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QB Bray gives Tennessee edge on Murray, Georgia

Going into the season, Georgia sophomore Aaron Murray widely was considered the best quarterback in the Southeastern Conference.

But as we move into October, I believe Tennessee sophomore Tyler Bray is the league’s top quarterback.

Coming off an open date that was preceded by a 33-23 loss at Florida, Bray threw for 342 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s 41-10 win over Buffalo.

Bray leads the Volunteers (3-1) against Georgia (3-2) in a crucial SEC East showdown today at Neyland Stadium. Most sports books have the Bulldogs listed as 2-point road favorites.

But I made Tennessee a 3-point favorite, and Bray is the main reason why. He has 14 touchdown passes compared to two interceptions, while Murray threw three picks last Saturday.

The Volunteers trounced Georgia in the past two games played in Knoxville — 35-14 in 2007 and 45-19 in 2009.

Bray will make more plays and commit fewer mistakes than Murray, and those factors will propel Tennessee to victory as a short home underdog.

Three more plays for today (home team in CAPS):

■ Iowa State-BAYLOR (Over 63½) — The Bears get a big boost from one of the country’s premier playmakers in Robert Griffin III, who has 18 touchdown passes and one interception. Baylor also gives up a lot of points, surrendering 31 or more in its three games against Football Bowl Subdivision foes.

Baylor has seen total scores of 98, 87 and 71 points, along with 48 in its win over Stephen F. Austin that was shortened because of lightning.

■ Florida-LOUISIANA STATE (Over 42) — Florida has had total scores of 44 points or more in four of its five games and 48 or more in three of those contests. As for LSU, it is averaging 38 points per game. Both teams are capable of getting defensive and special-teams touchdowns.

Gators quarterback John Brantley is out. But with Jeff Driskel getting all of the first-team reps this week, he’ll play better. Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis will find ways to get Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey more touches. This total is too low.

■ SAN DIEGO STATE (+4½) over Texas Christian — The Aztecs raced to a double-digit lead at TCU last year and nearly handed the Horned Frogs their only loss. TCU rallied to win, 40-35. But coach Gary Patterson’s team clearly is not as formidable this season.

San Diego State’s quarterback-running back combination of Ryan Lindley and Ronnie Hillman is one of the most underrated in the nation. I think Lindley and Hillman will lead the Aztecs to an outright victory, so get a small hit on the money line, too.

Last week: 4-1 against the spread

Season: 15-5-1

Brian Edwards of VegasInsider.com and BrianEdwardsSports.com is providing college football analysis for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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