It’s rivalry week but few of these games promise excitement. In fact, the ending of Lincoln is probably more exciting and unpredictable.
My picks record this year is 90-12.
Florida (10-1) @ Florida State (10-1)
Florida is excited to have QB Jeff Driscoll back after sitting out a game and half with an ankle injury. The Gators will surely need him against Florida State. The match-up to watch is the Gators offensive line against the Seminoles defensive front. Florida State is probably the only team with the luxury of not having to load the box against the run with the way they play, but no doubt they will get a heavy dose from Florida’s power run set. There’s one other reason I like the Seminoles and it’s their quarterback E.J. Manuel. He’s not flashy but he’s played in a lot of games and knows how to win games without forcing plays or making debilitating mistakes. This is the game for you if you like defense and smash mouth football.
Florida State 23, Florida 20
Mississippi State (8-3) @ Ole Miss (5-6)
For the first time in a long time, the annual Egg Bowl is a compelling game worth watching. Generally, the Mississippi schools of the SEC have little more than pride to play for by the time they get to each other but new coaches have changed the attitudes and directions of each program.
The key difference in the two teams right now is Mississippi State’s experience and defense. The Bulldogs aren’t elite by any means but they can get stops and are good at capitalizing on mistakes. Mississippi is light years ahead of where they were last year but this group of players still makes crucial errors at key times and that’s why Mississippi State gets the slightest of edges.
Mississippi State 28, Ole Miss 26
South Carolina (9-2) @ Clemson (10-1)
While both teams are out of the race for their conference championships, they both have the ranking and the clout to make a BCS at large birth if things break the right way, and a win this weekend is paramount in that equation. I’ve picked Clemson to beat South Carolina several times and been bitten by that each time. However, this year I am more confident in the Tigers than previously.
This game is all about playmakers and Clemson’s have survived injuries and lapses in play more often than South Carolina. That said, the Tigers will still need some magic to get this done, but aside from a close loss to Florida State this year, Clemson has been in control. This game should break for the Tigers, but just like White Lion claimed about love, it won’t come easy.
Clemson 28, South Carolina 23
Auburn (3-8) @ Alabama (10-1)
Auburn’s long season slumping into the abyss finally sees its final hour and it couldn’t come soon enough for the Tigers faithful. That team hasn’t shown life in a game that matters for more than a month and Alabama once again has everything to play for as the only obstacle between them and the National Championship is apparently themselves. This game will be over in a quarter. Do something else with your time because only one team cares about winning it and they only care because at this point of the season they are contractually obligated to do so.
LSU (9-2) @ Arkansas (4-7)
You want to know why LSU fans should stop complaining about their coach? Click This! That, ladies and gents, is what being a college football coach is all about. Passion. And Les Miles may indeed be the luckiest and dumbest coach in the league but he’s loaded with passion and his team plays like it. LSU often plays to the level of their competition but Arkansas’s goose was cooked long before this weekend so don’t expect them to finally find the will to win after weeks of less than mediocre play.
LSU 31, Arkansas 14
Georgia Tech (6-5) @ Georgia (10-1)
Both of these teams are slated to play in their respective conference championship games but they are nowhere in the same league. Georgia’s offense should find plenty of room to run and throw against a porous Georgia Tech defense, and having played against a triple option team last week (Georgia Southern), the Bulldogs defense will be ready to tackle the gimmick. Expect the Bulldogs to roll big into the SEC Championship and send the Yellow Jackets fluttering into the ACC title game.
Georgia 42 @ Georgia Tech 14
Missouri (5-6)@ Texas A&M (9-2)
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manzeil may or may not be a viable Heisman Trophy candidate but he’s more than a problem for the weak and beat-up Missouri defense. The Tigers haven’t really stopped any team this year and teams with better than average quarterback play have rolled through Mizzou like Mike Tyson did in the heavyweight division circa 1986-1989. Expect the Aggies to go for the knockout early and roll into bowl season as one of the hottest teams in the country.
Texas A&M 41, Missouri 13
Kentucky (2-9) @ Tennessee (4-7)
Tennessee’s head coach Derek Dooley is gone and won’t even coach this game while Joker Phillips gets to finish his season with Big Blue having known his fate for several weeks.
Tennessee 24, Kentucky 23
Vanderbilt (7-4) @ Wake Forest (5-6)
Vanderbilt dropped the hammer on rival Tennessee last week and will need to avoid the hangover to get by a pesky Wake Forest squad on the road fighting for bowl eligibility. Vanderbilt has played the last half of the season with incredible intensity. Expect the Commodores to take the best of what the Demon Deacons have and find a way to get their eighth win of the year and ride a wave of momentum into their second straight season-ending bowl game.
Vanderbilt 22, Wake Forest 14