So far, I’m off to a 27-4 start, which is safely above my .750 goal. There are lots of tough games this weekend, though, so that percentage may dip some.
Onto the picks:
Georgia (1-2) @Mississippi (1-2), 12:20PM, SEC Network
Desperation Bowl, Hot Seat Bowl, whatever you want to call it, both teams need a win here really badly. The recent successes of both teams are a distant memory in their fan bases’ minds, and they want an immediate rise to the top. This is a major first step… sadly I’m not sure it will even be a game. Aaron Murray and co. will make the pregame talk more interesting than the game itself. At least, they should. But UGA (like Florida) suffers a hex when it comes to playing in the state of Mississippi. They either lose or make it way more interesting than it should be. But Georgia breaks that here.
Georgia 31, Mississippi 7
(14)Arkansas (3-0) @ (3)Alabama (3-0), 3:30PM, CBS
The Hogs haven’t quite forgiven themselves for blowing a 20-7 lead against the Tide last year, and return the same offensive personnel minus Ryan Mallet and Knile Davis. If any team in the nation is equipped to blow Alabama out of the water, it’s the Razorbacks. But Alabama still has a smothering defense, and a little Trent Richardson action on offense will get them enough points. The key here is Arkansas’s defense, in particular defensive end Jake Bequette and linebacker Jerry Franklin. Can they pressure AJ McCarron into some bad decisions? Maybe, but not enough to win.
Alabama 16, Arkansas 10
Florida Atlantic (0-2) @Auburn (2-1), 7:00PM, ESPN3
There’s no hiding it anymore. Auburn’s defense is really, really bad. Luckily for them, FAU as a team is really, really bad. Their lone offensive threat is Alfred Morris, and he can’t do it all by himself. He needs help that he isn’t going to get. Of course, he’ll still probably burn Auburn for 100 yards or so, but that isn’t enough to match the machine gun offense Gus Malzahn still has cooking on the Plains. Auburn wins, but their defense still needs help.
Auburn 52, Florida Atlantic 17
Lousiana Tech (1-2) @Mississippi State (1-2), 7:00PM, ESPNU
MSU is not happy, and they’re good. That’s a bad combination for any team to face, much less a helpless LT team that’s never really recovered since Derek Dooley departed. The maroon Bulldogs get to unload their anger on the blue and red Bulldogs, in particular Vick Ballard and Chad Bumphis, who MSU fans are just waiting to break out into an All-American type playmaker, a la Percy Harvin, Dexter McCluster, Chris Rainey, etc. No doubt Mullen will have something special waiting for LT with those two guys. MSU wins with ease.
Mississippi State 45, Louisiana Tech 10
Vanderbilt (3-0) @ (12)South Carolina (3-0), 7:00PM, ESPN2
Steve Spurrier may never play Navy again and that’s just fine with him. He’s seen enough triple option to last him a lifetime, anyway, with Tim Tebow running the show in Gainesville and then Navy’s slightly different, but no less effective, option attack. He criticized his D heavily and is looking for a big response. He might get one against Vandy, who is 3-0 for the first time since Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. Yeah, Vandy beat UConn and Ole Miss, but who really cares? South Carolina makes themselves feel good by putting the little kid right back where he belongs- headfirst in a dumpster. Still, don’t be surprised if Vandy shows enough to be considered a threat in the years to come.
South Carolina 42, Vanderbilt 6
Kentucky (2-1) @ (15)Florida (3-0), 7:00PM, ESPN
The Wildcats are like alligator advil. Don’t feel good about anything? Play Kentucky. Your voice hurts from yelling profanities at Steve Addazio? Play Kentucky. Your QB needs some work throwing deep balls? Play Kentucky. It’s guaranteed to cure your football illnesses within 10 minutes, guaranteed. But like real advil, it just masks the symptoms, not cure them. Beating UK gives Gator fans a false sense of security. Just how bad is it? The last time UK beat Florida was 1986. The last time the Cats beat Florida before that? 1979. Yeah, it’s not pretty. The Gators run wild and win #25 in a row over the Wildcats.
Florida 51, Kentucky 7
(2)LSU (3-0) @ (16)West Virginia (3-0), 8:10PM, ABC
ABC’s primetime game finally includes an SEC team for the first time in three weeks, and they get a dandy- a nasty defense against a fast offense. But the real key lies in the Tigers’ offense. Just how good in Spencer Ware? Michael Ford? Reuben Randle? Most importantly, Jarrett Lee? They’ll find out in a real hostile environment on the biggest stage in the regular season not counting rivalry games. I’m not sure Geno Smith and co. can match the nasty street fighter skills in LSU’s pound it out offense. The Mountaineers will give a good fight, but won’t be able to stop the Tiger stampede in Morgantown.
LSU 37, West Virginia 26