Thursday, September 17, 2009
SEC picks: Week 3
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
I knew the Tennessee-UCLA game would be close last week, but didn’t have the guts to pick the Bruins in an upset. That’s the only game I got wrong in Week 2.
I was 5-1 for the week and am now 15-3 (.833) for the season.
It’s a decent start, but nothing spectacular, sort of like the SEC’s start to this season.
I’m feeling a hot streak coming on, but I’ll let my play on the field do my talking for me.
Here are my picks for Week 3 in the SEC:
South Carolina 34, Florida Atlantic 13: Like Steve Spurrier pointed out earlier this week, venerable Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger brings a little prestige to the coaching profession by still wearing a coat and tie on the sideline during games. Schnellenberger’s Owls have had two weeks to recover from their 49-3 beating at Nebraska, but it won’t help them this Saturday in Columbia.
Alabama 42, North Texas 7: Not a lot of drama in this one, although the Crimson Tide could be without Julio Jones (knee) and Roy Upchurch (ankle). If they don’t practice Thursday, Nick Saban doesn’t anticipate them playing. Saban would also like to get through a game without giving up a kickoff return for a touchdown. But, hey, the Crimson Tide are well on their way to 3-0 and ranked in the top 5 nationally. Life is good at the Capstone.
LSU 31, Louisiana-Lafayette 14: Les Miles said the Ragin’ Cajuns have earned the Tigers’ respect. They come into Tiger Stadium 2-0 after taking down Kansas State last weekend. LSU is still looking for a complete game. There have been glimpses the first two weeks, but nothing sustained. These everything-to-lose, nothing-to-gain games against smaller in-state foes are always scary, but the Tigers’ talent will prevail.
Ole Miss 48, Southeastern Louisiana 3: It’s a good thing the Rebels haven’t had to play anybody to this point. The team was ravaged by the flu last week, and several players were affected in the opener against Memphis. Either way, Ole Miss gets another glorified scrimmage this week and would like to look a little sharper for all four quarters before hitting the road next Thursday for its first real test against South Carolina.
Kentucky 24, Louisville 10: Remember when Rich Brooks couldn’t beat Louisville? He lost four in a row to the Cardinals starting out in the Bluegrass. But Kentucky has turned the tide in this battle for state bragging rights and won the last two. This is not one of Louisville’s better teams, and Brooks thinks his team has a chance to be really good. How good? We’ll know a little more Saturday and a lot more two weeks from now after Florida and Alabama make back-to-back trips to Commonwealth Stadium.
Vanderbilt 21, Mississippi State 14: The Bulldogs were the first team to beat Vanderbilt last season after a 5-0 start, and things were never quite the same for Bobby Johnson’s club. The Commodores again look to be strong on defense, although they lost senior safety Ryan Hamilton last week to a season-ending injury. The Bulldogs are trying to prove they’re not as bad as they looked on defense in last week’s 49-24 loss to Auburn. Vanderbilt gets it done at home thanks to a late Larry Smith touchdown pass.
Auburn 31, West Virginia 27: You can feel the excitement on the Plains right now, but Auburn coach Gene Chizik is doing his best to keep everything in perspective. That said, a win over the Mountaineers probably means the Tigers go into the month of October unbeaten. Their running game has been what’s separated them in the first two games and will again be the difference Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Ben Tate, Onterio McCalebb and Co. roll it up for another 300-yard night on the ground.
Arkansas 31, Georgia 24: This is a game the Hogs have been pointing to since the summer and a game that will shape their season one way or the other. Look for a lot of offense out of both teams, a big play or two on special teams and just enough defense by the Hogs to win a close one in the fourth quarter. Bobby Petrino didn’t have to show very much of his offensive package in the opener two weeks ago against Missouri State, but will pull out all the stops in this one.
Florida 48, Tennessee 10: The Gators have scored 40 or more points in nine of their last 11 games, and five of those games were against SEC opponents. Urban Meyer would like to score 60 in this one and also save a few timeouts for the end. The Vols have too much pride on defense to let that happen. But where this game will get away is on special teams, where the Gators excel, and with the Vols turning the ball over, which they’ve already done seven times in their first two games. Florida can score points in bunches quicker than any team in the country, something Tennessee and Lane Kiffin get to witness first hand Saturday at the Swamp.