Two Showdowns on Tap

The Wild, Wild West will come into sharper focus this weekend as Alabama (4-0), Auburn (3-0) and LSU (3-1) are involved in key games. Auburn travels to LSU, while Alabama hosts a capable but struggling Tennessee team.

Meanwhile, some SEC also-rans collide this weekend. Kentucky and Ole Miss collide in Oxford, while Vanderbilt and South Carolina tee it up in Columbia. High-flying Georgia hosts a disappointing Arkansas team, while Mississippi State hosts Houston.

Rockytop.com experts Jeffery Stewart and Randy Moore went 4-0 on last weekend's SEC picks, boosting each to 40-9 on the year. Better get ‘em while they're hot. Here are this week's picks:

Randy's picks:

TENNESSEE AT ALABAMA: Losing big-play specialist Tyrone Prothro left Bama with a great defense and an impotent offense. In other words, the Tide has become Tennessee. The home field is key. Bama 13, Tennessee 10

ARKANSAS AT GEORGIA: The Dawgs will be looking ahead to next weekend's SEC East showdown with Florida, and that could keep this game close — for a half. Georgia 31, Arkansas 10

AUBURN AT LSU: JaMarcus Russell is one of the most gifted quarterbacks in college football but he makes too many mistakes to beat a team as opportunistic as Auburn. That'll be the difference. Auburn 24, LSU 20

KENTUCKY AT OLE MISS: For the first time since Idaho State on Sept. 10, the Wildcats are facing an opponent they could beat. The operative word, of course, is COULD. Ole Miss 24, Kentucky 17

HOUSTON AT MISSISSIPPI STATE: Sylvester Croom's Bulldogs are outmanned most Saturdays. This weekend is a rare exception to that rule, so the Dogs need to take advantage. Mississippi State 21, Houston 10

VANDERBILT AT SOUTH CAROLINA: If the Commodores are ever going to beat Steve Spurrier, this would be the year. I guess the Commodores are never going to beat Spurrier. South Carolina 27, Vandy 20

Jeffery's picks:

TENNESSEE AT ALABAMA: I picked the Volunteers to beat Florida and they lost. I picked them to lose to LSU and they won. I picked them to edge Georgia and they didn't come close. Clearly, I need help when it comes to figuring Tennessee. Picking the Vols to beat Bama would be the proverbial kiss of death. Therefore, as a public service to Big Orange fans everywhere, I'm taking Bama to end its home losing streak against UT with a victory Saturday in Tuscaloosa. In truth, it's hard not to go with the Vols given their overwhelming success against Bama during the last decade. Furthermore, this is a different position for the Crimson Tide to be in and it remains to be seen how the team and coaching staff will respond to the pressure of being a top ten, defending a perfect record against a talented and, an allegedly, hungry opponent. Life as the hunted has its drawbacks. Still UT's offense has been a bust and Brodie Croyle is a seasoned veteran QB, enjoying a standout senior season. Alabama 20, Tennessee 14.

ARKANSAS AT GEORGIA: It's the Bulldogs vs. the Razorbacks, the Dawgs against the Hawgs, the Canine verses the Swine. With Florida and Auburn ahead on the schedule this has the look of a letdown game for UGA, but that doesn't mean the Bulldogs won't win by three touchdowns. Arkansas appears to be drawing names out of a hat to see who will open at quarterback, and the Dawg defenders are standing in line to greet the winner. Georgia 34, Arkansas 14.

AUBURN AT LSU: Another annual SEC showdown that has had national implications in recent years, including the 2004 contest which Auburn won 10-9 in the hardest earned victory in its undefeated (13-0) campaign. You might recall that LSU scored a touchdown with 1:14 to play only to miss two extra points to tie the game. These teams have alternated victories the last five years with the home team winning each time. LSU is at home with a chance to jump right back into the SEC West race. One can't help but wonder whether Auburn's undersized LBs can step up and stop LSU's running game? Or if the Plainsmen have the passing game to attack LSU's suspect secondary? LSU 27, Auburn 17.

KENTUCKY AT OLE MISS: The Rich Brooks farewell tour hits Oxford this weekend where the Wildcats should, at least, be well rested with two of the last three weeks off. In between those ubiquitous byes, Kentucky was cold cocked by the Gamecocks. It's rare when you have two teams looking for their first SEC win in late October and one of them no being Vanderbilt. The Kats search will continue next when they host Mississippi State for homecoming. Ole Miss 31, Kentucky 19.

HOUSTON AT MISSISSIPPI STATE: These teams seem to be so evenly matched that if you were to pick the winner with a flip of a coin, it would probably land on its side. But I'm a sucker for sentiment and with the Bulldogs coming off an open date and playing their homecoming in Starkville, I've got to take MSU to pull out a much needed victory. Mississippi State 24, Houston 21.


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