July 22, 2024

SEC Picks: TNJN roundtable for week one

Adam Milliken, David Bradford and Nathan Odom make their picks for week one of college football in the SEC.

KNOXVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07, 2015 - defensive back Cameron Sutton #7 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Hayley Pennesi/Tennessee Athletics

The week one platter of SEC football looks delicious. College football elites collide, electric offenses face off and a Heisman front-runner gets a chance to show out on a big stage. Follow along weekly as the sports staff makes picks for SEC games.

No. 1 Alabama vs No. 20 USC — AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX, 8:00 p.m. 

Bradford: USC. The Crimson Tide dynasty will suffer a Julius Caesar-esque death this season. It all begins with the Trojans, who (similar to Alabama) feature a first-year starting quarterback, but return 10 starters on offense. Nick Saban is undoubtedly college football’s greatest coach, but all good things must come to an end. Powerhouse programs like Tennessee and Michigan are experiencing resurgence after periods of decline. USC joins the club and stuns the nation.

Milliken: Alabama. The Crimson Tide are too talented and too deep for the Trojans to be able to keep up for four quarters.

Odom: Alabama. Let’s see, a team that hasn’t won its conference since 2008 takes on a team that’s won four of the last seven national championships. More specifically, an unproven USC team has to try and overpower Alabama’s star-studded defense. As long as Alabama’s quarterback is competent with the ball, Tim Williams and Jonathan Allen will keep USC from scaring ‘Bama.

Texas A&M vs No. 16 UCLA — Kyle Field, College Station, TX, 3:30 p.m.

Bradford: UCLA. The Aggies haven’t won a meaningful game since Johnny Manziel ran around the field like a chicken with his head cut off. Since then, a lack of quarterback development and shaky defenses have plagued College Station. Kanye West begged for “No More Parties in L.A.”, but with larger-than-life personality Josh Rosen under center, the Bruins will party well into the night after stomping Texas A&M.

Milliken: Texas A&M. The Aggies will be fielding arguably the best defense they have had in the past decade led by Myles Garrett, and the offense looks to be solid behind an excellent group of skill positions. UCLA will keep it close, but the 12th Man will help A&M close the deal.

Odom:  Texas A&M. Josh Rosen might be a better quarterback, but UCLA won’t have an answer for Christian Kirk, Ricky Seals-Jones and Josh Reynolds. If you like offense, tune in.

No. 5 LSU vs Wisconsin — Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI, 3:30 p.m.

Bradford: LSU. The Badgers return seven starters from last season’s stout defense that finished second nationally. However, they never faced the monster that is LSU running back Leonard Fournette. Les Miles said his players run the risk of becoming hitchhikers if they replicate the iconic Lambeau Leap. However, Fournette will cave in and create an early season Heisman moment. And if Miles has any sense, he’ll keep him on the plane ride home.

Milliken:  LSU. The Tigers rushing attack, led by Leonard Fournette, is arguably the most dominant ground game in the country. As Brandon Harris improves and a stacked defense wreaks havoc, LSU is primed for a huge season.

Odom: LSU. The Tigers look like one of the most talented teams in the country. That talent will overwhelm Wisconsin over four quarters. Expect the LSU defense to suffocate Wisconsin and Leonard Fournette to put on a show.

No. 18 Georgia vs. No. 22 North Carolina — Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA, 5:30 p.m.

Bradford: UNC. The Kirby Smart era kicks off in negative fashion. Despite playing in the Georgia Dome, the Tar Heels’ feature too much offense for the Bulldogs to handle.

Milliken: UNC. Though Georgia has plenty of talented players, namely Nick Chubb, Greyson Lambert will struggle to provide balance and UNC capitalizes. Expect the Tar Heels to be a dark horse ACC contender. 

Odom: Georgia. Greyson Lambert gets the start, but all eyes should be on the return of Nick Chubb. If Chubb is mostly healthy, North Carolina’s run defense (remember last year’s bowl game performance?) will have its hands full all night.

No. 11 Ole Miss vs No. 4 Florida State — Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL, 8:00 p.m. (Monday)

Bradford: Florida State. Hugh Freeze and the depleted Rebels might want to build a snowman because Dalvin Cook and the ‘Noles will freeze them in their tracks. While Ole Miss lost essentially everybody, Jimbo Fisher’s squad retains everyone on offense. That kind of chemistry bodes well early in the season, especially against programs without an established identity.

Milliken: Florida State. An interesting battle of offensive philosophies takes place on Labor Day when the Rebels play the Seminoles. Although Ole Miss has plenty of talent, Florida State is deeper and have the smashmouth style with Dalvin Cook to wear down Ole Miss.

Odom: Florida State. Chad Kelly is the SEC’s best quarterback, but Florida State is a College Football Playoff contender (Real contender. Not 2014 Florida State). Deondre Francois should have a coming-out party and the Seminole defense should keep Kelly and the Rebels in check.

Other picks:

Tennessee vs Appalachian State (Thursday)

Bradford: Tennessee; Milliken: Tennessee; Odom: Tennessee

South Carolina vs Vanderbilt (Thursday)

Bradford: Vanderbilt; Milliken: Vanderbilt; Odom: Vanderbilt

Mississippi State vs South Alabama

Bradford: Mississippi State; Milliken: Mississippi State; Odom: Mississippi State

Missouri at West Virginia

Bradford: West Virginia; Milliken: West Virginia; Odom: West Virginia

Arkansas vs Louisiana Tech

Bradford: Arkansas; Milliken: Arkansas; Odom: Arkansas

Kentucky vs Southern Miss

Bradford: Southern Miss; Milliken: Kentucky; Odom: Kentucky

Florida vs UMass

Bradford: Florida; Milliken: Florida; Odom: Florida

Auburn vs No. 2 Clemson

Bradford: Clemson; Milliken: Clemson; Odom: Clemson

Edited by Jordan Dajani

Featured image by Hayley Pennesi, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

Nathan is a junior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. He spends most of his free time eating meaningless foods and watching sports. If you wish to contact Nathan, you can email him at wodom3@vols.utk.edu or find him on Twitter, @NathanOdom11.