- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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Slowly but surely, I’m creeping back into it.
You don’t make up a three-game deficit in a week, not in this league.
You might in the ACC, but not in the SEC.
The Kid (you know him as Edward Aschoff on the SEC blog) had a good first half of the season. I’ll give him his due. He’s probably had one too many soccer balls bounce off his head, but his picks were on the money those first six weeks.
But these next six or seven weeks are when you win championships. They don’t award any trophies for what you do the first half of the season.
You would have thought his mentor, Urban Meyer, would have taught him that.
I mean, come on. The Kid is celebrating like he just won Game 7 of the World Series. I bet he already has the champagne in his Atlanta apartment. He probably even has his furniture covered with plastic.
I just hope he hasn’t already invited all his friends over (yes, Meyer is on the invite list) and paid for all the hors d’oeuvres.
Last week, I was 6-0 and The Kid was 5-1. He missed on Georgia’s 20-12 win over Tennessee.
For the season, The Kid is 44-7 (.863) and I’m 42-9 (.824).
Two other points before we turn our attention to this week’s picks: From now on, he will be known simply as “The Kid.” It’s the same as Dan Mullen referring to Ole Miss as “the school up north." Also, the NCAA’s investigation of Auburn might have concluded, but don’t let The Kid fool you. The NCAA already has rented out an apartment right around the block from where The Kid lives in the ATL and is still asking a lot of questions.
Let’s pick some football:
No. 2 ALABAMA at OLE MISS
Edward Aschoff: This is another game that has that trap-game feel, but like LSU, Alabama isn't going to give in. When Nick Saban is your coach, thinking ahead isn't a possibility. Ole Miss has struggled on offense, and Alabama's defense has suffocated all in its path. And the Rebels are bad at stopping the run, and Trent Richardson is one of the best running backs around. It could be a long day for the Oxford faithful. ... Alabama 38, Ole Miss 7
Chris Low: Ole Miss has had an extra week to prepare for this game. But then, the Rebels could have three or four extra weeks, and it wouldn’t matter with the way Alabama is playing right now. The Crimson Tide are suffocating on defense and equally dominant in their offensive line. That’s a scary combination for everybody they play. ... Alabama 31, Ole Miss 3
GEORGIA at VANDERBILT
Edward Aschoff: Georgia is riding a four-game winning streak and has rediscovered the impressive defense we expect to see from the Dawgs in the process. The Bulldogs are right back in the East race and can't afford to slow down now. Vanderbilt is still trying to figure out a way to get the offense going, and entering this game with quarterback drama isn't a good start. ... Georgia 35, Vanderbilt 10
Chris Low: Georgia will be without big-play receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who has a hamstring injury. So you can bet that the Commodores will load the box and dare the Bulldogs to beat them deep. The Commodores are good enough defensively to keep this game close at home, but they haven’t scored a touchdown since Sept. 17. The Bulldogs are at the top of their game defensively right now and will see to it that their winning streak extends to five in a row. ... Georgia 24, Vanderbilt 10
No. 1 LSU at TENNESSEE
Edward Aschoff: LSU is fresh off clobbering Florida and its backup quarterback, and runs into another team throwing its backup into the fire in Tennessee. With the Vols' banged-up on offense, you would think this game would reek of the stench of a letdown for the Tigers, but this team is too focused on its championship goals ahead to slip up in Knoxville. ... LSU 31, Tennessee 14
Chris Low: Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms had to play against all of the tough teams last season and then was benched in favor of Tyler Bray when the Vols got to the softer part of their schedule. With Bray injured, Simms gets another shot ... against LSU this week and Alabama the next. The Vols can’t run the football at all, which plays right into the Tigers’ hands. ... LSU 34, Tennessee 13
No. 15 SOUTH CAROLINA at MISSISSIPPI STATE
Edward Aschoff: The Gamecocks head to Starkville with their new quarterback, Connor Shaw. They also head in with clear minds now that Stephen Garcia is gone. These players had his back until the end, and now they can go on without him. Expect this team to be more than ready for a struggling Mississippi State team with its own quarterback issues. ... South Carolina 31, Mississippi State 13
Chris Low: It’s been an eventful week at South Carolina. Stephen Garcia was kicked off the team, and Steve Spurrier went off on a columnist from The State newspaper. The Head Ball Coach can only hope his team is as fired up Saturday as he was Tuesday. It’s Connor Shaw’s first start in an SEC road game, and that’s always tough. Plus, Mississippi State is due to finally play a good game against somebody that counts. The Bulldogs are better than they’ve been playing and will find a way to break through against the Gamecocks. ... Mississippi State 28, South Carolina 24
FLORIDA at No. 24 AUBURN
Edward Aschoff: This game could make or break both of these teams. A win for either could mean the difference between a six-win season and an eight-win season. Florida's offense has been a shell of its former self in the past two weeks, while Auburn is looking for yet another defensive rebound after Arkansas' passing game went off last week. Having home-field advantage at night will give the Tigers the edge in the end. ... Auburn 23, Florida 17
Chris Low: Auburn is sticking with junior Barrett Trotter at quarterback, and Florida is trying to decide between a pair of true freshmen -- Jeff Driskel or Jacoby Brissett. What this game is going to come down to is key defensive stops in the second half, and nobody is better at winning close games and getting it done in the fourth quarter than Auburn. … Auburn 24, Florida 21