Original Article Published on SEC Sports Report
ATLANTA, Ga —Thank goodness it finally quit raining in Georgia. I enjoyed a beautiful day in Tuscaloosa last Saturday and Alabama proved why they are a championship team. I believe the game with the most at stake is in Athens. Another loss for Richt this season and things get a whole lot uglier with the fans.
I had a perfect 8-0 record for SEC games last weekend and I’m 63-14 which moves be back to 82 percent accuracy for the year.
Here are my picks for Saturday:
SEC Game of the Week: Auburn vs Georgia in Athens .
Knowing what Auburn team will show up on Saturday could make a person schizophrenic. At times, the Tigers have spread it out, fired away, and almost looked unstoppable on offense. The Tigers defense is another question.
It’s very hard to predict how this Auburn team will play on Saturdays. The five early wins were quickly met with three SEC losses which kind of drew blank stares about who this team is. Now the team has had a chance to settle down from the hype and the losses and focus on executing again. Auburn has secured a bowl game but would love to beat the Dawgs in Athens.
The Georgia Bulldogs have been the most disappointing of SEC teams this year. The fan base is looking for heads to roll at the end of the season. The Bulldogs have already lost big to rivals Tennessee and Florida. Losses to Auburn and Georgia Tech would be torturous.
Last week, the Bulldogs gained some confidence with a 38-0 beat down on Tennessee Tech. Lots of offensive points and a shutout by this defense were much needed.
Predicting this game is a crap shoot at best. November usually comes down to who wants it the most. Hunger is a great motivator. In my opinion, Georgia must beat Auburn to have any shred of dignity for this season. Look for another high scoring game in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. Dawgs win 35-32.
SEC East Game of the Week: No. 1 Florida vs South Carolina in Columbia .
This game does not line up well for the Gamecocks. Florida has been catching a lot of bad press lately with the Brandon Spikes eye gouging incident, coach Meyer fined 30K and media complaining that Tim Tebow is underperforming this year.
One thing you don’t want to do is give coach Urban Meyer a chance to motivate his team by saying Florida is not being respected. I believe the Gators have something to prove in this game and that will not bode well for Gamecocks.
Spurrier is catching grief of his own with a mediocre offense that just doesn’t put a lot of points on the board. Journalists from all over are taking shots at the Ole Ball Coach making his Novembers in Columbia near miserable. When Tebow starts running and throwing on Saturday, Spurrier will realize early on that his best shot at salvaging the season is beating Clemson at home. Gators win 45-14.
No. 2 Alabama vs Miss State in Starkville .
This could be a dangerous game for the Tide. Bama just played a tough game against LSU where it took everything they had to pull out a fourth-quarter win. There is bound to be some letdown in intensity.
Miss State has had two weeks to prepare for this game after picking up an upset of Kentucky in Lexington. Miss State coach Mullen still remembers his game plan from coaching Florida against Alabama in the 2008 SEC Championship.
Mullen will spread it out and try to put on a show for the home crowd. This game will better prepare Saban for the SEC Championship against Florida because it will feature the Spread offense. Tide wins 24-21.
Tennessee vs Ole Miss in Oxford.
Tennessee has been on a roll and played some very good football. There was an incident overnight where three impact players were arrested for attempted armed robbery. This is definitely a distraction for coach Kiffin. It just makes the game a little closer.
Ole Miss is defending the home turf and they are fighting for some pride here. This is a big game and Houston Nutt does not fare well in big games. I believe the Vols keep fighting and scratching for victories. Vols win 24-21.
Kentucky vs Vanderbilt in Nashville.
Vandy’s offense has not done much this season against SEC opponents. Vandy is 0-6 vs. SEC opponents. Kentucky wants to become bowl eligible and this game is a must win if that is going to happen. The Cats have played well on the road this season. Cats win by a whisker 24-17.
SEC vs SunBelt: Arkansas vs Troy in Fayetteville .
Ryan Mallett obviously found his rhythm against the Gamecocks. Mallett was 23-of-27 passes completed for 329 yards. Troy has won seven games in a row. Arkansas wins 35-24.
SEC vs WAC: No. 8 LSU vs Louisiana Tech in Baton Rouge.
LSU lost a tough game in Tuscaloosa last Saturday. I experienced the game firsthand and Alabama fans were nervous. LSU will have to win without running back Charles Scott. Tigers win 35-10.
Another great weekend for SEC football. I will be down in Athens on Saturday to see if the Bulldogs can handle the Auburn Tigers. This is the big game for the weekend and too much is on the line not see it up close.
Until next time, I will see you on the ball field.
Jay Holgate is an SEC sports analyst, freelance writer and executive coach based in Atlanta. He can be heard on sports radio around the South.