The Auburn Tigers beat up Kentucky to cover. Coach Rick’s home state Pitt Panthers got the win, but his former WR Dez Fitzpatrick and the Louisville Cardinals covered in a 23-20 loss. Coach Rick loved Army against Cincinnati, a 14-point favorite, but the Bearcats claimed a 24-10 win for the push.
The first big game of the day in Week 5 pits Texas A&M against Alabama, a team the Aggies have not beaten in their last seven tries. Yes, it has been eight years since Johnny “Football” Manziel led A&M to a win over the Crimson Tide.
Last week, the Aggies were unimpressive in a 17-12 victory over Vanderbilt. Texas A&M committed three turnovers among a number of other mistakes. Playing at Alabama, any mistakes by the Aggies will get them beat. The question is by how much?
The Tide just 4-4 ATS in their last eight against the Aggies. With another double-digit point spread, can they cover? Last year, Alabama was a 17-point favorite against Texas A&M and won 47-28.
Despite a crazy 2020 college football season thus far, Alabama is still the class of the SEC and the West Division. With QB Mac Jones and RB Najee Harris playing well, the Tide will thrive at home.
While A&M-Alabama is no slouch, the best game of the week will be played in Athens where fourth- ranked Georgia hosts No. 7 Auburn.
The Bulldogs were lethargic in a 37-10 win over Arkansas last week. Head coach Kirby Smart now has a quarterback controversy heading into a game against a top-10 program. Last week’s starter D’Wan Mathis didn’t appear to be the answer after a 6-for-14 outing that included a red-zone pick and a 17- yard sack that knocked Georgia out of field goal range.
Stetson Bennett came on to become the unlikely hero, but USC transfer J.T. Daniels has been cleared to play. What will Smart do?
Regardless of who starts at quarterback for Georgia, they still have to go up against a pretty stout Auburn defense. The Tigers routinely rank among the best units in the nation though they didn’t show it in the win over Kentucky.
Auburn also did not run the ball very well (30 attempts for 91 yards) against the Wildcats. One thing the Tigers are good at is keeping games close. They are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games and the Under has cashed in five of their last seven.
Georgia is 8-1 in their last nine games, but they are 0-4 ATS in their last four games at home. Give the edge to the team without the quarterback problem.
In addition to old-school triple option football, Coach Rick loves the Air Raid. No one runs it better than the Pirate himself, Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach.
Last week, the Pirate’s offense, led by Stanford transfer K.J. Costello, was masterful in a 44-34 victory over defending national champion LSU. Costello passed for an SEC record 623 yards in tearing apart the Tigers defense.
This week, Costello and the Bulldogs will take on Arkansas. The Razorbacks haven’t won an SEC game in over two years.
Last week, Arkansas gave up 29 points in the second half in a 37-10 loss to Georgia. The Razorbacks are just 5-10 ATS in their last 15 games and the Bulldogs are 4-2 ATS in their last six.
But, the Air Raid and a poor defense mean a lot of points. In five of Arkansas’ last six games on the road at Mississippi State, the Total has gone OVER. Four of the last five times the Bulldogs have played the Razorbacks the OVER has cashed.
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.