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RTTs Locks & Keys Week 11: The Light at the End of the Tunnel

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...might be an oncoming train.

SPOILER: still USC's next head coach. (Also probably better at offense than Will Muschamp.)
SPOILER: still USC's next head coach. (Also probably better at offense than Will Muschamp.)
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

So the problem with facing Auburn isn't Auburn, at least not strictly. It's that Auburn's sitting at the end of Oregon and (somewhat competent) Florida and (mostly healthy) Georgia and South Carolina and Alabama and between 5-30% of Missouri and holy cow, that's a lot of top 20 opponents. The bye week kicks in at - give or take - 4-5 PM tomorrow, barring the redux of 2002 Arkansas. (Then again, we won that game.)

Before that, Tennessee gets to face the best rushing attack they've faced all season, featuring a running quarterback (joy), a dangerous receiver, and multiple quality running backs. Joy.


  • Lock Sammie Coates down. Cameron Sutton, meet Sammie Coates. Sammie, meat Cam. Cam's going to need to be so far up in your business you'll need to file a restraining order to keep him away. No pressure, Cam. (Then again, Cam's looking pretty All-SEC so far, so it's not like he's incapable.) In order to manage the run defense appropriately, Sutton's going to be placed in a lot of situations where he needs to win one-on-one battles, because there will need to be some serious bodies thrown at the run game.
  • Use the start time and a hazy defense. Point-blank: Auburn's the worst SEC defense Tennessee has faced so far. (We'll conveniently ignore our own defense here.) Noon games are weird, and I'd much rather have a noon game at home than on the road. There's a good chance the South Carolina strategy can be reprised - come out strong in the first half, hold on when things get hairy.
  • Figure out some way to stop the run. Fortunately, I'm not paid to figure out a way to slow down Malzahn's offense. Quite frankly, I'm not sure how you do it, other than hope you can stick Auburn in a bunch of passing down situations and hope they actually pass. It may come down to stopping it on enough drives to effectively kill things.
  • Get lucky. Well, duh. I'd include stupid Auburn penalties killing drives in this, something I wouldn't have thought of until last week but hey, sometimes you learn about new ways to tank drives.
  • Standard downs. By the way, you do the second point by nailing down the last point. Once more for good measure: 2nd and 8 or less, 3rd and 5 or less.


Chris, 3-3 last week, 32-25-3 overall

  • Northern Illinois (-25) @ UMass: I respect the strategy of fading the dogtrash. It tends to work. 1-0
  • Miami (+21.5) @ Florida State: Chris apparently forgot that FSU is way way better at football than Miami. Accordingly, Chris is embarrassed and presently making his Milos Raonic face. 1-1

  • Auburn (-7.5) @ Arkansas -- Auburn is on a tear. They're a covering machine. 2-1.
  • Wisconsin @ Iowa OVER 48.5 - Just stop with the over'unders. Everybody benefits. 2-2.
  • North Carolina @ NC State (+5.5): Chris decides he'll pick on the opposite side of one of Kidb's picks this weeks. Chris then regrets that horrible horrible decisions. 2-3
  • Georgia @ Florida UNDER 47: I think a new rule should be established: no more ovr/undr's should be allowed for Sparty or Florida.

KidB 3-3, last week, 30-29-1, overall

  • Clemson-18 over VIRGINIA: The Kid should get bonus points since Clemson covered by like 397. 1-0
  • ECU-25 over FIU: FIU We're all super proud of you covering the spread. We don't think it will happen again, but we urge you to really drink those positive emotions that flow from covering a 25 point spread. 1-1
  • Boise-7 over COLORADO STATE: Sometimes this betting stuff is easy. 2-1.
  • MTSU-3.5 over UAB: What's wrong, MTSU? You couldn't manage to put one more measly point on the scoreboard? You were warned Murfreesboro University. You failed despite said warning, and so Murfreesboro University you are and shall remain in perpetuity. 2-2
  • NOTRE DAME-14.5 over Navy: Poor showing from ND. I think it was just a random bad showing. I'm certain they're more than 3 points superior to Navy. 2-3.
  • UNC-5.5 over NC STATE: Duke is favored to beat NC State this coming weeks by 9 points. In football. 3-3

I_S: 2-4, last week, 29-30-1, overall

  • Tennessee +10 over Missouri. Or 30, which is pretty close to 10. 0-1.
  • Indiana -8.5 over Minnesota. The problem with Indiana is that every one of their games ends up 38-41. 0-2.
  • West Virginia +12.5 over TCU. Good pick. TCU blows this year. They can't score to save themselves..1-2.
  • MTSU -3.5 over UAB. MTSU has a terrible habit of winning their games by small margins. Which just bad policy, if you ask me. 1-3
  • Tulane +2.5 over FAU. Somebody throw some Skittles on FAU, because they're in Beast Mode. 1-4
  • Syracuse -5 over Wake Forest. Yes, ACC teams do certain things like setting the game of football back 50 years.2-4


Chris Has No Idea What's He's Doing

  • Vanderbilt (+10) @ Florida - I am so, so excited to watch Florida try and play offense at noon in front of 45,000 fans who don't even know why they're there. Welcome to the abyss, UF.
  • Tulane (+9) @ UT-San Antonio - I know nothing about UTSA. I know slightly more about Tulane, most notably that they're bowl eligible and this line seems bizarre to me, especially since Tulane would be an underdog even if they flipped where they played the game.
  • Hawaii @ Navy (-16.5) - Hawaii on the mainland? I don't even care that Navy isn't great this year; Hawaii is terrible.
  • Kansas @ Okie State (-30.5) - Kansas is bad, y'all.
  • Arizona State @ Utah (+6.5) - I picked Utah to win this game outright in FOP. Seems nuts to not take the line if I'm getting points for it.
  • Southern Miss @ Louisiana Tech (-16.5) - we've entered the "let's just bet against bad teams", and Southern Miss is the poster child for a bad team. I know Dooley U isn't much better, but it doesn't matter, y'all.

KidB's Free Money Picks

LSU+12.5 over ALABAMA: This line is silly. These games are always close, and I think LSU has a decent chance of winning the game outright.

VANDY+10 over FLORIDA: I don't care what the recruiting rankings say, I think at this point in time that Vandy is actually the better and has a very good chance of winning outright.

Mizzou-13.5 over KENTUCKY: Why not keep fading Kentucky?

Notre Dame-4 over PITTSBURGH: Okay Notre Dame has it's "close win over an inferior opponent" game last week. If they do it again, this week, then that simply means they are fantastically terrible at the game of football.

Louisville-28 over UConn: UConn really shouldn't score, and Teddy Ballgame shouldn't have trouble scoring 28...not even in the first half.

UCF-10.5 over Houston: I just see no reason why I should stop trusting UCF.

I_S's 'Milo Raonic Quality" Picks

  • WKU -5.5 over Army. They completely shut down Navy. Navy runs the same offense as Army, but better. Don't screw this up, Bobby.
  • Virginia Tech +6.5 over Miami. VT has enough defense to keep this close, even if they can't score enough to actually win. I'm not sure Miami was ever exactly amazing.
  • North Texas -25 over UTEP. UTEP is terrible. UNT is good at blowing teams out at home.
  • Notre Dame -4 over Pittsburgh. ND isn't great this year, but they're good enough to handle Pittsburgh.
  • Michigan -6.5 over Nebraska. Michigan never scores against Sparty. Nebraska's defense isn't Sparty's.
  • Alabama/LSU under 55. LSU has a better offense and worse defense than they usually do, but how many points is Nick Saban really giving up off a bye?