Expect Close SEC Games This Week

Last week's predictions produced another almost perfect week, the one loss being Missouri defeating Georgia. It appears there is no danger of this column being named Perfect Picks. As we get deeper into the Southeastern Conference season it doesn't get easier and this week among the six games (none of them non-conference) there are five tough choices.

The one pick that seems to be a sure thing this week is the one that matters most in this corner. Alabama should have little trouble with an Arkansas team that has had rough sledding. The Crimson Tide is 6-0 overall and 3-0 in SEC games and ranked first in the nation. Arkansas is 3-4 overall and 0-3 in the league and coming off a 52-7 home loss to South Carolina.

Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban has expressed concern about stopping the running game of the Razorbacks, but both Saban and Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema have to be happy to not be facing a hurry-up-no-huddle offense.

Halfway through the regular season, Bama appears to be trending up. Almost Perfect Picks has great confidence in only one game this week, and it is Alabama 38, Arkansas 7.

Georgia (4-2 overall, 3-1 SEC) at Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-3) – If this was the Vanderbilt of last year, a team that played over expectations, it would be reasonable to pick the Commodores over a Georgia team missing many key players because of injury. We thought last week that the Bulldogs would be able to overcome the injury situation and beat Missouri, but the Tigers were a convincing 41-26 winner. Of course, Missouri beat Vanderbilt 51-28. Georgia 35, Vanderbilt 21.

South Carolina (5-1, 3-1) at Tennessee (3-3, 0-2) – Tennessee has had a long period of misery, and it could be said that it started at the hands of Steve Spurrier when he was head coach at Florida. Now he's at South Carolina and has a chance to add another win over the Vols. The Gamecocks are in good shape to win the SEC Eastern Division, but can't afford a slip-up in Knoxville. They won't. South Carolina 28, Tennessee 10.

Florida (4-2, 3-1) at Missouri (6-0, 2-0) – Is the Missouri balloon going to burst? It's almost as if the Tigers are so far removed from the SEC that no one has noticed the success. To be sure, it was built early against an easy schedule, but the win over Georgia makes Missouri a real player in the conference. Florida has a very, very good defense, but not much of an offense. Missouri doesn't have its star quarterback, James Franklin, who is out for a few weeks with a separated shoulder. Florida's back-up quarterback has a little more experience. Florida 21, Missouri 17.

Auburn (5-1, 2-1) at Texas A&M (5-1, 2-1) – Auburn is much improved over last year's pathetic team. Texas A&M is about the same as last year, which is very good, primarily because of 2012 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel. One of the most popular picks among pundits is the Tigers over the Aggies. That would be quite a turnaround from last year when it was Texas A&M 63, Auburn 21 in Auburn. This game is in College Station. True, the Aggies are coming off a tough battle at Ole Miss and Auburn off the next thing to a bye, playing Western Carolina. There could be a lot of points in this one. Texas A&M 49, Auburn 42.

LSU (6-1, 3-1) at Ole Miss (3-3, 1-3) – LSU is something like Alabama, trending up. Ole Miss is something like Ole Miss always seems to be, not so hot when it comes to tough opponents. The Rebels looked to be on the rise after stomping Texas, but since them have lost to Alabama, Auburn, and Texas A&M. LSU 35, Mississippi 14.

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