I went 6-1 last week with my predictions. Not too bad when you consider the game I missed was the one that pitted the two worst teams in the SEC. So bad in fact that after Ole Miss lost to Kentucky they fired their coach.
We grieved for a while over Houston Nutt's demise but then we quickly gave up twenty-two coaches who could take his spot. Also, make sure you check out the bowl predictions we put up earlier this week to see where we are projecting the SEC teams. I'm 58-12 straight-up so far this year with my SEC predictions so let's see if we can go undefeated this week...
Florida (5-4, 3-4) at South Carolina (7-2, 5-2), Noon, CBS
Last week Florida struggled to beat a feisty Vandy team and South Carolina emptied their holster in a loss to Arkansas. This is the toughest game of the week in my opinion. The key to this game is pretty basic. Whoever gets out to an early lead is the one I think will win. Both of these teams are lacking a little confidence and need a kick start. South Carolina scored 28 points last week but don't let that fool you they only gained 207 yards. John Brantley is expected to play and while he's not great, he still gives Florida the best chance to win and I would take him at this point in his career over Connor Shaw at this point in his career. This game is going to be ugly but I've got the Gators.
Florida 23 South Carolina 17
Kentucky (4-5, 1-4) at Vanderbilt (4-5, 1-5), 12:21 PM EST, SEC Network
I picked against Kentucky last week so the odds are slim that I would pick against them again this week, right? The one reason I think Kentucky might win this game is if Maxwell Smith starts again. Morgan Newton sat out last week with an injury and that was the best thing to happen to the Wildcats all year besides the start of basketball season. That being said, Vanderbilt is gutsy, gritty and James Franklin will have them chop block you in the back of the knee as the whistle is blown. Give me Vandy.
Vanderbilt 20 Kentucky 13
Auburn (6-3, 4-2) at Georgia (7-2, 5-1), 3:30 PM EST, CBS
Up until Cam Newton last year, Georgia had won four straight over Auburn. Auburn's last four games have been a tale of two teams. They beat Florida by 11 and Ole Miss by 19 but got rolled by both Arkansas and LSU. Georgia on the other hand is on a seven game winning streak and most recently escaped from Jacksonville with a rare win against the Gators. All signs point to Georgia in this one. But is that a reason to be apprehensive about picking them?
One intriguing match-up is the #2 rushing offense in the SEC (Auburn at 191 ypg) against the #3 defense (Georgia at 91 yards per game). I think Georgia will be able to handle Auburn's running game but the wildcard will be how effective Auburn can be running with the QB. Back-up Kiehl Frazier is their third leading rusher and has been getting the ball more and more in terms of running. Frazier is someone who could cause problems for Georgia.
Another key match-up is Auburn's pass defense (which ranks 11th in the SEC at 215 yards per game) against Georgia's pass attack (which ranks second in the SEC at 253 yards per game). Aaron Murray struggled to start the year but seems to be coming on as his receivers continue to get experience and mature. Murray is the highest rated passer in the league, has thrown for the second most yards and has the most TDs by a wide margin. Georgia has also started to spread the ball around a lot more lately. They now have four receivers that have 23 or more catches and in addition to those, true frosh Chris Conley has 8 catches in his last two games. 11 different Bulldogs have caught TD passes so far this year. Georgia's receivers have played really well lately and Auburn isn't exactly adept at stopping the pass. This match-up could really swing the game in the Dawgs favor.
This is a rivalry game so anything can happen but getting freshman phenoms Isaiah Crowell and Malcolm Mitchell back this week can only help. If Auburn wins, it will be because of Special Teams. It will be interesting to see how the Dawgs Specials Teams, which have been anything but special lately, play in this game. Look for a bunch of defensive starters out there on kick-off coverage. This should be a close game but I think the Dawgs get out to an early lead and hold on late.
Georgia 35 Auburn 24
Tennessee (4-5, 0-5) at Arkansas (8-1, 4-1), 6 PM EST, ESPN2
Last week we saw Kentucky lose their "0" as they finally picked up a victory. Will we see Tennessee get on the board this week? Let me do a quick google search. Types in "will Tyler Bray play against Auburn." Well, the interweb tells me Tyler Bray isn't playing so I tell you the Hogs are winning.
Arkansas 38 Tennessee 17
Western Kentucky (5-4, 5-1) at LSU (9-0, 6-0), 7 PM EST, ESPNU
I've been wrestling with this one all week but I think I'm going to go out on a limb and pick LSU.
LSU 42 Western Kentucky 6
Louisiana Tech (5-4, 4-1) at Ole Miss (2-7, 0-6), 7:30 PM EST, ESPN3
This one could be interesting. Louisiana Tech is on a four game win streak and has some close losses on their resume. They fell to Miss State in OT, lost to Houston by one, and fell to Southern Miss by two. Both teams have a common opponent in Fresno State. La Tech beat them by 20 and Ole Miss beat them by 10. An upset is not out of the question here but I think somehow, some way Houston Nutt pulls this one out.
Ole Miss 21 Louisiana Tech 17
Alabama (8-1, 5-1) at Mississippi State (5-4, 1-4), 7:45 PM EST, ESPN
It will be interesting to see how Bama comes out after their tough loss to LSU last week. I think they react positively and blow doors on a Miss State team that's been disappointing so far this year. Look for Bama to open up the playbook and be a lot more agressive than last week. They want to prove a point and that point is that they are worthy of getting back into the Title hunt. Take cover Dan Mullen.
Alabama 42 Mississippi State 10