Last week: 5-1 straight up, 1-3 against the spread
Season: 70-15 straight up, 30-39-3 against the spread
This week has the potential to be the truly deciding week in the conference, even more so than the final week before the SEC title game. We could leave this week with things still a jumble, but they also could sort themselves out nicely.
Florida (-7) over South Carolina 28-24
If the Gamecocks don't have the best passing attack the Gators have seen yet, theirs is second to Alabama's. Florida's pass defense has gotten better since the Tide embarrassed it, but it will give up yards and points to Steve Spurrier's team. I do think the South Carolina defense is bad enough that Florida's rushing will carry the day, but I don't feel confident about it. If Dylan Thompson hits on some big plays early, the youth in the UF secondary could get flustered and let the game spiral out of control.
Alabama (-8.5) over Mississippi State 34-31
I tend to believe that talent and ability will carry the day more often than not, so I am picking the Tide here. I don't think Bama will run away with it, though, as I think Dak Prescott will cause some problems. The game might come down entirely to the Bulldog offensive line. If those guys play like they did against Arkansas, Alabama will win going away. If they play up to their capacity, then MSU's offense should be able to score enough to keep up with Amari Cooper's shredding of its defense.
Tennessee (-8.5) over Kentucky 30-17
Both of these teams' schedules have gotten tougher of late, but UT has been getting stronger while UK has been running out of gas. The rebuild in Lexington—not surprisingly—is going to need a little more time than the one in Knoxville.
Auburn (+2.5) over Georgia 47-44
Last week was basically the exception that proves the rule. What does it take for Gus Malzahn to lose a close game? Two uncharacteristic lost fumbles late. Both teams will be running for days on each other, and shootouts tend to be close. Is Auburn going to lose two close ones in a row? I'm betting not.
Missouri (+4.5) over Texas A&M 32-27
Man, I don't know with the Aggies anymore. I am going with the team that actually plays defense here, but I have no good feel on this game otherwise.
LSU (+2) over Arkansas 27-20
Picking three underdogs to win outright? I am if these are the underdogs. Both of these teams will try to run, then run, then run, then surprise with the pass. The difference is that LSU's pass attack will connect on a few big plays. I can just see it now. The game is tied at 20 late in the fourth quarter. LSU has the ball in its own territory. Somehow Travin Dural gets behind the defense and catches a 67-yard deep pass on the sideline that doesn't hang in the air quite long enough to be defended. Three toss dives later, Leonard Fournette is in the end zone. Brandon Allen can't tie it in the 1:07 that's left, and the Tigers prevail.