Picks, Predictions and Prognosis for Every Week 12 SEC Football Game
Three weeks away from the end of the regular season, and both division races are still up for grabs.
That could change on Saturday, though, as Auburn and Georgia square off in the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry on the Plains. If Auburn wins, the Tigers will host Alabama two weeks later in the de facto SEC West title game. If Georgia wins, the Bulldogs will become the biggest Ole Miss and Texas A&M fans, as those two teams will need to beat Missouri for the Bulldogs to get back to Atlanta.
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier will host his former team on Saturday afternoon, as the reeling Florida Gators—losers of four straight—limp into Columbia to take on the Gamecocks. This game is personal for Spurrier and big for his team's East title hopes, so expect an inspired group of Gamecocks on Saturday night at Williams-Bryce Stadium
What are the picks for those two games and the rest of the SEC slate? The selections are in this slideshow.
2013 record: 77-12 (6-1 last week); 50-36-1 ATS (3-4 last week)
All lines courtesy: VegasInsider.com.
Troy at Ole Miss (-29)
Saturday, Nov. 16 at noon ET
Ole Miss has reeled off three straight wins and has generated some much-needed momentum heading into the home stretch as the Rebels look move up the bowl pecking order with a solid close to the season.
That will continue on Saturday.
Quarterback Bo Wallace looked sensational last week against Ole Miss, throwing for 416 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-24 win over Arkansas.
Now, the Troy Trojans roll into town, complete with the Sun Belt's worst pass defense (320.2 yards per game).
Wallace will find wide receivers Donte Moncrief and Laquon Treadwell early and often, running back Jeff Scott—who has sat out the last three games with a leg injury—will round back into form and the Rebels will put a big number on the scoreboard as they they cruise past the Trojans.
Prediction: Ole Miss 45, Troy 13
Kentucky at Vanderbilt (-13)
Saturday, Nov. 16 at 12:21 p.m. ET
After a sluggish start to the season, the Vanderbilt Commodores have topped Georgia and Florida in two of their last three games, pushed their record to 5-4 and are within a game of bowl eligibility for the third straight season for the first time ever.
They'll break through that glass ceiling this weekend with a victory over Kentucky.
The 'Dores controlled the game for a full 60 minutes on the road in the Swamp last week, and the confidence generated from that win will help push them through the end of the season.
It appears head coach James Franklin will stick with freshman Patton Robinette at quarterback this week according to Nick Cole of The Tennessean, and after playing smart and stunning the Gators, he'll keep the momentum going this week.
Kentucky enters this game fresh off a 48-17 loss to Missouri, in a game where dual-threat quarterback Jalen Whitlow threw for 225 yards and completed 63 percent of his passes.
Vanderbilt's pass defense isn't great (236 yards per game), but cornerback Andre Hal will have a couple of key picks and the 'Dores will pull away in the second half.
Prediction: Vanderbilt 35, Kentucky 24
Georgia at Auburn (-3.5)
Saturday, Nov. 16 at 3:30 p.m. ET
The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry kicks off on the Plains on Saturday afternoon with enormous implications for both Auburn and Georgia.
For the Tigers, they need to keep pace with Alabama. A win by the Tigers would set up the Iron Bowl on Nov. 30 to act as the de facto SEC West title game for the first time in history. Meanwhile, for Georgia, its best shot of getting to the SEC Championship Game is winning out and hoping Missouri falls to Ole Miss and Texas A&M in the next two weeks.
There are two storylines to watch in this game: Can Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall have success through the air, and will Georgia's defense come to play?
Marshall—a former defensive back for the Bulldogs—has emerged as a dangerous threat at quarterback for Tigers, particularly on the ground. The junior rushed for 214 yards and two touchdowns last week in a 55-23 win over Tennessee and is seventh in the SEC in rushing this season (81.56 yards per game).
But can he throw? He attempted just eight passes two weeks ago against Arkansas and seven against the Vols, and Georgia's pass defense is giving up 241 yards per game through the air.
"It was just something the defense was giving us," Marshall said according to Charles Goldberg of AuburnTigers.com. "I was able to make the correct reads and the offensive line blocked their tails off."
For Georgia, it's imperative that it gets running back Todd Gurley going. The sophomore has been nursing an ankle injury suffered against LSU in September, and he needs to exploit an Auburn defense that's has allowed a 100-yard rusher in each of its last two games.
Expect a lot of points on the Plains, as Gurley will break the century mark and quarterback Aaron Murray will find his weapons outside—which will include tight end Arthur Lynch and Chris Conley, according to Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
It won't be enough, though.
Marshall and running back Tre Mason will run wild, Marshall will open things up and pick on Georgia cornerback Damian Swann and Auburn will fend off a feverish charge from Murray late to post another big win on its resume.
Prediction: Auburn 38, Georgia 35
Florida at South Carolina (-13.5)
Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. ET
If South Carolina wants to win the SEC East, a victory over the Florida Gators would be helpful.
In most seasons, that'd be a challenge. Not this one, though.
The Gators enter this matchup losers of four straight and beat up after it was learned that linebacker Antonio Morrison will miss the remainder of the season with a torn meniscus—the 10th Gator to be lost for the season with an injury. On top of that, quarterback Tyler Murphy is "day-to-day" with a nagging shoulder injury, according to Mark Long of the Associated Press.
South Carolina, on the other hand, is motivated. The Gamecocks know they need to win and root against Missouri for the remainder of the season, have had two weeks to prepare for the home tilt versus Florida and have personal motivation on their side from star running back Mike Davis.
Y'all know I was committed to UF right ..— Mike Davis (@Mike28davis) November 10, 2013
Never been so eager to play #hungry— Mike Davis (@Mike28davis) November 10, 2013
Davis leads the SEC with 117.56 yards per game on the ground, has 10 rushing touchdowns and will be going up against a Florida defense that has given up 165.5 yards per game on the ground over the four-game losing streak.
Not only will Florida's misery continue, but Davis and the Gamecocks will run the Gators out of Williams-Brice Stadium in embarrassing fashion.
Prediction: South Carolina 35, Florida 10
Alabama (-25) at Mississippi State
Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7:45 p.m. ET
Alabama cleared a major hurdle last week when it put away a tough LSU team in the second half in a 38-17 win last weekend in Tuscaloosa.
It won't have to wait until the second half this week.
Alabama is playing old-school Crimson Tide football, working running back T.J. Yeldon on the ground, getting efficient passing efforts from quarterback AJ McCarron and playing a punishing brand of defense that frustrates and confuses opposing coaches.
“It's a great challenge," Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen said in quotes released by the Bulldogs. "Alabama is a team that leads the nation in just about everything. I don’t know that they have many weak spots."
Mississippi State will enter this game with the status of quarterback Dak Prescott in question after Prescott suffered a stinger against Texas A&M.
McCarron will pass to set up the run, Alabama will build a 14-point lead on the Bulldogs early and then it will lean on them with Yeldon and speedster Kenyan Drake on the ground as those two carry the Tide to an easy victory.
Prediction: Alabama 42, Mississippi State 14