IT Pickers Picking Up Steam

Due to a fuzzy crystal ball, our peerless prognosticators didn't foresee Florida's upset of home standing Arkansas last weekend. They breezed through their other SEC predictions unscathed, however, so they're entertaining delusions of grandeur as they offer their picks for this weekend's conference matchups:


TENNESSEE AT ALABAMA: The Vols have lost two games in a row, the Tide four of five. Bama has the homefield advantage and a score to settle with UT, which it blames for the NCAA penalties Alabama is enduring. But Tennessee, coming off an open date, has a healthier team and more incentive -- i.e. a shot at the SEC East title. Tennessee 27, Bama 17.

ARKANSAS AT OLE MISS: The Rebels feature the SEC's best passing attack, while the Hogs probably boast the league's best pass defense. Conversely, Ole Miss has the SEC's worst pass defense and Arkansas perhaps the league's worst pass offense. It should be an interesting matchup. Arkansas 24, Ole Miss 20.

AUBURN AT LSU: Auburn may be playing the best football in the SEC lately but LSU was awfully impressive in dismantling South Carolina last weekend. These are two topnotch, well-coached teams. LSU has the homefield advantage but Auburn has Cadillac Williams. Auburn 20, LSU 17.

ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM AT GEORGIA: Georgia couldn't get motivated for Vandy last weekend, trailing 2-0 at the half before rallying to win handily. The Dawgs aren't likely to be fired up for UAB, either, but it won't matter this week any more than it did last week. Georgia 42, UAB 7.

MISS. STATE AT KENTUCKY: The defensively challenged Bulldogs have surrendered 249 points to date, precisely 180 more than LSU. Look for UK's Jared Lorenzen to heap more misery on Jackie Sherrill's farewell tour. Kentucky 41, MSU 27.

VANDY AT SOUTH CAROLINA: The Commodores are going to win an SEC game one of these days but it probably won't be this week. Lou's Crew should be in a nasty mood after being hammered 33-7 by LSU last weekend. South Carolina 35, Vandy 14.


TENNESSEE AT ALABAMA: Both teams need a win and both are capable of getting it. However Tennessee has played better on the road than Alabama has played at home and the Vols have had two weeks to prepare. The last schedule break came before their best performance of the season vs. Florida. Tennessee 24, Alabama 20.

ARKANSAS AT OLE MISS: These are two teams that are difficult to get a gauge on. Arkansas is hurting at running back and Ole Miss has a healthy Eli Manning who has been on the short end of this series 0-2, including a seven overtime defeat in 2001. Revenge factor is strong in this one and that's why I like to Rebels to prevail. Ole Miss 31, Arkansas 23.

AUBURN AT LSU: Auburn is playing better at this time but the Plainsmen could be due a letdown while LSU is trying to atone for losing at home to Florida. Nick Saban knows how to defense the run and Auburn will need to establish a passing game to win. LSU 20, Auburn 16.

ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM AT GEORGIA: The Bulldogs are feeling their chomps and the Trailblazers should prove to be a bite-size treat. Who do you see to get a schedule like Georgia has had to this point? Georgia 37, UAB 10.

MISSISSIPPI STATE AT KENTUCKY: These teams will welcome each other with open arms and one will come away with a rare SEC victory. It doesn't look like Jackie Sherrill's announced retirement has revved his Bulldogs up and the Wildcats are playing at home. Kentucky 34, MSU 24.

VANDY AT SOUTH CAROLINA: Vanderbilt is improved but it's hard to prove it by their record this season. South Carolina has more talent and is playing at home where they lost to LSU last week. Don't expect a repeat performance. South Carolina 28, Vanderbilt 13.

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