- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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I’m proud to report that the ATL Kid and I are both 21-2 (.913) two weeks into our picks contest.
What’s regrettable is that all of our picks have been the same to this point. He talks about the NCAA investigating me for taking a sneak peek at whom he’s picking every week.
I’ve already complained to SEC commissioner Mike Slive about the Kid airing his dirty laundry in public. After all, we have a stated protocol for how to handle these things, but kids today aren’t real big on rules.
Maybe that’s why the Kid gets me his picks about 3 o’clock in the morning every Thursday after carousing around Atlanta with his pal, Oscar.
We were both 9-2 last week and missed Louisiana-Monroe’s 34-31 upset of Arkansas and Northwestern’s 23-13 win over Vanderbilt, which didn't score a second-half touchdown in either of its first two games.
We’ll have some separation this week, because our picks aren’t all the same.
It’s grudge time on the SEC blog as the Kid’s alma mater (Florida) takes on my alma mater (Tennessee). There hasn’t been a lot of trash talk, although I told him he should have to sing “Rocky Top” on video if the Vols win.
His Gators have owned this series, so there’s not a lot I can say. They’ve won the past seven games. The last time Tennessee won, the Kid was still playing youth soccer somewhere and sitting on the bench with a juice box on one side of him and his orange slices on the other.
I hear he still rolls that way.
That said, let’s roll through this week’s picks:
PRESBYTERIAN at VANDERBILT
Chris Low: The Commodores are trying to recover from an 0-2 start. This is one they not only need to win, but need to win convincingly. ... Vanderbilt 35, Presbyterian 7
Edward Aschoff: We'll finally see the explosive play we've been waiting on from Vanderbilt's offense in this must-win for the Commodores. ... Vanderbilt 41, Presbyterian 10
UAB at SOUTH CAROLINA
Chris Low: The Gamecocks romped last week with backup quarterback Dylan Thompson passing for three touchdowns. Regardless of who’s at quarterback this week, the Gamecocks will cruise again. ... South Carolina 42, UAB 10
MISSISSIPPI STATE at TROY
Chris Low: Going on the road to play in one of these games is never ideal for an SEC team, but the Bulldogs have built up too much momentum to stumble now. ... Mississippi State 31, Troy 14
Edward Aschoff: The Bulldogs are coming off their first SEC-opening win since 1999, but can't lose their edge. They won't this weekend. ... Mississippi State 38, Troy 14
IDAHO at LSU
Chris Low: The Tigers keep losing players, but they keep winning big. Nobody’s really challenged them yet, and that’s not going to change this Saturday. ... LSU 45, Idaho 6
Edward Aschoff: The Tigers looked much better all around in Week 2, and that trend should continue Saturday. This is the weekend we see the passing game really open up. ... LSU 48, Idaho 3
WESTERN KENTUCKY at KENTUCKY
Chris Low: Western Kentucky is one of the Sun Belt Conference’s better teams this season, but Kentucky quarterback Maxwell Smith is one of the SEC’s hottest quarterbacks right now. ... Kentucky 28, Western Kentucky 21
Edward Aschoff: The Wildcats know they have to win out in nonconference play if they want to make a bowl game. They should have no problem getting past Western Kentucky. ... Kentucky 41, Western Kentucky 13
FLORIDA ATLANTIC at GEORGIA
Chris Low: The Bulldogs are getting two defensive starters back for this game, which will make it an even longer night for the already outmanned Owls. ... Georgia 52, Florida Atlantic 7
Edward Aschoff: The Bulldogs get one last tuneup before really diving into SEC play. The Dawgs should roll Saturday. ... Georgia 45, Florida Atlantic 10
TEXAS A&M at SMU
Chris Low: The Aggies stay in Texas but go on the road to face the Mustangs. Johnny Manziel & Co. will see to it that they finish the game this time. ... Texas A&M 34, SMU 21
Edward Aschoff: The jitters are gone, and a game is under the Aggies' belts. Expect to see more of Texas A&M's offense to be unveiled Saturday. ... Texas A&M 34, SMU 14
LOUISIANA-MONROE at AUBURN
Chris Low: Ask Arkansas if the Warhawks should be taken lightly. In fact, the best thing that could have happened to Auburn was seeing what happened to the Hogs last week. ... Auburn 31, La.-Monroe 21
Edward Aschoff: The Tigers are in desperate need of a win and some confidence on both sides of the ball. The Warhawks might have upset Arkansas, but Auburn will rebound Saturday on the Plains. ... Auburn 31, La.-Monroe 17
TEXAS at OLE MISS
Chris Low: The Grove will be at its best Saturday. The Rebels will also need to be at their best to pull the upset. They’ll make it close, but they don’t have quite enough firepower yet to close the deal. ... Texas 28, Ole Miss 24
Edward Aschoff: An epic party is expected in Oxford this weekend, and confidence is high at Ole Miss. The Rebels should hang around early, but Texas just has too much talent. ... Texas 34, Ole Miss 21
ARIZONA STATE at MISSOURI
Chris Low: Loosen up the old neck, because this could turn into a track meet. The Tigers are hurting on their offensive line but have enough playmakers to outlast the Sun Devils. ... Missouri 38, Arizona State 31
Edward Aschoff: The Tigers are coming off of a tough, physical loss to Georgia. Mizzou might be a little banged up, but it'll outlast Arizona State in another shootout Saturday. ... Missouri 31, Arizona State 27
ALABAMA at ARKANSAS
Chris Low: The Hogs were embarrassed by what happened in Little Rock last week. They’ll put up a fight, but the Crimson Tide have too much muscle in the trenches. ... Alabama 37, Arkansas 13
Edward Aschoff: The luster of this game has certainly been lost, but the Hogs have to be extremely motivated underdogs. However, even a healthy Tyler Wilson might not have enough to take down this Alabama team. ... Alabama 31, Arkansas 10
FLORIDA at TENNESSEE
Chris Low: The last time Tennessee beat Florida, Ron Zook was coaching the Gators and Phillip Fulmer was coaching the Vols. Both teams have visions of contending in the East, but Tennessee’s passing game will be the difference in this one. ... Tennessee 31, Florida 28
Edward Aschoff: Tennessee might have the flashiest passing game around, but Florida's defense is riding high after that second half at Texas A&M. The Gators are underdogs, but that defense will keep the Gators and their winning streak going against Tennessee. ... Florida 24, Tennessee 21