So far this season I'm 28-3 on the picks. Most of them have been easy picks, and a couple of them were swing games that really shouldn't have been losses.
Last week, if you would recall, I stated in the "backtrack" section that my gut thought Clemson could beat Auburn but that my head picked Auburn. My gut was obviously hungry.
I don't care what anybody says about the Auburn defense giving that game away, the fact remains that the heralded Gus Malzahn offense couldn't put more than three points on the board in the second half against a 97th ranked defensive unit. The last time that happened was in the Kentucky loss of '09.
That will not happen again this week.
FAU at Auburn: Wouldn't you know it, a team that actually matches up to Auburn's defense. It is appropriate that the 117th-ranked Tiger defense meets the 120th-ranked offense. Don't get your hopes up, Auburn fans, your defense did not get better after this game. Expect Gus' offense to rack up some points for confidence and to mix up the ball handlers in readiness for the Gamecocks. Auburn wins 51-3
Georgia at Ole Miss: It is official, Houston Nutt has destroyed another program. Not known for developing talent but more for destroying it, Nutt will be out of a job by season's end. Knowing this still will not help the downward spiral the Rebels are going to take. The Dawgs will give Ole Miss the second of what could be a seven-game losing streak. UGA wins 31-13
Vanderbilt at South Carolina: The Gamecocks have been an unexplainable group this season. The only thing you can say about them is Lattimore. Maybe that is all that is needed to be said. Vandy faces an uphill battle while South Carolina has been focused on Auburn all season. This will be an interesting game like last weekend but too much Lattimore for Jim Morrison's Dores to handle. South Carolina wins 27-17
Buffalo at Tennessee: The Vols took a physical beating last week in the Swamp and just don't have the SEC talent needed to compete yet. That doesn't mean that Buffalo will run roughshod over them. I expect Tyler Bray to pass like a mad man this weekend and build up some new receivers pre Georgia game. Also, it is imperative that UT find a running game as well this weekend. UT wins 41-17
Florida at Kentucky: The Wildcats are now considered the Wildkittens. However, having Florida at home helps just a little bit. Not enough to win, that is for sure. The Gators are looking forward to the Alabama game the following weekend, so they allow UK a little leeway. Florida wins 34-10
LSU at West Virginia: Dana Holgerson, aka Phil Collins, has his Mountaineers firing on all cylinders...in a four-cylinder vehicle. Les Miles has his Bengal Tigers firing on all cylinders...in an eight-cylinder vehicle! Sorry, WVU, but you don't have a rushing attack to help that great passing game and therefore LSU is going to eat your lunch, make out with your sister and then take your dad's car for a joy ride. Unless your dad has a big gun! He may. LSU wins 28-14
Louisiana Tech at Mississippi State: It has been a rough go of it for the Bulldogs. They had the horses and the ability to win one of the last two and could have possible won both had they beaten Auburn... and not lost two starting offensive linemen before LSU. There is potential on this team but I just don't know if they are willing to reach it. This will be a good start before next week's test. I expect MSU to run the ball to feel better about LSU's defense and to get ready for UGA's sloppy run-stop game. MSU wins 35-17
Arkansas at Alabama: The SEC matchup of the weekend. Nothing could point to either of these teams being dominant compared to whom they have played. It is pretty easy to whip up on the Little Debbies of the world, but it is another thing to see how you do it against each other. Well, we find out this weekend.
Alabama's offensive line has been suspect but break-away runs make it a little bit more valid. The Hogs' defense, contrary to popular fanbase opinions, has not trended in a positive direction compared to last season. In short, they aren't better. On the other hand the Tide's defense has stayed the same or has gotten better at this point of the season compared to last.
Talk about testing a secondary, Arkansas' Tyler Wilson has distributed the ball very well around the field to the tune of 822 yards. And, I mean distributed to multiple receivers for big yards. He faces his toughest task in what supposedly is one of the top five backfields in college football. Unless Alabama doesn't fire in some new blitzes Tyler will rack up over 250 yards. I suspect he gets more around 187 yards.
The Hog rushing attack took a major hit with the loss of Knile Davis, but Ronnie Wingo Jr. has been able to fill in and move the ball. Against the Alabama rushing defense, I see Arkansas getting about 73 yards. Conversely, I see the Tide gaining about 195 rushing yards, may be more.
As for AJ McCarron, he is going to have to control his will to want to make the big plays and take a more calm approach in this game. Wild throws will cost a lot more now than in the previous three games. This includes getting hit Brodie Croyle style and losing the ball.
Something to think about, McCarron is not on track compared to McElroy this time last season, but remember this, that was Greg's second season starting. This is AJ's first, and he is on track compared to Greg's first season.
As for throwing the ball this weekend Darius Hanks will have to become a more prominent target along with Bell, Gibson, White and hopefully Duron Carter, if he plays. The Arkansas secondary is definitely suspect and should be an advantage for AJ. If the line gives him some breathing room, which I think they can, AJ can check down and take even more advantage of that secondary. Who knows, he may throw for 270 yards.
Like last season, it appears that the Razorbacks are too one-sided on offense and defensively are about the same. That just will not cut it when playing the Crimson Tide at home. Alabama wins 31-17
I don't see how any of these picks need to have backtracks. Only three of them have highly unlikely potential differing outcomes.
South Carolina is too strong for Vandy even if they are looking ahead to Auburn.
Alabama playing at home favors the Tide, and when they have lost at home, it has been by no more than three points.
LSU has a dominant defense and a very fluid offense. While West Virginia really has neither, not too mention LSU plays good away from home.
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