Mark Green Picks The SEC

The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, effeminateness and several key league showdowns, including Auburn's trip to Fayetteville, are among the topics for discussion.

Editor's Note: Mark Green is 36-12 for the season on his SEC picks after posting a 4-1 mark last week. Mark's only miss was the Tennessee at Alabama game. He accurately forecast Auburn's four-quarter point total of 41 points in the Tigers' 48-41 overtime victory over Louisiana Tech.

VANDERBILT at DUKE

These two ivy-covered football programs will try to part the vines just long enough to win a football game this Saturday in Durham. With the college rulebook being the way it is, one of these teams will have to bite the bullet and accept victory, even if it takes three overtimes. Still, the combination of incompetence, effeminateness and the lack of a will to win should make for interesting spectating, sorta like watching starving vegetarians puzzle over a bowl of beef stew. VANDY 30, DUKE 28.


SOUTH CAROLINA at TENNESSEE

These two teams, each with one conference loss, collide in Neyland Stadium this Saturday evening in what amounts to a single elimination football game. The winner, along with Georgia, will challenge Florida for a shot at the SEC Championship game at season's end. The loser can forget about the SEC championship until 2002.

Cock Coach Lou Holtz has ventured beyond the unexpected, far past the merely impossible, all the way to the infinite realm of fantasy. South Carolina football has become not only respectable, but feared. Almost unnoticed, the Gamecocks have compiled a 5- 1 record in the conference and, should they knock off the Vols, will face only Florida, in Columbia, for the right to meet the SEC West winner in Atlanta. Those are some high stakes. The only question is, are the Vols really ready to rumble with Cinderella in fighting trim? TENNESSEE 27, SOUTH CAROLINA 20.


OLE MISS at LSU

More high stakes hang in the balance of competition this Saturday night in Baton Rouge as the once-beaten Ole Miss Rebels take on 4-2 LSU. The Bengals are hot off a 42-0 thrashing of hapless Mississippi State in Starkville and intend to inflict serious damage to the championship aspirations of that state's other SEC team. LSU ranks 11th nationally in total offense and big game quarterback Rohan Davey will team with WR Josh Reed and RBs LaBrandon Toefield and Devery Henderson to relegate the Rebels into third place in the West.

But, regardless of what LSU brings to bear this Saturday, Mississippi's Eli Manning and an improving Rebel defense will be prepared to fight back. LSU 34, OLE MISS 31.


GEORGIA vs. FLORIDA

Slapped back into reality two weeks ago in Auburn, Steve Spurrier's formerly number one-ranked Gators must now pick up the pieces against one of the hottest teams in college football, Mark Richt's 5-1 Georgia Bulldogs.

The Cocktail Bowl experience should suit these Dawgs just fine, as should the Florida State knowledge of Florida that Richt brings with him from his former job as offensive coordinator of the Seminoles.

True freshman WR Fred Gibson has already begun to blossom into one of the league's most dangerous skill players. He teams with Terrence Edwards and Damien Gary to give Georgia redshirt freshman QB David Greene some substantial kill-power on offense. The big if Saturday afternoon will be the play of the should-be-better Georgia defense. FLORIDA 44, GEORGIA 27.


AUBURN at ARKANSAS

It's no secret that Coach Tommy Tuberville hasn't fared well in games at Arkansas. His teams at Ole Miss and Auburn have never beaten the Razorbacks in their home state. And some of those losses have been humiliating.

Auburn, though, has begun to develop a personality in 2001, albeit a rather schizophrenic one. The Tigers have been called "cardiac" thanks to four straight late-game victories, and they don't figure to ease up on the tension this Saturday in Fayetteville either.

If AU does beat the 'Backs, the road to Atlanta is all but paved in gold for the second straight year. If the Tigers lose, the journey will be perhaps too hard with away games remaining against Georgia and LSU. So it all comes down to this.

Arkansas has had two weeks to prepare for Auburn, but which Auburn have they prepared for? The Daniel Cobb conservative of UF fame, or the Dan Cobb liberal of last week, who played giveaway to the greedy and aggressive Louisiana Tech Bulldogs? Such appeasement against Arkansas will result in disaster, certainly, as the Pigs possess one of the country's most feared defenses under the tutelage of coordinator John Thompson. But can youthful Auburn put its nose to the grindstone for four quarters on a field that rarely allows a visitor a happy ending? We'll see. AUBURN, 16 ARKANSAS 14.


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