All Southeastern Conference teams are in action this week and all are playing one another in a seven-game slate. The first of those games is Thursday, and the one that everyone is watching is the last, when Alabama hosts LSU Saturday night in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama is 7-1 overall and 4-1 in Southeastern Conference games. LSU is 7-0 overall, 4-0 in the league. Kickoff Saturday is at 7 p.m. CST with CBS televising the game.
This week’s games are expected to wrap up one divisional championship and perhaps have a big impact on this year’s College Football Playoff.
The Almost Perfect Picks Department is in the position of one or two SEC coaches, meaning it’s on the hot seat to come up with solid predictions in a challenging week, the 10th week of the regular season.
For the year, the APP is 61-16 in picking SEC winners and 44-24 against the over/under (predicted combined number of points to be scored by both teams), but only 31-37 vs. the spread, or line (number of points by which a team is favored).
Our information on the spread and the over/under comes from the newspaper, and we urge you to consider the predictions of the APP for entertainment purposes only.
This week’s games:
Mississippi State (6-2 overall, 2-2 SEC games) at Missouri (4-4, 1-4), 8 p.m. CST, ESPN (Mississippi State favored by 8, over/under 39) – Very quietly, Mississippi State has put together a nice season. If Missouri had been a few states closer to the center of the SEC, people would be wondering if heads were ready to roll. The Tigers suspended their quarterback for the rest of the year, but he had been suspended all season anyway. Mississippi State 20, Missouri 6.
Vanderbilt (3-5, 1-3) at Florida (7-1, 5-1), Noon EST, 11 a.m. central time, ESPN (Florida favored by 21 1/2, o/u 39 1/2) – The Gators wrap up the SEC Eastern Division title and Jim McElwain wins SEC Coach of the Year honors as Florida has a stress-free win. Florida 35, Vanderbilt 0.
Kentucky (4-4, 2-4) at Georgia (5-1, 3-3), Noon EST, 11 a.m. central, SEC Network (Georgia favored by 14, o/u 55) – The Bulldogs have not been the same team since two early season setbacks – getting stomped at home by Alabama and losing star tailback Nick Chubb to a season-ending injury. Still, Georgia should handle Kentucky. Georgia 27, Kentucky 10.
Arkansas (4-4, 2-2) at Ole Miss (7-2, 4-1), 2:30 p.m. CST, CBS (Ole Miss favored by 11, o/u 56) – Remember several years ago when that basketball player from Brooklyn said he had dreamed all his life of playing for Mississippi State? That curious recruiting strategy has more recently unveiled in Oxford, and it’s paying off. We keep waiting for Ole Miss to lose that second SEC game that Bama needs, but it doesn’t seem likely this week. Ole Miss 28, Arkansas 20.
South Carolina (3-5, 1-5) at Tennessee (4-4, 2-3), 4 p.m. EST, 3 p.m. central, SEC Network (Tennessee favored by 16 1/2, o/u 56 1/2) – No Phillip Fulmer. No Steve Spurrier. No interest. Well, not as much as once was the case when the self-proclaimed Ball Coach was making life miserable for Fat Phil. The Vols seem to be on the way up, playing better than the record, while the Gamecocks are in dire straits. Tennessee 38, South Carolina 21.
Auburn (4-4, 1-4) at Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2), 6:30 p.m. CST, SEC Network (Texas A&M favored by 7 1/2, o/u 56) – Two teams that had very good offensive teams, but very poor defensive teams, made moves to improve on defense. Texas A&M added John Chavis from LSU as defensive coordinator, while Auburn went for fired Florida Coach Will Muschamp for its defensive leader. How has that worked out? Well, Auburn is last in the SEC in total defense and scoring defense and A&M is 10th in those categories. Although both teams have men who can sack the quarterback, overall defense leaves much to be desired. And the offenses of both teams have had quarterback confusion. Some considered the Tigers to be national championship contenders in the pre-season, but a loss here puts them below .500 and in peril of not being bowl eligible. Texas A&M 42, Auburn 31.
LSU (7-0, 4-0) at Alabama (7-1, 4-1), 7 p.m. CST, CBS (Alabama favored by 5 1/2, o/u 51) – What has gone before in this series has nothing to do with what is going to happen Saturday. Alabama has dominated the series, winning about twice as many games as LSU (Bama is 49-25-5), but the Tigers have had good success against Bama in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Still, one notices that the team with the better coaching is usually the winner. Nick Saban as LSU’s coach was 4-1 against the Tide, and he is 6-3 as Bama’s coach against the Tigers. Alabama 27, LSU 17.