Thursday, November 3, 2011
Predictions: SEC Week 10
By Edward Aschoff and Chris Low
So, the old man has a little left in him.
That's nice to see. I was worried that after watching the young guy keep a nice lead that he might completely throw in the towel. Chris, who still shows that he truly is immature at heart by calling me "The Kid," went 5-0 last week to improve to 56-10 (.848) on the year. Even though I lost out on Florida (Are there applications for running that offense? I could use an extra paycheck) last week, I'm still ahead by two games with a 58-8 (.879) record.
But in my defense, I was working with a sprained knee last week that I suffered in a heated soccer game. I wasn't thinking straight with that pick. Not to worry, I'm better now. In fact I was so healthy I played a softball game and soccer game in the same night. There were plenty of diving catches and saves. That's swag.
So, I'm back this week and I won't be dropping a game to Chris. See how I address you like a grown-up, Chris? You could learn a thing or two from me, and not by taking a peek at my picks.
We have Alabama-LSU this weekend and this game could be big in the picks. At the beginning of the week, I was sure we'd be split, but I got word late that Chris was having regrets and might be making a switch.
I won't confuse the people with an "Animal House" reference, so let's get on to the picks:
OLE MISS at KENTUCKY
Edward Aschoff: This is the second straight week when a game will decide which team leaves with its first SEC win. Kentucky was a part of that last week, but lost to Mississippi State. Now, the Wildcats take on that other school in the state that is looking for its first conference win. Ole Miss has played tough in the last two weeks, but has come up short. This is the week when the Rebels finally end that long SEC losing streak. ... Ole Miss 27, Kentucky 23
Chris Low: The loser of this game is probably looking at a winless season in the SEC. Injuries have played a role in both teams' struggles, and Kentucky has really been hit hard here lately. The Rebels have lost 11 straight SEC games dating back to last season, but that drought ends in the Bluegrass. ... Ole Miss 24, Kentucky 20
NEW MEXICO STATE at No. 18 GEORGIA
Edward Aschoff: Georgia could be down to Brandon Harton at running back this weekend. Heard of him? Not many people have, but fortunately for the Bulldogs, New Mexico State isn't close to being an SEC-caliber team. ... Georgia 31, New Mexico State 10
Chris Low: The Bulldogs have been decimated at running back after the threesome of Isaiah Crowell, Carlton Thomas and Ken Malcome were suspended for this game for failing a drug test. It's not going to matter, though, as Georgia rolls to its seventh straight victory and gets ready for the stretch run in the SEC. ... Georgia 38, New Mexico State 3
UT MARTIN at MISSISSIPPI STATE
Edward Aschoff: This group of Bulldogs finally got their first conference win of the year last week and have a chance to keep the momentum going this weekend. Tyler Russell has proved that he's the best passing option for Mississippi State, but coach Dan Mullen has the option of running a two-quarterback system with Chris Relf. ... Mississippi State 38, UT Martin 14
Chris Low: After winning last week at home against Kentucky, Mississippi State steps outside the conference and looks to make it two in a row. The Bulldogs need a strong finish to the season to keep it from being a huge disappointment. They shouldn't have any problem in this one. ... Mississippi State 34, UT Martin 13
MIDDLE TENNESSEE at TENNESSEE
Edward Aschoff: Tennessee gets a rest from the conference gantlet it's currently going through. This will be a chance for freshman quarterback Justin Worley to show more of what he can do. For a team working through growing pains this season, this will be a chance for the Vols to inject some life back into this team. ... Tennessee 34, Middle Tennessee 10
Chris Low: True freshman quarterback Justin Worley will make his second straight start for the Vols. He'll find the going a lot easier against the Middle Tennessee defense than he did a week ago against South Carolina. After losing four in a row, the Vols need a win any way they can get it and won't be picky about the particulars. ... Tennessee 31, Middle Tennessee 10
VANDERBILT at FLORIDA
Edward Aschoff: Vanderbilt hasn't beaten Florida since 1988 and hasn't won in Gainesville since 1945. Florida hasn't won a game since September. Florida should have a much healthier John Brantley, meaning the offense could look more like it did back when Florida was winning. However, Vanderbilt isn't the Vandy of old these days, and the Commodores are itching for a big win. This would be huge for the program, but a return to the Swamp could be just what Florida needs. ... Florida 27, Vanderbilt 21
Chris Low: The Gators are glad to see the calendar flip to November after going 0-for-October. Getting senior quarterback John Brantley back last week in the 24-20 loss to Georgia was a step in the right direction. Now, they have to get him healthy. The Commodores have improved on offense, but not enough to win at the Swamp. ... Florida 27, Vanderbilt 14
No. 9 SOUTH CAROLINA at No. 7 ARKANSAS
Edward Aschoff: This feels like a must-win for both teams. Arkansas is still looking for a BCS berth and a loss this weekend would all but end that. South Carolina can feel Georgia breathing down its neck in the SEC East race and a loss to the Razorbacks could derail the hopes of a back-to-back trip to the SEC title game. Even though South Carolina's defense is one of the best in the league, its offense has to get in the end zone against Arkansas or it will be a long day for the Gamecocks. On the other side, another slow start could be dangerous for the Razorbacks. ... Arkansas 24, South Carolina 17
Chris Low: It's the "other" top-10 matchup in the SEC this week and a matchup that will go a long way toward settling the Eastern Division race. The Gamecocks control their own destiny if they keep winning. The Hogs also need to keep winning to get back to a BCS bowl for a second straight year. Defense has carried South Carolina to this point. But beating the Hogs in Fayetteville will require scoring some points, and that continues to be a problem for the Gamecocks. ... Arkansas 27, South Carolina 17
No. 1 LSU at No. 2 ALABAMA
Edward Aschoff: Finally, we're here. The game we all care about and can't stop talking about. Even fans of other schools will be tuning in to watch the midseason Super Bowl. Both teams have the top defenses around and have dynamic offensive weapons. The quarterback play is just about even and while Alabama mainly runs behind one bull in the backfield, LSU has a stable of running back workhorses. Something has got to give and this one could come down to special teams and field position. Home-field advantage will be the difference. ... Alabama 23, LSU 20
Chris Low: Everybody has wanted to play this game since September, and now it's finally here. Both defenses are dominant, and the offenses love to pound opponents into submission in the second half with a bruising running game. Playing at home will be a huge advantage for the Crimson Tide, who will make enough big plays on offense and then take control of the game in the fourth quarter thanks to their veteran offensive line. ... Alabama 21, LSU 13