Every game counts, as the top teams in the SEC division look to lock up their places while other teams work for bowl contention and placement.
My picks record on the year so far is 72-12.
Texas A&M (7-2) @ Alabama (9-0)
There’s no team in the conference playing hotter or faster than Texas A&M right now. QB Johnny Manziel is on track to rack up more yards than both Tim Tebow and Cam Newton amassed in their Heisman-winning years. That doesn’t happen by accident and the Aggies haven’t done all that against chump teams. The two losses came against two of the top teams in the country and A&M appears to have righted the wrongs that cost it in those games.
That’s taking nothing away from Alabama. Look, this team is great but I am buying into the emotional letdown theory this week for the Crimson Tide. All it takes is a momentary lapse and a team like Texas A&M can and will find a way to make the most of the opportunity. I am going out on the limb and calling for the upset this weekend.
Texas A&M 25, Alabama 24
Georgia (8-1) @ Auburn (2-7)
Last year Georgia called the dogs off early and still wiped the field with Auburn in a game where the Tigers barely seemed interested. The Tigers are even worse this year and the Bulldogs are much better having battled back from the usual midseason slide to be in position for another run at the SEC title in December. Auburn is the one team standing in the way and the resistance will be about as forceful as a gust of wind. Georgia will score fast and early and get the backups lots of work. The question is, will this be the final nail for Auburn’s Gene Chizik or will the Tigers stand by the embattled coach? Another blowout loss is going to make the case for his return more difficult.
Georgia 48, Auburn 20
Mississippi State (7-2) @ LSU (7-2)
LSU has to be demoralized following the last minute loss against Alabama. However, the Tigers played their best offensive game of the year and if that’s a sign of a corner turned, the rest of this season should give them opportunities to get the ship right for a run next year. Mississippi State looked so promising early on in spite of the fact that all those wins came against the dreck of the schedule. Matched up against better teams, the Bulldogs have wilted like cotton without rain. I fully expect this to be a slugfest with the edge going to LSU as it is better on defense. But it won’t be easy.
LSU 26, Mississippi State 23
Arkansas (4-5) @ South Carolina (7-2)
South Carolina had a week to figure out what to do without RB Marcus Lattimore. Arkansas figured out something about defense holding scoring machine Tulsa to 15 last week. This will be closer than it probably should be, but South Carolina holds a decisive edge with the defensive line which should be able to pressure Arkansas into mistakes. QB Connor Shaw needs to step up and take advantage of those opportunities. If he does, the Gamecocks strut away with the win.
South Carolina 30, Arkansas 20
Vanderbilt (5-4) @ Ole Miss (5-4)
The biggest difference in these two perennial also-got-ran-overs is Vanderbilt has a ball-hawking defense and Ole Miss is known to give the other team a couple extra chances with the ball. That’s a recipe for disaster for the Rebels this weekend as a hungry, more focused Commodores team rolls in and finds a way to get the win.
Vanderbilt 17, Ole Miss 14
Missouri (4-5) @ Tennessee (4-5)
Neither team is good on defense. Both like to play fast on offense. I am looking for another shootout and in that case I’m going with Mizzou because I just don’t see how Tennessee is going to be able to get up for another one of those this week. I might be wrong but I think the wheels have come off in Rocky Top.
Missouri 40, Tennessee 37
Louisiana-Lafayette (5-3) @ Florida (8-1)
Louisiana-Lafayette is no pushover but it does not have the depth along the lines to keep this close for more than one quarter or so. Florida should roll up a big win but missing out on the SEC championship game is going to eat at it for a long time. What might have been?
Florida 31, ULL 13