Picking and Winning

The SEC schedule is pretty slim this weekend, with just four games on tap. Still, there are some interesting matchups on the slate. LSU faces improving Arkansas in Little Rock, while Mississippi State visits Ole Miss and Georgia hosts Georgia Tech in a couple of heated in-state rivalries.

InsideTennessee.com analysts Randy Moore and Jeffery Stewart apparently shined their crystal balls recently because each correctly picked eight of 10 games last weekend. Moore's record improved to 85-35, while Stewart's improved to 89-31.

Below are this week's prophecies:

Randy Moore's picksLSU VS. ARKANSAS (at Little Rock): Nick Saban's 8-2 Tigers are trying to earn a bid to the Cotton Bowl. Houston Nutt's 5-5 Razorbacks are trying to get eligible for ANY bowl. Arkansas 24, LSU 21.

KENTUCKY AT TENNESSEE: The Vols got their wake-up call last weekend at Vanderbilt, so they should be hitting the snooze button early this Saturday. Tennessee 34, Kentucky 7.

MISSISSIPPI STATE AT OLE MISS: With each team sporting a 3-7 record, the Egg Bowl is a shell of its former self. Both quarterbacks will be looking to scramble but only one will leave Vaught-Hemingway Stadium with his sunny side up. Pardon the bad yokes. Ole Miss 24, Mississippi State 20.

GEORGIA TECH AT GEORGIA: The Bulldogs blew their national title hopes with a home loss to Tennessee. Still, a convincing win in this game could earn them a BCS bowl bid -- a nice consolation prize. Georgia 27, Georgia Tech 17.

NOTRE DAME AT SOUTHERN CAL: Unless USC quarterback Matt Leinart gets hurt on the final play of the first half, the Trojans should win handily. USC 34, Notre Dame 17.

OKLAHOMA STATE AT TEXAS TECH: Two of the NCAA's most underrated teams collide in Lubbock. If the weather's decent, the pass-happy Red Raiders should prevail. Texas Tech 31, Oklahoma State 24.

TEXAS A&M AT TEXAS: The fifth-ranked Longhorns have a tendency to choke in big games, and this one is pretty darned big. I think Mack Brown finds a way to lose. Texas A&M 24, Texas 20.

VIRGINIA AT VIRGINIA TECH: Two teams with 8-2 records and top-20 rankings collide in their annual in-state grudge match. This one ought to be interesting. Virginia 28, Virginia Tech 27.

WAKE FOREST AT MARYLAND: Both squads have had amazing highs and lows this fall. In other words, they're typical ACC programs. Maryland 20, Wake Forest 17.

SYRACUSE AT BOSTON COLLEGE: I don't know how much longer Syracuse is going to keep Paul Pasqualoni, especially after he loses this game. Boston College 31, Syracuse 14.

Jeffery Stewart's picks

LSU AT ARKANSAS: The home team has won the last six in this series and the last time they played in Little Rock, Matt Jones threw a 37-yard touchdown on the game's final play to give the Hogs the victory. That contest went down in local lore as The Miracle on Markham St., which is where War Memorial Stadium is located. No doubt, Jones is very dangerous and this is the type of stage on which he shines, but four of UA's losses have ended on a turnover he's made (two fumbles and two INTs). It won't be easy to establish the run against LSU and Jones will get a lot of pressure when he passes. LSU 21, Arkansas 17.

KENTUCKY AT TENNESSEE: The Vols exhibited a glaring lack of killer instinct against Vanderbilt last week and they have played too many close games this season to be comfortable against any team, especially a longtime rival coming in with two weeks to prepare. UT also has a long list of wounded warriors, including three starters in the O-line and its top two quarterbacks. But it seems the Vols always find a way to beat the Wildcats and usually beat them badly. Tennessee 30, Kentucky 13.

MISSISSIPPI STATE AT OLE MISS: That rotten egg smell in the Magnolia State is to warn fans they are getting near the infamous Egg Bowl. With seven wins collectively this was the only bowl game the Rebs and Dogs qualify for in ‘04 and they'll play each other hard trying to avoid a season-ending setback and the bad taste it would leave in their mouths for the next nine months. Both teams are coming off close losses and the one with the most left in the emotional tank should prevail. Home field has its advantages. Mississippi 27, Mississippi State 24.

GEORGIA TECH AT GEORGIA: The Bulldogs have won 10 of the last 13 in this series, including the last three in a row, and figure to maintain their mastery between the hedges on senior's day. Georgia 28, Georgia Tech 16.

NOTRE DAME AT SOUTHERN CAL: The Fighting Irish could make this one interesting for a half but the Trojans are a whole lot better and have won seven of their last eight home finales. Also, USC has won the last two meetings in this high-profile series by 31 points apiece. USC 38, Notre Dame 20.

OKLAHOMA STATE AT TEXAS TECH: The Red Raiders' high-caliber offense will come out with both barrels smoking and probably put too many points on the board for the Cowboys to match. But that's not to say Oklahoma State won't turn it into a good, old-fashioned shootout. Texas Tech 42, Oklahoma State 34.

TEXAS A&M AT TEXAS: The Aggies have lost the last three against their archrival by an average of 25 points per game. It should be much closer this year as Dennis Franchione has his team playing up to its potential. However, A&M simply doesn't have enough potential at this point to knock off the Longhorns in Austin, where Texas has been virtually unbeatable in season finales under Mack Brown. Texas 29, Texas A&M 21.

VIRGINIA AT VIRGINIA TECH: The Cavaliers beat VTU last season, 35-21, in Charlottesville and the Hokies will be primed for pay back in Blacksburg, where they have a history of success in home finales. Virginia Tech 27, Virginia 20.

WAKE FOREST AT MARYLAND: The Demon Deacons have been a mild surprise this season while the Terps have been a major disappointment. But Maryland is at home and have a chance to go out on a high note. Maryland 24, Wake Forest 20. SYRACUSE AT BOSTON COLLEGE: This is a bad spot for the Orangemen, who gave B.C. a 39-14 headache in last year's encounter at the Carrier Dome. The Eagles will soar Saturday against a Syracuse squad just begging to be put out of its misery. Boston College 35, Syracuse 20.


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