Thursday, November 17, 2011
Predictions: SEC Week 12
By Edward Aschoff
Things certainly are getting pretty interesting around the SEC blog.
After holding a strong lead over veteran (old) writer Chris Low in our picks, I find myself just up a game with two weeks left in the regular season.
I’ll admit, I let my early lead go to my head. I expected to just keep adding to that lead, watching as Chris grew weaker and sadder. There were even people inside SEC programs praising me and trying to keep Chris’ spirits up. Coaches were actually worried that he had lost his luster.
True story. Actually not kidding about that last paragraph.
No one saw “The Kid” coming out and taking Chris’ precious picks from him.
Now, things are tight. When Chris and I talk (which is hardly ever now) he always brings up the picks. He’s trying to get into my head. And hey, that’s cool. I still hold the lead after going 6-1 last week, making my record 69-11 (.863) on the year. Chris was perfect last week because he took Louisiana Tech at Ole Miss to make him 68-12 (.850).
You’d think a team could win the homecoming game …
Things are close now, but I have a feeling Chris has made a grave mistake (as usual) in one of his picks.
Let’s check out where he went wrong:
Georgia Southern at No. 3 Alabama
Chris Low: Alabama’s defense has shut down every offense it's faced this season. Now, the Crimson Tide will take a stab at Georgia Southern’s triple-option attack. It’s not the kind of offense you see every day. But it’s not every day that you see a defense as stifling as Alabama’s. … Alabama 41, Georgia Southern 6
Edward Aschoff: To my surprise, Alabama came out extremely flat against Mississippi State last week. This can't happen again. If the Tide wants to make a title run it has to win in style during these last two weeks. That won’t be a problem Saturday. … Alabama 51, Georgia Southern 3
Samford at No. 24 Auburn
Chris Low: The Tigers are still reeling from that 45-7 whipping at the hands of Georgia last week. That’s twice in their last three games that they’ve given up 45 points. They’re probably in a mood to blow off a little steam, and Samford just happens to be in the way. … Auburn 42, Samford 17
Edward Aschoff: The Tigers were in last week’s game at Georgia for only about a quarter. This team is better than that and will have the opportunity to show it against an overmatched Samford team. Auburn has to work things out before the Iron Bowl next week. … Auburn 41, Samford 13
Furman at Florida
Chris Low: After the nightmare Florida went through offensively last season, there was no way it could get worse this season, right? New coach. New coordinator. New system. Well, the Gators haven’t scored more than 13 points on offense in five of their last six games. Furman comes up on the schedule at just the right time. … Florida 34, Furman 3
Edward Aschoff: Florida’s offense has been hard to watch for two straight seasons and all has not been right in Gainesville. But Saturday will prove to be one of the happier moments for this football program. The Gators will make some offensive plays and will put some points on the board before Florida State comes to town. ... Florida 48, Furman 10
The Citadel at No. 12 South Carolina
Chris Low: It doesn’t look like the Gamecocks are going to win a second straight Eastern Division crown, even though they won all of their games against East opponents. But they can win nine games or more for a second straight year, which would be the first time in school history that they’ve accomplished that feat. … South Carolina 37, The Citadel 7
Edward Aschoff: Steve Spurrier said he isn’t expecting to see Kentucky pull the upset over Georgia Saturday, so he certainly won’t be scoreboard watching. His players might still have a glimmer of hope out there, but chances are Georgia will walk away with the East. So, a focused Gamecocks squad will come out for a solid win Saturday. … South Carolina 44, The Citadel 6
No. 1 LSU at Ole Miss
Chris Low: Before you dismiss this one as just another blowout, don’t forget about the last time Houston Nutt went up against a No. 1-ranked LSU team. Unranked Arkansas shocked the Tigers 50-48 in triple overtime in 2007. The Hogs had Darren McFadden that day, though, and D-Mac won't be suiting up for the Rebels on Saturday. … LSU 35, Ole Miss 7
Edward Aschoff: This will be Houston Nutt’s final home game as Ole Miss’ coach and he gets the No. 1 team in the country. Nutt might be 2-1 against LSU during his tenure in Oxford, but this is the best Tigers team he’s faced since his days at Arkansas. Ole Miss’ recent suspensions add to the team's distractions and LSU will just roll right along. … LSU 41, Ole Miss 7
Kentucky at No. 14 Georgia
Chris Low: Georgia has proved the old adage that it’s not how you start, but how you finish. It’s also nice when you don’t have to face Western Division heavyweights Alabama, Arkansas and LSU. The Bulldogs have been the ultimate survivors this season and will make it nine in a row Saturday when they beat Kentucky to win the Eastern Division title. … Georgia 38, Kentucky 10
Edward Aschoff: This is all Georgia wanted: a shot at the SEC. Well, it’s right in front of you, Bulldogs. All you have to do is win in Athens Saturday and you’re headed back to Atlanta for the first time since 2005. Coach Mark Richt was being ushered out by fans at the beginning of the year. Now, those fans can't get enough of him. Kentucky just doesn’t have the offense to put up enough of a fight. … Georgia 34, Kentucky 10
Vanderbilt at Tennessee
Chris Low: The Vols aren’t sure how effective sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray will be coming off his broken thumb, but any spark offensively would be welcomed. The Commodores are riding high right now and playing excellent football under first-year coach James Franklin, but they still have to prove they can win away from home. The Vols will make enough key defensive plays in the second half to end their SEC skid and qualify for a bowl. … Tennessee 24, Vanderbilt 20
Edward Aschoff: Believe it or not, this is a big one. Vanderbilt needs a win to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2008, while Tennessee needs a win to stay in the bowl hunt. Vanderbilt has been the better team for most of the year, but the Vols could get Tyler Bray back, who was the league’s best quarterback before a thumb injury sidelined him for the last few weeks. But how effective will he be against a talented, veteran secondary? Vandy coach James Franklin keeps saying this isn’t the old Vandy. Well, win an SEC game on the road. … Vandy 24, Tennessee 21
Mississippi State at No. 6 Arkansas (in Little Rock, Ark.)
Chris Low: The scene shifts to Little Rock this Saturday for the Hogs, who still have aspirations of playing for the SEC championship and national championships. They’ve scored 93 points in their last two games and seem to be playing their best football of the season. That’s bad news for Mississippi State, which has had trouble scoring all season and simply hasn’t been able to put together a complete game against a quality opponent. … Arkansas 31, Mississippi State 14
Edward Aschoff: From what Hogs fans tell me, Little Rock will be off the chain for this one. The matchup to keep an eye on is Mississippi State’s secondary vs. Arkansas’ wide receivers. These two units have seen plenty of each other and there could be some exciting moments from both sides. But Arkansas is on a BCS mission and is playing its best football right now. … Arkansas 34, Mississippi State 14