No. 6 Texas A&M Aggies (5-0 SU, 3-2 ATS) vs. No. 12 Mississippi State Bulldogs (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS)
College Football Week 6
Date and Time: Saturday, October 4th, 2014. 12:00PM EST
Where: Davis Wade Stadium Starkville, M.S.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TAMU -2.5/MSU +2.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
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Action heats up in the SEC West this Saturday starting with the 6th ranked Texas A&M Aggies trip into Starkville to battle the no. 12 Mississippi State Bulldogs inside Davis Wade Stadium. The SEC West has donned the title of college football’s most premier conference throughout the early stages of 2014 and rightfully so with 6 teams currently ranked inside the top 15. This week 4 of the 5 unbeatens in the SEC West will square off against each other with the Aggies and Bulldogs in a noon kickoff followed by 3rd ranked Alabama’s trip to ‘The Grove’ against the 10th ranked Rebels of Ole Miss.
The ongoing slate of extremely tough matchups will be the norm in the SEC West this year on a near weekly basis. For the Aggies and the Bulldogs, it is going to be either feast or famine. These teams are either going to start falling at the hands of a brutal schedule or keep surviving which will certainly put them into the thick of the playoff mix by season’s end. In fact, it would not be the least bit surprising to see the SEC West place two teams into the 4 team playoff at the end of the year based on how strong the division has shown itself to be so far this year. Therefore this Saturday’s big matchup with the Aggies and the Bulldogs potentially has a lot riding on the line outside of a pair of unblemished records.
Both teams have had a great start to 2014. The Aggies knocked off South Carolina in Columbia to start the year to end the Gamecocks 18 game home winning streak and then held off a tough challenge from Arkansas last week with a 35-28 overtime victory in their 2nd conference game of the year. Mississippi State, 1-0 in the SEC, stunned LSU in Baton Rouge two weeks ago with a 34-29 victory. The Bulldogs actually dominated the Tigers leading by as much as 34-10 in the 4th quarter before LSU rallied to score a few touchdowns in the closing minutes. Still, the Bulldogs opened a lot of eyes with their win at Tiger Stadium at night nevertheless and look to back it up with another big win on Saturday against the Aggies.
If you are thinking that the Bulldogs may have been a one hit wonder against LSU then I would strongly disagree. The entire Mississippi State program has been on the rise under Dan Mullen especially in terms of talent. However it takes a lot of time to make your way up in the SEC and Bulldogs fans are hoping that time has come. The Bulldogs will enter this Saturday’s matchup having covered 8 of their last 9 games ATS and playing exceptionally well on both sides of the football. QB Dak Prescott has silenced his turnover woes with an 11 touchdown to 2 interception ratio. The offense is lethal on the ground with Prescott in the option read and running back Josh Robinson who leads the team with 485 yards with 4 touchdowns through the first 4 games. Overall the Bulldogs have accounted for 270 yards per game on the ground which ranks 15th in the country and is bound to give the Aggies defense trouble just as Arkansas did a week ago with their strong rushing attack.
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The Aggies defense gave up 285 yards to Arkansas last week on the ground and nearly 500 yards of total offense. The Aggies defense was the forefront of the team’s struggles in 2013 and still holds some lingering concerns this season. The Aggies defense is definitely improved but how will they hold up during the grind of the SEC schedule? The good news is offensively Texas A&M is as good as anyone in the SEC or the country for that matter. Quarterback Kenny Hill is posting outstanding numbers with 1,745 passing yards with 17 touchdowns and just 2 picks as the head of one of the best passing offenses in college football. This week we will see if Coach Sumlin and Hill can keep up their torrid offensive pace against another solid defense in Mississippi State to keep their undefeated record intact.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Bulldogs beat LSU by lining up in the same power sets and simply outplaying the Tigers in a man on man type approach. This week they have a far more difficult challenge as the Aggies offense will be more finesse with Kenny Hill and spread the ball around by throwing to spots on coverage. I do not think the Bulldogs defense is ready for this type of offense. Furthermore, last week’s Arkansas matchup was a good preparation for the Aggies defense against Mississippi State’s rushing offense this week which should be beneficial for the A&M defense. Take the Aggies -2.5