LSU visits Texas A&M on Thanksgiving day, then red-hot Arkansas visits Missouri on Friday. Saturday’s slate features such interesting matchups as the Iron Bowl (Bama at Auburn), the Egg Bowl (Mississippi State at Ole Miss), South Carolina at Clemson and Florida State at Florida.
IT publisher Josh Woodward correctly pegged the Arkansas upset of Ole Miss en route to an 8-1 record last weekend. That gave him a season mark of 86-29 and a one-game lead over Randy Moore, who went 7-2 and slipped into second place at 85-30. Danny Parker also went 7-2 and stands 84-31 entering the regular season’s final weekend.
Woodward went 3-1 against the spread last week and holds the season lead in that category at 55-46-1. Parker went 1-3 last weekend and ranks second at 52-49-1 versus the points. Moore also went 1-3 last weekend and stands 46-55-1.
Here are this week’s IT staff picks, with year-to-date records in parenthesis:
JOSH WOODWARD (86-29, 55-46-1 vs. line)
LSU (-2.5) at Texas A&M: Turkey Day football, nothing like it. I like LSU in this one, they are due a win. My son Jacob agrees. 31-24 Tigers
Arkansas (-2) at Missouri: Missouri is plying for more than Arkansas. Although Arkansas is playing well, I like Missouri in this one. 35-20 Tigers
Auburn at Alabama (-9.5): This game has lost some luster this year. I like the Tide to beat the Tigers. 38-24 Alabama
Florida at Florida State (-7.5): I'm rooting for the Gators, but I believe Florida State is going to win. 34-10 Seminoles
Miss. State (-2) at Ole Miss: Tickets going for $4,000 a piece, I hope it is a good game Ole Miss has lost a lot of playmakers to injuries, so I'm with Miss. State. 34-30 Bulldogs
South Carolina at Clemson (-4.5): This is a tough decision for me, so I asked my son. He says South Carolina. 28-21 Gamecocks
Notre Dame at Southern Cal (-7): I call this the battle of the overrated. I guess I'm going Southern California. 35-24 Trojans
RANDY MOORE (85-30, 46-55-1 vs. line)
LSU (-2.5) at Texas A&M: Both teams limp into this game off open dates, with LSU 3-3 in its last six games and the Aggies 2-4. Tough call. Tigers, 23-17
Arkansas (-2) at Missouri: The Tiger front four can’t be as good as it looked against Tennessee but the Hogs can’t be as good as they looked against Ole Miss. Or can they? Arkansas, 24-20
Auburn at Alabama (-9.5): Gus Malzahn’s Tigers have lost two SEC games in a row after a 4-1 start. The Tide is far from invincible but I think it smells another BCS title. Bama, 27-14
Florida at Florida State (-7.5): The Gators are the worst six-win team in college football; the Seminoles are the worst 11-win team in college football. Can Muschamp go out on a high note? No. FSU, 24-13
Georgia Tech at Georgia (-13): Except for that mystifying loss to Florida, Georgia has been the SEC’s most impressive team the past two months. Dawgs, 34-17
Kentucky at Louisville (-12.5): Even coming off an open date I just don’t think the Cats have enough gas left in the tank to win this one. Cardinals, 31-21
Miss. State (-2) at Ole Miss: With three SEC losses in a row, the Rebels have lapsed into free fall. Still, this is a heated rivalry that often brings out the best in the underdog. Bulldogs, 34-27.
South Carolina at Clemson (-4.5): The Head Ball Coach gets up for two games each year, Florida and Clemson. He already beat the Gators. South Carolina, 38-34
Notre Dame at Southern Cal (-7): This used to be a great rivalry. Of course, I used to have black hair. Trojans, 24-21
Tennessee (-17) at Vanderbilt: The Vols smell a bowl bid. The Commodores just smell. Tennessee, 38-7
DANNY PARKER (84-31, 52-49-1 vs. line)
LSU (-2.5) at Texas A&M: No earthly idea who will win this college football game. Both teams have looked great and looked like poo at times. Could simply go with the home team with the better decision maker at quarterback. However, the Tigers have the far better defense and defenses rarely go into slumps. LSU, 27-22.
Arkansas (-2) at Missouri: Once again, no idea which team to choose as the victor. And, again, both have looked tremendous and like a stool sample at times. Coin toss to say which has the better defense. Arkansas, 20-10.
Auburn at Alabama (-9.5): Not sure what happened to the Tigers/War Eagle this season but they haven't come close to meeting my expectations. The Tide, on the other hand, I expected to have three losses by now. Two rivals going in different directions. Alabama, 38-17.
Florida at Florida State (-7.5): About three-fourths of the country wants the Gators to win this one to make room for some of the one-loss teams that feel like they deserve a shot at the national championship. If the upset is to happen, the Gators must run the football extremely well and play fantastic defense. Capable of doing both and motivation shouldn't be an issue as they face a rival and it's Will Muschamp's final game as a head coach for awhile. Florida State, 23-19.
Georgia Tech at Georgia (-13): The spread on this one surprises me. The Yellow Jackets have a solid football team and the Bulldogs no longer have their best football player. Georgia, 31-23.
Kentucky at Louisville (-12.5): The Wildcats deserve to go to a bowl game. Just don't think their defense is enough to create a maintainable score for victory. Louisville, 40-20.
Miss. State (-2) at Ole Miss: This figures to be a far better game than many realize. Do wish the two had met in early October before both got banged up and worn down by the SEC gauntlet and the pressures of contending for a championship for the first time. Mississippi State, 27-13.
South Carolina at Clemson (-4.5): The same reason why it's gut-wrenching to pick a Mark Richt team to beat a Steve Spurrier team exists in this series with Spurrier versus Dabo Swinney. Spurrier simply knows how to gameplan to beat both. South Carolina, 45-42.
Notre Dame at Southern Cal (-7): Two magnificent examples of teams that were ranked as high as they were much of the season because of what teams in program past did. Those coaches have left, those players have moved on. What we see now is mediocrity in both Los Angeles and South Bend. This is nothing more than a battle of overrated teams that would finish no higher than seventh in the SEC. Notre Dame, 21-17.
Tennessee (-17) at Vanderbilt: If not for the Thanksgiving holiday, we may have seen the Tennessee National Guard have to attend yet another contest involving the Commodores because of the rabid fan base that would make any Philadelphia Eagles or Oakland Raiders fantastic cringe in fear. The quest for Butch Jones and his staff, if they make it into the stadium, is finding enough healthy Volunteers to take the field against the Commodore State's best after the team buses are turned over long before they even reach West End. The armageddon will be so treacherous Mike Slive will want to move his retirement date up about 7 months. Anyhow, if the Volunteers can dodge the spears and bullets from sniper rifles long enough to block some former Scout two-star prospects, perhaps they can find the end zone. Tennessee, 42-18.