SEC Football: Picks for Every Week 4 Game

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterSeptember 20, 2012

SEC Football: Picks for Every Week 4 Game

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    The SEC season hasn't kicked into full gear just yet, but Week 4 brings us several key conference matchups that will shape the rest of the year.

    LSU hits the road for the first time and visits Auburn, who is desperately looking to get things going after escaping overtime vs. Louisiana-Monroe with a win.

    Missouri takes on South Carolina in its first ever SEC road game. Can the Tigers take down the Gamecocks in Williams-Brice?

    I pick every Week 4 SEC game in this slideshow.

    2012 Record: 29-6 (9-19 ATS)

    All lines courtesy of VegasInsider.com

Ole Miss (-17.5) at Tulane

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    Saturday, Sept. 22 at noon ET

    Ole Miss hits the road this weekend for the first time this season. The Rebels travel to New Orleans to take on the Tulane Green Wave.

    After last week's demolition at the hands of Texas, the Rebels will be looking to get back on the winning track.

    They will.

    Bo Wallace has proven that he can be a weapon at quarterback, and wide receiver Donte Moncrief's hot start will continue against the nation's 107th-ranked defense.

    Ole Miss' defense has struggled at times, but not enough to make this one close.

    Score Prediction: Ole Miss 42 - Tulane 21

Kentucky at Florida (-24)

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    Saturday, Sept. 22 at 12:21 p.m. ET

    Just how bad does new Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease want to beat Kentucky, a place where he used to work? 

    Very bad, according to the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun.

    Pease told the Ocala (Fla.) Gator Club that he wants to score 50 points against Kentucky on Saturday afternoon.

    He might do it.

    The final piece of the Gator offensive puzzle was revealed last week. Quarterback Jeff Driskel completed 14 of his 20 passes for 219 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions, and ran the ball eight times for 81 yards in Florida's 37-20 win on Rocky Top.

    That was on the road, and this one is within the friendly confines of The Swamp.

    Kentucky is a mess after losing to Western Kentucky last weekend, and that trend continues this week.

    Score Prediction: Florida 50 - Kentucky 7

Missouri at South Carolina (-10)

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    Saturday, Sept. 22 at 3:30 p.m. ET

    Quarterback Connor Shaw will return to his role as South Carolina's starting signal-caller this weekend when his Gamecocks host the Missouri Tigers, according to head coach Steve Spurrier.

    If his shoulder can hold up, not only can South Carolina win the east, it can contend for the national title.

    With that being said, he first has to make it through a game, and his Gamecocks have a big one this weekend versus Missouri.

    The Tigers won last weekend without starting quarterback James Franklin, who sat out with a shoulder injury of his own. He will return this week, but Franklin will face all kinds of pressure with Jadeveon Clowney, Devin Taylor and the rest of the South Carolina defense coming after him.

    This one stays close into the fourth quarter, and the Gamecock defense makes the difference.

    Score prediction: South Carolina 28 - Missouri 21

Florida Atlantic at Alabama (-49.5)

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    Saturday, Sept. 22 at 4 p.m. ET

    Florida Atlantic defensive end Cory Henry isn't too high on the Alabama Crimson Tide.

    “They ain’t what people think,” Henry told the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post. “They’re good and everything but they can beat, too."

    Not by Florida Atlantic.

    Alabama is a machine at this point, picking up right where it left off after last season's national championship. 

    The Crimson Tide will clear its benches and keep its backups fresh, and that might allow the Owls to cover. 

    So, there's that.

    Score Prediction: Alabama 42 - Florida Atlantic 6

Rutgers at Arkansas (-7)

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    Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. ET

    Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson has been practicing this week, but hasn't been cleared to play by doctors.

    Despite that, the Hogs are expecting the senior signal-caller to take the snaps versus Rutgers in a game that Arkansas desperately needs to win to get its season turned around.

    Whether Wilson plays or not isn't the biggest issue for head coach John L. Smith, it's the defense.

    First-year defensive coordinator Paul Haynes' defense has been awful during the first three games of the season, and running back Jawan Jamison rushed for 151 yards last weekend versus South Florida.

    That's not a good recipe for the Hogs.

    This one's close—probably closer than Arkansas fans would like.

    Score Prediction: Arkansas 24 - Rutgers 21

LSU (-20.5) at Auburn

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    Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. ET

    Auburn desperately needs to have a good game to get back on track, but it won't happen this weekend versus No. 2 LSU.

    Most of Auburn's issues have centered around the inconsistency from quarterback Kiehl Frazier, but the biggest problems rest on defense, where the Tigers have given up 442 yards per game and can't seem to tackle anyone.

    That trend will continue this weekend, even though LSU will be without running back Alfred Blue, who has rushed for 270 yards this season.

    Everyone has been waiting for LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger to have a breakout game, and while he may show flashes of that big arm versus Auburn, LSU won't need him all that much thanks to running back Kenny Hilliard.

    Auburn may hang around for a while, but LSU will make it ugly in the end and will send Auburn into the bye week at 1-3.

    Score Prediction: LSU 38 - Auburn 10

South Alabama at Mississippi State (-34.5)

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    Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. ET

    Mississippi State survived the Troy trap last week to move to 3-0, and will make it four straight this weekend versus South Alabama.

    Bulldog quarterback Tyler Russell has been solid this year, throwing for 651 yards, eight touchdowns and zero interceptions in three games this season.

    More importantly, running back LaDarius Perkins is second in the SEC with 106.67 yards per game, despite being used mostly as a changeup running back throughout his career.

    Mississippi State is off next week, so this gives the Bulldogs a chance to work on a few key issues and get backups some work before hitting the meat of their schedule down the stretch.

    Score Prediction: Mississippi State 35 - South Alabama 7

South Carolina State at Texas A&M (NL)

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    Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. ET

    I apologize in advance for what's about to happen to South Carolina State.

    Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel threw for an A&M freshman-record 294 yards last week at SMU, and the dual-threat signal-caller for the Aggies will try to repeat the feat this weekend versus South Carolina State.

    However, he may not have a whole lot of time to do it.

    This team is still adjusting to new systems, so expect head coach Kevin Sumlin's crew to work on a few things, but get the starters out early as the Aggies jump back into SEC play in consecutive weeks starting next week.

    Aggies will shut off the scoreboard whenever they want.

    Score Prediction: Texas A&M 55 - South Carolina State 9

Akron at Tennessee (-34.5)

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    Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET

    In 1997, Terry Bowden's next-to-last season as Auburn head coach, his Tigers gave Tennessee a scare in the SEC Championship Game.

    Bowden makes his return to the SEC as the head coach of the Akron Zips, and hopes to knock off a Tennessee team that he never beat while at Auburn.

    That's not going to happen.

    The Tennessee fanbase is unhappy after watching their team collapse in the fourth quarter at home versus Florida in the biggest game in Knoxville in six years.

    Running back Rajion Neal looked good last week, rushing for 87 yards against the Gators.

    It isn't a consolation at all, but the Vols—led by Neal—will take out their frustration on the Zips.

    Score Prediction: Tennessee 49 - Akron 10

Vanderbilt at Georgia (-16)

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    Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7:45 p.m. ET

    After last season's nail-biter in Nashville and subsequent dustup between Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, the Commodores aren't going to sneak up on the Bulldogs.

    Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones took over in the second half versus Missouri, and vowed to play this week after sitting out last week with a groin injury.

    That's bad news for new Vanderbilt starting quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels, who took over the job from Jordan Rodgers last week.

    Vanderbilt will hang around with running back Zac Stacy pacing the offense, but it won't be enough to defeat the Dogs between the hedges.

    Score Prediction: Georgia 28 - Vanderbilt 13