Pickers Grinning After Sweet Week
The SEC competition gets a little tougher this weekend, and so does the picking. Except for Eastern Michigan at Florida, all of the SEC games this Saturday should be reasonably competitive. Can Jeffery and Randy build on their sizzling starts? We shall see. Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky are idle this weekend, so some national matchups are included to provide an even 10 games. Randy Moore's picks: OLE MISS AT ALABAMA: The Rebels are reeling after a Game 1 loss to Memphis; the Tide is rolling after a Game 1 blowout of Utah State. If you're building a case for easy openers, this qualifies as Exhibit A ... Bama 27, Ole Miss 17. TEXAS AT ARKANSAS: No coach does less with more than Mack Brown. No coach does more with less than Houston Nutt. Arkansas stunned the Longhorns last year in Austin, however, so revenge could be the deciding factor in this game ... Texas 27, Arkansas 20. AUBURN AT MISSISSIPPI STATE: Sylvester Croom's debut was impressive but Tulane didn't have Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown in its backfield ... Auburn 24, Mississippi State 14. EASTERN MICHIGAN AT FLORIDA: The only question about this game is: How much of their offensive package will the Gators show with Tennessee next on the schedule? More than enough, I'm guessing ... Florida 45, Eastern Michigan 7. GEORGIA AT SOUTH CAROLINA: The Gamecocks scored a first-round knockout of Vanderbilt in Game 1 but the Dawgs are a lot more talented and resilient. Still, this one could be interesting if Carolina gets off to another quick start ... Georgia 20, South Carolina 10. ARKANSAS STATE AT LSU: The Tigers were embarrassed by their sloppy performance vs. Oregon State, so they'll be looking for redemption this week. That's bad news for Arkansas State ... LSU 38, Arkansas State 7. GEORGIA TECH AT CLEMSON: The Tigers had a tough time with Wake Forest in Game 1 and they'll probably be tested again in Game 2. The home field advantage and Charlie Whitehurst should be decisive, and Clemson has them both ... Clemson 27, Georgia Tech 20. FRESNO STATE AT KANSAS STATE: The return of star QB Paul Pinegar has given the Bulldogs a lot more bite ... Fresno 34, Kansas State 31. MICHIGAN AT NOTRE DAME: If you can't beat Brigham Young, how are you going to beat Michigan? I don't have the answer, and I suspect Ty Willingham doesn't, either ... Michigan 27, Notre Dame 17. UNLV AT WISCONSIN: The Rebels sprang the upset last year but their return trip to Badgerland won't be quite as much fun ... Wisconsin 28, UNLV 20. Jeffery Stewart's picks: Well I got lucky on a couple of picks last week and the rest were embarrassingly easy. That's not quite the case this week and now, after watching week one, I know just enough to be really confused. Nevertheless here are my picks for week two. (A reminder to our readers: This weekly feature is for entertainment purposes only. If you use these picks to make wagers you're in serious need of professional help.) OLE MISS AT ALABAMA: These teams have alternated wins and losses the last four years with Ole Miss winning last season 43-28. The Crimson Tide won in 2000 (45-7) and in 2002 (42-7) with the Rebels prevailing in 2001 (27-24). Look for this trend to continue with the home-standing Tide sending Ole Miss to an 0-2 start. Alabama 30, Ole Miss 17 TEXAS AT ARKANSAS: This year's contest marks the 35th anniversary of the classic 1969 match that pitted the top two teams in the nation in a game played at Fayetteville before an overflow crowd that included President Richard Nixon. This rivalry was suspended when Arkansas bolted for the SEC in 1992 and this will be the third time the Horns and Hogs have met since the 1999 Cotton Bowl. Arkansas won both of the prior meetings despite entering as a seven-point underdog in Dallas and a 13-point underdog last year in Austin. The Hogs are 111/2-point dogs on Saturday. Houston Nutt has been nearly impossible to beat in Fayetteville while Mack Brown has had trouble in these type of emotionally charged struggles. UT QB Vincent Young will test a suspect Razorback secondary and the Horns defense is the strength of the team. Still, I like the Hogs to keep this one close behind the magic of Matt Jones and with a little luck.... who knows? What we do know is Arkansas has an affinity for OT and Brown has a proclivity for underachievement. Regardless of the outcome, expect gentle weeping from Coach Nutt after the game. Arkansas 27, Texas 24. AUBURN AT MISSISSIPPI STATE: The Bulldogs got off to a good start with a nice win over Tulane last week, while the Tigers flexed their muscle against lowly UL Monroe. Sylvester Croom has his squad playing with emotion but that won't be enough to knock off Auburn even in Starkville, as the Cadillac breezes in this road test. Auburn EASTERN MICHIGAN AT FLORIDA: Eastern Michigan goes to the Swamp as 2004's first sacrifice to the Gator god — an honor MTSU averted last week with the arrival of Frances. Expect this one to get ugly as Florida tunes up for next week's trip to Knoxville. Florida 45, Eastern Michigan 9. GEORGIA AT SOUTH CAROLINA: The Gamecocks are fresh off a victory at Vanderbilt and Georgia is still waking up from a sleeper between the hedges against Georgia Southern. Lou's crew will be laying in wait for the Bulldogs, and the Gamecocks knocked off Georgia 13-7 the last time these teams met in Columbia (2002). USC could sure shake up the SEC East with an upset, but David Greene has been pure gold on the road. Georgia 24, South Carolina 13. ARKANSAS STATE AT LSU: The Tigers needed overtime, two missed extra points and a late-game scoring drive to avoid an upset against the Oregon State Beavers last week. No such late-game dramatics will be required against Arkansas State as these anemic Indians couldn't find the war path with a road map. LSU 55, ASU 6. GEORGIA TECH AT CLEMSON: The Tigers have captured three in a row against Georgia Tech and has home field advantage for this one. Clemson struggled last week against Wake Forest before coming away with a victory. Expect Tommy Bowden's boys to bear down against the Yellowjackets and breeze to victory in Death Valley. Clemson 34, Georgia Tech 17, FRESNO STATE AT KANSAS STATE: Fresno State surprised the Huskies in Washington last week which will have the Wildcats on full alert this week as the Bulldogs invade Manhattan. That should be enough to allow K-State to escape with a win against a FSU squad that is better than advertised. Kansas State 33, Fresno State 24. MICHIGAN AT NOTRE DAME: The Wolverines whipped Notre Dame 38-0 last season in Ann Arbor and are looking to make it two in a row against a Fighting Irish squad that appeared inept against BYU in their opener. Notre Dame hasn't done anything to close the gap on Michigan and neither home field advantage or Irish luck will be enough to avert an 0-2 start. Michigan 30, Notre Dame 21. UNLV AT WISCONSIN: After upsetting the Badgers last season in Madison, UNLV returns a marked team in 2004. Consecutive road games against powerful opponents will prove too steep a mountain to scale for a Rebel team that has talent but lacks depth. Still John Robinson's team could give the Badgers trouble with its speed and quickness. Wisconsin 34, UNLV 20.
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