Who'll Prevail? Vols or Gators

They say water always seeks its natural level, and that was the case with InsideTennessee.com ''experts'' Randy Moore and Jeffery Stewart last weekend. After posting a sizzling 19-1 mark for Week 1 of SEC football, they slipped to 14-6 in Week 2.

Moore's 8-2 mark gave him a season record of 17-3 and a one game lead on Stewart, who dipped to 6-4 after a perfect 10-0 mark in Week 1.

The big games this week are LSU at Auburn and Florida at Tennessee. Since LSU has a great rushing defense and Auburn has a great rushing offense, their meeting rekindles the old question: ''What happens when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object?''

As for Tennessee and Florida, both teams have inexperienced secondaries that could be vulnerable to the pass. With rain in the forecast, however, throwing the football may become more hazardous than usual.

That said, here are this week's picks:


WESTERN CAROLINA AT ALABAMA: Utah State, Ole Miss and Western Carolina ... all at home. Is the Tide ever going to play a quality foe? Bama 41, Western Carolina 7.

LOUISIANA-MONROE AT ARKANSAS: Louisiana-Monroe is the perfect tonic for a post-Texas hangover. Even if the Razorbacks are down, they should win handily. Arkansas 42, ULM 7.

LSU AT AUBURN: Both teams have questions at quarterback but only Auburn has questions on defense. This should be a great game. LSU 24, Auburn 20.

FLORIDA AT TENNESSEE: Two suspect secondaries could make for a high-scoring afternoon, even if the rainy forecast proves correct. The visitor has won the last four meetings but nothing lasts forever. Tennessee 27, Florida 24.

MARSHALL AT GEORGIA: The Thundering Herd nearly upset Ohio State last weekend, so this game is no walk in the park for the Bulldogs, who were nearly upset by South Carolina last weekend. Georgia 24, Marshall 17.

INDIANA AT KENTUCKY: Kentucky won't have many opportunities to win this season but this game is one of them. If the Big Blue loses, Rich Brooks better have some compromising photos of athletics director Mitch Barnhart if he wants to keep his job. Kentucky 20, Indiana 17.

VANDERBILT AT OLE MISS: Vandy historically gives Ole Miss trouble, and the Rebels already are causing themselves plenty of trouble this fall. Unless the Rebs find a productive quarterback, they could slump to 0-3. Ole Miss 20, Vanderbilt 13.

MAINE AT MISSISSIPPI STATE: A week after getting its butt kicked by Auburn, Mississippi State gets to do some bullying of its own. Mississippi State 34, Maine 7.

SOUTH FLORIDA AT SOUTH CAROLINA: The Gamecocks have shown a knack for fast starts but you wonder if they can bounce back after that heartbreaking loss to Georgia last weekend. I suspect they will ... eventually. South Carolina 27, South Florida 10.

(BONUS PICK) OHIO STATE AT NORTH CAROLINA STATE: After nearly losing to Marshall last weekend, Ohio State is about to be reminded that we take our football seriously here in the South. N.C. State 27, Ohio State 21.


Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear slaps you senseless with a dead salmon. Still reeling from last week's oversights and an undistinguished 8-4 mark, I venture back into the arena of public prognostication a little wiser, but still very confused. How did the Fighting Irish maul Michigan one week after being dismantled by BYU? Who would have thought the FSU Bulldogs would be better than the FSU Seminoles? And how about them Hogs? Even my pigskin upset pick was a pig in the poke. Oh well, each new week is another chance to prove yourself wrong. Or as Sergeant Schultz would say: "I know NOTHING."

WESTERN CAROLINA AT ALABAMA: This may come as a surprise to our readers but I like Alabama in this one. I really know NOTHING about Western Carolina other than it is not a D-I school and is in way over its head, especially after Ivan turns Tucaloosa into Lake Superior with high Tide arriving at kickoff. Bama should promote this one with the slogan: Come for the hurricane, stay for the fun. Alabama 51, Western Carolina 10.

LOUISIANA-MONROE AT ARKANSAS: In an odd turn of events Arkansas is actually the visiting team for this game played in Little Rock. It seems Louisiana-Monroe needed a boost in its attendance figures to retain it's status as a Division-I school and UA athletic director Frank Broyles was more than glad to oblige as long as he could add another home game to the slate. However Broyles can't loan LMU any D-I talent and there in lies the rub. Arkansas 47, Louisiana-Monroe 13.

LSU AT AUBURN: This cat fight matches Auburn, the team predicted to win the 2003 national title, and LSU, the team that did win the 2003 national title. The former is a ground team with a grind it out personality. The latter is a team built around a great run-stop defense. In a war of wits and wills, I'll take Saban's Tigers to top Tuberville's Tigers, despite the fact Auburn is the favorite and has home field advantage. LSU 23, Auburn 17.

FLORIDA AT TENNESSEE: As noted in Devil's Advocate, history is on the Gators side Saturday. But UT appears to be loose and enjoying the game of football after carrying the burden of expectations into recent home encounters vs. Florida. That may be the edge they need to beat the Gators in consecutive games for the first time since 1970-71. Tennessee 24, Florida 19.

MARSHALL AT GEORGIA: After watching Ohio State struggle at home last week against the Thundering Herd, it's fair to say there's a new Marshall in town. However the junkyard Dogs still rule between the hedges and the Herd may be hard pressed to reach last week's emotional peak again. Georgia 31, Marshall 20.

INDIANA AT KENTUCKY: Put these two schools on a basketball court and you have an instant classic. Put the same schools on a football field and you have a blooper classic. Nevertheless, the Wildcats have won four of the last five, including two in a row. I'll go with the prevailing trend and home field advantage. Kentucky 27, Indiana 21.

VANDERBILT AT OLE MISS: It wasn't long ago Vandy head coach Bobby Johnson was at SEC Media Days cracking wise about crossing the Alabama-Tennessee border. That's not surprising. In fact, Vanderbilit is always welcomed into neighboring states of the SEC or the states of any other conference for that matter. Usually, the Commodores are guests of honor for homecoming. After consecutive defeats to start the season, the Rebels will roll out the welcome mat before rolling to a much needed win over the much abused Dores. Mississippi 24, Vanderbilt 13.

MAINE AT MISSISSIPPI STATE: Do the schedule makers in Starkville have no shame? Did they have to promise to name a street after this opponent to get the team into town? Was Slippery Rock already booked on Saturday? Do the Bulldogs have to drop out of Division I if they lose? The only line in this game is the one heading for the exits — early. Mississippi State 49, Maine 6.

SOUTH FLORIDA AT SOUTH CAROLINA: If last week's narrow loss to Georgia didn't take too much out of them the Gamecocks should take care of business with relative ease against a South Florida team that hasn't been competitive against SEC opponents — losing at Alabama 40-17 in 2003, to Arkansas 42-3 in 2002 and at Kentucky 27-9 in 2000. South Carolina 33, South Florida 17.

(BONUS PICK) OHIO STATE AT NORTH CAROLINA STATE: The Buckeyes almost got a black eye last week in Columbus before finally subduing Marshall with a last second, long range field goal. N.C. State may have more confidence after seeing that close call, but the Wolfpack has lost its element of surprise while OSU gets a much needed wake-up call. Ohio State 27, N.C. State 21.

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