(No. 13, No. 12) Georgia (8-2, 5-2) @ Auburn (5-5, 2-4)
11: 30 CST, Raycom
All-Time Series: Auburn 53-50-8
Wednesday's Line: Georgia –8.5
It's the South's oldest rivalry and one of the best. Through 111 games, Auburn has outscored Georgia by a mere 45 points. It's the 18th straight time that one or both schools have been ranked when the game was played and—surprisingly—the lower ranked or unranked squad has won seven of the last 12 years. Georgia has won consecutive blowout games.
The Tigers' paltry offense struggled again last week against Tennessee-Martin until Kodi Burns realized he was faster than everyone else out there and ran wild. As bad as the 'Dawgs D has been the last three weeks, no way they lose containment on Burns as consistently as the Skyhawks did. In the SEC, only Arkansas has allowed more touchdowns than Georgia has this year. On the flip side of that, only MSU and UT have scored fewer touchdowns than Auburn.
Despite all of Auburn's troubles this year, this is not going to be an easy game for the 'Dawgs. Tuberville is at his best when his back is against the wall, though this year, the talent differential between the two schools is deep a chasm to void.
If Georgia's big three show up to play, the Tigers just don't have the firepower to keep up. Look for an inspired effort by the Tigers early, but too much Stafford and Moreno in the second half. 'Dawgs by 10.
Straight Up Winner: Georgia
Against the Spread: Georgia
Louisiana-Monroe (3-7) @ Ole Miss (5-4, 3-3)
All-Time Series: Ole Miss 2-0
Wednesday's Line: Ole Miss -21
Ole Miss looks to become bowl-eligible this weekend against Louisiana-Monroe. The rebels are the third SEC West the ULM Warhawks will have played this year, having dropped a 34-0 game to Auburn in the season opener and basically choking away a 28-27 game the next week to Arkansas. Ole Miss has outscored ULM 80-17 in the two previous meetings.
Assuming the Rebels learned from Alabama's overlooking of ULM last year, this one won't be close. The Rebels have too much firepower on offense to stumble here. Even if the turnover bug comes back, they should have enough to get the win.
The Grove will be rocking as the Rebels clinch a postseason berth for the first time since Archie's youngest graduated in 2003, but no way I'm giving up three touchdowns to a team as schizo as Ole Miss.
Straight Up Winner: Ole Miss
Against the Spread: Louisiana-Monroe
(No. 24, No. 23) South Carolina (7-3, 4-3) @ (No. 4, No. 3) Florida (8-1, 6-1)
2:30 CST, CBS
All-Time Series: Florida 21-4-3
Wednesday's Line: Florida -21
The Ole Ball Coach heads back to his old stomping grounds Saturday as the red hot Gamecocks take on the even hotter Gators. The Gamecocks have bounced back from a rocky start to put themselves in a position for a New Year's Day bowl game. The Gators have bounced back from a loss at home to Ole Miss and are playing perhaps the nest football in the entire country.
This will be the sternest test the Gators will have faced since their loss to Ole Miss. While Georgia came out and laid an egg in Jacksonville, Spurrier will make sure that doesn't happen here. A win in the Swamp, and his Gamecocks would like take the Capital One Bowl bid away from Georgia. Unfortunately for him, that just won't happen this weekend.
Tebow's apology and proclamations were Internet fodder for many a joke, but he and the Gators have backed them up with their recent stellar play. The Gators win this on, but three touchdowns s is too much.
Straight Up Winner: Florida
Against the Spread: South Carolina
Mississippi State (3-6, 1-4) @ (No. 1, No. 1) Alabama (10-0, 6-0)
6:45 CST, ESPN
All-Time Series: Alabama 71-18-3
Wednesday's Line: Alabama –20.5
Though Alabama has owned this series through the years, the Tide have dropped two in a row to the Bulldogs. Even more remarkable is the fact that it's been three seasons since Alabama scored an offensive touchdown against MSU. Over the last three years, the Tide has managed eight field goals and three defensive scores against the Bulldogs and are 1-2.
John Parker Wilson has single-handedly choked this game away the last two seasons. He's a combined 35-of-73 (48 percent) for just 308 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions.
While you never know what you're going to get from JPW, this Tide team has been too steady and consistent all season long to drop a game like this to a team like Mississippi State. Sure it's a fun story that's been beaten into the ground that for two straight years, Croom has beaten his alma mater who wouldn't hire him, but that will long forgotten on Saturday.
Frankly, unless JPW throws the ball directly to Pegues or any other of MSU's defenders, I don't know how the Bulldogs are going to score in this game. Alabama will do what they do and MSU won't be able to stop them or to score on them. The only question will be if the Tide will stay focused long enough to cover three touchdowns.
Straight Up Winner: Alabama
Against the Spread: Alabama
Troy (6-3) @ (No. 19, No. 20) LSU (6-3, 3-3)
7:00 CST, PPV
All-Time Series: LSU 1-0
Wednesday's Line: LSU –18.5
This is the Hurricane Gustav makeup game from earlier in the season. It's just the second meeting between these schools and LSU had to rally very late to eke by Troy in 2004, 24-20. The Tigers are 32-0 against Sun Belt teams.
This won't be close. It's a night game at Tiger Stadium and Troy is not one of the three best teams in the SEC, which are the only teams the Tigers have fallen to. There will be some emotional hangover from last week's disappointment, but it won't last long.
Troy is a very good offensive team and—if taken lightly—will pose a real threat for an upset. With a big conference game next week against Ole Miss, this is a definite trap-game situation, but no way the Tigers drop this one.
Straight Up Winner: LSU
Against the Spread: Troy
Vanderbilt (5-4, 2-4) @ Kentucky (6-4, 2-4)
7:00 CST, ESPN2
All-Time Series: Kentucky 39-37-4
Wednesday's Line: Kentucky -4
While it doesn't have the marquee schools or the star power of the other games this weekend, this is the most important game of the weekend in terms of conference standings. It's been a close series throughout its history with 33 of the 80 games (41 percent) decided by a touchdown or less.
Kentucky has found new life on offense since inserting stud freshman Randall Cobb in as starting quarterback. The Wildcats knocked off MSU on the road (which Vanderbilt failed to do) and went toe-to-toe with UGA for 58 minutes before falling on one of the plays of the year in college football.
Meanwhile, Vandy is headed in the opposite direction, dropping four straight. The Commodores haven't scored more than 14 points in 5 straight games.
The 'Cats have been playing most superior opponents close, dropping close ones to UGA, South Carolina, and Alabama. They're also winning the games they're supposed to, and this game qualifies in that category. The 'Cats will continue to play smart on offense and the defense—though it's struggled a bit lately—will find that Vandy's anemic offense is just the cure for its ails.
Straight Up Winner: Kentucky
Against the Spread: Kentucky