Mark Green Picks the SEC

Orange Uglies, the Big Blue's Big Boy, Gators on the prowl and the SPUAT at Auburn game are featured in Mark Green's prediction column.

Editor's Note: Mark Green has a 48-19 record for the season. Last week he predicted a tough win for Auburn at Georgia.. His upset special, Central Florida over Arkansas, didn't come to fruition but the Knights gave Arkansas a scare.

TENNESSEE at KENTUCKY

The Orange Uglies were shocked by a Memphis Tiger fourth quarter rally last week in Knoxville. Coach Bubba was fuming after UT's unimpressive 49-28 win. "What we need is to be more discipline and more understanding of formations," said the Vol head man. Formations or formation?

In any case, if Fulmer and the Vols are to entertain any hopes of upsetting Florida in The Swamp in three weeks, they had better find a patch for the virus that has infected the UT secondary. Kentucky will be more than willing to provide a trial run in Lexington this Saturday to see if any progress has been made. Big Boy QB Jared Lorenzen has taken over the Big Blue chariot, and since mid-season, the Wildcat offense has returned to 2000 form, last week blasting hapless Vanderbilt 56-30. Remember, though, Tennessee is great in November. It's December that has them worried.TENNESSEE 48, KENTUCKY 27.


MISSISSIPPI STATE at ARKANSAS

SEC stepchild Mississippi State will likely see more red (and yellow) this week after last week's fourth quarter surrender in Tuscaloosa to Alabama. Jackie and Joe Lee watched as the Bulldogs were hammered by the zebras 13 times for more than a hundred yards in penalties against the Tide. That's the price you pay for playing yourself out of the bowl picture too early in this league. If you can't do anything for Roy, Roy won't do anything for you. Count on it.

Meanwhile the Razorbacks are on a four-game happy streak, having bested South Carolina, Auburn, Ole Miss and Central Florida. Not bad at all. A bowl is in the picture for the Pigs, so if they need help they'll probably get it. If the SEC wanted the Bulldogs' money, they'd take it. But that won't be necessary. ARKANSAS 24, MISSISSIPPI STATE 19.

CLEMSON at SOUTH CAROLINA

Well, the Cocks deflated last Saturday night thanks to the way-too-powerful bite of the Florida Gators. Hopefully there will be enough meat left on the stick for this Saturday's close encounter with cross-state rival Clemson.

The visiting Tigers also lost their chance of a conference championship last week in College Park where the Maryland Terrapins of Coach Ralph Friedgen left Tommy Bowden's Orange Cats clawless. Despite the disappointment of prior weeks, this game always brings out the bitterness in both teams. And, despite the absence of Gamecock All-American defensive end Kalimba Edwards, South Carolina's senior class should be good for one last hurrah. SOUTH CAROLINA, 24 CLEMSON 20.

GEORGIA at OLE MISS

The Ole Miss Rebels hope against hope for an Alabama victory this Saturday on the Plains, but meanwhile must take on SEC heavyweight Georgia, fresh off an on-your-face fall against Auburn last weekend in Athens. The Bulldogs have played well in Oxford in the past and should win there again this time, considering the talent the Bulldogs possess. Coach Mark Richt has installed a very effective spread offense under the direction of super freshman QB David Greene, who seems to pass for three hundred yards in every game.

The Rebels, however, counter with a young superstar of their own in sophomore QB Eli Manning. Manning has taken charge at some point in every game for Ole Miss and isn't likely to lie down this Saturday for a Georgia pass defense ranked tenth in the league. OLE MISS 30, GEORGIA 24.

Florida at FLORIDA STATE

It was brilliant. Florida football took a major step up last Saturday night on national television against Lou Holtz's hopeful South Carolina Gamecocks. When the cutting was done, all that was left were the chicken's feet and a few red feathers stuck to the black costumes of the Carolina faithful who had, as it turned out, dressed appropriately for the occasion. Lord help the Florida State Seminoles this Saturday in Gainesville. FLORIDA 45, FSU 17.

ALABAMA at AUBURN

Dream Season

"I'm losin my religion," said Jake, a Bama fan since before he can remember. "Bama football just ain't what it used to be. It's no good. No fun anymore. Not since Bear left really.

"All these other teams is just too good anymore. Theys other teams what can win championships and such. Not jus' Bama. Flarda, even Auburn can beatcha if ya don't watch out."

For Alabama football it has been a dream season since late in the fourth quarter of the season-opener against UCLA. Since senior Andrew Zow came off the bench to spark the improbable rally against the Top-5 Bruins, Zow and the Tide have been on a roll, producing stirring fourth quarter comebacks against South Carolina, Tennessee, Ole Miss and LSU. Bama's only shaky performance came last week against SEC Western Division rival Mississippi State when junior QB Tyler Watts was summoned off the bench to hold the Alabama offense together after Zow pulled a groin in the first half of a 24-17 victory. Bama was scoreless in that second half, but Watts led the Tide offense to 13 first downs and 145 yards rushing, most of it from Watts himself on option keepers.

"We looked like the Tide of yore out there," chuckled first-year head coach Dennis (Fran) Franchione. "We can't make a living on that stuff, but it gained yards and kept us in the ball game. It kept us undefeated and ranked number one. That's all that matters. That, and beating Auburn this week. I believe, if we can get Andrew back, we'll be in good shape. This team can win a National Championship. I'm convinced of it.

"You know, I was sitting on the couch, playing with the cat last weekend after we beat LSU in the fourth quarter, thinking how great it will be for all these loyal Alabama fans if we can beat Auburn in Auburn and win another SEC Championship. Coach Bryant would have done it for sure. This team has so much talent.

"Andrew is our best player. Certainly our best quarterback. It's hard to believe how far this team has come. Before the season I thought about starting Tyler and losing every game, and then for Auburn, bring out Andrew just to pull the big upset. But that was before Andrew brought us back against UCLA. At that point, I just said, the heck with it, winning every game is more important than just beating Auburn. After all, this is Alabama football. We're winners.

"I'm glad we decided to put our best foot forward. This could really be a dream season for our program."

"Jake!!"

"Yes, momma?"

"Get up! We've got to go to the dentist, then, after that, over to the mall to eat lunch with aunt Mildred. She says we can watch the game on the TVs down there at the department store. Come on!"

"Yes, momma. I'm comin."

ALABAMA 45, AUBURN 0.

DELUSION at REALITY

REALITY 30, DELUSION 20

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