The Almost Perfect Picks Department at BamaMag.com has more problems with some teams than with others. For instance, the number-crunching nerds can’t seem to grasp Auburn having a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback some weeks and a guy who is even better than that other weeks. Also, the APP has missed on Kentucky games in every conceivable manner.
True, the APP does pretty well on Alabama because of a premise that one picks the Crimson Tide to win every game since Bama almost always does win. This week the most important rivalry in Southern football takes place with the Crimson Tide hosting Tennessee.
Even though Alabama has won eight in a row and has an all-time record of 52-37-8 in the series with UT, the Vols have nothing to be ashamed of. Tennessee is second to Alabama in Southeastern Conference championships won, SEC winning percentage, and SEC games won. To be sure, it is a distant second, but still better than a dozen SEC teams.
Until Phillip Fulmer came on the scene, it was a rivalry with respect on both sides. Now the Vols just need to win a game from time-to-time to make it a real rivalry, but that seems unlikely for the present.
For the year the APP is 52-13 in picking SEC winners and 35-22 vs. the over/under (the predicted combined points total of the two teams), but only 26-31 vs. the point spread (the number of points by which a team is favored). Remember, we get our point spread and over/under information from the newspaper and these predictions come with the admonition are for entertainment purposes only.
Here are this week’s games and predictions:
Auburn (4-2 overall, 1-2 in Southeastern Conference games) at Arkansas (2-4, 1-2), 11 a.m. CDT on SEC Network (Arkansas favored by 5 1/2 points, over/under 49) – After recovering from the humiliation of being selected for a Thursday night game, Auburn is disrespected a second straight week with an 11 a.m. game. The Tigers have one advantage over most teams going to Fayetteville in that AU won’t be intimidated by the Hogs, having certainly been downwind of the Swine Research Center in Auburn during some practices. Arkansas 24, Auburn 21
Missouri (4-3, 1-3) at Vanderbilt (2-4, 0-3), 3 p.m. CDT, SEC Network (Missouri favored by 3, o/u 34) – How would you like to have paid for a commercial on this telecast? The teams are even in uniform color, both black and gold, and in excitement level, perhaps 2 on a scale of 1-10. Both teams are good on defense, very poor on offense. It is hard to pick Vandy to do anything but lose. Missouri 17, Vanderbilt 13
Texas A&M (5-1, 2-1) at Ole Miss (5-2, 2-1), 6 p.m. CDT, ESPN (Ole Miss favored by 5 1/2, o/u 56) – It is still difficult to believe that Alabama lost to the Mississippi Mercenaries. One thing the Rebels have going for them is that teams that suffer disappointing losses to Alabama often have a poor game the next week. Still, the Aggies seem to have more weapons – notably pass rush – on defense than Ole Miss. A&M 31, Ole Miss 24
Western Kentucky (6-1) at LSU (6-0, 4-0), 6 p.m. CDT, ESPNU (LSU favored by 16 1/2, o/u 66) – A common theme in discussion of this game is that Western Kentucky has a much better team than usual and that LSU might be caught looking ahead to Alabama. (Does it seem that everything is about Alabama?) There is no reason to believe that Leonard Fournette won’t have a very good game, and there is no reason to believe the Tigers will call off the dogs. LSU 49, Western Kentucky 24
Kentucky (4-2, 2-2) at Mississippi State (5-2, 1-2), 6:30 p.m. CDT, SEC Network (MSU favored by 11, o/u 54) – This cellar – oops, we mean stellar – series is tied all-time, 21-21. We’ve picked Kentucky to win games the Wildcats have lost, and we’ve thought they would lose games they were able to win. Mississippi State seems to have a bit of momentum. Mississippi State 28, Kentucky 10
Tennessee (3-3, 1-2) at Alabama (6-1, 3-1), 2:30 p.m. CDT, CBS (Alabama favored by 15, o/u 56) – Bryant-Denny Stadium has long been smoke-free, and now the entire UA campus in Tuscaloosa bans all smoking. Somehow, we suspect the rules will be broken as the Crimson Tide faithful continue the tradition of lighting up after a win over the Vols. In fact, the APP has never understood why it is Tennessee that brings a mascot named Smokey to take on Bama. Alabama 35, Tennessee 17