Week 2 brought a 3-7 record that evens us at 10-10 for the season, though our view of the landscape emerged mostly intact. The South Carolina defense needs more work than we thought, our willingness to back a UNLV team that's allowed six touchdowns with its defense on the bench is on a shorter leash and concerns about Tulsa have become doubts. This week we'll explain why the big game will disappoint and why we're not getting off of a team that has beaten us twice.
Alabama Crimson Tide (-7.5) at Texas A&M Aggies
ATS pick: Alabama
This game was decided in the offseason when Nick Saban made stopping Johnny Manziel the top priority within his well-heeled program. With the entire college football world seeking an answer for his offensive stylings, Manziel needed to put in some extra time himself. Not only did he spend his offseason in what we'll charitably just call "other ways," but it seems not to have occurred to Manziel that shutting him down has been for months the near-singular focus of some of the game's sharpest defensive minds.
When asked at SEC media days this summer if he expected his historic 2012 campaign to net him any additional attention from opposing defenses this year, Manziel replied, "Probably a little different. Just mixing it up from last year, maybe bringing some more blitzes. Something like that, but I haven't really thought too much about it."