Original Story Published on SEC Sports Report.
ATLANTA, Ga.—It’s been an interesting week with the Tennessee-Florida crowd and Lane Kiffin-Urban Meyer jabs continuing. My column on the Vols' Kiffin mismanaging the fourth quarter got quite a response.
Florida fans and SEC sports readers liked the analysis and wanted to know the full story. Some Tennessee fans seemed to get really angry about it judging by their comments. That’s usually my proof that a story is dead on. You have to love the SEC passion.
My SEC prediction record is 89 percent (24-3). Vandy choked on me last week and ruined a perfect run.
Here are my picks for Saturday.
SEC Game of the Week: Arkansas vs. No. 3 Alabama in Tuscaloosa
I think this game will be a whole lot closer than the 17-point spread favoring Alabama. Bama has a lot of firepower and can easily score 40 points in this game. Bama is tough, but they are on every SEC team's radar now. Every SEC team will approach the Crimson Tide ready to fight.
I believe Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett can cause a lot of damage of his own if the rest of the team steps up. Arkansas learned some lessons in the Georgia loss that will help them in this game. Early fireworks in Tuscaloosa. Bama wins 42-35.
SEC East Game of the Week: No. 1 Florida vs. Kentucky in Lexington
Kentucky plays Florida better in Lexington. Oddsmakers are predicting a blowout for the Gators again. I believe Florida did get exposed some in the Tennessee game and does not pose as big of a passing threat as they would like.
Florida is great, but they are not where they were at the end of last year—yet. Kentucky is better this year and will keep it a game. Gators win 30-21.
SEC West Game of the Week: No. 7 LSU vs. Miss State in Starkville
LSU has won nine straight in this series. LSU is a good team but hasn’t quite found its stride. Both teams beat Vandy. Miss State upset Vandy last week in Nashville and may have gained some more confidence as a team.
LSU will be walking into a hostile crowd that will be relishing an opportunity to knock off a West rival. Miss State beats the 14-point spread. LSU wins 23-15.
SEC vs. Pac-10: Georgia vs. Arizona State in Athens
Georgia quarterback Joe Cox had some breakthrough in the resilience shown in two weeks of tough games against South Carolina and Arkansas. Georgia could take it up a notch this week on both sides of the ball. The Georgia speed will kill the Sun Devils. Georgia will light it up again and win 45-14.
South Carolina vs. No. 4 Ole Miss in Columbia
I predicted a South Carolina upset on two different radio shows on Wednesday and Thursday. My reasons were South Carolina had been tested, was hungrier, and wanted to redo the loss at Georgia. I was right on. I could also add the SC defense was relentless.
SEC vs. MAC: Auburn vs. Ball State at Auburn
Tigers run up the score in this game. Auburn wins big.
SEC vs. MAC: Tennessee vs. Ohio in Knoxville
The Vols need a confidence builder on offense. This game will do that for them. Vols win.
SEC vs. Conference USA: Vandy vs. Rice in Houston
This should be a good road win for the Commodores.
I love starting the weekend with an early upset in my prediction that South Carolina would beat Ole Miss. All the SEC games should be good. Georgia should be able to dominate a Pac-10 team and keep the SEC reputation strong as ever.
Auburn and Tennessee have easy games this week as they will play each other next weekend in the early championship series of the new SEC coaches. So far Auburn coach Gene Chizik is leading.
Until next time, I will see you on the ball field.
Jay Holgate is an SEC sports analyst, freelance writer and editor of SEC Sports Report. He can be heard around the South on sports radio. Send comments to editor (at) SECsportsReport (dot) com.
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