The Texas A&M Aggies begin life in the big bad SEC Saturday when they host the Florida Gators at Kyle Field (3:30 pm ET, ESPN).
They never did very well against the SEC while a Big 12 member (they lost their last five against SEC foes) but maybe that will change now that they are in the toughest conference in college football.
Many online sportsbooks opened this game with A&M favored by 2.5 points, and an 'over/under' set at 53. But as of Thursday afternoon many CFB betting outlets had moved this game to a pick 'em, with some even switching favorites to Florida -1. And most shops had cut the total to 50.
The Aggies had their scheduled debut last week under new head coach Kevin Sumlin against Louisiana Tech canceled because of Hurricane Isaac. So A&M, with 13 returning starters from a team that went 7-6 last year, didn't get a chance to work out some kinks with a warm-up game before jumping in vs. Florida. They are one of the most interesting NCAA football picks of the week.
The Aggies get seven starters back on offense this year, including four along the O-line, after averaging 490 YPG and 39 PPG last year. And six starters are back on a defense that, while allowing 28 PPG last year, held foes to just over 100 YPG rushing.
Florida, meanwhile, with 17 starters back after going 7-6 last year, opened this season last week with a lackluster 27-14 victory over Bowling Green. The Gators spotted the Falcons the first seven points of the game, and the score was tied at 14 well into the third quarter, before Florida eventually put up the final 13 points for the victory.
The Gators outrushed BG 220-101 but committed 14 penalties for over 100 yards. Florida also came nowhere close to covering the spread as 28-point favorites.
As far as the series between these two teams goes, the Aggies and Gators haven't met since 1962.
Over the last three seasons, including bowls, A&M is 0-5 vs. SEC teams.
Free SEC Pick: Early betting on this game has pushed the line toward Florida, and we agree; we're taking the Gators to spoil the Aggies debut in the SEC. (courtesy of Pick Shark)