- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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Les Miles wasn’t real thrilled with the analogy last week, but I sort of liked it.
You know, the hammer-and-nail analogy that set Miles off on one of those tirades that makes the Mad Hatter, well, the Mad Hatter.
I won’t go there this week as we look ahead to our SEC picks, but I do believe that my young (and sharply dressed) colleague, Edward Aschoff, would agree that I’m the hammer right now and he’s the nail.
It’s not a matter of “if” I’m going to pass him but “when.”
He’s still one game ahead of me, but waffles a little more each week on his picks. We both went 6-1 last week. He missed South Carolina’s 52-7 win over Arkansas, and I missed Missouri’s 41-26 win over Georgia.
For the season, Edward is 59-6 (.908), and I’m 58-7 (.892).
The second half of the season is where you make your money in the picks business, and I plan on hammering away these next few weeks.
Here are our picks for Week 8:
ARKANSAS at ALABAMA
Chris Low: This stretch of games looked ominous enough for Arkansas back in September. It looks even worse now with Saturday’s trip to Alabama looming on the heels of four straight losses. The Crimson Tide are starting to hit their stride defensively, which means simply getting into the end zone might be a chore for the Hogs. … Alabama 41, Arkansas 6
Edward Aschoff: Last year, the Crimson Tide walked into Fayetteville and blanked the Hogs 52-0. With how well Alabama is playing and how much the Razorbacks are struggling, you could see a similar result in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. … Alabama 45, Arkansas 7
GEORGIA at VANDERBILT
Low: The Dawgs are preparing to play without Todd Gurley for the third straight week, and boy, do they need him. They also need the defense to hold Vandy under 30 points. It won’t be easy, but they’ll climb on Aaron Murray's shoulders (again) and head into the bye week with a very important win. … Georgia 35, Vanderbilt 28
Aschoff: Let's hope there aren't any unnecessary shouting matches between coaches this time. Both of these teams are limping into this matchup, and if Georgia wants a shot at making it back to Atlanta, the Dawgs have to win this one. With Aaron Murray at the helm, Georgia pulls this one out. ... Georgia 34, Vanderbilt 24
SOUTH CAROLINA at TENNESSEE
Low: The Gamecocks hadn’t been able to finish anybody until last week when they clobbered Arkansas on the road. They go back on the road this week and are playing as well as they ever have offensively under Steve Spurrier. The Vols won’t be able to score enough points to keep up in this game. … South Carolina 34, Tennessee 21
Aschoff: And just like that, South Carolina is a real contender in the SEC East again. Tennessee should have some sort of momentum to feed off of after a close loss to Georgia, but the Gamecocks just have too much talent on both sides of the ball. ... South Carolina 34, Tennessee 20
AUBURN at TEXAS A&M
Low: The good news for the Aggies is that they have Johnny Manziel, who’s pretty much been unstoppable. The bad news is that the Aggies haven’t been able to stop anybody on defense. But they’ll find a way to win another shootout, this one at home against the Tigers. … Texas A&M 42, Auburn 30
Aschoff: Expect a lot of points down in College Station when these two get together. Manziel continues to be the country's best and most exciting player, but Auburn has become a really fun team to watch. I'm not sure this Auburn team has the horses to keep up with Johnny Football at Kyle Field. ... Texas A&M 45, Auburn 31
LSU at OLE MISS
Low: The Rebels are hurting physically and emotionally after a bitter, last-second loss to Texas A&M at home last week. Now, they have to face an LSU offense that’s equally explosive, and the Tigers are playing as well as anybody right now in the SEC. … LSU 38, Ole Miss 28
Aschoff: The Rebels have now lost three straight and LSU is coming off a solid defensive performance. These games are always close, so expect some wackiness. Ole Miss needed to get a win during this treacherous stretch, but LSU is playing too well right now and Jeremy Hill will have a field day in the Grove. ... LSU 38, Ole Miss 30
FLORIDA at MISSOURI
Low: Losing starting quarterback James Franklin last week was a tough blow for Missouri, but the Tigers are confident that Maty Mauk can step in and keep them in the East race. Florida’s defense is no picnic, but the Gators have also been decimated by injuries. They just haven’t shown enough offensively to win a game like this on the road. … Missouri 24, Florida 17
Aschoff: These Tigers have one of the hottest offenses in the country, while Florida's offense sputtered at LSU last week. However, Mizzou has been bitten by the injury bug making its rounds in the SEC East, with Franklin out. Florida still owns the SEC's best defense, and the Gators will find a way to make Mauk uncomfortable and force much-needed turnovers to help the offense. ... Florida 21, Missouri 17
4dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough
9dAlex Scarborough and Greg Ostendorf