The SEC West is on the line as Alabama and LSU prepare for a showdown in Baton Rouge.
My picks record for the year is 66-10.
Alabama (8-0) @ LSU (6-1)
While this game doesn’t have the hype of last year’s two contests, there’s no less riding on it. Alabama has been dominant in every game this season and seems to be hitting stride at the perfect time. LSU’s defense has been solid but the offense is a real weak spot. That spells trouble against a team like Alabama which has found near perfect balance throwing and running the football this season. LSU’s defense is going to load up to stop the run and that is a good game plan. However, the Tigers do not have the defensive back acumen they had a year ago and Alabama’s super efficient passing game, led by QB A.J. McCarron, will find openings to keep drives alive and get across the goal line.
Alabama’s defense will do the same to LSU, which does not possess a strong passing game and that will leave the Tigers wilted by the end. Alabama notches another decisive victory and locks up the SEC West.
Alabama 21, LSU 3
Texas A&M (6-2) @ Mississippi State (7-1)
Texas A&M is an offensive threat every time they hit the field. However, Mississippi State is a really solid and steady team particularly on the defensive side of the ball. That’s not the match up to watch though. It’s Texas A&M’s defense vs. Mississippi State’s offense that gives the Bulldogs the edge. Whether they want to open running lanes with that husky offensive line or hit good play action passes, the Bulldogs can attack from a lot of directions. The Aggies defense isn’t bad but it isn’t particularly polished either. Mississippi State’s balance will give them the advantage if they can play assignment football on defense to keep A&M’s QB Johnny Manziel in check. Should be a close one but I give the edge to the home-standing Mississippi State team.
Mississippi State 24, Texas A&M 21
Missouri (4-4)@ Florida (7-1)
Florida has to be disappointed in that turnover-laden game that slipped away again Georgia and they will be hungry to make a statement against Missouri which is largely outmatched for playing in the SEC. The Gators front on both sides of the ball should dominate the Tigers which will allow Florida’s run game to take over and grind out a win. Missouri’s offense won’t be able to muster for four quarters against the attacking style of Florida and will wilt under the heat in the second half.
Florida 27, Missouri 10
Ole Miss (5-3) @ Georgia (7-1)
Georgia need not rest on its laurels, or else the Ole Miss Rebels will gladly punch that loss ticket for the team. Already exceeding expectations, Ole Miss has a lot to play for in this one and they will throw the kitchen sink at Georgia this week. The Bulldogs led by Jarvis Jones on the defensive line will have to play smart to contain the speedy Rebels as well as keep Ole Miss from sustaining drives. Georgia’s offense needs to get back to the balance it had early in the season with the running game setting up opportunities for QB Aaron Murray to distribute the ball to multiple targets.
I expect this will be close early with Georgia pulling away late because they have more experience and depth than Ole Miss, but don’t be surprised if this one goes the other way.
Georgia 27, Ole Miss 22
Vanderbilt (4-4) @ Kentucky (1-8)
Vanderbilt is fighting for a bowl game while Kentucky can’t get the end of the season here fast enough. The Big Blue will play hard but they won’t have enough to keep the Commodores at bay for the entire game. Vanderbilt’s defense will set up their offense for short scoring drives that make the difference in the game.
Vanderbilt 21, Kentucky 16
Tulsa (7-1) @ Arkansas (3-5)
This will be a shootout and unfortunately for Arkansas, that’s the worst thing that can happen. Were the Razorbacks coached more competently, I’d be inclined to give them the edge because the talent is there. However, the Hogs have let too many games slip by this season and that defense is regressing which spells big trouble against a scoring machine like Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane will find ways to blow past the Razorbacks defense and score a big win along the way.