Alabama @ Auburn
Auburn’s ranking as one of the top offenses in the SEC is fraudulent. The Tigers have put up points and yards on mediocre or worse teams and have struggled against better defenses. The Alabama defense can and will neutralize every position with a strong run-stopping front line, a ferocious pass rush, and a ball-hawking defensive backfield. Alabama’s offense is roughly the same as last year – run the ball a lot, throw to the tight end and occasionally hit the long ball. The biggest difference is Alabama has more playmakers on the two-deep roster than anything Auburn has on defense. Auburn’s defense is actually worse this year. In fact, statistically, it’s the worst Auburn defense in their history. There have been consecutive shutouts in this series (1905-1906, 1959-1962) and Alabama was on top in those cases as well. This one will give another meaning to “Black Friday” as the Crimson Tide will steamroll their in-state rival for the second year in a row. Alabama 34, Auburn 0.
Ole Miss @ Mississippi State
Dan Mullen’s done a nice job at MSU this season, but any reasonable assessment of that squad realizes they have holes to fill that will take years of recruiting and coaching. Ole Miss may not have lived up to preseason hype, but they are still a solid football squad and Houston Nutt is a better coach when the target and focus isn’t squarely on him or his team. Dexter McCluster is a nightmare for any defense and his explosiveness is all the spark the Rebels will need to win the Egg Bowl. Ole Miss 33, MSU 17.
Tennessee @ Kentucky
Get this – if Kentucky wins this game, they will finish second in the SEC East. Raise your hand if you picked that at the beginning of the season. Kentucky is heading to a fourth straight bowl and that’s a notable feat, but they still are a far cry from the elite in the SEC. Tennessee’s squad and first year coaching staff are given a lot of credit for playing teams close, but still losing. The Vols defense has been good only being gashed in one game this season (Ole Miss). Kentucky has playmakers on offense and they have figured out ways to win close games where they seem to be outmatched on paper. This one will be close, but the Wildcats will find another way to win. Kentucky 24, Tennessee 21
Arkansas @ LSU
The Razorbacks upset LSU last year on a late touchdown pass to give Bobby Petrino another signature win in his first year. LSU is much improved this season, but are still vulnerable to a balanced offense like Arkansas’s. For LSU to win this one, the talented (yet underperforming) defensive unit will have to pressure Ryan Mallett and force mistakes while still containing the running game. Arkansas’s defense has been up and down this season and even without Charles Scott and running back, LSU still have the kind of playmakers that can create separation and make special things happen. If this turns into a shoot-out, LSU won't have the juice to hang in there and get the win. Arkansas 38, LSU 34
Out of Conference Schedule
Florida State @ Florida
Finally, Florida plays a somewhat decent out-of-conference opponent.
This one has all sorts of stories: Is it Bobby Bowden’s swan song? Can Tim Tebow be more inspirational? Is Urban Meyer heading elsewhere? And then there’s the game too. Truth is, Florida’s offense may not be as dynamic as previous iterations, but the FSU defense is as lackluster as it gets.Without Christian Ponder at QB, I don't think the Seminoles can legitimately challenge against Florida's aggressive defense. The Gators will chomp their way to an undefeated regular season and a showdown in the SEC Championship Game.. Florida 26, Florida State 14.
Georgia @ Georgia Tech
Georgia’s defense will be tested greatly against the option attack of the Yellow Jackets. Georgia’s recent turnaround is a remarkable feat and with a chance to win and seventh game, the Bulldogs will be riding high for this one. Georgia Tech’s defense is nothing special and neither is Georgia’s offense as both squads have disappeared at times this season. The outside speed of Tech is something Georgia can actually defend well as the Dawgs defense is quite nimble. However, a heavy dose of between the tackles running will wear on them throughout the game. I expect this one to go back and forth, but in the end Georgia Tech can grind the clock, the ball, and the game to a win. Georgia Tech 32, Georgia 17.
Clemson @ South Carolina
Talk about two teams heading in opposite directions. First year coach Dabo Sweeney has the Clemson Tigers purring right now and with an explosive weapon like CJ Spiller, it’s easy to understand why. South Carolina has simply continued to fold as the season wore on them. Rivalry games are usually close and being in Columbia will give the Gamecocks a lift, but it won’t be enough. Clemson 23, South Carolina 17.