Let's be honest. Last week in the SEC was pretty easy to project.
LSU beat Auburn, Bama woke up in the second half and destroyed Tennessee, Kentucky beat Jacksonville State, Vandy beat Army and Arkansas beat Ole Miss even though they made it harder than it probably should have been. That being said, I went 5-0 and I will take that any week.
That brings me to 48-11 on the year for SEC "straight up" predictions. This week we are joined again by our Bama guy, Jay. He's joined us for two weeks with mixed results. He went 6-0 in week seven which puts him at 11-4 for the two weeks he's predicted. Here we go for week nine in the SEC:
Arkansas (6-1, 2-1) at Vanderbilt (4-3, 1-3), 12:21 PM EST, SEC Network
Jay: The Razorbacks got a proper education in the perils of being the visiting team in that tricky SEC morning kickoff against Ole Miss last week. I expect Arkansas to be wide awake and "up" for the Commodores at 11:20 this Saturday. Vandy is a much better team than Ole Miss, but they're going to suffer for the scare the Rebels put into Petrino's crew.
Arkansas 41, Vanderbilt 6
Kevin: Vanderbilt has improved this year and I like what Jordan Rodgers and Zac Stacy bring to the table. That being said, there is no way I'm picking against Arkansas here.
Arkansas 35 Vanderbilt 17
Georgia (5-2, 4-1) at Florida (4-3, 2-3), 3:30 PM EST, CBS
Jay: I made the mistake of believing in Mark Richt last year. Florida was in such a state of disarray heading into this game in 2010, it seemed like Georgia couldn't help but beat them. They would have to work HARD to lose. And yet, there Richt was in Jacksonville, giving it away, as usual. I realize Georgia fans have to keep the faith, but for everybody else out there: You are fools to pick a Mark Richt team over Florida. No matter how bad the Gators might have looked lately, you have to assume they will find a way to win (or Richt will find a way to lose, whichever). Last time Richt beat Florida, the Gators' quarterback won the Heisman. Last time Florida beat Richt, the Gators had 3 quarterbacks who all stunk. There is no way to apply logic to this game. Just understand these numbers: Two and eight.
Florida 17, Georgia 14
Kevin: Georgia should have won the game last year but as a redshirt freshman Aaron Murray came out hyped up playing in his home state for the first time and laid a first half egg. Georgia got down 21-7 before coming roaring back and almost pulling off the win. This year, Georgia has a much better all around team and Florida has really struggled to find it's identity. John Brantley is expected back in this one so that's a plus for the Gators but Cornelius Washington and Alec Ogletree will be back for the Dawgs defense as well. I think this will be a close, hard fought game but I look for Georgia to put this one away in the 4th.
Georgia 27 Florida 17
Ole Miss (2-5, 0-4) at Auburn (5-3, 3-2), 7:00 PM EST, ESPNU
Jay: This game is a lot more interesting to me today than it was a week ago. I'm very curious to see how Auburn responds to getting crushed by LSU. It's one thing to go on the road and get beat by a better team, it's another thing to get beaten so badly that it's painfully clear you're not even in the same hemisphere as the best teams in your conference. That's the sort of mental blow that can make an immature team want to give up on the season (and Auburn certainly is young). I wonder how many of those young guys on Auburn will just be wanting to get to their bye week and go home next weekend.
Conversely, Ole Miss has to be feeling as good as they have all season coming off the scare they put into Arkansas last week. That probably had more to do with the Razorbacks looking past them than any breakthrough on the Rebels' part, but they badly needed a reason to believe, and they've got it now. And I'll give Ole Miss this (and it's something Auburn doesn't have): At least they know who their quarterback is. I mean, he may kinda stink, but at least they've found an identity with Randall Mackey. So there's definite upset potential here. That said, it's rare for Auburn to lose a night game at home, and I can't see Ole Miss getting up to a big enough lead to take Michael Dyer out of the game in the 4th quarter (which as I've said here before, is the real key to Auburn's offense). Should be a return to Auburn games of old, either way.
Auburn 34, Ole Miss 30
Kevin: Ah, Auburn. Whenever I pick them to win they lose and whenever I pick them to lose they win. Lucky for them they are playing Houston Nutt this weekend. Ole Miss came close against Arkansas last week but I just can't seem them replicating that performance against Auburn this week. I'm going Auburn and if they lose then I will pick against them for the rest of the year.
Auburn 28 Ole Miss 14
Mississippi State (3-4, 0-4) at Kentucky (3-4, 0-3), 7:00 PM EST, ESPN 3
Jay: Don't expect to see much offense in this one. You won't be surprised to hear that Kentucky is averaging less than 10 points a game against AQ conference competition this season. But MSU's sudden offensive woes are puzzling for a team that returned a host of firepower on that side of the ball. Since putting up a combined 100 points in their first two games of the season, the Bulldogs are averaging a cool 15ppg in their last 5. It's far more likely that Dan Mullen has worked out some way to generate points coming off MSU's bye than it is that Kentucky's 38-point outburst against Jacksonville State was a sign of things to come. But I'm betting against both.
Mississippi State 15, Kentucky 9
Kevin: Hey look, finally a game Dan Mullen will win! Mullen has gone from a hot-coaching commodity to just the Mississippi State coach in one year. I expect Mississippi State to control this game and look more like the team from last year. The unfortunate part for them is that it's only because they are playing the worst team in the SEC.
Mississippi State 24 Kentucky 12
South Carolina (6-1, 4-1) at Tennessee (3-4, 0-4), 7:15 PM EST, ESPN 2
Jay: Between this game and MSU/UK, the SEC is offering up quite the snoozefest doubleheader on Saturday night. Let's see, we've got South Carolina minus Garcia and Lattimore vs. Tennessee minus Bray and Hunter. Even better, the word out of Knoxville is true freshman Justin Worley is going to get the start. He'll likely spend more time getting acquainted with fellow frosh Jadeveon Clowney and the rest of that fierce Gamecock defensive front than the endzone. The only way UT takes this is if Spurrier hasn't figured out life without Lattimore yet and it results in a pickfest by Connor Shaw.
South Carolina 20, Tennessee 6
Kevin: This one is going to be brutal. The Gamecocks play in their first game without Marcus Lattimore. They don't have Stephen Garcia anymore (although the way he played this year that might be a plus). Also, Bruce Ellington is now questionable. The Vols are going to go with Freshman Justin Worley in this one. If South Carolina wins this game I think they do it with their defense. But what I see playing out is a defense battle in the first half and then Tennessee makes the switch to Matt Simms and he puts a couple of TDs on the board in the second half and the Vols somehow pull this one off. Don't let all the stars on the South Carolina defense fool you. Overall, they make great individual plays but as Georgia showed earlier this year they aren't a great defense unit as a whole. Tennessee will steal this game, somehow someway.
Tennessee 20 South Carolina 16