SEC Football: Picks for Every Week 7 Game
Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
After a thrilling and reveling Week 6, the SEC comes back in Week 7 with a slate of games that will tell us a lot about several teams, particularly the South Carolina Gamecocks.
The Gamecocks vaulted all the way up to No. 3 in the latest Associated Press poll, their highest ranking in nearly three decades.
Standing in their way is an LSU team that's looking to get back into the national title discussion after losing to Florida 14-6 last weekend.
But the SEC fun this weekend isn't exclusive to Baton Rouge. Mississippi State is looking to move to 6-0 and keep its dream season alive against a desperate Tennessee team in Starkville.
Can the Bulldogs get the job done? My SEC Week 7 picks are in this slideshow.
2012 Record: 47-10 (22-26 ATS)
All lines courtesy: VegasInsider.com.
Auburn at Ole Miss (-6)
Auburn DB Jonathan Mincy
John Reed-US PRESSWIRE
Saturday, Oct. 13, 12:21 p.m. ET
The Auburn disaster hits the road this weekend to take on Hugh Freeze and the Ole Miss Rebels. In case you want proof of the lack of confidence in this Auburn team, Ole Miss started as a one-point favorite and has already been bet up to a six-point favorite, according to VegasInsider.com.
Yes, Ole Miss.
If that's not an indictment of the Auburn program, I'm not sure what is.
Nothing against Ole Miss. The Rebels' offense is vastly improved under Freeze and first-year starting quarterback Bo Wallace. They boast the SEC's fourth-best offense and nearly upset Texas A&M last weekend in Oxford. Jeff Scott is dangerous at running back and Donte Moncrief is the best wide receiver you've never heard of.
Meanwhile, Auburn is still searching for answers offensively and created new questions last week when Clint Moseley was inserted in place of Kiehl Frazier at quarterback coming out of halftime. Quarterback questions lingered all week on the Plains. But it doesn't matter who's taking the snaps unless Auburn blocks better this week.
Until Auburn proves that it is better offensively, I don't see how you can pick it to win against anyone.
Prediction: Ole Miss 17, Auburn 14
Alabama (-21) at Missouri
Alabama QB AJ McCarron
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Saturday, Oct. 13, 3:30 p.m. ET
After taking the week off to recover from what's been a less-than-stressful first five games, Alabama takes on SEC newcomer Missouri in Columbia, Mo.
Missouri is reeling and seems a bit shell-shocked after its first month-and-a-half in the SEC, and it's not going to get better this weekend when the No. 1 Crimson Tide rolls into town.
Quarterback James Franklin won't play this week after spraining the MCL in his left knee, forcing Corbin Berkstresser to take the snaps.
Berkstresser played well when he started in place of Franklin vs. Arizona State, but this is the Crimson Tide, not the Sun Devils.
Alabama's defense will shut down the Tigers, while A.J. McCarron and the Bama offense will pull away before shutting it down late in the third quarter.
Basically, your typical Alabama game.
Prediction: Alabama 35, Missouri 10
Florida (-8.5) at Vanderbilt
Florida RB Mike Gillislee
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Saturday, Oct. 13, 6:00 p.m. ET
Florida went from SEC dark horse to national title contender with its 14-6 win over LSU on Saturday in a game that saw the Gators run it down the Tigers' throats. Despite the brilliant performance of grown-man football, the Gators find themselves favored by just over a touchdown against Vanderbilt.
The Commodores are coming off a big road win over Missouri, but the Commodores only totalled 295 yards against the Tigers.
Imagine what will happen against the fast and physical Gator defense.
Running back Mike Gillislee will again have a Heisman-worthy performance and quarterback Jeff Driskel will have his breakout game through the air as the Gators will roll over Vandy and continue their quest for the national title.
Prediction: Florida 31, Vanderbilt 10
Kentucky at Arkansas (-17.5)
Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Saturday, Oct. 13, 7 p.m. ET
Arkansas got back on the winning track last week with its blowout win over Auburn and has been rewarded by being listed as heavy favorites vs. Kentucky.
I'm not sure what a win over Auburn does to change the perception of Arkansas, but hey, maybe the Wildcats are that bad.
For Kentucky, talented freshman quarterback Patrick Towles sprained his ankle last week and his status remains uncertain, which means that it's Jalen Whitlow's show this week vs. the Razorbacks.
Arkansas sacked Auburn quarterbacks eight times, which was the first time that the Hogs generated a sustained pass rush. Kentucky has allowed 15 sacks, the fifth-most in the 14-team SEC.
The Hogs will use the small bit of momentum they generated last week vs. Auburn and ride that to a two-game winning streak with a win over the Wildcats.
Prediction: Arkansas 24, Kentucky 13
South Carolina at LSU (-3)
South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Saturday, Oct. 13, 8 p.m. ET
South Carolina better not have celebrated that 35-7 win over Georgia for too long, because the hits keep on coming this week as the No. 3 Gamecocks travel to Baton Rouge to take on an LSU team that needs a big win to get its confidence back and stay on the periphery of the national title race.
The Gamecocks are clicking on all cylinders. Running back Marcus Lattimore is quietly putting together a Heisman-worthy season. Quarterback Connor Shaw has been a model of efficiency since coming back from his shoulder injury. Ace Sanders has proven to be a big-time weapon in the passing game and the defense has been fantastic.
So much so that defensive end Jadeveon Clowney should be mentioned in the discussion for the Heisman Trophy.
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger takes a lot of the heat for LSU's offensive woes, but its the offensive line that has really let him down. He was harassed by the Florida defense, and that has become a trend ever since the Tigers squeaked by Auburn on Sept. 22.
To make matters worse, LSU's best offensive lineman, Alex Hurst, has missed time this week dealing with personal issues. Head coach Les Miles expects Hurst to play, but even if he does, having to deal with issues on the offensive line isn't exactly the ideal scenario when you're preparing to square off against the South Carolina front seven.
This one will get ugly.
Prediction: South Carolina 31, LSU 17
Tennessee at Mississippi State (-2.5)
Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Saturday, Oct. 13, 9 p.m. ET
Tennessee has had two weeks to prepare for Mississippi State. But during that week, head coach Derek Dooley underwent surgery to repair a fractured right hip. That surgery will force the third-year Vols head coach to work from the press box on Saturday, and that could cause communication issues.
This will be strength vs. strength, as Tennessee's potent passing attack will be squaring off against Johnthan Banks, Darius Slay and that ball-hawking Mississippi State secondary.
Something's gotta give, and I think it will be the Bulldog defense.
Dan Mullen's team has been thriving on its ability to force turnovers, and Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray has made more than his share. But the Volunteers have plenty of offensive weapons to produce the big play as well.
Whatever does happen, this game will be fascinating. Tennessee needs a win to get back on the right track and cool Dooley's hot seat a bit, while Mississippi State is looking to validate its 5-0 start with a win over a decent opponent.
This one will go back and forth before the desperate Vols pull out a tough win on the road.
Prediction: Tennessee 35, Mississippi State 31
Texas A&M (-7.5) at Louisiana Tech (in Shreveport, La.)
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE
Saturday, Oct. 13, 9:15 p.m. ET
No. 23 Louisiana Tech has moved into the AP Top 25 for the first time since 1999 and will be tested Saturday by the SEC's Texas A&M Aggies, who jumped into the rankings at No. 22.
If you haven't watched Texas A&M this season, quarterback Johnny Manziel and the Aggie offense is worth the price of admission. Manziel leads the SEC in total offense with 356 yards per game, and the Aggie offense is putting up a mind-boggling 516 yards per game.
Despite that, Louisiana Tech is rapidly becoming the media darling after its 5-0 start. During that run, the Bulldogs' lowest point total is their 44-point effort vs. Virginia. The Bulldogs are third in the country in scoring offense with 53.2 points per game, and this is probably the one game standing between them and an undefeated regular season.
This one will come down to the ability of Texas A&M's defense to disrupt Louisiana Tech's offense. The Bulldogs have only allowed five sacks while the Aggies have 17. Aggie defensive end Damontre Moore will get to Bulldog QB Colby Cameron enough to get the win for A&M.
Whatever happens, it should be a lot of fun.
Prediction: Texas A&M 49, Louisiana Tech 45