SEC Picks, Week 5

Resident experts Randy Moore and Jeffery Stewart figured Tennessee's football team was a sure loser heading to Death Valley for Monday night's game at No. 4 LSU. Both picked the home-standing Tigers to whip the offensively challenged Vols.

Moore and Stewart were looking pretty smart when LSU built a 21-0 halftime lead but both wound up with egg on their faces when the Big Orange rallied to win 30-27 in overtime. Did they learn from the experience? Maybe. Both are picking Tennessee in Saturday's game with visiting Ole Miss.

Stewart and Moore went 6-2 each on last week's SEC picks, leaving them with matching records of 27-7 through four weeks of action. Here are their forecasts for this weekend:

Jeffery's picks:

FLORIDA AT ALABAMA: This one has title implications and the undivided attention of Big Orange fans with Tennessee's top two most hated rivals tangling in a battle of unbeatens. I'm not sold on the Gators as a world beater despite their victory over the Vols. On the other hand, Bama has looked vulnerable against the run in games against Southern Miss and Arkansas. This will be the first game Chris Leak has had to deal with a large vociferous home crowd which could pose problems making checks, especially from the shotgun. Florida's one-back scheme should be easier to defense, but scoring points through the air against Florida's DBs will be a tough test. They'll need to force some turnovers, but I believe Bama will accomplish that and score an upset. Alabama 20, Florida 17.

SOUTH CAROLINA AT AUBURN: After dropping their season opener to Georgia Tech, the Tigers have rebounded nicely. Of course, playing home games against Mississippi State, Ball State and Western Kentucky helps. South Carolina will offer more resistance but not enough to score an upset. We won't know how good the Tigers are until the second half of the season when they play at Arkansas, LSU, Georgia and host Alabama. Auburn 34, South Carolina 17.

LSU AT MISSISSIPPI STATE: After Monday's second half meltdown, the Tigers should be fighting mad for this game, but they may also have an emotional hangover. Even with a severe case of the sore head, the Tigers have enough talent to kick some tail. LSU 31, MSU 13.

OLE MISS AT TENNESSEE: Coming off an amazing second-half comeback, the Vols emotional reserves may be on empty while their attention may be on next week's SEC East Division showdown with Georgia. Nevertheless, Tennessee still has plenty to prove and putting together a complete game in front of the home crowd is enough incentive to fuel its fire. The Vols defense is one of the best in the country and with Rick Clausen in charge of the offense, I expect to see a solid performance against an out manned Ole Miss squad. Tennessee 37, Ole Miss 10.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT VANDERBILT: There are literally thousands of Vandy fans coming out of the closet now that the Dores have opened the season at 4-0. They'll be able to show their gold for one more week then comes LSU, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee. Vanderbilt 26, MTSU 17.

Randy's picks:

FLORIDA AT ALABAMA: Urban Meyer's first big SEC road test should be a stern one. Alabama's offense tends to sputter but the talented Tide secondary could give Chris Leak trouble. Florida 24, Bama 17

SOUTH CAROLINA AT AUBURN: Auburn has fattened up on three cupcakes since losing its opener to Georgia Tech but the Tigers have built some offensive momentum and confidence. Besides, the Gamecocks can't stop the run. Auburn 27, S. Carolina 14

LSU AT MISSISSIPPI STATE: LSU's psyche will be fragile after blowing a 21-0 lead and losing to Tennessee. The Tigers are ripe for an upset but Mississippi State lacks the firepower to land the knockout punch. LSU 24, Miss. State 17

OLE MISS AT TENNESSEE: Except for a goal line interception in the final seconds of Game 1 at Memphis, the Rebels would be 0-3. Unless the Vols are looking ahead to Georgia, this game shouldn't be close. Tennessee 31, Ole Miss 10

MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT VANDERBILT: The stakes in this game are usually mid-state bragging rights. With Vandy cruising along at 4-0, though, a win gets the Commodores one step closer to bowl eligibility. Vanderbilt 31, MTSU 21


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