This is rivalry weekend—Alabama vs. Auburn, Ole Miss vs. Miss State, LSU vs. Arkansas, Tennessee vs. Kentucky, Florida vs. FSU. Every game counts for bragging rights, if for nothing else. And some have BCS Championship implications.
These are the games that give neighbors and family members something to brag about for a whole year. Who will get to brag and who will hang their heads in disgrace and heartbreak? Well, here is the way I see it...
Auburn vs. Alabama
The Crimson Tide have had a seemingly hard time staying motivated to play for back-to-back national championships. They have looked flat several times this year and have shown some weaknesses such as protecting their quarterback and stopping the run. At 9-2, the Tide have had a disappointing year, even with having to rebuild their defense. This game could make up for some of that disappointment.
Auburn, on the other hand, has surprised everyone, going into the Iron Bowl undefeated at 11-0 and ranked second in the nation. The Tigers have had some close calls. Three of the games came down to three-point victories. They come into the 'Bama game with the front runner for the Heisman Trophy, Cam Newton, who it seems may have come through his controversial issues unscathed.
This one will be close, but I predict Alabama will come away with a victory, robbing the Tigers of their national championship hopes. Alabama 27, Auburn 24
LSU vs. Arkansas
LSU comes to Little Rock with outside hopes of a possible chance to play for the BCS Championship. The Tigers have worked some magic this season and enter this game at 10-1. LSU's defense has been their strength all season, but their offense has started to click in the last couple of games. A win against the Hogs would most likely guarantee the Tigers a BCS bowl, and if they are lucky, a ticket to the Big Game.
Arkansas enters this game at 9-2. The Hogs have traditionally played the Tigers tough, and they have the offensive fire-power to move the ball against LSU. Their possible weakness appears to be their defense, which gave up 65 points to Auburn. But under closer scrutiny, the Hogs have only given up more than 24 points twice this season, with one of those games going into two overtimes.
This will be another close one. I think that the Tigers have more to play for and received their wake-up call from Ole Miss last weekend. LSU 31, Arkansas 28
Miss State vs. Ole Miss
At first glance, one would think that this game means more to State's season than it does to the Rebels', but this would be wrong thinking. It was made very clear by Houston Nutt immediately following the LSU game that this game means a lot to the Rebels. This will be Jeremiah Masoli's last college football game. It is also a chance for payback for last year's complete flop by the bowl-bound Rebs.
Miss State comes to the Egg Bowl ranked in the Top 25 for the first time in nine years. Dan Mullen has the Dogs bowl bound and excitement is high in Starkville. The bad news is that the Dogs could be a little flat after a double-overtime loss to Arkansas on Saturday night.
The pressure is off for the Rebels. This will be their bowl game. Expect Ole Miss to come into this game fired up and ready to play, while the Dogs may be entering the Egg Bowl with a bit of a hangover. The Rebels open up the offense and end the season on a high note. Ole Miss 38, MSU 24
Kentucky vs. Tennessee
A win against Kentucky would make the Vols bowl eligible. After losing four in a row, Tennessee has won their last three games. Both the offense and the defense have seemed to come together, although it has been against less-than-stiff competition.
Kentucky is already bowl eligible. The Wildcats have had a mixed season, with a great win over the SEC East champs, South Carolina, and some disappointing losses to teams that they should have beaten.
This is another game that will probably go down to the wire. I think that the home-field advantage will give the Vols the edge they need to pull this one out and get bowl eligible. Look for Tennessee to pull away in the fourth quarter. Tennessee 34, Kentucky 24
The Rest of the SEC
Florida vs. Florida State
Look for the Gators to come out a little flat. This is not the usual Urban Myer Florida Gators. Florida State gets it done.
FSU 28, Florida 20
South Carolina vs. Clemson
South Carolina gets it done, but is more focused on the next weekend's SEC Championship. The Gamecocks hang on to get the win. USC 27, Clemson 20
Georgia Tech vs Georgia
The Dogs aren't back, but they are moving in the right direction. Georgia gets bowl eligible against their instate rivals. Georgia 34 Georgia Tech 21
Wake Forest vs. Vanderbilt
Vandy breaks their six-game losing streak, and extends Wake Forest's nine-game losing streak to 10. Vanderbilt ends the season on a positive note. Vanderbilt 37, Wake Forest 34
Bohdi Sanders ~ www.TheWisdomWarrior.com