Last Week: 5-0
It's rivalry week in the SEC, and that means it's an especially good slate of games. The Iron Bowl. The Egg Bowl. The Brain Bowl (of sorts, with Vandy-Wake Forest). The Battle for the Golden Boot. The Battle for the Palmetto State. Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. Florida returning to Ron Zook Field. Kentucky attempting to break the nation's longest losing streak to one team. Every game has intrigue. Except for maybe that Brain Bowl.
Games, as always, are listed in schedule order.
AUBURN at ALABAMA
Like many people, I have serious doubts about whether Auburn's defense is truly championship worthy. However, I'm bothered by Bama's defense too. The Tide made Jordan Jefferson look like a polished passer, and that's not easy to do. While Alabama should keep pace, I think this is another shootout that Auburn will somehow find a way to win.
Auburn 48, Alabama 42
KENTUCKY at TENNESSEE
Of course Tennessee would straighten itself out three weeks before playing the 'Cats after looking like death warmed over for much of the season. The Vols' offnse cam back down to earth a bit against Vandy, but the important numbers are 14, 14, and 10. Those are the point outputs allowed by UT's defense the last three games. That defensive resurgence, plus the factor of Neyland Stadium, should be enough to squeeze the home team by.
Tennessee 34, Kentucky 24
LSU at ARKANSAS
I don't know how this one is going to work, but I'll bet it's close in the fourth quarter. Ryan Mallett is a superb quarterback, but Knile Davis is the real key to the game. When LSU's defense has been gashed, it's been on the ground. Meanwhile, can Jefferson continue his renaissance? He must for LSU to win this one. I just somehow see Les Miles pulling this one out and Bobby Petrino looking like he's ready to murder the whole press corps after the game.
LSU 33, Arkansas 30
FLORIDA at FLORIDA STATE
Your guess is as good as mine. Really. Florida has dominated bad teams and looked bad against good teams. FSU probably qualifies as good, but only just good. Not great or excellent. Urban Meyer is a sterling 16-1 against Florida's big three rivals, but this is a new era in Tallahassee. Mark Stoops spent a lot of time out west before coming to FSU, so he won't be phased by Meyer's spread option. I want to believe Florida will win, and I think it can, but I'm not sure it's the most likely outcome.
Florida State 27, Florida 21
MISSISSIPPI STATE at OLE MISS
Dan Mullen needs this game more than Houston Nutt does. At Ole Miss, everyone knows its a rebuilding year. Losing to the Bulldogs would suck, but it wouldn't be out of character. This is a breakout year for Mullen, but a loss means he went 0-5 against the West. Fortunately for him, he's got a defense and Nutt doesn't.
Mississippi State 35, Ole Miss 17
SOUTH CAROLINA at CLEMSON
Here's the real test to see if the Gamecocks have turned a corner. Not flopping against Troy was a good sign, but Troy has also lost to UAB, UL-Monroe, and FIU. Clemson is mediocre, but in pushing Auburn early this year, it showed that it can play really well at times. South Carolina doesn't need to drop the hammer in this one, but a loss would bring up a lot of bad memories about late-season losses heading into the biggest game in program history.
South Carolina 19, Clemson 13
WAKE FOREST at VANDERBILT
I really don't have anything interesting to say about this game.
Vanderbilt 21, Wake Forest 10
GEORGIA TECH at GEORGIA
Only one of these teams is playing to get into a bowl. Only one of these teams is at home. Only one of these teams has A.J. Green and a future first round pick at quarterback. It's all the same team.
Georgia 48, Georgia Tech 24