<
>

No letdown for Rebels, who keep it rolling

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

It is what it is. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard a player or coach utter those words over the last few years. But that's pretty much the gist of my picks record right now -- sort of like those socks you get from your great aunt every Christmas. I was 2-2 last week, missing Tennessee's win over Vanderbilt and Mississippi State's win over Arkansas. It wasn't a complete loss. I did nail Ole Miss' upset of LSU. For the season, my record stands at 67-20 (.770). That's just about good enough to get me fired if I were coaching in the SEC. And even if I'm perfect the rest of the way, I can't get to my goal of .800 for the season. There are still games to pick, though, so here goes:

FRIDAY
Ole Miss 31, Mississippi State 13:
The Rebels are clicking in all phases right now and they're also not turning the ball over. They've won the turnover battle 8-2 during their four-game winning streak and dominated LSU on both lines of scrimmage last week in their 31-13 win at Tiger Stadium. This is Mississippi State's chance to salvage a forgettable season. But Ole Miss is playing too well to stumble now, especially at home.

LSU 28, Arkansas 21: The Razorbacks just can't seem to win a close game. They've lost four SEC games this season by a combined total of 19 points, including last week's 31-28 loss at Mississippi State. LSU's strength up front offensively will be the difference in this one. The Tigers have been a big disappointment this season, but they still should be able to run the ball against an Arkansas defense that ranks last in the league against the run. The Hogs will also be without 1,000-yard rusher Michael Smith, who's out with a hamstring injury.

SATURDAY
Alabama 27, Auburn 10:
It's been a while for Alabama. You wonder if anybody in T-town remembers what it's like to beat Auburn. They'll remember Saturday. Anybody who's going to have a chance to beat Alabama has to be able to score points in bunches or drive the football and keep it away from the Tide. Auburn hasn't shown the ability to do either, and Alabama's defense will force Auburn quarterback Kodi Burns into mistakes. We've seen this season what Alabama does when the opposition makes mistakes. The Tide pounce on those mistakes.

Florida 38, Florida State 14: The Gators have a chart in their football offices comparing wins, titles, graduation rates and a little bit of everything with the Seminoles. This is a huge game every year in the state of Florida for recruiting purposes, and don't think for a minute that Urban Meyer doesn't hammer home the fact that he's never lost to Florida State. This one may be close early, but the Gators will pull away with their array of speedy weapons and move one game closer to playing for a BCS national championship.

Georgia 31, Georgia Tech 27: This could be the final time that Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno suit up in Sanford Stadium. No Georgia fan wants to think about it, but there's a decent chance that both players will leave early for the NFL. The expectations for the Bulldogs this season were out of sight, and they might have come closer to living up to those expectations had it not been for the injuries. Their focus now is figuring out a way to stop the Yellow Jackets' option offense and running their winning streak in this series to eight games. Their best defense may turn out to be a high-scoring offense.

Tennessee 21, Kentucky 10: How's this for irony? Tennessee is having an "Appreciation Day" this Saturday for the coach it fired. Phillip Fulmer will coach his final game in Neyland Stadium after being forced out after 30-plus years at his alma mater as a player, assistant coach and head coach. He gets one last shot to beat up on Kentucky. The Vols have won 23 straight games over the Wildcats, who still have a bowl game to look forward to regardless of what happens. This will have to suffice as Tennessee's bowl game.

South Carolina 21, Clemson 13: Make no mistake how big a deal this rivalry is in the state of South Carolina. These two teams simply don't like each other and neither do the fans. South Carolina needs to win for this to qualify as a good season. The Gamecocks can become only the third team in school history to win nine or more games by winning their next two. History isn't on their side. Clemson has won nine of the last 11 games in the series. But the difference this season will be Ellis Johnson's defense.

Wake Forest 21, Vanderbilt 14: There's no way the Commodores can play as poorly offensively as they did last week in their 20-10 loss to Tennessee, right? They better hope not. There seemed to be something missing last week from a Vanderbilt team that defied odds earlier in the season by starting out 5-0. Wake Forest will be looking for its second win of the season over an SEC team after beating Ole Miss in September. The Deacons have also limped to the finish, losing their last two games. But they get well thanks to a struggling Vanderbilt offense.