It’s hard to believe the Almost Perfect Picks Department is about to begin its nine-month vacation (after hiding the lucky quarter they flip to make most of their predictions).
There are a few games in which they didn’t have much to consider, but in rivalry week there are games of some suspense. Even though Alabama is a heavy favorite to win at Auburn Saturday, strange things have happened in Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game has Southeastern Conference and national implications for Bama.
We thought that a few coaches might need wins to cool down the hot seats, but didn’t think that Les Miles at LSU would be one of them with the record he’s had leading the Tigers. What effect will that have as LSU hosts Texas A&M.
There are also a couple of teams that are playing for bowl bids, but teams trying to get to the six-win level in the 12th game of the season have their work cut out for them.
For the year, the APP now is 76-26 in picking SEC winners and 55-34 against the over/under (predicted number of points expected to be scored by both teams), but only 40-50 vs. the spread (also known as the line, the number of points by which a team is favored).
The lines and over/under are taken from newspaper information. We strongly urge that these predictions be for entertainment purposes only. The fun starts tonight in Fayetteville.
This week’s games:
Missouri (5-6 overall, 1-6 in SEC games) at Arkansas (6-5, 4-3), 1:30 p.m. CST on CBS (Arkansas favored by 14 points, over/under 44 1/2) – Missouri needs a win to be bowl eligible and give Coach Gary Pinkel one more game with the Tigers. Missouri has the SEC’s worst offense and Arkansas the worst defense, but the Razorbacks offense is strong enough to get the win. Arkansas 28, Missouri 16
Louisville (6-5) at Kentucky (5-6, 2-6), Noon EST (11 a.m. central) on SEC Network (Louisville favored by 4, o/u 53 1/2) – Although this is a game of two mediocre teams, Kentucky has been mediocre in the SEC, Louisville in the ACC. The Wildcats lost five in a row before getting win 5 against Charlotte last week. On the home field, the nod goes to UK. Kentucky 24, Louisville 21
Clemson (11-0) at South Carolina (3-8, 1-7), Noon EST (11 a.m. central) on ESPN (Clemson favored by 17 1/2, o/u 54) – Former Alabama player and assistant coach Dabo Swinney has his Clemson Tigers at number one in the nation. Suffice it to say there is little love lost between Clemson and South Carolina, even though the acid-tongued, self-proclaimed Ball Coach deserted the ship in midstream. No mercy. Clemson 56, South Carolina 9.
Georgia (8-3, 5-3) at Georgia Tech (3-8), Noon EST (11 a.m. central) on ESPN2 (Georgia favored by 5 1/2, o/u 48) – Georgia expected to be playing in Atlanta at the end of the year, but the Bulldogs were thinking SEC Championship Game. Both teams have been disappointing. Tech’s offense is tough to play against, and it’s hard to say Georgia got prepared by playing triple option Georgia Southern, but a shaky nod to the Bulldogs. Georgia 24, Georgia Tech 17
Vanderbilt (4-7, 2-5) at Tennessee (7-4, 4-3), 4 p.m.EST (3 p.m. central) on SEC Network (Tennessee favored by 17 1/2, o/u 40 1/2) – One could say that Tennessee’s record is misleading, because the Vols have played very well against very good competition and had some tough losses. Tennessee has four straight wins. Vanderbilt has almost no offense. Tennessee 31, Vanderbilt 10
Ole Miss (8-3, 5-2) at Mississippi State (8-3, 4-3), 6:15 p.m. CST on ESPN2 (Ole Miss favored by 1, o/u 64) – Alabama’s game at Auburn will be over by the time the Egg Bowl begins, so Ole Miss will know if it has a chance to make its first-ever trip to the SEC Championship Game. If not, there could be a letdown and the Bulldogs are tough enough with Dak Prescott. Mississippi State 31, Ole Miss 21
Texas A&M (8-3, 4-3) at LSU (7-3, 4-3), 6:30 p.m. CST on SEC Network (LSU favored by 5 1/2, o/u 55) – Strange things are going on in Baton Rouge and LSU players (and coaches) may react in different ways to the reports that the Tigers are going to show Les Miles the door. That report may have affected preparation. LSU has been on a slide anyway, but it’s hard to believe Leonard Fournette doesn’t feast on Texas A&M defense. LSU 31, Texas A&M 24
Florida State (9-2) at Florida (10-1, 7-1), 7:30 p.m. EST (6:30 central) on ESPN (FSU favored by 3, o/u 43) – Florida under Jim McElwain, has been a big story in winning in the SEC Eastern Division, but the Gators have limped home with lackluster wins over South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Florida Atlantic. FSU can’t win the ACC, but the Seminoles can win the state. FSU 28, Florida 17
Alabama (10-1, 6-1) at Auburn (6-5, 2-5), 2:30 CST on CBS (Alabama favored by 14 1/2, o/u 48 1/2) – There have been some memorable upsets in this game, but the better team usually wins, and Alabama has better players and better coaching. Cam Newton will be on the sideline for Auburn, but can’t do much good there. Nick Saban will be on the sideline for Alabama, and he can. Alabama 35, Auburn 17