last year’s team.

Ole Miss could be really fun in Lane Kiffin’s first year in Oxford. The Rebels have two quarterbacks who can beat you in very different ways. Matt Corral is more of a passing threat, while John Rhys Plumlee rushed for over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns last year. Add in Jerrion Ealy at running back and Elijah Moore at wide receiver, and the Lane Train could be coming in hot.

The defense of Ole Miss scares me. They could fall behind early which could leave the Rebels relying more on the pass, taking away some of their unpredictability at quarterback. Having said that, I think this might be just a few too many points for Florida to be laying in this spot. The Gators are a contender for the College Football Playoff, but that just means they have a bigger target on their back. Ole Miss keeps it somewhat close and a late score secures the cover.

Florida 31, Ole Miss 20

No. 22 Army v. No. 14 Cincinnati (-12.5) - 3:30 PM EST - ESPN

Army is averaging over 36 minutes per game of possession and almost 400 yards per game on the ground. Cincinnati is quite a step up from Middle Tennessee State and UL-Monroe, but we’ve seen Army hang around with some of the bigger names in college football over the past few years. Remember when they took Oklahoma to overtime a few years ago in Norman? Not to mention last year’s overtime bout with Michigan.

Luke Fickell’s team moves to 2-0 on Saturday, but they are going to have to sweat for it. The Black Knights cut down on how many possession the Bearcats get and I see this game being decided by 7-10 points.

Cincinnati 27, Army 17

Mississippi State v. No. 6 LSU (-17) - 3:30 PM EST - CBS

Why is LSU laying this many points, exactly? Joe Burrow and many other significant contributors from last year’s team are gone. Also, according to head coach Ed Orgeron, apparently everyone on LSU has already had coronavirus. Things are going swimmingly heading into this season in Baton Rouge.

Welcome to the SEC, Mike Leach. Who really knows if Leach’s style will work in the SEC, but at least he brought a quarterback with him from the PAC-12. Stanford graduate transfer K.J. Costello will at least give Leach a veteran at quarterback to help with his first season in Starkville.

Even if LSU doesn’t take a few steps back like I’m expecting them to this year, Leach’s offense should at least give them a shot at a late cover. I don’t think they’ll need to worry though, as this spread is a lot higher than I was anticipating.

LSU 31, Mississippi State 24

West Virginia v. No. 15 Oklahoma State (-6.5) - 3:30 PM EST - ABC

I’m probably testing fate thinking I be on the right side of the spread in two straight Oklahoma State games. Last week the Cowboys looked like garbage against Tulsa, as they saw quarterback Spencer Sanders injured in the game. It’s not known yet what Sanders’ status is for this game, but even if he doesn’t play at least they got the backup some practice reps to ready himself.

I just feel like Oklahoma State is going to come out a lot more focused in this game. Chuba Hubbard was held in check last week, but I don’t really see that happening two weeks in a row. The Cowboys win by at least a touchdown in their Big 12 opener.

Oklahoma State 34, West Virginia 24

Florida State v. No. 12 Miami (FL) (-11.5) - 7:30 PM EST - ABC

The U really impressed me last week. I thought Louisville might have their number heading into the game, but D’Eriq King made me eat my words. King already has five total touchdowns through two games, while running back Cam’Ron Harris is averaging over 10 yards per carry.

Florida State is a mess right now. The Seminoles blew a 13-0 lead in their season opener against Georgia Tech, and now head coach Mike Norvell tested positive for COVID-19, meaning he won’t be coaching on Saturday night. Nothing is making me think that somehow the Seminoles are going to turn things around against a Miami team that is flying high after a big win last week. The Hurricanes cruise here, extending their winning streak against Florida State to four games.

Miami (FL) 38, Florida State 21