Stuart McNair

Almost Perfect Picks Department thinks Alabama gets the win

Alabama’s No. 1 ranking put to test as Tide goes to LSU

One of the Geek Gang came out of the Almost Perfect Picks Department situation room in the offices of waving a sheet of paper for us to see. At the top was a date, Oct. 31. Under that, Prediction: Alabama No. 1 in CFP.

“Right on the money,” he boasted.

“About as impressive as your game predictions,” we murmured.

Although there is one person in one of the traditional polls voting for Michigan, and one voting for Clemson in the other, there probably weren’t any serious college football followers who didn’t expect the Crimson Tide to be the top-ranked team in the initial College Football Playoff poll on Nov. 1.

Hopefully our Nerd Herd didn’t spend too much of its valuable predictions time on guessing at the CFP poll.

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For the year, the APP is 63-13 in predicting SEC winners, 26-40 against the point spread (or line), and 35-33 against the over-under (number of combined points by both teams).

All SEC teams are in action Saturday, Week 10 of regular season college football, with Ole Miss and Tennessee playing non-conference breathers (and both needing breathers based on their recent play).

With the in depth calculations based on the point spreads and over-unders taken from a random morning newspaper, here is how our APP guys see it:

Georgia Southern (4-4) at Ole Miss (3-5 overall, 1-4 SEC), 11 a.m. CDT on ESPNU (First meeting) – Ole Miss favored by 27 points, over-under 63 -- Does anyone remember the tin horn, and how Georgia Southern ran through an Alabama national championship team (we think it was the 2011 Tide, but there have been so many)? The triple option Eagles can frustrate a defense that doesn’t play the run well. Let’s just recap the Rebels in its last two games, against LSU and Auburn: Oh, it seems both Mississippi opponents had record setting rushing games. The Rebs are on a three-game losing streak as they await the NCAA hammer, but they’ll enjoy this day at least. Ole Miss 42, Georgia Southern 17.

Vanderbilt (4-4, 1-3) at Auburn (6-2, 4-1), 11 a.m. CDT on ESPN (Vandy leads series 21-20-1) – Auburn favored by 26, o-u 44 ½ -- Buttons are popping off the overalls at Auburn as the War Eagles proudly see a chance to tie the all-time series against Vanderbilt while also celebrating being ninth in the initial College Football Playoff poll for 2016. If this was a Brain Bowl, it would be a vastly different result. Auburn 56, Vanderbilt 3.

Texas A&M (7-1, 4-1) at Mississippi State (3-5, 1-3), 11 a.m. CDT on SEC Network (A&M leads series, 5-4) – Texas A&M favored by 13 1/2, o-u 62 -- What a great opportunity for Texas A&M to justify its No. 4 ranking in the initial CFP poll. The Aggies defense would seem to have to stop only State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, since he is both the rushing and passing threat. The Aggies are very good and the Bulldogs very bad. Texas A&M 38, Mississippi State 17.

Florida (6-1, 4-1) at Arkansas (5-3, 1-3), 2:30 p.m. CDT on CBS (Florida leads series 9-1) – Florida favored by 5 ½, o-u 47 ½ -- In the preseason, this looked like it would be a rock ’em, sock ’em game, but now the Razorbacks seem to have lost physicality. That doesn’t mean the Hogs aren’t capable of an upset, particularly if the Gators have their snouts (Gator snouts are more imposing than pig snouts) in the sky over a No. 11 CFP ranking and a control position in the SEC East. Florida 24, Arkansas 17.

Missouri (2-6, 0-4) at South Carolina (4-4, 2-4), 4 p.m. EDT (3 p.m. central) on SEC Network (Mizzou leads series 4-2) – South Carolina favored by 7, o-u 56 -- What is the over-under on how many will watch this game? Some might watch to see how South Carolina freshman quarterback Jake Bentley – who should still be in high school – plays after he put the nail in Tennessee’s coffin last week. The Gamecocks need to win this game to get bowl eligible (since it looks like the rest of November will be a 1-2 record) and Missouri has no chance at a bowl. South Carolina 31, Missouri 14.

Tennessee Tech (3-5) at Tennessee (5-3, 2-3), 4 p.m. EDT (3 p.m. central) on SEC Network alternate channel (UT leads series 5-0) – No line on this game – Tennessee tailback Jalen Hurd could have waited another week before quitting and racked up another 100 yards or so against Tennessee Tech. The Vols are shell-shocked after a loss to South Carolina last week means the pre-season favorites to win the SEC East are likely sunk. Those who show up in Neyland Stadium will have an opportunity to stay until the end for a celebration.  Tennessee 49, Tennessee Tech 3.

Georgia (4-4, 2-4) at Kentucky (5-3, 4-2), 7:30 p.m. EDT (6:30 central) on SEC Network (Georgia leads series 55-12-2) – Georgia favored by 2, o-u 51 – Can Kentucky make it three upset wins in a row? The Wildcats have disposed of Mississippi State and Missouri and now can see a path to win the SEC East. UK just has to beat Georgia this week and Tennessee the following week and have Florida slip twice in its tough SEC November, and the Cats will be in Atlanta. Georgia has its work cut out to be bowl eligible. We’re going to keep riding the thoroughbred. Kentucky 21, Georgia 17.

Alabama (8-0, 5-0) at LSU (5-2, 3-1), 7 p.m. CDT on CBS (Bama leads series 50-25-5) – Alabama favored by 7, o-u 44 ½ -- This is going to be a favorite for those who like to predict upsets. They think Alabama may have lost focus having just been ranked first in the CFP poll. Guess what? Alabama has been No. 1 in basically all polls since winning the 2015 CFP national championship. Not to mention that Nick Saban has a way of having his team keep focus, particularly when going to LSU. True, the Tigers have a new head coach, new quarterback, new attitude since losing two games early in the year. Even if we didn’t believe it, we wouldn’t pick against the Tide, knowing the locks to the building would be changed by Monday morning. Alabama 24, LSU 10.

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