Week seven of the college football season is upon us and four unbeaten teams are in action with two at home and two on the road for conference games.
My picks record for the season is 48-8.
South Carolina (6-0) @ LSU (5-1)
Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks laid the ever-loving smack down on Georgia last week and the reward is traveling to Baton Rouge to play an angry LSU team coming off a loss. That’s akin to knocking out Lennox Lewis and turning around to see Evander Holyfield in the other corner waiting for you. Congratulations!
If South Carolina holds any advantage it is the defensive line vs. LSU’s offensive line. The LSU front has done the Tigers no favors not protecting the quarterback adequately or opening up running lanes for that cadre of backs. South Carolina will surely dial up the pressure again this weekend. LSU’s defense has been good in spite of getting pushed around by Florida last week and they will have one task for this game: key on RB Marcus Lattimore. If LSU takes away Lattimore all the pressure falls squarely on the shoulders of QB Conner Shaw, who is effective but still has a ways to go to be an elite signal caller in the league.
I expect another hard fought game and LSU to come out angry and rip-roaring to go for a low-scoring battle where the Tigers will find just enough to get by the Gamecocks.
LSU 13, South Carolina 10
Texas A&M (4-1) @ Louisiana Tech (5-0)
This is the game rescheduled because of a hurricane and my, how much has changed since then. What I said before about Louisiana Tech’s offense is still true and the 5-0 record is nothing to sneeze at. But what Kevin Sumlin has done with a very young team running brand new schemes is quite impressive. I still think this may be a shootout of sorts but Texas A&M is just too physical a team for me to think they can’t handle a quality Louisiana Tech team. However, the Aggies will need to bring their top game if they hope to get the win.
Texas A&M 31, Louisiana Tech 24
Florida (5-0) @ Vanderbilt (2-3)
Vanderbilt has to feel better after scoring a win against Missouri. That feeling will not last long as Florida rolls into town fresh from knocking out LSU. Vanderbilt is the kind of scrappy team that gives coaches fits because they just keep coming and Florida’s Will Muschamp will have to guard his team from overlooking the Commodores. Aside from the intangible stuff, Florida is too physical up front along the lines of scrimmage for Vanderbilt to handle, and that’s the difference in the game.
Florida 30, Vanderbilt 6
Alabama (5-0) @ Missouri (3-3)
Missouri’s nightmares about this game could make for a good sleep study in fear, and there is plenty to fear. Alabama has trounced every team so far and still has not played a complete football game, something Nick Saban is sure to have reminded them of for the last two weeks as they prepared for this road trip.
Missouri’s inability to protect the pocket and, by proxy, establish timing with the offense are big concerns for the Tigers as Alabama’s defensive front thrives on bringing pressure from multiple spots and disrupting basically everything. Missouri’s defense isn’t doing them any favors either while Alabama has focused on the passing game in early contests. The Crimson Tide has sustained some injuries but the depth there is phenomenal, so it shouldn’t be a factor in this game. Missouri’s only hope is Alabama comes in overlooking them but as stated before, chances of that are slim with Saban and company having two weeks to focus on this game. This could get ugly before it is over.
Alabama 44, Missouri 9
Tennessee (3-2) @ Mississippi State (5-0)
Tennessee’s off week couldn’t have come at a better time after dropping two conference games and essentially ending the Volunteers’ hopes for an SEC East title run. Mississippi State is riding high, playing consistent football and continuing to improve. The Bulldogs defense is good against the pass, having picked off nine passes this year while only surrendering three passing touchdowns. That spells trouble for Tennessee, who has yet to establish the run and needs the arm of QB Tyler Bray if they hope to win. Tennessee’s defense can be had, and that, along with the previous note about the Bulldogs defense gives Mississippi State the edge.
Mississippi State 24, Tennessee 21
Auburn (1-4) @ Ole Miss (3-3)
Auburn is a team on the verge of completely falling apart. While there have been fleeting moments of improvement on defense, at no time has this team stopped an opponent from scoring in a crucial situation. Conversely, the Tigers offense has rarely answered the bell either and is not even effective enough to be one dimensional.
Ole Miss, on the other hand, has been impressive under first year head coach Hugh Freeze. While they have a long way to go, they play with speed and with a plan, which is two things Auburn clearly doesn’t have. Ole Miss’s defense is nothing to write home about and it may be close for a bit, but Ole Miss has the speed to pull away in the second half and drop Auburn this weekend.
Ole Miss 27, Auburn 13
Kentucky (1-5) @ Arkansas (2-4)
Arkansas may be a mess but they aren’t nearly the mess Kentucky is. The Wildcats do nothing well except do nothing well and there’s nothing in terms of matchups that favors the Big Blue. Arkansas continues the showcase for new coaching personnel and notches another conference win, albeit against another one of the conference’s worst teams. Hey, take them as you can get them, right?
Arkansas 41, Kentucky 20