- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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Before we get into this week's picks, I think it's only fair that we give Chris a round of applause.
After weeks and weeks of failing to pick up any sort of ground on yours truly, the seasoned vet finally gained a game on me last week by picking Vanderbilt over Ole Miss.
I'll give you time to stand up and clap wherever you are. Don't be shy.
OK, now that we're done with that, it's time to realize that while Chris might have picked up a game, he's still pretty much out of this one. When he said last week that it wasn't over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor (did you know some people still don't know what Chris is referencing?!), he said that just to make himself feel better and maybe raise the spirits of those in his fan club.
I'm sorry to disappoint you, but this one's over. Like, "Twilight" franchise over. (Oh, thank goodness!) Like, Tokyo versus Godzilla over. There are two weekends left of regular-season play, and with my five-game lead, Chris will have to hope for a miracle or pray that I let my cat make my picks from here on out.
Heading into the weekend, Chris now sits at 77-15 (.837) after going 5-2 last week, missing on Texas A&M and Missouri. I'm comfortably sitting at 82-10 (.891) after going 4-3, missing the Aggies (goodness, Johnny Football), Missouri (defense, anyone?) and Vanderbilt (second-half Rebels letdown).
With such a down weekend in the SEC, the cupcakes made it really, really easy on us.
Let's get to the picks:
SAMFORD AT KENTUCKY
Edward Aschoff: The Wildcats are coming off a bye and Joker Phillips will say goodbye to Commonwealth Stadium. It's been a rough three years for him, but he'll go out with one more win. ... Kentucky 34, Samford 14
Chris Low: The Wildcats haven’t won since the second week of the season. They’d like to send Joker Phillips out a winner in his final game as coach at Commonwealth Stadium. … Kentucky 28, Samford 13
ALABAMA A&M AT AUBURN
Edward Aschoff: It's been an ugly year on the Plains, but nonconference games have been pretty good to the Tigers this year. Honestly, that's not saying much, but Gene Chizik will at least grab what could be his last home win here. ... Auburn 38, Alabama A&M 14
Chris Low: It’s the final home game for the Auburn seniors in what has been a forgettable season. The question everybody’s asking on the Plains: Is it the final home game for coach Gene Chizik? Either way, the Tigers will get win No. 3 on the season. … Auburn 41, Alabama A&M 10
WOFFORD AT SOUTH CAROLINA
Edward Aschoff: The Gamecocks were really clicking on offense last week against Arkansas, and I expect to see much of the same this week, as they tune up before Clemson. ... South Carolina 45, Wofford 7
Chris Low: South Carolina ends the regular season with the first of two straight matchups against in-state foes. A trip to Clemson is looming in the distance, but the Gamecocks had better not sleep on the Terriers and their option offense. … South Carolina 38, Wofford 14
SAM HOUSTON STATE AT TEXAS A&M
Edward Aschoff: The Aggies might be coming off a historic win over Alabama, but don't expect them to slow down this weekend. They'll roll right over the Bearkats. ... Texas A&M 61, Sam Houston State 10
Chris Low: After playing five of its past six games away from home, Texas A&M returns to what should be a festive Kyle Field in light of the Aggies’ upset win at Alabama last week. Two more wins could land the Aggies in a BCS bowl. … Texas A&M 56, Sam Houston State 20
JACKSONVILLE STATE AT FLORIDA
Edward Aschoff: All of a sudden, you can't say this is a gimme for the Gators after last week's offensive disaster against Louisiana-Lafayette. Jeff Driskel is out, but Jacoby Brissett will do more than enough to ensure Florida gets to 10 wins. ... Florida 31, Jacksonville State 10
Chris Low: The Gamecocks (the Jacksonville State version) gave Arkansas fits in the season opener, and Florida starting quarterback Jeff Driskel is out for this game. Even so, the Gators aren’t going to flirt with disaster for a second week in a row. … Florida 37, Jacksonville State 7
GEORGIA SOUTHERN AT GEORGIA
Edward Aschoff: The Bulldogs are headed to Athens and are riding a wave of momentum that started way back in Jacksonville, Fla. The triple option will give the Dawgs fits early, but there's just too much talent on Georgia's side. ... Georgia 45, Georgia Southern 13
Chris Low: The Bulldogs have been practicing all week in full pads to get ready for Georgia Southern’s triple-option offense. It’s never a lot of fun to play against that style of offense, especially this late in the season. The real trick for Georgia will be not getting anybody hurt. … Georgia 42, Georgia Southern 17
WESTERN CAROLINA AT ALABAMA
Edward Aschoff: You have to think that the Tide won't be as emotionally charged this week after losing to the Aggies. There's still a ton for Alabama to play for, and Nick Saban will have his team more than prepared. ... Alabama 45, Western Carolina 10
Chris Low: Talk about ugly matchups. Western Carolina has lost nine straight games and given up 38 or more points in eight of those losses. What’s more, think the Crimson Tide may be looking to blow off a little steam after last week? … Alabama 52, Western Carolina 3
SYRACUSE AT MISSOURI
Edward Aschoff: The Tigers are teetering on the bowl-eligibility line right now and are in total must-win mode this weekend. Syracuse might have handily beaten Louisville, but Missouri's defense will hold the Orange in the fourth quarter. ... Missouri 28, Syracuse 24
Chris Low: Missouri is coming off an emotional four-overtime win at Tennessee and gets a Syracuse team playing its best football. The winner of this game qualifies for a bowl game. The Tigers have hung in there despite a glut of injuries this season and will make enough plays on defense to win a close one. … Missouri 28, Syracuse 24
ARKANSAS AT MISSISSIPPI STATE
Edward Aschoff: This is one of the more interesting matchups of the weekend. Both teams are really struggling, and Arkansas is fighting for a bowl berth. But the Bulldogs' offense will be much healthier this week, and that's not good for the Hogs. ... Mississippi State 37, Arkansas 34
Chris Low: After a 7-0 start, Mississippi State has hit the skids with three straight losses of 20 points or more. But back home against the Hogs, the Bulldogs will find a way to scratch out their eighth win of the season. … Mississippi State 28, Arkansas 23
OLE MISS AT LSU
Edward Aschoff: Weird things happen in this rivalry, and the Rebels are desperately seeking that elusive sixth win. However, LSU's offense is playing at its best and that's very bad news for Ole Miss' exhausted defense ... LSU 31, Ole Miss 17
Chris Low: Ole Miss is running out of chances to get that sixth win and qualify for a bowl game. The assignment only gets more difficult this week at Tiger Stadium against an LSU team that’s suddenly found itself offensively. … LSU 34, Ole Miss 17
TENNESSEE AT VANDERBILT
Edward Aschoff: Remember how there was that big locker room scene in Knoxville after this game and some coach said something about always beating Vandy? Yeah, that will change this weekend. ... Vanderbilt 31, Tennessee 27
Chris Low: The last time Vanderbilt beat Tennessee in Nashville, James Franklin was still in elementary school. It’s been 30 years. And while the Vols have dominated this series, these are not your same old Commodores. Franklin & Co. have been pointing toward this one ever since the loss in overtime last season in Knoxville. … Vanderbilt 37, Tennessee 30