Original Article Published on SEC Sports Report
This weekend brings the biggest SEC weekend so far this year. The biggest SEC Game of the Week is #1 Florida Gators traveling to Louisiana to face the #4 LSU Tigers. Tim Tebow is still a question mark for being able to play; it’s a game time decision.
#3 Alabama travels to Oxford to play the #20 Ole Miss Rebels in a game that will shape the SEC West.
I’m 38-5 for the season in picking SEC games; so I’m holding onto a 88% winning percentage. I was dead on with my Auburn upset of Tennessee last week. This week offers a potential upset and a number of SEC teams getting beaten at home.
Here are my picks for Saturday:
SEC Upset of the Week: Florida vs LSU in Baton Rouge. The odds makers love Florida in this game by somewhere in the neighborhood of seven points. The Gators are #1; they have superstar Tim Tebow, and in the event he doesn’t play, they have a highly talented quarterback in John Brantley.
I see this game quite differently. This is a classic case of how great leadership impacts an organization. With Tim Tebow out, this game changes shape.
Tebow is the leader and is the go-to man when the pressure is on. He makes the third down plays that keep drives going. Tebow makes so many positive things happen that we tend to give the team credit for success when many times Tebow’s will power created the victory.
Without Tebow, this team will not play as well on either side of the ball. I don’t believe Tebow will play for the safety of his long term health.
On Saturday night, Tiger Stadium will have 92,400 avid fans rocking the planet. It will definitely be a hostile crowd for Florida quarterback John Brantley to make his debut. This LSU team has shown that when the pressure is on, they can score. I like LSU in a close one but an upset 24-21.
Alabama vs Ole Miss in Oxford. This game should be a battle. The Ole Miss defense will slow down the Alabama offense from scoring their 30 point average. Rebel quarterback Jevan Snead needs a good game for his team to have a chance.
I think the pre-season hype is over for this Rebel team and it’s time to play some smash mouth football. Should be a physical game. Alabama is getting better every week. The Tide wins this one 21-16.
Auburn vs Arkansas in Fayetteville. Auburn manhandled Tennessee in Knoxville last week and kept the game just out of reach for sixty minutes. The Auburn offense is great and will continue to put up points. The Tigers got some good experience with their SEC win on the road. I like Arkansas’ offense, but their defense needs serious work. I’m picking the Tigers 35-21.
Georgia vs Tennessee in Knoxville. Tennessee Coach Lane Kiffin hasn’t done a great job of game management thus far. Against Auburn the Vols should have eaten up the ground game but continued passing and hitting players in the feet, back and everywhere but the hands.
When Crompton was on target, his receivers dropped the ball. The Vols seem out of sync to me. The Bulldogs lost a tough game to LSU in Athens. I don’t see the Bulldogs losing two weeks in a row. I believe the Dawgs will win this one 27-16.
South Carolina vs Kentucky in Columbia. Coach Steve Spurrier now has some confidence in his quarterback, and I believe things will crank up in Columbia.
Kentucky has had a brutal time against Florida and Alabama, and there is some finger pointing going on which is tough on a team. The Gamecocks should win big 31-14.
Miss State vs Houston in Starkville. It’s hard to pick a non-SEC school to win over an SEC school. But Houston has been stirred up after losing to Texas El-Paso. I’m cheering for State but picking the Cougars for the win. 45-41.
Vanderbilt vs Army at West Point. This is a must win for Vandy because the schedule gets rougher going forward. After this week, Georgia, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, and Florida back to back. Dores win 21-13.
If Florida loses this weekend, the SEC East takes on a new dynamic. Auburn has a lot at stake and needs to win to be a legitimate contender in the top tier in the SEC West. I’m in Columbia to see the Gamecocks and Wildcats. We’ll be catching more big games Saturday night.
Until next time, I will see you on the ball field.
Jay Holgate is an SEC Sports Analyst, freelance writer and life coach. He can be heard around the South on sports radio.