It was an eventful first week in college football as we finished the week 11-7. The most shocking of all of the fireworks occurred in the opening contest in the SEC. Texas A&M’s blowout victory over South Carolina as a double-digit underdog sent shockwaves through the gambling community, but those of us who make our livings at the window knew something along those lines was coming. I sent out Texas A&M early Thursday morning on Twitter (@MWPGT) as a play at +11, and Kevin Sumlin did in fact have the goods all along. I speak for most professionals when I say that that game told us a lot more about Texas A&M than it did about South Carolina. Dylan Thompson will not complete only 50% of his passes in every game. Their defense will not consistently struggle the way it did against Sumlin’s offense. They are still a contender to win the SEC East. It’s a long uphill climb, but this is a strong team with a brilliant coach. The Gamecocks are not done yet.
In another terrible Palmetto State outing that took place on Saturday, the Georgia Bulldogs absolutely ran away (literally) from Clemson in the fourth quarter behind juggernaut running back Todd Gurley’s amazing performance. Clemson actually took a 17-10 lead in the second quarter before Gurley approached UGA coach Mark Richt and told him he wanted to run back the ensuing kickoff. He took it to the house, and the rest is history. Possibly Heisman history. If Gurley stays healthy, Georgia is going to run him as much as humanly possible to try and ride his legs to an SEC Championship. If that occurs, start etching his name on the trophy and striking poses.
LSU’s miraculous comeback victory over Wisconsin (in which we covered the +4.5 by the skin of our teeth) showed the resolve that this team possesses under Les Miles. Say what you will about his intelligence or his strange grass-eating habits, but his teams consistently come to play and they perform in crunch time. This victory showcased the SEC’s power, as LSU was able to pick up a victory with a subpar effort against a strong Badger team. This team may not be able to win the SEC West, but they will take someone down with them.
In another prime-time matchup, Florida State was able to sneak past Oklahoma State by a touchdown in Dallas. Jameis Winston made several untimely errors and looked a little rusty before he started getting going as the game progressed. He’s still easily the best talent in the country, but his various escapades are going to give his detractors plenty of fuel for the fire if his on-field performance does not live up to the insanely high bar he has set for himself. Don’t get it twisted, however — Florida State is still the best team in the country by a wide margin, and will have a man-by-man advantage at nearly every position on nearly every team in college football. They will almost assuredly be playing in the 4-team playoff in January, barring a Winston injury (or suspension). Hell, they might be in the playoff even if he does get hurt.
My first three moves for the week are on a pair of our outstanding military academies and a prime-time favorite that the public usually races to the window to bet, but for some reason is not getting a lot of love this week. Good luck everyone.
320 Army -3 (MGM)
352 Oregon -12 (Bovada)
383 Air Force -1.5 (MGM)