Summer and schoolusually don’t mix too well, but in this instance, it’s an ideal time to take a look at the college football landscape.
We continue SEC week, and we have former NFL QB Ryan Leaf and senior editor Max Meyer’s favorite under bets in the conference.
LEAF: Auburn Under 6.5 Wins (+105)
I think Hugh Freeze will be a boost, but systemically Auburn feels a bit broken and it’ll take more than a year to bring the Tigers back to prominence. It’s tougher to rebuild a program on the fly in the SEC, especially when you have to play Alabama, Georgia and LSU this season.
MEYER: Ole Miss Under 7.5 Wins (-115)
Offense is never the problem in Oxford in the Lane Kiffin era, even with the uncertainty about who will start at quarterback. That’s because the Rebels have one of the best tailbacks in the country in Quinshon Judkins. But Judkins averaged 141 rushing yards in the final six games last season, and Ole Miss still went 1-5.
There are major questions on defense, though, and I’m not sold on new defensive coordinator hire Pete Golding. If he underachieved with Alabama’s talent as DC in Tuscaloosa, should we be optimistic he can engineer a turnaround here? This is a group that returns 5 starters, and has to quickly gel with key transfers because the schedule gets tricky early on.
Speaking of schedule, there may not be a more difficult slate in college football this campaign. The Rebels have road games against Georgia AND Alabama. They host LSU the week after traveling to Alabama. Other road contests include a tricky Week 2 battle vs. Tulane, Auburn in a prime Hugh Freeze revenge game and against in-state rival Mississippi State. Playing an improved Texas A&M and well-coached Arkansas at The Grove is no walk in the park either.