Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, November 22, 2013 at 10:00 AM
The biggest downside of playing in the powerful SEC is that you can be a very good team that just misses out on the glory if you’re not as strong as Alabama, and if you stub your toe somewhere along the line against other top notch teams.
Texas A&M might win the Big 10 or the Big 12 if they played in those leagues, and could definitely give Oregon or Florida State a run for their money. Yet, the Aggies barely get mentioned any more in national college football discussions even though their only losses were nailbiters against #1 Alabama and #6 Auburn. Oh, their quarterback also won the Heisman Trophy last year!
LSU wasn’t quite up to early expectations…dropping games to Georgia and Ole Miss before falling to Alabama two Saturdays ago. They’re way down at #18 in the AP poll and #22 in the BCS. But, you know what? The market sees them as the superior team to Texas A&M right now!
These are still two of the elite teams of the sport in respected Power Ratings. Which means YOU should give the game full attention Saturday afternoon when they square off on CBS at 3:30 p.m. ET. It’s the best matchup in daylight. And, it involves teams who will very likely be playing in high profile bowls even if they didn’t qualify for BCS consideration this season.
SUMMARY SINCE SEPTEMBER
Texas A&M (-8) won at Ole Miss 41-38 (winning yardage 587-462)
Texas A&M (-12) lost to Auburn 45-41 (losing yardage 602-615)
Texas A&M (-17) beat Vanderbilt 56-24 (winning yardage 558-329)
Texas A&M (-47) beat UTEP 57-7 (winning yardage 564-198)
Texas A&M (-19) beat Mississippi State 51-41 (winning yardage 537-536)
The Texas A&M offense is still fantastic. They were the only team to score a lot on Alabama. The recent numbers above sure don’t show any slowing down. The problem as always is with the defense. If the opponent is good, it’s going to be a shootout because A&M’s defense can’t stop anybody who knows what they’re doing. Aggies fans have to be concerned about what’s going to happen once Johnny Football moves on. Can a Kevin Sumlin team win in the SEC with a horrible defense and just an “okay” quarterback?
LSU (-7) won at Mississippi State 59-26 (winning yardage 563-468)
LSU (-8) beat Florida 17-6 (winning yardage 327-240)
LSU (-10) lost at Ole Miss 27-24 (losing yardage 388-522)
LSU (-47) beat Furman 48-16 (winning yardage 672-198)
LSU (+11) lost at Alabama (losing yardage 284-372)
The Tigers have failed to cover their last three games…and weren’t that impressive four games ago against Florida considering what other teams have done against the Gators. Even though the full season resume is strong by national standards…it’s still a disappointment against expectations. The defense can’t be trusted vs. quality…and the offense has feast or famine elements that can’t possibly get the job done in a powerhouse conference.
Current Vegas Line: LSU by 4.5, total of 71.5
Given recent form, that line is a surprise. Home field advantage is usually worth three points in football. Maybe LSU deserves 4 in the Bayou…but longterm math is far from certain on that front. Is LSU better on a neutral field than Texas A&M? Can they win a projected SHOOTOUT by more than a field goal?
The secret story here is that Texas A&M hasn’t played many road games. Oddsmakers and sharps know that the Aggies weren’t that impressive at Arkansas in a 45-33 win…and then had to sweat a nailbiter at Ole Miss. THAT’S ALL OF THEIR ROAD GAMES! Stats, metrics, whatever formulas you want to apply to the game must be adjusted for the fact that the Aggies have played 8 of their 10 games on their home field.
JIM HURLEY knows whether that’s a meaningful angle or a red herring. He thinks this line is off by at least 5-6 points based on the information he’s gathered from NETWORK’S exclusive TEAM HANDICAPPING approach. Will that make it a major release on Saturday…part of a patented TV Triple Crown…or just off the slate because several games grade out even stronger?
You can purchase the final word for Saturday right here at the website before kickoff of the early games with your credit card. If you have any questions, call our handicapping office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155.
Back with you early Saturday to preview the best of prime time…which is #3 Baylor at #11 Oklahoma State. We return to the NFL Sunday and Monday with Denver/New England and San Francisco/Washington.
Johnny Football may have a catchy nickname, but THE MAN WHO GETS YOU THE MONEY is JIM HURLEY!