Almost Perfect Picks Gets Early Start

Now that ESPN owns the Southeastern Conference, our Almost Perfect Picks Department has to be on its toes. This week there's a Thursday night SEC game. Who knows what the future holds? Tuesday night games to satisfy the television beast?

The Almost Perfect Picks (APP) Department wants to be like Coach Nick Saban's Alabama football team, trying to get better every week. While the Crimson Tide accomplished its goal last week with a no penalties, no turnovers, 52-0 rout of Arkansas, APP was a bit off the mark. Okay, way off. Only one right in six games as Texas A&M, LSU, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina were all upset victims.

Kentucky (1-5 overall, 0-3 SEC) at Mississippi State (3-3, 0-2). With Mississippi State desperate for a meaningful win, it looks like this week is about as close as the Bulldogs can come. It is very, very difficult to pick Mississippi State to win a football game, particularly since the Bulldogs have been on a Lose-Win-Lose-Win cycle and this week is a "Lose." Nevertheless, in a Thursday night ho-hum game, Mississippi State 31, Kentucky 24.

On to the real games, which are played on Saturday.

Vanderbilt (4-3, 1-3) at Texas A&M (5-2, 2-2). Vandy is getting better and Texas A&M seems to be slipping further and further down the slope of mediocrity, primarily because the Aggies can't tackle anyone. Last week the Commodores had a huge win, defeating an injury-riddled Georgia team. This week A&M's Johnny Manziel may be a little under the weather after being horse collared last week, but the Aggies – for all their deficiencies – should be good enough to handle Vandy. Texas A&M 42, Vanderbilt 35.

(By the way, we hate that Vandy-A&M matchup since one child is a Vanderbilt graduate, the other a Texas A&M graduate. Some post-game yak yak yak is inevitable.)

Furman (3-4) at LSU (6-2, 3-2). LSU will have a week off to prepare for Alabama, but the Tigers of Coach Les Miles did even better than that by getting a little practice game in before the off week. Although this does not appear to be one of the consistently good LSU teams we have seen for the last decade or so, the Tigers should have more than enough to handle Furman. Of course, we thought the same thing when they played Georgia and Ole Miss. LSU 42, Furman 6.

South Carolina (5-2, 3-2) at Missouri (7-0, 3-0). Two of the three big surprise teams in the SEC for different reasons are South Carolina, which was supposed to be very good, and Missouri, which was supposed to be very bad. The Gamecocks are hanging by a thread for the SEC Eastern Division championship, while the Tigers can all but wrap it up with a win in Columbia North. Both teams are without their quarterbacks, but Mizzou didn't seem to miss theirs much last week. Who would have dreamed this in August? Missouri 31, South Carolina 17.

Florida Atlantic (2-5) at Auburn (6-1, 3-1). If Auburn could play LSU again, the War Eagles would probably be undefeated. Auburn is much better than expected, and would be a heavy favorite over Florida Atlantic even if not so improved. Auburn 49, Florida Atlantic 0.

Idaho (1-6) at Ole Miss (4-3, 2-3). The Rebels picked up a nice SEC win last week against LSU after Mississippi had lost three consecutive league games. Ole Miss will look back on this season for its wins over Texas and LSU. They'll also have one over Idaho. Ole Miss 49, Idaho 7.

Tennessee (4-3, 1-2) at Alabama (7-0, 4-0). Tennessee is another place in the SEC where a new coach is doing a nice job. Butch Jones's team picked up a big win over the self-proclaimed Ball Coach's South Carolina last week and almost everyone is picking the Vols to give the Crimson Tide all it can handle...and maybe more than it can handle. This is the most important rivalry in the SEC, but that doesn't mean it is back to competitive. Alabama 45, Tennessee 10.

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