The nation’s best football conference? It can’t even be argued. It’s clearly the SEC and here are some of the top games for the coming season. You can all but be assured that the SEC champion will be in the College Football Playoff — yes, even if that champion has two losses. No two-loss team has reached the playoff in its first two years. Here are the top two games of the season and early college football lines.
Here’s a Look at the Best 2016 SEC Conference Betting Matches
The Tigers are 1.5-point early favorites; this will be the only game the Tide are underdogs this year, if they even are by kickoff. This is usually the game of the year in the SEC and the winner here probably takes the SEC West Division. Alabama has dominated this series of late and if Les Miles’ Tigers don’t end their skid against the Tide this year, he might be fired. Miles nearly was last season. LSU was unbeaten and ranked second in the nation last year when it visited No. 4 Alabama and lost 30-16. Derrick Henry ran for 210 yards and three touchdowns, a performance that put him in the lead for the Heisman Trophy over LSU running back Leonard Fournette and Henry would go on to win the award. The nation’s leading rusher, Fournette gained only 31 yards on 19 carries. His previous season low was 154 yards against Western Kentucky. The Tigers were outgained 434-182 in total yards. LSU came in averaging 309 rushing yards and finished with 54. Down 3 points, with the ball and a chance for momentum in the second half, LSU came out and immediately blew it. Brandon Harris threw an easy interception to Dillon Lee on the first play from scrimmage, which gave Alabama the ball on the LSU 28-yard line. Five plays later, Henry crashed into the end zone for a touchdown and gave the Tide a two- score lead and that was that. But I like LSU at home this year.
Tennessee at Georgia (Oct. 1)
Game has opened as a pick’em. The winner here should take the SEC East title, although Tennessee also has to play Alabama and Georgia doesn’t so that’s a break. Last year, the Vols were unranked and upset No. 19 Georgia in Knoxville 38-31. Joshua Dobbs threw for a career-high 312 yards, ran for 118 more and accounted for five touchdowns as Tennessee erased a 21-point deficit. The defeat was doubly painful for Georgia, which lost star running back Nick Chubb to an injured left knee on the first offensive play. He wouldn’t be back the rest of the year. But Chubb is back this season. Georgia’s Reggie Davis scored on a 70-yard punt return and 48-yard catch but dropped a potential game-tying 56-yard touchdown pass with less than four minutes left. The Bulldogs drove from their own 1-yard line to Tennessee’s 27 in their final possession, but Brian Randolph broke up Greyson Lambert’s pass to Malcolm Mitchell in the right corner of the end zone as time expired. Lambert is battling for the starting QB job this season with freshman Jacob Eason. Georgia fans largely want Eason, the top-rated QB recruit in this year’s class to win the job. But know this: over the past 20 years, 15 SEC quarterbacks have started at least half of their team’s games as a true freshman. Only five of those quarterbacks saw their teams finish with a winning SEC record: Georgia’s Quincy Carter (1998), Tennessee’s Casey Clausen (2000), Florida’s Chris Leak (2003), Tennessee’s Erik Ainge (2004) and Arkansas’ Mitch Mustain (2006). Ainge is the only true freshman quarterback over the past 20 years to win an SEC division title. I like Tennessee in this game and to face LSU in the SEC title game. The Tigers would be my pick there on NCAA football lines.