Thursday, November 10, 2011
Predictions: SEC Week 11
By Chris Low
For all those people dismissing the Alabama-LSU showdown last week as a flop simply because neither team scored a touchdown, go back to your Xbox remote controls.
This is real football.
Quarterbacks actually get hit and harassed, and tackling isn’t a lost art.
As for my efforts to catch The Kid in our SEC picks contest, I’m still two games behind after we both went 5-2 last week. For the season, he’s 63-10 (.863), and I’m 61-12 (.836).
We both missed Kentucky’s win over Ole Miss and LSU’s win over Alabama last week.
Who knows? Maybe we’ll get a chance to pick that Alabama-LSU game again down in New Orleans on Jan. 9.
In the meantime, we’ll concentrate on what’s right in front of us. At least, I will.
You know how easily the youth today in America get sidetracked, so I can’t speak for The Kid. He’s probably playing Angry Birds as we speak and already has that lucrative bonus spent that the winner of the SEC picks contest receives.
If he does win (and that’s a big if), I just hope he’s saved enough of that money to purchase one of those premium soccer packages on satellite television.
I’ve tried explaining to him that it’s football season.
Oh well, let’s examine our picks for Week 11:
WESTERN KENTUCKY at No. 1 LSU
Edward Aschoff: This sets up as a perfect trap game for LSU after such an emotional win over Alabama. This is a game where the Tigers could come out sloppy and struggle, and coach Les Miles worried about that earlier in the week. However, LSU knows what's at stake and knows a loss will kill its title hopes. There will be no sleeping for the Tigers on Saturday. ... LSU 44, Western Kentucky 7
Chris Low: There’s nothing like having a glorified scrimmage in November after coming off an emotional overtime win in what was the latest version of the Game of the Century. Something says the Tigers won’t be kept out of the end zone in this one. … LSU 42, Western Kentucky 7
LOUISIANA TECH at OLE MISS
Edward Aschoff: This will be an emotional game for the Rebels. Coach Houston Nutt will be three games away from officially ending his tenure at Ole Miss. Expect the Rebels to come out fired up for this one. The players no doubt want to send Nutt out a winner, and this will be the first step. ... Ole Miss 31, Louisiana Tech 17
Chris Low: This one has danger written all over it for the Rebels. It's going to be an emotional bunch for sure with the announcement this week that Nutt won't be back next season. Louisiana Tech has a good enough football team to win this game regardless of the circumstances, but the Rebels will be especially ripe come Saturday. … Louisiana Tech 27, Ole Miss 23
KENTUCKY at VANDERBILT
Edward Aschoff: The winner of this game inches closer to becoming bowl eligible. This is a big game for both programs, with the loser probably sitting at home during the postseason. Vanderbilt has come up short in its last three conference games, getting outscored by 13 combined points. It's time for Vandy to get back in the win column in SEC play. ... Vanderbilt 27, Kentucky 20
Chris Low: Both teams are still fighting to be bowl eligible, and freshman quarterback Maxwell Smith has given Kentucky a lift. But the Commodores are playing with a certain edge despite not being able to close out games the last few weeks. They’ll finally break through this week and move within one win of being bowl eligible in James Franklin’s first season. … Vanderbilt 31, Kentucky 20
TENNESSEE at No. 8 ARKANSAS
Edward Aschoff: The Hogs are riding high after a huge win over South Carolina last week. So much so that the ground literally shook afterward. Now, Arkansas finds itself right in the middle of not just the SEC West race but a chance to make a BCS bowl for the second year in a row. More Razorbacks wins mean a more interesting buildup for that final game against LSU. Arkansas won't get tripped up this weekend. ... Arkansas 41, Tennessee 13
Chris Low: The Western Division door cracked open last week with LSU taking down Alabama. Now, the Hogs have to take care of their business these next two weeks before getting a shot at LSU. It looks like they will be as healthy as they’ve been for this stretch drive, and it starts with a blowout of the Vols in the season finale at Razorback Stadium. … Arkansas 35, Tennessee 13
No. 3 ALABAMA at MISSISSIPPI STATE
Edward Aschoff: Following its heartbreaking loss to LSU, you can bet Alabama will be fighting mad for the rest of the season. This is a team with national championship aspirations and its goals are still in front of it. Losing isn't an option for this team going forward, and unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the Tide should be clicking on all cylinders Saturday. ... Alabama 38, Mississippi State 6
Chris Low: A lot of teams would have a difficult time picking themselves up off the ground after losing such a tough game the week before, but Alabama isn’t just any team. The Crimson Tide understand that the stakes are still high and that they’re still very much in the national title picture. That’s bad news for the Bulldogs. … Alabama 34, Mississippi State 10
FLORIDA at No. 13 SOUTH CAROLINA
Edward Aschoff: It has come down to this for the Gamecocks. It's win or stay home. If South Carolina wants to play in Atlanta for the SEC title game, the Gamecocks have to win this game. Both offenses have been hard to watch at times this season, meaning this could be a defensive game. With South Carolina having more to play for, the Gamecocks will be ready and then nervously watch Georgia-Auburn. ... South Carolina 24, Florida 13
Chris Low: The Gamecocks are beaten up, including quarterback Connor Shaw. He suffered a concussion last week. The Gators have also battled injuries, and quarterback John Brantley is still not 100 percent. Scoring points has been a problem for both teams, but the Gamecocks will make enough plays on defense to pull this one out. … South Carolina 27, Florida 21
No. 20 AUBURN at No. 15 GEORGIA
Edward Aschoff: With some help from Florida, Georgia can clinch the SEC East with a win Saturday. This is the same team being written off after a 0-2 start. Now, Mark Richt and his team are right at the top of the division. But this is a rivalry game and Auburn is coming off of a bye week. This one will come down to the fourth quarter. ... Georgia 28, Auburn 20
Chris Low: After seven straight victories, the Bulldogs aren’t about to be tripped up now. Sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray is playing his best football, and the defense has been terrific every step of the way. Auburn is coming off a bye and will be ready, but Georgia will find a way to get it done at home. … Georgia 24, Auburn 20