Alabama Coach Nick Saban has said in the past that he doesn’t think an open date helps a team that is playing well because the break may affect momentum. Bama won last week over Tennessee, but the Crimson Tide looked tired and this week’s open date is probably helpful.
Alabama will return to action next week, Nov. 7, hosting undefeated LSU at 2:30 p.m. CST (Daylight Saving Time ends early Sunday morning) with CBS televising the game.
Meanwhile, there are other games for our Almost Perfect Picks Department to ponder. The group seemed to be in a relaxed mood without the pressure of an Alabama game, so we’ll see how the open date affects the predictions.
There is a particularly important game in the Southeastern Conference East, Florida and Georgia squaring off in Jacksonville, Fla.
For the year the APP is 56-15 in picking SEC winners and 40-23 vs. the over/under (the predicted number of points to be scored by both teams), but only 28-35 vs. the spread, also known as against the line (the number of points by which a team is favored).
Here are this week’s predictions:
Ole Miss (6-2 overall, 3-1 SEC) at Auburn (4-3, 1-3, 11 a.m. CDT on ESPN (Ole Miss favored by 7 ½, over/under 57 ½) – Good fans that they are, Alabama followers will be cheering for their homestate little brother, but unfortunately it appears Auburn is headed for title of Biggest Bust of the Season after being ranked among the nation’s top teams in the preseason. The Tigers are the SEC’s worst defensive team and the Rebels are among the best on offense. Ole Miss 31, Auburn 17
South Carolina (3-4, 1-4) at Texas A&M (5-2, 2-2), 11 a.m. CDT on SEC Network (Texas A&M favored by 16 ½, o/u 56 ½) – South Carolina is 1-0 since the self-proclaimed Ball Coach quit on his team in midseason, but that win was a slim home victory over Vanderbilt. Texas A&M had a beaten-by-Bama hangover in bombing at Ole Miss last week, and the Aggies have a quarterback controversy, but they’ll handle the Gamecocks. Texas A&M 42, South Carolina 21
Georgia (5-2, 3-2) vs. Florida (6-1, 4-1) in Jacksonville, 3:30 p.m. EDT, 2:30 central time on CBS (Florida favored by 2 ½, o/u 46) – The winner of this game, expected by most to be a defensive struggle, is the clear leader to win the SEC East. Former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain could be the SEC Coach of the Year in his first season as head coach of the Gators while Georgia, the preseason favorite to win the East, is trying to end the misery. Florida 24, Georgia 21
U-T Martin (6-2) at Arkansas (3-4, 2-2), 3 p.m. CDT on SEC Network (no line on this game) – Rather than calling the hogs this week, last week’s four-overtime win over Auburn and celebration notwithstanding, the Fayetteville Faithful will be more likely to rally with “Remember Toledo!” Arkansas 35, U-T Martin 17
Vanderbilt (3-4, 1-3) at Houston (7-0), 6 p.m. CDT on ESPN2 (Houston favored by 12 ½, o/u 50) -- If Ole Miss couldn’t beat one of the AAC’s best teams (Memphis), most suspect it’s unlikely that Vanderbilt can. The Commodores, though, are coming off a win over Missouri and Vandy has a good defense. Vanderbilt 24, Houston 21
Tennessee (3-4, 1-3) at Kentucky (4-3, 2-3), 7:30 p.m. EDT, 6:30 central time, on SEC Network (Tennessee favored by 8 ½, o/u 57) – Tennessee is known for losing close games (in overtime to Oklahoma, by a point to Florida in Gainesville, by four points to Arkansas, and last week by five to Alabama) and Kentucky is known for basketball. The APP is very much aware of the post-Alabama problem teams have. They lose to Bama and then lose the next week because of the toil the Crimson Tide has taken on them. We’ve missed the Kentucky pick almost every week. Tennessee 28, Kentucky 24