Half of the SEC teams spread the wealth this weekend against FCS opponents, while the other half fights for bowl position or pride.
My picks record on the year is 79-12. This week there are only four games of any significance, so I am going to keep the picks against the FCS schools short and sweet.
Ole Miss (5-5) @ LSU (8-2)
Ole Miss is running out of chances to make bowl eligibility and the task this week is a tall one. LSU has finally found the passing offense and that doesn’t bode well for the Rebels, who will provide plenty of holes for the Tigers to run routes through. Ole Miss has speed, so LSU need not overlook that but this is not a good match-up for the Rebels. They will fight hard but LSU punches back harder and is a superior team in every way.
LSU 27, Ole Miss 10
Syracuse (5-5) @ Missouri (5-5)
Syracuse is coming off a great weekend having upset previously unbeaten Louisville while Missouri is breathing a sigh of relief having survived four overtimes with Tennessee. Missouri has been up and down all year and Syracuse has the kind of physical defensive front that can cause fits for the Tigers offense. And when that happens, Missouri struggles. The Orange roll into Columbia, MO, and score a big win over the Tigers on the strength of the defense.
Syracuse 26, Missouri 23
Tennessee (4-6) @ Vanderbilt (6-4)
It’s an odd world when Vanderbilt has already locked up bowl eligibility and is favored against Tennessee. Rumors are flying about the future of Volunteers head coach Derek Dooley and that can’t help the motivation and focus going into a do-or-die weekend against a team that is generally an afterthought. Well, that was then and this is now, and this Vanderbilt team is capable of winning this. Expect the Commodores to force and then capitalize on a couple of turnovers to seal the deal.
Vanderbilt 24, Tennessee 20
Arkansas (4-6) @ Mississippi State (7-3)
Mississippi State has hit the absolute skids the last three weeks, as the quality of opponents on the schedule have improved and the Bulldogs haven’t answered the bell. Arkansas is just like a kid who’s already passed the graduation exam, wishing for the final moments of high school to drift away fast so he (or she) can concentrate on better times next year. Look for Mississippi State to try and iron out some kinks as they head into what appears to be an interesting showdown with Ole Miss and then bowl season. Mississippi State is better coached and that’s going to be the difference in the game.
Mississippi State 26, Arkansas 20
Alabama A&M (7-3) @ Auburn (2-8)
Rumors are swirling around about Auburn head coach Gene Chizik’s future and some wonder if this team is distracted enough or doesn’t care enough to show up for this one. That’s probably why it’ll be closer than it should but Auburn still has more talent than Alabama A&M can find answers for.
Auburn 31, Alabama A&M 21
Jacksonville State (6-4) @ Florida (9-1)
Florida learned its lesson about messing around with teams it shouldn’t last weekend. That’s too bad for the J’ville Gamecocks as they will feel the brunt of the Gators’ ire.
Florida 36, Jacksonville State 7
Georgia Southern (8-2) @ Georgia (9-1)
Georgia gets a game to practice against a triple-option team before the annual rival contest with Georgia Tech. Expect the Bulldogs to rest a bunch of the starters.
Georgia 44, Georgia State 21
Samford (7-3) @ Kentucky (1-9)
Is Kentucky bad enough to lose to Samford? Probably but I can’t pull the trigger on it knowing the talent differential between divisions and these programs.
Kentucky 28, Samford 16
Sam Houston State (8-2) @ Texas A&M (8-2)
Johnny Football’s stat line gets another boost this week (as if he needed it) and Kevin Sumlin’s first year looks even brighter for the Aggies.
Texas A&M 45, Sam Houston State 17
Western Carolina (1-9) @ Alabama (9-1)
Nick Saban should have his starters and most of the second string players take their weekly meal allowance and go catch an early matinee of Breaking Dawn Part 2. However, considering how the Crimson Tide has played the last two weeks, they’ll probably have to help clean up the stadium after thrashing this nobody.
Alabama 44, Western Carolina 0
Wofford (8-2) @ South Carolina (8-2)
South Carolina is finding ways to win without Marcus Lattimore and playing a decent in-state opponent can only help the team sharpen those skills heading into rivalry week and bowl season.
South Carolina 38, Wofford 15