Some Good Games, Some Not This Week
The games go on this weekend, though some of them are likely to be forgettable, including Alabama hosting Chattanooga.
Our Almost Perfect Picks has a few obvious pieces of low hanging fruit as the regular season winds down. For the most part, traditional rivalries are a week away, and those Southeastern Conference teams that don't have league games are either taking open dates or playing so-called contract games, meaning teams that are being paid a handsome sum so that the host SEC teams can make an even greater profit while picking up an easy victory.
And, yes, I hear you out there. "You are being too modest. Almost Perfect Picks? You were perfect last week!"
Well, yes, we did pick every SEC winner last week. We thought we had missed one, but who knew an under-thrown pass into double coverage would be a legendary success. Thank you Mark Richt for your work. We had faith in picking against Georgia. And when is the last time you heard "only five yards from winning the national championship"?
Dumb coaching is nothing new. And with this week having several games in which SEC teams will play out-manned opponents with very important games the next week, it is easy to remember Shug Jordan keeping his best player in the game late in a 57-21 win over a Florida State team that was nothing like the FSU of today. It was 1960 and Auburn's fullback and place-kicker Ed Dyas suffered a broken cheekbone when he and the starters should have been on the bench instead of running up the score. Dyas didn't play the next week and 17th ranked Alabama defeated eighth ranked Auburn, 3-0.
There have been whispers that Saturday's game at Bryant-Denny Stadium might see a lot of back-ups on both sides. In other words, look for Blake Sims to have a bang-up day for Bama.
Chattanooga (8-3) at Alabama (10-0 overall, 7-0 SEC) – Alabama has a very important conference game to end regular season play next week at Auburn. This week the Crimson Tide hosts the UTC Mocs at 1 p.m. CST. Chattanooga will learn Sunday about its Southern Conference playoff situation and may want to avoid getting starters injured in a game that no one would expect Bama to be vulnerable. Alabama 49, UTC 0.
There are very important league contests this week as teams maneuver for the SEC Eastern Division championship, for bowl games, and for individual awards.
Mississippi State (4-6, 1-5) vs. Arkansas (3-7, 0-6) at Little Rock – Contrary to the belief of some, this game is not being played at a neutral (sort of) site because neither school wanted these two stinkers on their campus. To be honest, though neither the Bulldogs nor Razorbacks have been successful, both have played hard. Mississippi State is still technically in the picture for a bowl bid if the Bulldogs can beat Arkansas and then upset Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving. State is a popular pick this week, but we don't think so. Teams that play Alabama typically have a tough time the next week. Arkansas 23, Mississippi State 22
Missouri (9-1, 5-1) at Ole Miss (7-3, 3-3) – It is amazing what Nick Saban's old Kent State teammate, Gary Pinkel, has done at Missouri. The Tigers have been (along with Auburn) the positive surprise team of the year. But Mizzou has to get past Ole Miss on the road this week and then defeat Texas A&M in Columbia next week to make it to the SEC Championship Game. The Tigers can't afford to look ahead. Missouri 31, Mississippi 28.
Texas A&M (8-2, 4-2) at LSU (7-3, 3-3) – This is not the LSU of recent years, which is no surprise considering the heavy losses to the NFL after last year. Both teams have the ability to put up big, big numbers, and both are vulnerable defensively. The Aggies may have more to play for. Wins over LSU this week and Missouri next week might clinch the Sugar Bowl for A&M and a second consecutive Heisman Trophy for Johnny Manziel. Manziel has never lost an SEC road game. Texas A&M 42, LSU 35.
Vanderbilt (6-4, 3-4) at Tennessee (4-6, 1-5) – Although Vanderbilt has been Vanderbilt-like some weeks, the Commodores won't forget a season in which they defeated Georgia and Florida. Vandy would like to keep its foot on Tennessee's throat and keep the Vols from reaching bowl eligibility. It looks like Butch Jones is going to get the job done for UT. James Franklin has already proved he's getting it done for the Commodores. Vanderbilt 41, Tennessee 18.
Kentucky (2-8, 0-6) at Georgia (6-4, 4-3) – Maybe the Bulldogs will have a blackout or something. One of the best quarterbacks in the SEC, Aaron Murray, ends his home career without ever having won anything significant, but he will have another insignificant win. Hint to the Wildcats: throw it deep and maybe the Bulldogs will tip it to you. Georgia 43, Kentucky 38.
Coastal Carolina (10-1) @ South Carolina (8-2, 6-2) – The self-proclaimed Ball Coach will be anxious to get this one over with so he can rush home, pop a top (or two or three), and watch to see if Ole Miss can knock off Missouri and allow the Gamecocks to back into Atlanta. South Carolina 34, Coastal Carolina 17.
Georgia Southern (6-4) at Florida (4-6, 3-5) – Florida has been an unlucky team this year with a list of injured players that would make for a good football team. Not only that, the media has felt the wrath of Gators Coach Will Muschamp as Florida has lost to the likes of Miami and Vanderbilt. Most of the attention in the Sunshine State is on Florida's next opponent, FSU and embattled quarterback Jameis Winston, but if the Gators lose to Florida Southern we'll be able to hear the Boom a state or two away. And what we'll really listen for is a "vote of confidence" from Florida AD Jeremy Foley. Florida 20, Georgia Southern 6.
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BamaMagYesterday at 11:59 AM