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SEC Football: Picks for Every Week 11 Game

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterNovember 8, 2012

SEC Football: Picks for Every Week 11 Game

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    With five SEC teams in the top eight of the latest BCS standings, the SEC bowl picture is about as blurry as it can get.

    Texas A&M will travel to Tuscaloosa this weekend to take on the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, one week after the Tide escaped Baton Rouge with a dramatic 21-17 victory over LSU.

    Is Nick Saban's crew primed for a let down against the potent Aggie offense? My pick for that game and more are in this slideshow.

    2012 Record: 71-14 (37-39 ATS)

    All lines courtesy: VegasInsider.com

Arkansas at South Carolina (-14)

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    Saturday, Nov. 10 at noon ET

    South Carolina has had two weeks to prepare for the Arkansas Razorbacks after star running back Marcus Lattimore was injured and lost for the season against Tennessee.

    Will his absence be felt this week? I doubt it. 

    Kenny Miles and Mike Davis can fill in enough to keep that offense clicking. It's the defense that should worry Gamecock fans.

    Tennessee went up and down the field on the Gamecocks two weeks ago to the tune of 472 yards and 35 points.

    Arkansas has been up and down all year long, but the Hogs are loaded with potential and could get running back Knile Davis back after he missed last week's win over Tulsa with a pulled hamstring.

    With Davis and Dennis Johnson in the backfield, Cobi Hamilton outside and quarterback Tyler Wilson—who has thrown for more than 270 yards in five of his last six games—this could be the week that Arkansas looks like the team that many expected them to be coming in.

    Call me crazy, but I'm thinking upset.

    Score Prediction: Arkansas 35 - South Carolina 31

Missouri at Tennessee (-3)

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    Saturday, Nov. 10 at 12:21 p.m. ET

    Tennessee got tested by Troy last weekend on Rocky Top, and that 55-48 squeaker has done nothing to help the job statuses of head coach Derek Dooley and defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri.

    Dooley said that he plans to spend more time helping out the defense this week in practice, which could be interpreted as a sign of desperation by those who think that Dooley's days in Knoxville are numbered.

    While Missouri isn't the offensive machine that many, including myself, thought they would be this season, they still have plenty of weapons.

    Quarterback James Franklin will be looking to make up for his miserable performance last week vs. Florida, when he tossed four interceptions, while Kendial Lawrence is averaging 74 yards per game on the ground. The Tigers can absolutely make undisciplined defenses pay.

    Even if the Vols' offense lights up the Tigers, the defense is bad enough to make this one close. Missouri takes Tennessee down to the wire and will have the ball late with a chance to win.

    Score Prediction: Tennessee 31 - Missouri 30

Louisiana-Lafayette at Florida (-26.5)

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    Saturday, Nov. 10 at 12:21 p.m. ET

    These last two games have proven why Florida's offense has been so one-dimensional over the first two months of the season.

    Out of necessity.

    Missouri held the Gator running game in check last week, and quarterback Jeff Driskel was again unable to get things going through the air in Florida's 14-7 win over the Tigers. Head coach Will Muschamp's crew got four interceptions from Tiger quarterback James Franklin, and needed every single one of them to get the win.

    Will that matter against the ULL Ragin Cajuns?

    Probably not. 

    Head coach Mark Hudspeth has made a name for himself with his work in Lafayette, but Florida should be able to out-athlete the Ragin Cajuns en route to an easy win.

    In the process, maybe—just maybe—Florida should open up the playbook a little bit. 

    You can't be a championship-caliber squad in the SEC if you're one-dimensional. Using a game like this to get Driskel ready to compete against Florida State, the bowl game and next season is imperative.

    Score Prediction: Florida 35 - ULL 6

Texas A&M at Alabama (-13.5)

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    Saturday, Nov. 10 at 3:30 p.m. ET

    Alabama got tested for the first time all season last week in its 21-17 win over LSU in Baton Rouge.

    Head coach Nick Saban always tells his players to enjoy wins for 24 hours and then get back to work. However, when you're dealing with young men between 18 and 22 years old after an emotional win, that's sometimes easier said than done.

    Is Alabama primed for a let down?

    If it's not ready for the high-flying Aggie offense, absolutely.

    In just six conference games, first-year Aggie head coach Kevin Sumlin has as many SEC wins as Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley and as many SEC West wins as Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen (four). He was the right coach at the right time with the right system for the Texas A&M program as they made their transition to the SEC.

    However, life in the SEC gets tougher this week against the Crimson Tide.

    Quarterback Johnny Manziel will make things happen through the air, but Alabama's front seven will bottle him up on the ground. With wide receivers Mike Evans and Ryan Swope, and running backs Ben Malena and Christine Michael, Alabama can spread you out or play smash mouth.

    This game will be interesting in the fourth quarter, as A&M's offense will give Saban's crew all it can handle.

    The Crimson Tide will get a key stop late and keep its hopes of repeating as BCS National Champions intact.

    Score Prediction: Alabama 28 - Texas A&M 21

Mississippi State at LSU (-14.5)

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    Saturday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. ET

    Last week, for the first time all season, LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger looked like a fully-functional SEC quarterback—and he did it against Alabama, the top defense in the SEC.

    Was that an anomaly or the start of a trend?

    If he repeats the feat this weekend against Mississippi State's stellar defensive backfield, consider it the latter.

    The Bulldogs got exposed as a fraud over the last two weeks, getting blown out by Alabama and Texas A&M by a combined score of 76-20. Head coach Dan Mullen desperately needs a win this week to avoid wiping away all of the hype from his team's 7-0 start to the season.

    Another blowout loss this weekend, and we can consider Mississippi State the "same old Bulldogs."

    LSU will load up to stop running back LaDarius Perkins and force quarterback Tyler Russell to beat them. He will have flashes of brilliance, but not enough to get out of Baton Rouge with a win

    Score Prediction: LSU 24 - Mississippi State 10

Vanderbilt at Ole Miss (-3)

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    Saturday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. ET

    If the Week 11 SEC slate leaves you thirsty for intriguing matchups, look no further than Vanderbilt at Ole Miss.

    Wait...what?

    In year's past, that would sound like blasphemy. Not this year.

    Vanderbilt is on a roll after last weekend's 40-0 shutout of Kentucky, while Ole Miss is within one win of reaching a bowl game. With games against Tennessee and Wake Forest after this, Vanderbilt could run the table, reach the eight-win mark and make a really good bowl game.

    If that happens, head coach James Franklin's phone will be ringing off the hook this offseason.

    Meanwhile, first-year Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze has proven that he is the right man for the job in Oxford, getting his program to within one game of a bowl game when many thought that four wins was impossible.

    Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace and running back Jeff Scott will have big days, but so will the three-headed Vanderbilt running back monster of Zac Stacy, Brian Kimbrow and Wesley Tate.

    Can you say shootout?

    Score Prediction: Vanderbilt 38 - Ole Miss 35

Georgia (-15.5) at Auburn

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    Saturday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. ET

    Georgia can wrap up the SEC East title with a win over Auburn on Saturday night on the Plains in the "Deep South's Oldest Rivalry."

    Sounds easy, right? 

    Considering Auburn is 2-7 and 0-6 in the SEC, a Georgia loss in this division-clinching game would be one of the biggest eggs laid in recent college football history.

    However, Georgia finally found its legs last weekend against Ole Miss, putting together a complete game for the first time all season.

    The defense allowed just 267 yards to the potent Rebel offense, Aaron Murray threw four touchdowns and zero picks and Todd Gurley topped the century mark on the ground. If they play like that, not only will they win the SEC East, but they can spring the upset of Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.

    However, Georgia must first get by Auburn.

    Tiger quarterback Jonathan Wallace looked good against New Mexico State. While that is a step forward for Auburn's offense, it was still New Mexico State, which ranks 107th in the country in total defense.

    Georgia rolls.

    Score Prediction: Georgia 38 - Auburn 14

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