Here's this week's score projections. To save space on the from page, I've stuffed them all past the jump. The explanation of how they work is here, and over the past two weeks that I've published them, they're 11-3. Not bad, yeah?
ARKANSAS vs. OLE MISS
Absolute Projection: Ole Miss 28 - Arkansas 24
Percentage Projection: Ole Miss 29 - Arkansas 20
I'm not totally sold on this one since the Rebels haven't done so well against the good defenses they've played, and Arkansas' defense has really come on the past couple weeks. Then again, Ole Miss' defense has been good consistently through the year. If I was picking this one off hand I'd probably go with the Hogs, but the numbers are with the guys from Oxford.
TENNESSEE at ALABAMA
Absolute Projection: Alabama 28 - Tennessee 18
Percentage Projection: Alabama 26 - Tennessee 14
I've said before that Tennessee matches up really well against Alabama since the Tide runs a pro-style offense and Monte Kiffin knows how to shut those down. If Greg McElroy doesn't snap out of his funk, it will be tough for Mark Ingram to save the day as he did last week. That said, it will be even tougher for Jonathan Crompton to succeed off of another regimen of rollout left/rollout right as he did against Georgia since Nick Saban is also a great defensive mind and far better than Willie Martinez. I think the Tide will pull this one out, especially since it's at home, but Tennessee should cause all kinds of problems all game.
VANDERBILT at SOUTH CAROLINA
Absolute Projection: South Carolina 20 - Vanderbilt 6
Percentage Projection: South Carolina 20 - Vanderbilt 10
On paper, the Gamecock defense should keep the Commodores from scoring enough to threaten at all in this one. Of course, on paper South Carolina should not have lost two straight to Vanderbilt. I think this year Steve Spurrier will break the bum streak against Bobby Johnson. He better, given all that's at stake.
AUBURN at LSU
Absolute Projection: Auburn 25 - LSU 24
Percentage Projection: LSU 24 - Auburn 21
Two of the three inaccurate game calls so far by these score projections have been Auburn's two losses. The Plainsmen's point totals have projected too high thanks to the early cupcake snacking, which is why I continue to caution that these projections should get more accurate with time. I don't know what to make of this, since the two kinds of projections seldom disagree. Usually when they do, the percentage is right, but this should be a close one either way.
FLORIDA vs. MISSISSIPPI STATE
Absolute Projection: Florida 33 - MSU 8
Percentage Projection: Florida 34 - MSU 9
This one kind of scares me. For one thing, the state of Mississippi is to Florida football what garlic is to vampires. UF is 6-6 against the Mississippi schools since divisional play began in 1992, whereas the Gators have lost nine total games against SEC East opponents over the same span, and Florida hasn't won in Starkville since the year I was born. Plus, MSU is a good rushing team and the middle of UF's defense is depleted with four DTs hurt and Brandon Spikes limited if he even plays. The talent difference between the teams should bear out in the end, but I fully expect this game to be frustrating for the Gators throughout.
NON-SEC GAMES OF INTEREST
TEXAS at MISSOURI
Absolute Projection: Texas 38 - Missouri 14
Percentage Projection: Texas 35 - Missouri 14
Some folks are predicting some trouble for the Longhorns this weekend, probably based on their three point win over Oklahoma. But, the Sooners are better than their 3-3 record would indicate and Missouri has two double digit losses in conference already. Not only that, but the Tigers' wins over Bowling Green and Nevada aren't exactly impressive either. Any hopes for Mizzou being good are likely residual feelings left over from their Week 1 blowout win over Illinois, but the Illini are terrible. Texas should roll.
OREGON STATE at USC
Absolute Projection: USC 28 - Oregon State 15
Percentage Projection: USC 27 - Oregon State 13
Seeing as how this one is not in Corvallis and that USC has already had its befuddling Pac-10 loss for the season, not many are giving the Beavers much of a chance. They're probably right, as USC's late game near-collapse against Notre Dame and other lackluster wins don't prevent the Trojans from projecting as a two touchdown favorite.
TCU at BYU
Absolute Projection: TCU 30 - BYU 24
Percentage Projection: TCU 30 - BYU 18
One of the reasons I like this method of projecting games is it gives you an idea of how good teams have really performed. BYU is averaging nine more points a game than TCU is in I-A play, but BYU has played much worse defenses. They each are scoring between 7.5 and 8 points a game above what the average team would given each's collective opposing defenses, but that's 34.5% above average for TCU but only 26.1% above average for BYU. That fact, plus TCU's typically good defense, makes the Horned Frogs a road favorite.
USF at Pittsburgh
Absolute Projection: Pitt 25 - USF 20
Percentage Projection: Pitt 23 - USF 20
These teams are a combined 11-2, but neither has played that many good teams and neither has looked particularly good in beating what mediocre teams they've gone against. I would generally agree with this one, especially since Pitt is at home, but these projections don't take the site of the game into account. The Panthers look like they might squeak this one out, but Jim Leavitt has been known to pull wins in games like these out of thin air so anything is possible.