SEC: Game predictions

SEC predictions: Week 13

November, 21, 2012
They remember what you do in November.

And for me, this is my last chance in November to cut into the ATL Kid’s five-game lead. I did pick up a game two weeks ago because he’s still not a believer in the Music City magic that James Franklin is working at Vanderbilt.

Still, five games is a daunting deficit to make up, which is why it’s imperative that I narrow the gap this final weekend of the regular season.

If I can just get within striking distance, we saw last season that he still doesn’t have that “It” factor when it comes to picking games in the postseason. He’s still young and will mature, but postseason picking is a whole different ballgame.

I just need to be close enough that his palms get a little sweaty and his fingers get a little shaky when he goes to hit that keyboard and makes his picks in December and January.

We were both 10-1 during FCS Celebration Week. The game we both missed was Syracuse’s 31-27 win at Missouri.

The Kid is now 92-11 (.893), and I’m 87-16 (.845). And, no, there won’t be any “Animal House” references this week.

Instead, I want to wish everyone a blessed Thanksgiving holiday, and with that, on to this week’s picks:



Edward Aschoff: This game doesn't have the same feel as last year. This might be a rivalry game, but the Tigers are playing too well right now to let struggling Arkansas do much of anything on either side of the ball. ... LSU 31, Arkansas 14

Chris Low: The real treat might be Les Miles’ postgame news conference, although it’s going to be next to impossible to top his performance from a week ago. His Tigers are getting well offensively at just the right time, and can go a long way toward moving into the pole position for a Sugar Bowl bid. … LSU 31, Arkansas 21



Edward Aschoff: The Commodores come in riding a wave of momentum with a five-game winning streak and a blowout win against rival Tennessee. Wake is a win away from being bowl eligible, but Vandy's offense will be way too much. ... Vanderbilt 31, Wake Forest 14

Chris Low: Don’t look now, but the Commodores are bearing down on their first eight-win regular season in 30 years. They routed Wake Forest last season on the road and will find a way to win again this season, although it won’t be as lopsided. … Vanderbilt 24, Wake Forest 16


Edward Aschoff: Both will have new head coaches in the near future, so it's hard to say how either will perform mentally. It won't always be pretty, but the Vols get it done in what could be the final game for their top offensive playmakers. ... Tennessee 31, Kentucky 17

Chris Low: It won’t necessarily be winning one for Derek Dooley because Dooley elected not to coach in the finale after being fired this week. The Vols don’t have much in the way of defense, but they have too much offense to lose for a second year in a row to the Wildcats. … Tennessee 45, Kentucky 24


Edward Aschoff: These teams went in opposite directions in their first year in the SEC. The Aggies continue to roll right along and Missouri is just too banged up to extend its three-game winning streak against A&M or its seven-year bowl streak. ... Texas A&M 38, Missouri 14

Chris Low: Johnny Football has become the rage in college football, and he gets one more chance to impress the Heisman Trophy voters. The Aggies shouldn’t have much trouble in this battle of SEC newbies. … Texas A&M 42, Missouri 17


Edward Aschoff: The Bulldogs got some good practice with the triple-option offense last week against Georgia Southern. And they won't be bothered by what Georgia Tech has to offer in a game that will bring Georgia one step closer to a national championship berth. ... Georgia 41, Georgia Tech 21

Chris Low: This is right where Georgia hoped to be when the season began. The Bulldogs, who didn’t look like a national championship contender for much of October, now control their destiny. Strange things tend to happen in rivalry games like this, but the Bulldogs aren’t about to have a slip-up now. … Georgia 38, Georgia Tech 20


Edward Aschoff: The Egg Bowl is a big deal again, and a lot will be on the line in Oxford. The Rebels have to win to make a bowl, and something tells me Hugh Freeze will have his players more than ready to finally get another four-quarter performance again. ... Ole Miss 27, Mississippi State 24

Chris Low: The atmosphere in Oxford on Saturday should be electric. Both teams have a ton to play for. The Rebels need to win to qualify for a bowl, and the Bulldogs are trying to secure their second nine-win season in the past three years. It goes down to the wire, but the Rebels' inability to finish a game will sting them again. … Mississippi State 28, Ole Miss 24


Edward Aschoff: Clemson has the high-flying offense and South Carolina has a solid defense. The Tigers are still in the running for a BCS bowl game, but that defense is still giving up too many yards and just surrendered 48 to NC State. Yes, NC State. ... South Carolina 31, Clemson 27

Chris Low: This rivalry has really been spiced up thanks to the war of words over the past year between the coaches. Steve Spurrier usually wins those battles, and his Gamecocks have won three in a row against the Tigers on the field for the first time since 1968-70. But with the game returning to Death Valley, the Tigers’ explosive offense will be too much for the Gamecocks. … Clemson 34, South Carolina 28


Edward Aschoff: This game has national importance again with major BCS implications. Florida State has the top statistical defense in the country, while Florida's offense has been awful of late and quarterback Jeff Driskel is hobbled. Don't expect either offense to do much of anything against these fantastic defenses, but expect the Noles to make enough plays with the home crowd behind it. ... Florida State 17, Florida 10

Chris Low: The Gators could still play their way into the national championship picture if Notre Dame loses this weekend at USC. Of course, doing that means the Gators need to find some offense, which won’t be easy to do against a Florida State team ranked first nationally in total defense. … Florida State 23, Florida 14


Edward Aschoff: Alabama has too much riding on this game to overlook the struggling Tigers. Plus, this team still remembers what happened the last time Auburn was in Tuscaloosa. ... Alabama 45, Auburn 3

Chris Low: The Iron Bowl is one of the fiercest rivalries in college football. Always has been and always will be. But this year, it has blowout written all over it, especially with the Crimson Tide still smarting from the bitter loss to the Tigers two years ago in Bryant-Denny Stadium and positioned to make another national championship run. … Alabama 42, Auburn 0

SEC predictions: Week 11

November, 8, 2012
I realize many of you are probably over election rhetoric by now, but I’m not ready to give my concession speech.

Not yet, anyway. It’s still too early.

What I will say is that my performance hasn’t been up to par this season, and I will do a complete evaluation at season’s end of my approach to picking games, who I’m listening to, who I’m not listening to (my wife) and whether I need to look at making a change.

I’m still well over 80 percent -- 72-13 (.847) -- but the ATL Kid is over 90 percent. He had another unbeaten record last week and is now 78-7 (.918). I was 7-1 last week and missed Texas A&M’s win over Mississippi State.

I guess somebody hit me upside the head with a cowbell when I made that pick, and I wasn’t thinking clearly.

Now six games behind, I’ve got to start making up some ground this week and get within three games heading into the bowl season. If I can do that, then I have a chance.

It’s never over. In the immortal words of Bluto Blutarsky, it wasn’t over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

And it’s not over now.

On to this week’s picks:


Edward Aschoff: Before the Gators can huddle around a TV to watch what happens with Georgia and Auburn, they'll have to get through a glorified scrimmage early Saturday. Florida wins big, but the goal should be to find a receiving target not named Jordan Reed. ... Florida 45, Louisiana-Lafayette 3

Chris Low: The Gators have had a hard time scoring points the past two weeks and have been even harder to watch on offense. The Ragin’ Cajuns might be the perfect cure. They’re ranked 89th nationally in total defense. … Florida 38, Louisiana-Lafayette 14


Edward Aschoff: Missouri's offense is sputtering along and Tennessee's defense has been every offense's best friend. Something has to give, and the Vols will essentially crush the Tigers' bowl hopes with a far superior offense. ... Tennessee 28, Missouri 20

Chris Low: The Tigers lost another offensive lineman last week, the seventh lineman that has suffered an injury this season. They’re going to need a big game from quarterback James Franklin to win this one. The Vols are a disaster on defense, but they’re explosive enough on offense to win a second straight shootout at home. … Tennessee 31, Missouri 30


Edward Aschoff: The Tigers are surely banged up after that physical loss to Alabama, but there's a ton for this team to play for. Mississippi State is looking to rediscover its swagger after back-to-back blowouts. LSU is just too tough for the Bulldogs. ... LSU 24, Mississippi State 13

Chris Low: If the Bulldogs lose this one badly, it’s only fair to wonder if they had a good team or just a good schedule. They need to stop the bleeding after getting blown out each of the past two weeks against Texas A&M and Alabama, but they run into an angry bunch of Bengal Tigers this week. … LSU 28, Mississippi State 13


Edward Aschoff: Both of these teams would become bowl eligible with a win, so this game has a ton riding on it. Vandy has had a lot of success against the Rebels lately, but Ole Miss will feed off of its home crowd and have a little too much offense for the Commodores. ... Ole Miss 27, Vanderbilt 24

Chris Low: The winner of this game qualifies for a bowl game. Everybody predicted that back in August when they saw this game on the schedule, right? Both coaching staffs have done an outstanding job, but the Commodores are better on defense and will find a way to win their fourth game in the past five years against the Rebels. … Vanderbilt 27, Ole Miss 20


Edward Aschoff: The Gamecocks haven't exactly had a lot of recent success against the Hogs, but these aren't the same Hogs we've seen the past couple of years. South Carolina will be playing with a lot of emotion and will be very rested after a much-needed bye week. ... South Carolina 31, Arkansas 20

Chris Low: The Hogs have owned the Gamecocks in this series, and very few of their recent meetings have even been close. But this has been a season that’s been on life support from the very beginning for Arkansas, and South Carolina still has big plans. … South Carolina 31, Arkansas 21


Edward Aschoff: All the Bulldogs have to do is win this weekend and they are headed back to the SEC championship game. Auburn is at the bottom of the SEC, but this is the South's Oldest Rivalry ... at night. Still, Auburn just doesn't have enough on either side of the ball to pull the major upset. ... Georgia 27, Auburn 10

Chris Low: The Bulldogs looked so bad in that 35-7 loss to South Carolina back in October that it was a stretch to think that they would battle their way back into the East race. But here they are, and they’re not about to stumble now. … Georgia 31, Auburn 14


Edward Aschoff: Like LSU, Alabama has to be exhausted after last week's game. But this team has too much to play for to not come out strong against red-hot Texas A&M. We saw some holes in Alabama's defense against the Tigers, but they won't be there this weekend. ... Alabama 27, Texas A&M 17

Chris Low: The come-from-behind win at LSU last week took its toll on Alabama, both physically and emotionally, and Texas A&M is the most explosive offensive team the Crimson Tide have faced this season. The Aggies still need to prove they can light it up against a quality defense. They bogged down against Florida and LSU and will meet a similar fate against the Crimson Tide. … Alabama 28, Texas A&M 10

Predictions: SEC Week 5

September, 27, 2012
I’ll say this for the ATL Kid. He tried to warn me last week about picking Arkansas over Rutgers.

Of course, you never know when you’re involved in such heated competition whether he’s genuinely trying to help out a colleague or simply playing mind games.

Either way, I didn’t listen and stubbornly picked the Hogs. I wasn’t buying that a Big East team would come into an SEC venue and win.

I mean, what’s next? USC finally living up to the hype?

The Kid’s obviously a fast starter and has built a two-game lead on me four weeks into the season. He’s yapping, too. I guess he has a short memory, because he also jumped out to an early lead last season.

How’d that turn out for him?

I’ll give you a hint: He finished in second place, or as the late great Dale Earnhardt would say, he was the first loser.

So as we look ahead to Week 5 in the SEC, The Kid is 42-3 (.933) overall after going 10-0 last week. I’m 40-5 (.889) after going 9-1 and missing Arkansas’ loss to Rutgers.

Enough living in the past. Champions don’t have rear-view mirrors:


Chris Low: At least the Tigers know what it’s like to be in a close game after last week’s scare at Auburn. This week, it’s back to naming their score in what will amount to their fourth glorified scrimmage of the season. … LSU 42, Towson 6

Edward Aschoff: The Tigers' offense has taken a lot of heat after a lackluster performance against Auburn. You'll see a lot more firepower out of LSU on Saturday. ... LSU 45, Towson 3


Chris Low: Nobody needs to remind the Gamecocks what happened during their last trip to the Bluegrass. Of course, Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke are no longer around for the Wildcats, who will be hard-pressed to win an SEC game this season. … South Carolina 34, Kentucky 14

Edward Aschoff: The Gamecocks are really clicking right now, while Kentucky is struggling to get much going at all. Expect South Carolina's offense to continue on its current roll. ... South Carolina 45, Kentucky 10


Chris Low: The Rebels get their first chance of the season to stop their 14-game SEC losing streak. Unfortunately for them, it’s against Alabama. … Alabama 42, Ole Miss 10

Edward Aschoff: Ole Miss' offense might be fun to watch, but it's about to run into a freight train in Tuscaloosa that has barely had any bend in it at all. ... Alabama 48, Ole Miss 7


Chris Low: Missouri gets a break from SEC play after losing its first two league games, each by three touchdowns. We find out a lot about the Tigers’ pride, because this is one they can’t lose and still expect to have a decent season . … Missouri 28, UCF 24

Edward Aschoff: The Tigers have to work out some issues on offense and have to come together as more of a team. UCF provides a tough road environment, but Mizzou will come out with something to prove. ... Missouri 27, UCF 20


Chris Low: The Aggies look like they’re just starting to hit their stride. The Hogs look like they’re teetering. This one has a chance to get ugly, especially when you throw in the 12th Man factor. … Texas A&M 38, Arkansas 21

Edward Aschoff: John L. Smith said Arkansas' defense has trouble stopping the run and the pass. Well, Texas A&M does both pretty well. ... Texas A&M 31, Arkansas 21


Chris Low: The Bulldogs should be getting all of their guys back on defense this week, which is bad news for Tyler Bray & Co. The Vols will score some points, but aren’t good enough on defense to go to Sanford Stadium and win. … Georgia 38, Tennessee 23

Edward Aschoff: There could be a lot of offense in this one, so the team that pounds away up front with its running game will have the upper hand. Georgia's freshman duo at running back will be too much for the Vols in the second half. ... Georgia 35, Tennessee 21

Predictions: SEC Week 4

September, 20, 2012
Well, well, well. It looks like The Kid knows a little bit about what he’s yapping about these days.

After two weeks of having identical picks, we have some separation after I correctly picked that Florida would walk into Neyland Stadium and snatch a win away from the Vols. I thought the Gators would win because of their defense -- and that unit did just what I thought it would in the second half -- but I didn’t think Florida’s offense would step up like that. My goodness.

Talk about Rocky Bottom.

That’s exactly where Chris sits heading into Week 4 with a record of 31-4 (.886), which is one game behind my 32-3 (.914) record. We both missed on Kentucky losing to Western Kentucky last week, but the most important thing in my eyes is that I have a one-game lead, and I can tell that Chris is scrambling.

You should have heard our conversation after his alma mater let the Gators off the hook Saturday. The mental games for him started when Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter both dropped those key second-half passes for the Vols. They just fueled his realization that he'd leave the weekend a game behind The Kid.

It’s funny how he has time to take jabs at my love for soccer (the world’s most popular sport, I might add), but doesn’t have the time to remember that defense wins championships. Going with offense last week was a true gaffe by the vet.

For the sake of competition, I hope he has learned his lesson.

On to the picks:


Edward Aschoff: The Rebels are coming off quite the blowout loss to Texas, in which the defense was totally overmatched. The Rebels face one of the nation's worst offenses, so the outcome will be much different. ... Ole Miss 31, Tulane 14

Chris Low: Ole Miss’ defense is reeling following the Texas stampede last weekend. The good news for the Rebels is that Tulane has been anemic offensively in its first two outings. … Ole Miss 31, Tulane 13


Edward Aschoff: The only real question for Alabama is whether the defense can pitch its third straight shutout. One will get past this defense. ... Alabama 45, Florida Atlantic 3

Chris Low: One of these days, the Crimson Tide are going to have a game where somebody comes within 40 points of them again. But it won’t be this one. … Alabama 56, Florida Atlantic 3


Edward Aschoff: The Bulldogs got caught sleeping a little bit in last week's win against Troy, but expect to see a little more life out of Mississippi State this weekend. ... Mississippi State 45, South Alabama 14

Chris Low: The Sun Belt Conference tour continues for Mississippi State, although this one is at home. The Bulldogs need to play better after playing just well enough to survive last week at Troy. … Mississippi State 38, South Alabama 10


Edward Aschoff: We saw a good bit of offense and points from the Aggies last week, and they shouldn't have a problem keeping that up Saturday. ... Texas A&M 51, South Carolina State 7

Chris Low: Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel already has established himself as one of the most exciting players in the SEC. Look for him to roll up Xbox numbers for the second straight week. … Texas A&M 45, South Carolina State 14


Edward Aschoff: The Vols have to move on from last week's loss to Florida. Getting the offense back on track against the Zips is the best way to do that. ... Tennessee 45, Akron 14

Chris Low: A lot of air came out of the Vols’ Big Orange balloon last weekend following their collapse in the second half against Florida. They ought to have this one in hand well before the second half. … Tennessee 42, Akron 17


Edward Aschoff: The Gators are brimming with confidence after back-to-back road wins, and offensive coordinator Brent Pease said he wanted to hang 50 on the Cats. He'll come close. ... Florida 45, Kentucky 10

Chris Low: Kentucky has snapped a couple of long losing streaks over the past two years against Tennessee and South Carolina, but the drought against Florida will grow to 26 in a row Saturday. … Florida 38, Kentucky 14


Edward Aschoff: LSU has quietly been one of the most impressive teams in the country, while Auburn barely got by Louisiana-Monroe. Auburn has too many questions remaining to hang with the other Tigers. ... LSU 38, Auburn 10

Chris Low: The battle of the Tigers has been one of the most entertaining rivalries in the SEC over the past decade, but a more physical and more talented LSU team is poised to make it two blowouts in a row. … LSU 31, Auburn 13


Edward Aschoff: The Razorbacks are at a real low point right now, while Rutgers is riding a three-game winning streak. Tyler Wilson is still questionable and Rutgers' running game is much improved. That's bad news for the Hogs. ... Rutgers 24, Arkansas 20

Chris Low: With or without Tyler Wilson, the Hogs have to figure out a way to stop somebody. They’ve given up 110 points in three games, but the bleeding stops Saturday. … Arkansas 34, Rutgers 21


Edward Aschoff: Last year's game had a very dramatic ending, both in the game and after it. The Commodores are fired up for this one, but Georgia just has more going for it all around. ... Georgia 31, Vanderbilt 14

Chris Low: The game last year ended with James Franklin and Todd Grantham going nose-to-nose. That little dust-up will ensure that the Bulldogs don’t sleepwalk into this game. … Georgia 35, Vanderbilt 14


Edward Aschoff: Both teams have banged-up quarterbacks, and while both could play, we aren't sure how long either will be in. This one will come down to line play, and South Carolina has the advantage both ways. ... South Carolina 27, Missouri 20

Chris Low: It’s Columbia versus Columbia. It’s also one banged-up quarterback versus another banged-up quarterback. The difference will be a South Carolina defensive line that takes over in the second half. … South Carolina 27, Missouri 21