Randy's SEC picks

Here are my prediction for how the SEC will fare in Week 1.

SOUTHERN CAL AT AUBURN: USC is without star QB Carson Palmer, the No. 1 pick in last spring's NFL draft. But the Trojans still have Norm Chow, one of the sharpest offensive coordinators in college football. Auburn boasts a salty defense, a great running game and the home field advantage, however, so I have to go with Tommy Tuberville's Tigers. Auburn 27, USC 20.

GEORGIA AT CLEMSON: Everything went right for Georgia during last fall's Cinderella run to the SEC title. Lately, everything has been going wrong for the Dawgs. Injuries and suspensions could keep eight starters out of the Game 1 lineup. With Clemson's Tommy Bowden fighting to keep his job, Mark Richt could be walking into an ambush. Clemson 31, Georgia 24.

LOUISVILLE AT KENTUCKY: The Big Blue is my SEC darkhorse pick this year, and I can't see the Cats losing the opener on their home field. This game will be passionate and action-packed but I've got to go with the Hefty Lefty, Jared Lorenzen. Kentucky 34, Louisville 24.

OLE MISS AT VANDERBILT: This seems a no-brainer at first glance but Vandy has given David Cutcliffe fits through the years. The Commodores' home field advantage isn't much of a factor but I just can't see Ole Miss winning handily. Ole Miss 31, Vanderbilt 21.

SOUTH FLORIDA AT ALABAMA: Alabama has a lot of good players but also a lot of problems -- not the least of which is a head man who's coaching his first game. Mike Shula may be a great coach in time but right now he's a liability. Alabama 27, South Florida 17.

FRESNO STATE AT TENNESSEE: The heat provided by Tennessee's pass rush and the humidity provided by a 3 p.m. kickoff should wear down the California boys. The Bulldogs will keep things interesting for a while, though. Tennessee 30, Fresno 17.

OREGON AT MISSISSIPPI STATE: If Fresno State players think it's humid in Knoxville, imagine what Oregon players are going to think when they take the field in stifling Starkville. The Bulldogs have little else going for them, but muggy conditions and clanging cowbells just might be enough. MSU 27, Oregon 24.

SAN JOSE STATE AT FLORIDA: The only suspense surrounding this game is seeing when Chris Leak overtakes Ingle Martin as the Gators' No. 1 quarterback. I'm guessing the job is Leak's by the start of the third quarter. Florida 35, San Jose 14.

LOUISIANA-MONROE AT LSU: This is the same team Tennessee beat 70-3 three years ago. 'Nuff said. LSU 49, Louisiana-Monroe 7.

LOUISIANA-LaFAYETTE AT SOUTH CAROLINA: The Gamecocks ended 2002 with five consecutive losses. The streak ends here but Lou's Crew appears to be in for a long year. South Carolina 35, LaFayette 7.


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