Southern Football Predictions

Dean Legge makes his weekly picks for the 23 schools in the South.

1. Tennessee – Vols have the most talent of anyone in the South.

2. LSU – First game of the season is postponed due to the hurricane.

3. Miami – Beating Florida State on Labor Day would make it seven in a row.

4. Virginia Tech – Back from another good season, but difficult opener; will Tech get any consistent quarterback play from Vick?

5. Auburn – People underestimate the Tigers' defense.

6. Florida State – This program needs to get back to where it was five years ago.

7. Georgia – Richt will be tested this season, but the schedule gets much easier without LSU.

8. Florida – New offense and coach – will that be good or bad for the Gators?

9. Alabama – Now or never for Mike Shula at Bama.

10. Clemson – Now or never for Tommy Bowden at Clemson (but September schedule is brutal).

11. Georgia Tech – Best receiver in the country needs to get the ball early and often for Tech to be a factor in ACC Costal.

12. ArkansasHouston Nutt's team should be better, but how much? They won't challenge for the SEC West.

13. Virginia – This program is consistently overrated.

14. South Carolina – Suspensions and NCAA probation all before Steve Spurrier makes his debut on the field. The Old Ball Coach needs a quarterback – fast. (Thanks Lou!)

15. Maryland – Was last season a sign of things to come, or will the Turtles turn things around? Game two against Clemson will be pivotal for Terps.

16. North Carolina State – Last season's 32 turnovers were far too many for a team that wants to be considered one of the big boys.

17. Ole Miss – Rebels need to start winning early because the schedule is difficult after the first few weeks.

18. Mississippi State – State should be better, but not by bunches.

19. Kentucky – Not looking too good.

20. Vanderbilt – How about getting out of last place for a while? Jay Cutler is the SEC's best quarterback, but he can't do it himself. Starting the season 4-1 is mandatory to getting out of last place in the division.

21. Wake Forest – Beating Vandy would help matters.

22. North Carolina – Very little talent on offense.

23. Duke – The worst team in the South.

This week's games:

NOTE: these are Sunday lines; some may have moved

Vanderbilt (+9.5) at Wake Forest
Winner straight up – Wake Forest
Winner with points – Vanderbilt
Comment – This one will be ugly, but that's too many points to give to Vandy – a team that lost five games by less than five points last year. Score prediction: Wake wins 21-20.


Central Florida (+18.5) at South Carolina
Winner straight up – South Carolina
Winner with points – Central Florida
Comment – Carolina hasn't covered a spread since they upset Alabama the first week of October in 2004. Also the Cocks are 3-6 ATS when they are a doubt digit favorite. It's just hard to think Carolina will score at will – even against a team as bad as UCF.


UAB (+23.5) at Tennessee
Winner straight up – Tennessee
Winner with points – Tennessee
Comment – Take the Vols – that's a lot of points to cover, but they are supposed to be that good. Score prediction: Tennessee wins 38-14


Boise State (+7) at Georgia
Winner straight up – Georgia
Winner with points – Georgia
Comment – Georgia should pull away in the second half.


Wyoming (+22) at Florida
Winner straight up – Florida
Winner with points – Florida
Comment – Gators should roll.


Middle Tennessee State at Alabama
Winner straight up – Alabama
Winner with points – No line
Comment – Alabama wins easy.


Missouri State at Arkansas
Winner straight up – Arkansas
Winner with points – No line
Comment – Hogs too much.


Murray State at Mississippi State
Winner straight up – Mississippi State
Winner with points – No line
Comment – Mississippi State, but closer than you might think.


Georgia Tech (+7) at Auburn
Winner straight up – Auburn
Winner with points – Auburn
Comment – That line is too small, but Tech could make this a game for three quarters.


Duke (+1.5) at East Carolina
Winner straight up – East Carolina
Winner with points – East Carolina
Comment – Difficult one to pick considering the stature of both programs.


Boston College (-5) at BYU
Winner straight up – Boston College
Winner with points – BYU
Comment – BC will have to fight their way back home to the east coast, but they will get out of Utah with a win.


Maryland (-7) at Navy
Winner straight up – Maryland
Winner with points – Maryland
Comment – Turtles should be too much


Western Michigan (+33) at Virginia
Winner straight up – Virginia
Winner with points – Western Michigan
Comment – I'm not sure if Virginia is 33 points better than anyone.


Texas A&M (-1) at Clemson
Winner straight up – Texas A&M
Winner with points – Texas A&M
Comment – Clemson is no good in September; Score prediction: A&M wins 31-24.


Virginia Tech (-5.5) at NC State
Winner straight up – Virginia Tech
Winner with points – Virginia Tech
Comment – Virginia Tech won't be upset two seasons in a row by State.


Louisville (-22.5) at Kentucky
Winner straight up – Louisville
Winner with points – Louisville
Comment – Cats aren't even close to as good as Cards. Score prediction: Louisville wins 49-14.


Ole Miss (+2.5) at Memphis
Winner straight up – Ole Miss
Winner with points – Ole Miss
Comment – Take the Rebels and the points – their coach will have them ready to win.


Miami (-3) at Florida State
Winner straight up – Miami
Winner with points – Miami
Comment – That nut Chris Rix is gone, but Miami should maintain their hold in this rivalry; it's funny how the spread is a field goal. Score prediction: The U wins 27-13
LOCK OF THE WEEK -------------

Vanderbilt (+9.5) at Wake Forest
Winner with points – Vanderbilt
Comment – This will likely be the only time of the year Vandy is the lock of the week, but the start of the year is difficult to pick – also, nearly ten points seems like way too much to give any team that Wake Forest plays. I also like Miami over Florida State a lot, but there's only one lock of the week this week.

Last Year – Lock of the week: 8 of 13 or 62%
Last Year – Straight up: 128 out of 161 or 80%
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