We have almost a full slate of conference games this week. Thanks a lot, Mississippi State. UAB? On the road!?! For the year, I’m 26-16 on picks, which puts me right around 62%. Let’s see if that improves this week.
Florida (4-1, 2-1) @ LSU (5-0, 2-0)
Florida limps into this game after suffering a beatdown last weekend that took quarterback John Brantley out of the lineup this week with a high ankle sprain. As if LSU wasn’t already licking their chops, that defense now gets a shot at a new, inexperienced quarterback. The story of note here is what role reinstated QB Jordan Jefferson will play in the Tigers game plan. He told the media that he wants to start and is working for that, which let’s us all know the competition has reopened in spite of a 5-0 start.
Jarrett Lee’s completion percentage has been dropping sharply, but one wonders if Les Miles messing with the formula is a good thing or not. As for this game, it would have been tough for Florida anyway, but without the starting QB, the chances of winning are even more slim.
Pick: LSU 26, Florida 13
Vanderbilt (3-1, 0-1) @ Alabama (5-0, 2-0)
Alabama’s second team could play and they’d still win by double digits. The only possible advantage Vanderbilt could gain is if Alabama tried to air it out and the Commmodores had a chance to pick a few off. Even then, they wouldn’t be able to score on offense. Also, Alabama doesn’t throw the ball much. They don’t need to right now. Spare me the whole “Vandy always plays us close” business, ‘Bama fan. Start being impressed with this team.
Pick: Alabama 34, Vanderbilt 0
Georgia (3-2, 2-1) @ Tennessee (3-1, 0-1)
Oddly enough, Georgia is now in the driver’s seat for the SEC East race with the aforementioned injuries to Florida and the South Carolina implosion&mash;more on that later. Tennessee’s rather one dimensional approach to offense hasn’t been a bad thing so far but their defense is a mess. I expect this to be a shootout between two of the better quarterbacks in the league (Aaron Murray at UGA, and Tyler Bray at UT). In the end, Murray has a running game to go along with the passing threat and a less bad defense than Bray’s Volunteers.
Kentucky (2-3, 0-2) @ South Carolina (4-1, 2-1)
South Carolina finally imploded against Auburn last week struggling against the worst defense in the league. Stephan Garcia is now riding the bench and is being replaced by Conner Shaw. Here’s the thing: it really shouldn’t matter who is playing quarterback this week. Running back Marcus Lattimore should be fed the ball early and often against this paltry Wildcats defense. However, Steve Spurrier is still Steve Spurrier, so this will be closer than it should be.
Pick: South Carolina 21, Kentucky 7
Auburn (4-1, 2-0) @ Arkansas (4-1, 0-1)
The last two times these teams have played, Arkansas has scored 44 and 43 points against the Auburn defense. Last year, Auburn outscored the Hogs, who kept turning the ball over. The year before, it was close to being run out of the stadium before Arkansas started turning the ball over. See a theme here?
Arkansas needs to eliminate turnovers, and it should be able to score more than enough points on Auburn’s defense. Auburn’s offense seems stuck in neutral and while RB Michael Dyer is talented, he’s not enough to carry the Tigers past the Hogs. Missing two of its biggest wide receiver targets due to injury doesn’t help Auburn’s cause either.
Pick: Arkansas 42, Auburn 24
Out of Conference Game
Mississippi State (2-3) @ UAB (0-4)
Mississippi State has struggled to even be mediocre, dropping three out of the last four. Its lone win came in overtime to a C-USA team. UAB continually snatches defeat from the jaws of victory—see the Troy game last week. Even though this is a road game for State—still can’t believe that—it should have no problem manhandling UAB.
Pick: Mississippi State 45, UAB 10