By Randy Moore
OKLAHOMA AT ALABAMA: Alabama has never hosted a No. 1 ranked opponent in Tuscaloosa in its storied history, so Tide fans will be at fever pitch. Mike Shula showed poise in rallying Bama from some early adversity last week vs. South Florida but Oklahoma isn't South Florida. I give the Tide a chance to win but only an outside chance. Oklahoma 31, Alabama 21.
TULSA AT ARKANSAS: Arkansas had an open-date last week, so we don't know a whole lot about the Razorbacks yet. Houston Nutt promises a more balanced attack (i.e. - more passing) but I'll have to see it to believe it. Football coaches aren't the most flexible people on Earth, so I suspect Nutt will run the ball until Tulsa finds a way to stop him. Arkansas 28, Tulsa 7.
AUBURN AT GEORGIA TECH: Sometimes a team bounces back with a vengeance following the kind of mauling Auburn suffered last week vs. Southern Cal; other times a team will go into a funk and play poorly again. My guess is that Tommy Tuberville will have the Tigers primed for a strong showing in Atlanta. Auburn 35, Georgia Tech 14.
FLORIDA AT MIAMI: The Florida Gators are great frontrunners, as they showed last week in burying hapless San Jose State. They aren't quite so imposing, however, when the opponent is strong enough to fight back. Florida has enough talent to make things interesting but Miami will be the bully of the block in this matchup. Miami 34, Florida 21.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT GEORGIA: A lot of people (including yours truly) picked Clemson to upset Georgia last week, so the Bulldogs must be feeling a bit cocky after romping 30-0. They could be ripe for an upset but MTSU simply doesn't have enough manpower to turn the trick. Georgia 31, MTSU 7.
MURRAY STATE AT KENTUCKY: Kentucky surrendered two gift touchdowns in the first half of its opener with Louisville and never recovered. The Cats' pass protection was terrible but Jared Lorenzen still managed to post big numbers. Unless the Big Blue gives up a couple more gifts this week, I think the Hefty Lefty and the Cats will have a field day. Kentucky 42, Murray 14.
LSU AT ARIZONA: LSU mauled Louisiana-Monroe 49-7 last weekend in what was little more than a scrimmage. The Tigers step up in class this week, though, AND surrender homefield advantage. LSU was 5-1 when Matt Mauck started at QB last year, 3-4 while he was hurt. He's healthy again, and that bodes well for the Tigers. LSU 27, Arizona 14.
OLE MISS AT MEMPHIS: The Rebels were lucky to win last week's opener at Vanderbilt, so they should be too focused to walk into another ambush. The problem is, Ole Miss' talent level isn't much better than the Tigers, so I could see this game going either way. I'm giving the Rebels a shaky nod mostly because of Eli Manning's strong right arm. Ole Miss 24, Memphis 20.
VIRGINIA AT SOUTH CAROLINA: South Carolina lost its last five games of 2002 and opened 2003 with a shaky seven-point win over Louisiana-LaFayette. I'm trying to think of a reason (other than homefield advantage) the Gamecocks can win this game but I'm failing miserably. Virginia 24, South Carolina 14.
MARSHALL AT TENNESSEE: Marshall's the kind of pesky underdog that could've shocked Tennessee last year, but the Vols are more focused this fall. Casey Clausen should bounce back after a sloppy Game 1 performance and have a big day throwing the football. Tennessee 34-14.
UT-CHATTANOOGA AT VANDERBILT: The Commodores could be a little down after losing a heartbreaker to Ole Miss last week but the chance to be favored in a game should bring them out of their doldrums in a hurry. Vandy 38, UTC 21.
By Jeffery Stewart
Mississippi at Memphis: After a close call on the road last week against Vanderbilt, the Rebels are back in the Volunteer State to take on Memphis. This is another series that tends to produce close contests, but the Rebels look to have too much offensive firepower for the Tigers to do anything other than keep it competitive. Mississippi 27, Memphis 17.
Auburn at Georgia Tech: Auburn's bandwagon got mired up to the axles last week against Southern Cal as the ground game came to a halt. Georgia Tech doesn't have the troops to replicate such a result and the Tigers have plenty of incentive to get back on track. This is the type of scenario in which Tuberville thrives. So look for Auburn to bounce back with a big win. Auburn 35-20.
Tennessee vs. Marshall: The Vols look like they have returned to the upper crust of the SEC, but this is an opponent that could pose a serious threat if UT isn't dialed in mentality. Depth, an advantage on the offensive line vs. Marshall's D-line, the home field advantage and a sharper Casey Clausen will carry the day for Tennessee. Marshall needs a plus-3 turnover edge to keep it close. I don't see it happening. Tennessee 41, Marshall 17.
Arkansas vs. Tulsa: The Razorbacks are the last SEC team to kick off the season and this figures to be nothing more than a tune up. Tulsa has been in a rebuilding mode for seven years and still doesn't have the material to beat a strong SEC team on the road. Arkansas 47, Tulsa 9.
Florida at Miami: So when was the last time the Gators were a 14-point underdog? The Canes are loaded on defense and should have the incentive to make life miserable for Florida's inexperienced signal callers. Florida's best chance is to keep the score low and stay within striking distance while awaiting a big break. Miami has its own questions at QB with Florida transfer Brock Berlin taking over for Ken Dorsey, but Berlin has a better supporting cast and a superior running game. Miami 36, Florida 16.
Alabama vs. Oklahoma: Alabama entertains No. 1 Oklahoma after giving the Sooners fits last year in Norman. New Bama head coach Mike Shula got his era off to a successful start last week and Alabama has the personnel to keep this one close. That's what will happen, but without a late Bama break Oklahoma will come out on top. Oklahoma 24-21.
LSU at Arizona: These are two teams at different rebuilding stages. After a down year last season, the Tigers figure to be a conference title contender after an outstanding recruiting season that fortified both sides of the ball. This pits John Mackovic, a recognized offensive mastermind, against Nick Saban, a renown defensive strategist. Defense beats offense. LSU 34, Arizona 13.
Georgia vs. MTSU: Bulldogs beat Clemson by 30 in Death Valley last week with five starters suspended. They'll beat the Blue Raiders by more between the hedges. Georgia 44, MTSU 6.