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Texas A&M

vs.

Auburn

College Football Pick

9/17/16

With SEC play fully getting underway this week, the madness begins. Texas A&M and Auburn weren't considered true contenders in the West before the season began, but you can never be certain before the games are played. Both have done enough in the first two weeks to earn national recognition, mostly Texas A&M after taking down UCLA in the opener. But playing in Auburn, the Tigers opened as a -3.5 point favorite at Intertops Sportsbook.

Auburn may have the loss, but how much can you fault them for losing to Clemson, a national title contender? In fact, the Tigers controlled Deshaun Watson, a Heisman hopeful, for most of the game. The question, which has been the case for a couple years now, is what the Tigers can do offensively. They scored just 13 against Clemson, but then opened things up against Arkansas State and quarterback Sean White put in a career game, throwing for 244 yards and three touchdowns.

But let's not forget who that opponent was: Arkansas State. And also, White got a large amount of help from a ground game that went for 462 yards and three touchdowns, something that won't happen against the SEC. But with adversity, what can White do? He did close to nothing in the loss to Clemson, but that was partly due to never finding a rhythm with Jeremy Johnson still being used.

That said, the Tigers will stick with the ground game against the Aggies and hope they can find more room. UCLA did its best against Myles Garrett and company, but only mustered 3.1 yards per carry as a team, with those numbers being hampered by sacks.

On the other end, Texas A&M has done just enough to earn some recognition. Against the Bruins, they used the combo of Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford to control the ground game as the running backs combined for 159 yards, while quarterback Trevor Knight ran for 31 himself.

But to go along with that, Knight, the former Oklahoma QB, hasn't played all that well. He's done just enough, but is still struggling with accuracy in the offense. Even in a 67-0 win last weekend, he was just 21-of-37 passing the ball. Against better teams, that will come back to haunt this offense, and that could easily happen in this game.

As seen previously, Auburn's defense has been stout. They held Deshaun Watson in check most of the way and only let Clemson run for 3.4 yards per carry. Last week, they completely took away Arkansas State's ground game. And if Trevor Knight doesn't have the ground game working for him from Ford and Williams, can he do enough to put points on the board for the Aggies? Of course, as said before, the same can be said about Sean White on the other side.

Playing under the lights in Auburn in the SEC opener, the home team will come to play, that's for sure. So will that defense be enough -- similar to a year ago in a 26-10 win -- to lead the Tigers to another victory over the Aggies? It just might be. Auburn -3

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