It wasn't a good week last week, but maybe I was asking for it by selecting a couple of ACC games and contests with teams in the bottom of the polls. Despite sweeping the SEC picks 3-0, the score projections were 5-4 in total, missing on Penn State, Cal, Kansas, and Duke. Oh well. They're not 33-10 on the season, which isn't bad. On to this week.
As a reminder, an explanation of how these work is here.
TENNESSEE at OLE MISS
Absolute Projection: Tennessee 25 - Ole Miss 20
Percentage Projection: Tennessee 23 - 20
If this game happened on paper of in a vacuum, I'd feel pretty good about this one. However, nothing screams "distraction" quite like having three players arrested for armed robbery. Tennessee needs to regroup in a hurry.
KENTUCKY at VANDERBILT
Both Projections: Kentucky 27 - Vanderbilt 14
With a win here, UK will be going bowling for the fourth straight year. On the one hand, it's not all that impressive given last year's team was just 6-6 with two SEC wins. On the other, it's progress for a program that's never been able to sustain any degree of success.
FLORIDA at SOUTH CAROLINA
Absolute Projection: Florida 28 - South Carolina 5
Percentage Projection: Florida 27 - South Carolina 8
These feel roughly right, as I think the Gators will try to do what they did against Vandy last week: score occasionally but mostly let the defense carry the day. South Carolina hasn't scored 21 points in a month. Florida hasn't allowed 21 points in a game all year. That's pretty much all you need to know about this one.
AUBURN at GEORGIA
Absolute Projection: Auburn 37 - Georgia 29
Percentage Projection: Auburn 39 - Georgia 30
Much has been made of Gus Malzahn's offense going against Willie Martinez's defense, but let's not forget that Ted Roof's Auburn defense hasn't exactly been the stoutest in the land this year. Georgia should be able to keep pace for a good long while.
ALABAMA at MISSISSIPPI STATE
Absolute Projection: Alabama 32 - MSU 11
Percentage Projection: Alabama 32 - MSU 12
This game would totally be a very scary game for the Tide if Croom and Shula were still the coaches in the contest. Dan Mullen should be able to find some ways to attack Alabama's defense since he helped put together a good game plan for Florida against Bama last year, but his team's strength is the run. Alabama eats running backs for dinner. This one probably shouldn't be close, but Starkville is home to some weird and crazy juju, so who knows?
NON-SEC GAMES OF INTEREST
UTAH at TCU
Absolute Projection: TCU 27 - Utah 12
Percentage Projection: TCU 25 - Utah 11
Everyone has sort of forgotten about Utah this year thanks to the Utes' early loss to Oregon, but the Ducks turned out all right and Utah has won the rest of its games. The Ute defense has been good, but it's not as good as TCU's defense is. In its first home sell out in three years, TCU should continue its roll.
STANFORD at USC
Absolute Projection: USC 28 - Stanford 25
Percentage Projection: USC 28 - Stanford 23
This seems to be a trendy upset pick given that the Trojans have looked in disarray the past two weeks and Stanford beat the team that trashed USC. The Cardinal also won in L.A. two years ago, so they won't be intimidated. Unfortunately for Jim Harbaugh, his team probably doesn't play still enough defense to pull this one off, as Pete Carroll's defenses are money against pro-style attacks.
IOWA at OHIO STATE
Absolute Projection: Ohio State 21 - Iowa 12
Percentage Projection: Ohio State 20 - Iowa 12
A lot of folks are predicting a blowout thanks to Iowa being without Ricky Stanzi. While the calls for paltry scores for the Hawkeyes are probably right, Iowa plays some pretty good defense and Ohio State hasn't lit up any good defenses this year. The Buckeyes should win, but it won't be by three touchdowns.
WEST VIRGINIA at CINCINNATI
Absolute Projection: Cincinnati 32 - WVU 22
Percentage Projection: Cincinnati 31 - WVU 21
There will be Friday night magic in the Queen City, as long as you consider "Friday night magic" to be a synonym for "a lot of points." Take the over, and take the Bearcats to win.
TEXAS TECH at OKLAHOMA STATE
Absolute Projection: Texas Tech 36 - OSU 28
Percentage Projection: Texas Tech 34 - OSU 27
A quarterbacking controversy would be trouble for just about everyone except Texas Tech (with Cincy being the other impervious team). Like Utah, Tech is another one of last year's titans that has been fairly overlooked this season, but with losses to Houston and Texas A&M, it's not that puzzling. Still, the Red Raiders should be able to outscore the Cowboys in T. Boone Pickensland.