College Football Picks: Texas A&M vs. Ole Miss

Willie Bee

Thursday, October 10, 2013 2:01 PM GMT

Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013 2:01 PM GMT

SBR has a free college football pick and preview for this Saturday's SEC clash that finds the Ole Miss Rebels hosting Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies.

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This is one of those games I thought could be trouble for Texas A&M before the season began, and it still might be. But the way the Mississippi Rebels have looked, it's going to take a lot now for Hugh Freeze to get his squad back on track against such a team as explosive as the Aggies.

Saturday's battle between a pair of fast-paced offenses will have an ESPN national audience tuning in (8:30 p.m. ET), and anyone not watching the first minute could miss a score the way the two teams dial it up. College football odds are dialed in with the Texas Aggies laying 5.5 or 6, and college football betting outlets have the scoreboard tally up there in the 74.5-75 range.

It's the second straight year the Aggies have traveled to Oxford, last season's meeting a truly strange affair. Johnny Manziel directed a 4-play A&M scoring drive less than 50 seconds into the game, one of the plays an incomplete pass and the other a run for no gain. After that, Johnny Football and the Aggies offense really stunk things up with six turnovers at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium until catching fire late in the fourth quarter. Manziel and A&M were fortunate to rally from a 10-point hole for the 30-27 win.

It was the fifth time Texas A&M and Ole Miss played, the first meeting since 1980, and the Aggies have won all five. The Rebels were easy covers as 12.5 point home 'dogs a year ago and the game never reached a 64.5 point total.

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Can Aggies Keep Defense Off Field To Cover?

It's admittedly a big 'if' to toss out there, but had the Aggies beaten Alabama about a month ago to come into this game unbeaten, this would have been a far more dangerous spot for TAMU. As dejected as the Rebels are right now, and even though they are going to be glazed for Manziel's arrival, this would be an even easier game for Ole Miss to play the role of upset kids.

Kevin Sumlin has had a couple of weeks to prepare following a dubya at Arkansas, falling short of the 13.5 point closing number in the 45-33 win. Sumlin has watched a Rebels offense that was suffocated by Alabama's defense, the same one his offense scored 42 on, and then saw an Ole Miss offense roll up more than 460 yards at Auburn last Saturday, only to lose by a 30-22 count.  Sumlin knows his defense is more similar to Auburn's than Alabama's, and 460 yards out of the Rebels this week will mean more than 22 points scored.

As porous as Texas A&M's defense has been up to now, it could be even worse this week after news that starting defensive tackle Kirby Ennis will miss the remainder of the season due to an ACL knee injury.

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Rebels Return To Oxford After Tough 3-Game Roadie

I'll put Ole Miss up against any team that eventually goes bowling as far as the toughest road schedule to start 2013. The Rebels have been to Nashville, Austin, Tuscaloosa and Auburn for four of their first five, and unless the student body in Oxford has already given things up following losses to the Crimson Tide and a much better than advertised Tigers team, this place should be rockin' all night long. I'm counting on the crowd, plus I'm counting on Bo Wallace and the Rebels offense to shred the Aggies defense.

A couple of weeks ago, Wallace said he thought the Rebels "can put points on anybody" before Alabama shut them out. Ole Miss should be able to put points up against this A&M defense that ranks 114th (out of 125) in yardage allowed and 87th surrendering nearly 31 PPG. It won't be easy to keep the Aggies off the scoreboard, but Mississippi certainly has a defense than can at least slow Manziel and his gang.

Weather is not supposed to be a factor with the forecast calling for temps in the 70s and a light southerly breeze for kickoff. As always, double-check the conditions before locking down your college football picks.

This is a game that Ole Miss can win, but just to be safe with my free sports pick, I'll take the points. Mississippi is the right play for the cover, and possibly an outright upset.

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NCAA FB Pick: Bet Ole Miss +6 (-110) on the spread, at Bet365

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