Alabama opens as a favorite against Georgia

Yes, we’re stuck with two SEC teams in the National Championship game again . . . oh well. Both teams look great and are deserving, but given the bowl records of the rest of the SEC, plus the record of the Big Ten and UCF’s victory over Auburn and you have a tough time justifying only having a 4-team playoff.

Alabama opens as a 4.5 point favorite over Georgia in the title game. It should be strength against strength in that game, with two physical defenses and power running games.

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Nick Chubb returns to power Georgia past North Carolina

It’s always nice to see an injured player return to full strength, and Nick Chubb made a statement on Saturday that he’s back to terrorize college football defenses. Kirby Smart wasn’t shy about using him, as Chubb carried the ball 32 times for 222 yards as Georgia got past North Carolina in a pretty good football game.

Chubb instantly becomes a serious Heisman candidate with this performance, and it gives new head coach Smart a stabilizing force on offense.

College Football Week 7, NFL Week 6 Free Picks

No. 25 Missouri vs. No. 7 Georgia, 12:00PM ET
The Tigers are back in the AP top 25 for the first time in two years and are coming off a 51-28 drubbing of Vanderbilt on the road last Saturday. Quarterback James Franklin has looked sharp in the early going and has weapons at his disposal in Henry Josey and dynamic playmaker Dorial Green-Beckham. On the other side, No. 7 Georgia barely escaped Knoxville with a victory last weekend and is severely banged up offensively. The Bulldogs will be without running backs Keith Marshall and Todd Gurely, as well as recievers Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley. And while quarterback Aaron Murray has put on a show in back-to-back weeks, the defense still has plenty of holes after losing a handful of starters to the NFL draft back in April. Georgia is tough to beat in between the hedges, but look for Mizzou to keep things tight.

No. 9 Texas A&M vs. Ole Miss, 8:30PM ET
Two weeks ago there was plenty of chatter surrounding the 3-0 Rebels as they headed into Tuscaloosa. But following a 25-0 blanking at the hands of Alabama and a 30-22 upset last week versus Auburn, Ole Miss has once again fallen off the map. On the other side, A&M has completely regrouped following its loss to Alabama. The Aggies thumped a hapless SMU squad 42-13 before out-pacing Arkansas 45-33 two weeks ago in Fayetteville. Kevin Sumlin’s team is well rested coming off the bye and more importantly his defense has started to show signs of life. The spread is too low for this game, as “Johnny Football” and Co. should roll.

Steelers at Jets, 1:00PM ET
It was impressive to watch Geno Smith lead the Jets to a huge road victory over the Falcons on Monday Night Football, but suddenly the national media has made him into Randall Cunningham. Thanks to a rash of injuries the Falcons were without their starting running back, left tackle, middle linebacker, one of their outside linebackers, one of their starting defensive ends and were forced to play a hobbled Roddy White and Julio Jones because their reciveving corps is so thin. In other words, what the Jets did was impressive but they didn’t exactly beat the same Atlanta team that came within 10 yards of going to the Super Bowl last year. The Steelers are coming off their bye and thus, should have had plenty of time to regroup and iron out their issues on both sides of the ball. While it’s shocking to see the Giants at 0-6 on the year, it would be even more surprising to watch the Steelers fall to 0-5.

Rams at Texans, 1:00PM ET
The Texans are in the middle of a freefall because quarterback Matt Schaub can’t protect the football. He’s had an interception returned for a touchdown in four straight games and has seemingly lost his confidence. That said, Houston’s running game has remained effective and its defense still boasts the likes of Brian Cushing and J.J. Watt, who is the best interior defensive lineman in the league. The Rams are coming off a win over the winless Jaguars but they still struggle with penalties, third down conversions on both sides of the ball, and run defense. Sam Bradford has also reverted back into a check-down machine and should be under constant duress in Houston. Look for the Texans to get back on track on Sunday.

Mark Richt is officially on the hot seat

University of Georgia head coach Mark Richt walks off the field following a time out during the fourth quarter of their Southeastern Conference NCAA football game against the University of Florida in Jacksonville, Florida October 31, 2009. REUTERS/Daron Dean (UNITED STATES SPORT FOOTBALL)

It’s official, folks, Mark Richt is on the hot seat. An 0-2 start in Georgia (for the first time since 1996) isn’t what the fanbase wants, especially after a losing season a year ago. And no, it doesn’t matter that the Bulldogs opened with two teams that could realistically end the season in the top 10.

Richt is in 11th season as the Bulldogs head coach, and the team is certainly headed in the wrong direction record wise. Since the 11-2 season in 2007, the Bulldogs have gone 10-3, 8-5 and 6-7. That’s not the kind of progression you want to see in a major program this late into a coach’s tenure. And unfortunately for Richt, he doesn’t have a national title or legendary status to fall back on like a Joe Paterno.

The schedule gets easier for the Bulldogs, even in the SEC. They’re fortunate to be in the East, and they just played the divisional favorite down to the wire. It’s not out of the question for Georgia to still find a way to get to nine or 10 wins. I’m serious. They’re young and talented at some key positions, and should only get better as the season goes on.

If they do that, Richt should stay to see what he can do with a junior version of Aaron Murray and a sophomore Isaiah Crowell.

But if they don’t, and end up with a seven-, or six-win season, That young talent won’t be Richt’s to deal with anymore.

Fade Material: College Football Week 1 Predictions

Oregon Ducks LaMichael James laughs after drawing a personal foul on the Auburn Tigers in the third quarter in the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game in Glendale, Arizona, January 10, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

I woke up today with an extra spring in my step because I knew it was the first Saturday of the 2011 college football season. But what really got me going was knowing I would once again be providing quality fade material for bettors around the world.

It’s about people helping people, folks.

No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 4 LSU, 8:00PM ET
The last time Jarrett Lee opened a season as a starting quarterback was in 2006…for Brenham High School. LSU was going to have uncertainty at the quarterback position regardless of whether or not Lee or Jordan Jefferson was named the starter. But where the problem comes in is that Jefferson was assumed to be the starter for months. Now, just weeks before the season, they switch to Lee because of Jefferson’s off-field issues. It’s usually unwise to go against the SEC in a non-conference game but I’m not that bright so I’ll assume the risk. I think LSU’s outstanding defense will tire late in the second half after trying to keep up with Darron Thomas and LaMichael James for most of the game. The Tigers’ D figures to be on the field an awful lot tonight.

No. 7 Boise State vs. No. 22 Georgia
All the talk in this one has revolved around Aaron Murray but I expect Kellen Moore to once again play mistake free. He has all new weapons this year but the Broncos’ offense rarely misses a beat from season to season. Never go against Boise State in their opener or in their bowl game. These types of games might as well be their freaking Super Bowl…

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