Thursday, October 29, 2009
SEC picks: Week 9
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
I promised a few weeks back to rent a stretch limo to take to the Florida-Georgia game if I was still better than .800 by the time the game formerly known as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party rolled around.
I'm happy to report that I beat that mark easily. I was a perfect 6-0 last week and am now 51-10 (.836) for the season. It’s just like Mr. Havercamp says in that cult classic “Caddyshack.”
“Oh golly, I’m hot today.”
So hot, in fact, that my ACC colleague, Heather Dinich, is jealous that her winning percentage isn’t anywhere close to mine. She’s trying to paint it like she would have a better winning percentage if she could just pick Alabama and Florida every week.
Well, Heather, my response is something you’ve probably heard Bill Parcells say a time or two: You are what your record says you are.
Now, onto my picks for this week. And by the way, I’m letting my other colleague at ESPN.com, Mark Schlabach, have the limo for the game:
Arkansas 52, Eastern Michigan 14: After two straight losses, the Hogs won’t be picky about who they beat. They just need to beat somebody. The Eagles (0-7) gave up 56 points a few weeks ago to Central Michigan, so the scoreboard at Razorback Stadium may get a workout in this one.
LSU 41, Tulane 6: LSU doesn’t have a bye like Alabama does this week before they meet on Nov. 7 in their big Western Division showdown, but the Tigers do have a tune-up. The Green Wave (2-5) have yet to win a Conference USA game this season and have given up 31 or more points in six of their seven games.
Georgia Tech 23, Vanderbilt 10: It’s already been a tough season for the Commodores, who’ve lost a bunch of key players to injuries and also lost a bunch of games. Now they have had a week to get ready for Georgia Tech’s dreaded option offense. But, then, defense hasn’t been the Commodores’ problem. Scoring points has. They’ve yet to score more than 13 points in any of their six losses. That won’t change against the Yellow Jackets.
Kentucky 24, Mississippi State 20: The loser of this game may have a difficult time recovering. And speaking of recovering, the Wildcats may be without both middle linebacker Micah Johnson (knee) and cornerback Trevard Lindley (ankle). Still, they’ve been finding ways to win and have played some of their best football this month. Look for even more of Randall Cobb in the Wildcat formation, and look for Kentucky to get its second SEC win.
Ole Miss 27, Auburn 17: The game within the game is Houston Nutt and Gus Malzahn meeting for the first time since their well-chronicled split following the 2006 season. The two teams appear to be headed in different directions. Auburn is trying to hang on after losing its last three, and Ole Miss is looking to take off after winning its last two. The difference will be Tyrone Nix’s Ole Miss defense, which has been outstanding all season.
South Carolina 20, Tennessee 14: There’s plenty of motivation to go around on both sides. Remember the sniping between Lane Kiffin and Steve Spurrier back in the offseason? Kiffin’s gas-pumping comment didn’t go over too well with the Gamecocks’ players, and the winner of this game could position itself for a nice bowl game. Both defenses have played very well this season, and the offenses have struggled at times. The hardest part for the Vols will be recovering from that near-miss at Alabama. Plus, Spurrier is no stranger to winning in Neyland Stadium.
Florida 28, Georgia 23: Thanks to Georgia’s end-zone dance two years ago and Urban Meyer’s late timeouts last year, this rivalry has been spiced up a bit. It needed some spicing up, too, because it really hasn’t been much of a rivalry on the field. The Gators have won 16 of the last 19 meetings in the series, including a 49-10 romp last season. Georgia’s had an extra week to prepare and is due to play a good game. The Bulldogs will, too. It just won’t be good enough to derail the Gators, who will get another one of those clutch fourth-quarter performances from Tim Tebow.