ITAT Picks the SEC: Week Nine

Mark Murphy, Jason Caldwell, Stephen Atkinson and guest of the week, Antibammer, pick the SEC.

Editor's Note: The winner of our weekly Inside the Auburn Tigers prediction contest will receive an invitation to join staff members to give their takes in the SEC picks column. Last week's winner, Antibammer, is our guest.

Here is the link for this week's picks contest: SEC Prediction Contest. It will be open until Saturday morning.

Week 8Overall%
Pick'em Winners*

* - 5xTiger, dukeofga, rabungap61, OkAUBURNTiger, AUgold, autigrs and eagle70

Auburn (4-3, 2-3) at West Virginia (4-2, 2-0 Big East), Thursday, 6:45 p.m. CT, ESPN
Jason's Take: Both teams head into the Thursday night game after an open week looking to spruce up things on the offensive side of the ball. That's easier to do for the Mountaineers with senior veteran quarterback Patrick White at the helm. Auburn looks to sophomore Kodi Burns to do the same thing. While it will do nothing but help the offense it won't be enough to get a win on the road. West Virginia 20, Auburn 17
Mark's Take: The Auburn offense and defense should be better than it was vs. Arkansas with a needed week off, but the Mountaineers seldom lose at home on a Thursday night. West Virginia 20, Auburn 17
Stephen's Take: Perhaps things have changed offensively for the Tigers with the off week, but I'll believe it when I see it. West Virginia 24, Auburn 13
Antibammer's Take: The Tigers looks to get back to Auburn football. No standing up by the offense. No flailing of arms on the sidelines. Just get back to Auburn football. Auburn 24, West Virginia 17

Kentucky (5-2, 1-2) at Florida (5-1, 3-1), 11:30 a.m. CT, Raycom
Jason's Take: Florida had a week off after bombing LSU at home and face a beat up Kentucky team in the Swamp. The Wildcats don't have nearly enough offense to win this one. Florida 31, Kentucky 13
Mark's Take: After cruising through the non-conference portion of the schedule with no worries or losses, Kentucky found out that reality do the Gators. Florida 35, Kentucky 14
Stephen's Take: The Wildcats' defensive weakness is lack of speed. The Gators' offensive strength is obvious (speed), and it will be a big mismatch. Florida 41, Kentucky 20.
Antibammer's Take: To steal a line from Hillary's stump speech, "no way, no how, no upset." Florida 42, Kentucky 17

Duke (3-3, 1-2 ACC) at Vanderbilt (5-2, 3-2), 2 p.m. CT
Jason's Take: Vanderbilt started the season 5-0 and ranked in the Top 25. Since then they've lost back to back games and are now in desperate need of a win to ensure bowl eligibility. My guess is they'll get it on Saturday but it won't come easy. Vanderbilt 24, Duke 22
Mark's Take: This is the type of game the Commodores are known for losing, but after dropping two in a row Bobby Johnson should have Vandy ready to bounce back against a Duke team that has been surprisingly competent. Vanderbilt 27, Duke 21
Stephen's Take: First team to their ACT score average wins. Vanderbilt 31, Duke 28.
Antibammer's Take: After a 5-0 start Vandy is on a two-game skid. A win for the Dores makes them bowl eligible. Vanderbilt 27, Duke 17

Georgia (6-1, 3-1) at LSU (5-1, 3-1), 2:30 p.m. CT, CBS
Jason's Take: This is the top game in the SEC on Saturday as LSU tries to find the magic once again after consecutive poor performances on the road at Florida and South Carolina. Back in Death Valley should make them better. Georgia has been up and down this season, mostly down, and will have trouble moving the ball consistently on a strong LSU defense. LSU 27, Georgia 23
Mark's Take: Neither team is playing as well as hoped so far this season, but each has just one loss. Baton Rouge's homefield advantage is negated to a degree by this featuring an afternoon kickoff. In a flip of the coin...LSU 28, Georgia 24
Stephen's Take: It was hard to tell early in the season how good LSU would be. After the last two weeks I think I have a pretty good idea. Georgia 27, LSU 17
Antibammer's Take: Injuries are hitting the Dawgs hard and this is not the time for that to be happening in a very tough stretch of the schedule. UGA won't be dancing in the Bayou as they watch their title hopes wither. LSU 28, Georgia 24

Ole Miss (3-4, 1-3) at Arkansas (3-4, 1-3), 6 p.m. CT, PPV
Jason's Take: The return of Houston Nutt to Arkansas makes for an interesting storyline on Saturday night but the story is the Rebel defense. The group has been very good this season and make it tough on opposing running games. With Michael Smith banged up as well that's not good news for the Razorbacks. Ole Miss 24, Arkansas 14
Mark's Take: Houston Nutt heads back to the hills as a less than welcome guest, but should have enough support from his band of Rebels to protect his flanks and get back to Mississippi with a victory. Ole Miss 31, Arkansas 24
Stephen's Take: Will either team show a little bit of consistency? These are two odds makers' nightmares. My guess is that Houston Nutt will return to Oxford early Sunday morning with a smile on his face. Ole Miss 31 Arkansas 24
Antibammer's Take: Houston Nutt returns to his former venue with a much more talented team then he left. Ole Miss 27, Arkansas 21

Middle Tennessee (2-5, 1-3 Sun Belt) at Mississippi State (2-5, 1-3), 6 p.m. CT, ESPNU
Jason's Take: The Blue Raiders have been pretty good offensively this season and that's big when facing the offensive deficient Bulldogs. This game will be a close one with the home team having the upper hand but barely. Mississippi State 20, Middle Tennessee 17
Mark's Take: The Bulldogs can't expect to just show up and win this one, but they should be able make this victory number three for the season. Mississippi State 24, Middle Tennessee State 14
Stephen's Take: Both of the Blue Raiders' wins this season have come against two of the tougher teams on the schedule–Maryland and Florida Atlantic. Can they knock off the Bulldogs too? Probably not. Mississippi State 17, Middle Tennessee 13
Antibammer's Take: Last year State got some fortunate bounces. This year they are getting none. Both teams are 2 -5 and going nowhere. Is Croom's seat getting warm again? Mississippi State 30, Middle Tennessee 13

Alabama (7-0, 4-0) at Tennessee (3-4, 1-3), 6:45 p.m. CT, ESPN
Jason's Take: Alabama struggled mightily in a win over Ole Miss last weekend while the Vols finally found something in a win over Mississippi State. Does Tennessee have enough to win? Sure. Will they? Don't think so. Alabama 17, Tennessee 13
Mark's Take: If the Big Orange had a big offense it would be safe to predict the Tide would be going down on Saturday night. However, look for Tennessee's struggles moving the football to continue. Alabama 24, Tennessee 14
Stephen's Take: Phil Fulmer has been on the winning side of most of the games versus the Tide in his career and now this one could be to save his job. The Vols hold tough against the nation's second-ranked team but can't quite get it done. Alabama 17, Tennessee 14
Antibammer's Take: UAT hasn't won consecutive games against the Vols since the early 90's. If the Vols can prevent a first quarter scoring splurge by the Tide then look for that streak to continue. Tennessee 17, Alabama 16

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