- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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It’s no time to panic, but it’s never ideal to be going into the last weekend of October trailing by five games.
No excuses, though.
The ATL Kid is on fire. He’s gone unbeaten each of the past two weeks and is 65-5 (.929) on the season.
I’ve finished with 6-1 records each of the past two weeks, but managed to lose ground. I took a bit of a flier on Texas A&M last week against LSU and whiffed.
Gotta lean on my experience over the next few weeks because I’ve got a feeling The Kid will get ultra conservative down the stretch with his big lead. He's already moving his cat's bed in his apartment to make room for a whole new trophy case.
I would have thought he learned his lesson last year. Oh well.
Let’s take a look at this week’s picks:
UMASS at VANDERBILT
Edward Aschoff: Coach James Franklin might not "know" what anyone is talking about when it comes to b-o-w-l games, but his team will actually get one step closer to one of those things Saturday. ... Vanderbilt 41, UMass 7
Chris Low: The schedule has softened for the Commodores, and they’re making a run at their second straight bowl appearance. They break away from the SEC grind this weekend and shouldn’t have any trouble evening their overall record at 4-4. … Vanderbilt 45, UMass 10
KENTUCKY at MISSOURI
Edward Aschoff: Both teams are limping into this game. Neither has its original starting quarterback, but the bye week should have helped the Tigers' offensive weapons get back to basics. ... Missouri 27, Kentucky 14
Chris Low: This ought to be dubbed the Injury Bowl. Both teams have been decimated by injuries, and Missouri quarterback James Franklin will miss his second straight game. The Wildcats hope to get a few guys back in the secondary, but it won’t be enough to avoid their seventh straight loss. … Missouri 30, Kentucky 14
OLE MISS at ARKANSAS
Edward Aschoff: Both teams gained some good momentum going into the bye week, but both defenses will have their hands full Saturday. Arkansas is in must-win mode if it's going to make it to a bowl game and the offense will be too much for Ole Miss in the second half. ... Arkansas 34, Ole Miss 30
Chris Low: Talk about a game with huge bowl implications. Ole Miss could move within a game of becoming bowl eligible, while Arkansas almost has to win to keep its postseason chances alive. The Hogs are playing their best football and will find a way to win in a shootout. … Arkansas 34, Ole Miss 27
TEXAS A&M at AUBURN
Edward Aschoff: The Aggies struggled on offense in the second half against LSU but get a great chance to turn things around against a struggling Auburn defense. ... Texas A&M 31, Auburn 10
Chris Low: The Tigers have struggled on defense against spread offenses, and the Aggies and Johnny Manziel are as good as anybody at spreading you out and speeding up the game. Manziel came back to reality last week in the loss to LSU, but will return to his Johnny Football form this week. … Texas A&M 38, Auburn 17
TENNESSEE at SOUTH CAROLINA
Edward Aschoff: It's an early game, which means both teams will be a little slow out of the gate. Both teams were battered last weekend, but the Gamecocks could still be playing for a big bowl game and that defense will clamp down on Tyler Bray in the second half. ... South Carolina 31, Tennessee 17
Chris Low: The Head Ball Coach is still steaming over the way his Gamecocks repeatedly coughed up the ball last week at Florida. That’s probably not good news for Tennessee, which has given up 173 points in four SEC games this season. … South Carolina 35, Tennessee 21
MISSISSIPPI STATE at ALABAMA
Edward Aschoff: The Bulldogs are looking for more respect and will get a ton of it if they can upset the Tide. Alabama played its most complete game of the season last week and will try to keep things simple against Mississippi State's talented secondary. Expect Alabama's running game to wear down Mississippi State's front. ... Alabama 31, Mississippi State 20
Chris Low: This is Dan Mullen’s best team at Mississippi State and the Bulldogs’ best chance since he has been there to win a game of this magnitude. The only problem is that Alabama is steamrolling everybody in sight. … Alabama 28, Mississippi State 10
FLORIDA vs. GEORGIA
Edward Aschoff: The SEC East is riding on this one. A Florida win, and the Gators are headed to Atlanta. A Georgia win, and the Bulldogs are in the East driver's seat. Georgia's back is against the wall, but this team has been here before and succeeded. The pressure is on Florida, but the Gators haven't dropped back-to-back games to Georgia since the late 1980s. ... Florida 24, Georgia 20
Chris Low: We won’t use the politically incorrect nickname for this game, but the stakes are as high as they’ve been in some time for these two bitter rivals. The Gators can clinch the SEC East title with a win. They’re not real flashy, but all they do is win -- and they’ve made a habit over the past two decades of beating up on the Bulldogs. … Florida 27, Georgia 21
It’s no time to panic, but it’s never ideal to be going into the last weekend of October trailing by five games.No excuses, though.The ATL Kid is on fire.