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Luckett’s Locks: Return of the big kids

(Photo: © Bryan Lynn | USA TODAY Sports)

(Photo: © Bryan Lynn | USA TODAY Sports)

It was a blah week last Saturday as our picks went 2-3 dropping our overall record to 4-5 on the year. Not great, but not awful. However, we were picking from a very thin card as college football got ramped up and now we’re adding some beef to the schedule.

The SEC is making its long awaited return this weekend and we’re dipping into those waters for some plays this weekend. It feels so, so good to have the best conference in college football playing and we’ll be looking to make a fun Saturday even sweeter. Here are the best plays on the card.

Georgia Tech (-7.5) at Syracuse

The Rambin’ Wreck makes their third consecutive appearance here and they are fresh off a late game meltdown leading to a blowout home loss to UCF. Meanwhile, Syracuse has been flat out awful on offense in their first two ACC games (2.85 yards per play), but their new 3-3-5 defense is allowing them to hang around in games.

We are going to stick with the #FadeSyracuse movement for now as Pittsburgh blew about 4-5 scoring chances last week in what should’ve been an easy cover. Georgia Tech’s defense has a get right game as they cover the touchdown and a hook to get to 2-0 in ACC play.

Mississippi State @ LSU Over 56.5

CBS will be heading to Tiger Stadium for the their feature game of the week as the defending national champion is opening 2020 with a bunch of new pieces. Mike Leach will be making his debut for Mississippi State with Stanford grad transfer K.J. Costello behind center.

Myles Brennan will step in for Joe Burrow and he will be delivering the ball to former five-star players at each skill position. Meanwhile, LSU is breaking in a ton of new pieces on defense and scheme to go along with defensive coordinator Bo Pelini. This screams plenty of points and I expect this total to get into the 60s with LSU approaching 40 points while State has a legit chance to get three touchdowns. The total could come down to the final possessions.

Texas (-17.5) at Texas Tech

Both the Longhorns and Red Raiders opened their season two weeks ago against inferior competition. The difference was that Texas beat UTEP by a million while Texas Tech barely squeaked by FCS Houston Baptist. Expect a ton of points in Lubbock.

The Red Raiders could be atrocious on defense this season and they hit the transfer waiver hard to plug some holes. Those newcomers are still gelling and going against Sam Ehlinger isn’t exactly the medicine the doctor ordered. The Longhorns put up a big crooked number on a bad Texas Tech defense and even a couple of touchdowns from Tech’s star quarterback Alan Bowman won’t be enough. Lay the points with the road favorite.

NC State at Virginia Tech Over 57

After multiple postponements, Virginia Tech will finally open its 2020 season this weekend and they’ll be hosting an NC State offense that looked very good in its season-opening victory over Wake Forest. Both Justin Fuente and Dave Doeren are in big need of a good season and this could be a launching pad for the winner.

The Hokies return eight starters on offense led by Hendon Hooker at quarterback who led the unit to at least 28 points in every game he started last year. Meanwhile, new offensive coordinator Tim Beck seems to have made a big impact on the Wolfpack by riding a couple blue-chippers at running back and presenting junior college transfer Bailey Hockman some easy throws.

I’m expecting plenty of points and think both teams could get into the 30s as Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton makes his debut taking over for Bud Foster. Play the over.

Best Bet: Georgia at Arkansas Under 52

Last week’s selection was just atrocious. Middle Tennessee never stood a chance as a small home dog and Troy put up a ton of yards and points in Murfreesboro. Our best bet selection is now an ugly 0-2 to start the year so we are going back to old faithful this week.

No coach in college football loves to sit on a lead more than Kirby Smart and he is breaking in a new quarterback against former assistant Sam Pittman who is making his head coaching debut at Arkansas. Yes, the Bulldogs did bring in former Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Todd Monken to modernize the passing game, but it is only game one.

Feleipe Franks is making his debut for Arkansas and he’ll be running an offense called by Kendal Briles so that is a concern. Expect plenty of vertical deep shots to a talented Hogs wide receiver corps, but Georgia has the best defense in the country. UGA will smother anything Arkansas wants to do and this one will get ugly.

The Bulldogs get a double-digit lead and once it approaches three touchdowns, Smart will start to bleed the clock. Hard to envision Arkansas getting anymore than 14 points as the under comes in easily.

Article written by Adam Luckett

Twitter: @AdamLuckettKSR