College Football Pick’em
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LSU vs. Auburn is one of the SEC’s best rivalries primarily due to a long and storied history of wild and unforgettable games. So it should be no surprise that the 2022 edition of Tigers vs. Tigers is loaded with intrigue as well. LSU is coming off of an emphatic 38-0 home win over New Mexico, while Auburn narrowly escaped Missouri 17-14 in overtime in one of the sloppiest games of the season.
There’s no doubt that this is a huge game on both sides. A road win over Auburn will keep the momentum for Brian Kelly’s LSU squad going after it recovered from the Week 1 heartbreaker vs. Florida State. Meanwhile, Auburn coach Bryan Harsin would love to move to 2-0 in conference play and show his detractors that there’s hope that he can turn things around.
Let’s break down the top storylines in the matchup and make picks straight up and against the spread.
Auburn’s OL woes: Auburn’s offensive line has been dreadful this year regardless of quarterback. T.J. Finley, Robby Ashford and Holden Geriner have all been under relentless pressure this year. That has to change for Auburn to be successful, but now it’s on its third-string center against one of the best defensive fronts in the country. Auburn has given up 7.25 tackles for loss per game and 2.75 sacks per game, which isn’t a recipe for success. It’s a big reason why the offense ranks No. 13 in the SEC in third-down conversions at 32%. If Auburn can’t block and can’t move the chains, it’s going to be a long night.
Jayden Daniels‘ quiet success: The senior transfer from Arizona State has quietly put together one of the best seasons of any quarterback in the conference. He’s hasn’t thrown an interception, ranks third in the conference in completion percentage (73%) and is second in rushing among signal-callers at 65.5 yards per game (which includes sack yardage). It’ll be fascinating to see how Auburn’s front seven attacks him. Derick Hall is a stud off of the edge and there’s talent at linebacker on The Plains, but the front seven as a whole hasn’t performed anywhere close to expectation. LSU coach Brian Kelly has always been creative with how he uses his quarterback’s legs, so expect him to try to exploit Auburn’s front seven in a variety of ways.
The Harsin factor: Harsin could have been fired as early as last Sunday if the Tigers had lost to Missouri, according to multiple reports, but the 17-14 overtime victory likely didn’t do much to fend off his detractors. The players won’t quit — they want to win more than anybody — but when programs have this much turmoil swirling, it can take a mental toll and send a season spiraling out of control. If Auburn comes out flat, that spiral is likely to continue.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 1 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Jordan-Hare Stadium — Auburn, Alabama
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
I simply don’t trust Auburn’s offense at all, especially against the fast and physical LSU front seven. What’s more, I don’t trust Harsin to use running back Tank Bigsby for a full four quarters; he seemingly forgot that Bigsby existed after the first quarter of last week’s game. LSU will dominate in the trenches and wear down an Auburn team that simply won’t be able to keep up. Prediction: LSU (-9)
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 5, and which top-10 favorite will go down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned more than $3,100 in profit over the past six-plus seasons — and find out.
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