Welcome to week six of Pick Six, a weekly column published every Thursday where the RTI team plus a weekly guest picker calls their shots on six games. We’ll do our best to pick the most competitive games each week and will focus heavily on the SEC when possible. Spreads are listed and will occasionally be mentioned in the comments. We’ll keep a running tally of records (straight up, not ATS) throughout the year and compare those to how Vegas fared.
Last week was our worst of the year as we fell victim to calling too many upsets. Daniel led the way at 3-3 while Reed, Houston, and guest picker Zac Ellis were a miserable 2-4. For the year, Reed is 19-11, Daniel is 18-12, Houston is 17-13, our guest pickers are 17-13 and Vegas favorites are 19-11.
This week’s guest picker is Chad Neipling. He’s the owner of SECSportsInsider.com and the host of a popular SEC-themed radio show every Monday and Wednesday night on HogSportsRadio.com.
No. 3 Alabama (-7) @ No. 11 Ole Miss TV: CBS 3:30pm Saturday
Daniel: I’ve been an Ole Miss apologist for much of the season. I love their defense and their potential on offense. But that being said, I haven’t seen enough from them to think they can take the huge step of beating Alabama yet. Last week’s close call against Memphis ended any chance of me calling the upset in this one. Alabama is looking more and more like the ‘Bama of a few years ago and the Tide has as balanced of an offensive attack as anybody in the nation. Add in the fact that Nick Saban’s had two weeks to prepare for this one and I think Alabama escapes this one with the win – albeit not an overwhelming victory. Winner: Alabama 31-21
Houston: I had some doubt as to whether or not Alabama was the best team in the SEC at the beginning of the season due to their question mark at the quarterback position. However, through three games it is clear that Blake Sims takes that offense to an entire new level. He has an incredible arm and is more than capable of taking off on the run when he needs to move the chains and extend drives. As he gets more comfortable over the rest of the season, Alabama’s offense may prove to be one of the most dynamic in the country. Ole Miss has a solid team, but inconsistency from the quarterback spot will prove costly in this one. Saban and the Tide defense will confuse Bo Wallace into making mistakes early and Alabama grinds this one out late. Winner: Alabama 35-20
Reed: Take all the money you have and bet on Alabama to win and cover in this one. If you don’t have any, consider taking out a loan. Alabama’s offense is finding its stride. Blake Sims has been one of the best QBs in the SEC this season, Amari Cooper is the best receiver in the nation and Derrick Henry is emerging as real threat in the backfield. Ole Miss has one of the nation’s best defenses, but their offense has been largely underwhelming in big games under Freeze (see last year’s shutout loss to Bama, among others). The Rebel defense will keep this close for a while but will ultimately wear down as Bama pulls away in the final quarter. Winner: Tide 28-17
Chad: Alabama has been 4-0 a total of 22 times since 1970 whereas Ole Miss has done it once. This is the year. That’s right. It’s the first time Ole Miss has been 4-0 since 1970.
That said, this will be a great defensive match up between the No.1 & No. 2 total defenses in the league. Ole Miss has only given up a total of 992 yards in four games on 265 plays which averages out to about 3.7 yards per play. Alabama on the other hand has faced less plays(222) but has given up more yardage per play with 4.5. Where these two teams differ greatly so far this season is in the turn over department. Ole Miss has forced four fumbles to Alabama’s two and Ole Miss has lost three out of the six fumbles they’ve committed this season to Alabama’s five for five. That’s the key to the game. Ole Miss has to force Bama to turnover the ball and put Wallace in good field position cause he can’t do it by himself against this defense. Winner: Bama 24-14