UT, Tide Top SEC Slate

The two most tradition-rich football programs in the SEC collide Saturday in Knoxville, as Alabama's Crimson Tide and Tennessee's Volunteers square off at 3:30 in a game to be televised by CBS. The fact the teams compete in different divisions has taken a little luster off the match-up but not THAT much.

The Vol-Tide battle is clearly the headliner on an otherwise nondescript SEC schedule, although South Carolina's game at Vanderbilt could prove to be quite interesting.

InsideTennessee's Randy Moore went 5-1 on last week's SEC Picks, boosting his season's record to 49-9. Cohort Jeffery Stewart went 4-2 and continues to set the pace at 52-6.

That said, here are this week's picks:

Jeffery's picks:

OLE MISS AT ARKANSAS: Last season the Rebels held the Razorbacks to 89 rushing yards, as they packed the box and plugged the gaps. Despite their success shutting down the ground game, which averaged 216 yards per game, Ole Miss lost 28-17. They'll deploy the same tactics this year —what else can you do against a team that averages 235.1 rushing yards per game? — with the same results. Can't blame big Ed for forcing a freshman QB to beat him rather than have Darren McFadden and Flex Jones run a sprint relay all day . The Rebels have shown signs of life the last two games, but will need some turnovers to reverse their fortunes in Fayetteville. Arkansas 31, Ole Miss 20.

MISSISSIPPI STATE AT GEORGIA: So which do you think was more painful for Georgia fans: Watching UT score 51 points between the hedges? Or watching the Dores defeat their darling Dawgs in sacred Sanford Stadium? Will Richie Richt's golden boy/ gridiron genius title be recalled? Am I rubbing it in? You bettcha. But the pain train will stop this week with Sylvester leading his pussy cats into the Dogs' den. McGruff says a pissed off UGA takes a bite out of Croome. Georgia 33, MSU 13.

TULANE AT AUBURN: Nothing like playing Tulane for homecoming a week after defeating No. 2 ranked Florida without the benefit of an offensive touchdown. Unless, of course, it's defeating the Gators at home a week after losing to Arkansas at home. Undoubtedly, Tommy Tuberville's sense of timing is uncanny. He left Ole Miss after two years (staying in Oxford any longer is dangerous to your coaching career), and he goes 13-0 at Auburn the season after the AD's office tried to replace him with Bobby Petrino. He'll need a lot of help to get his Cats back to Hotlanta this season, but he finishes up with Tulane, Ole Miss, Arkansas State, Georgia (at home) and Alabama. An 11-1 record and BCS bid will go a long way to keeping the wolves at bay in the loveliest village on the cow pasture. Yes, Double T is a titan of terrific timing. Auburn 38, Tulane 10.

SOUTH CAROLINA AT VANDERBILT: I haven't been able to figure Vanderbilt out this season. I picked the Commodores to beat Ole Miss and they lose. I picked them to lose to Georgia and they win. Vandy should have momentum and confidence coming back home, but Spurrier has had an off week to work his voodoo on the Gamecocks' offense. (A little trickeration from the Ol' Ball Coach, please.) S.C. has won the last six in this series, and the Dores may have emptied their emotional tank in two hard fought conference road games. South Carolina 23, Vanderbilt 17.

FRESNO STATE AT LSU: Talk about an arduous endeavor. The Vols have to tangle with a revenge-minded LSU squad on Nov. 4, after the Tigers have home tune-ups against Kentucky and Frenso State followed by a bye week. Conversely, UT catches LSU between road games against South Carolina and Arkansas. Schedules make for titles and upsets more than turnovers do. Of yeah, the Tigers will feast on the Bulldogs just like they did the Wildcats. LSU 45, Fresno State 13.

ALABAMA AT TENNESSEE: Alabama has thrived as the underdog against Tennessee and the Vols are an 11-point favorite. Will history repeat itself on The Third Saturday in October? No one should be shocked if it does, but the Vols will be fresher, as they are entering this annual encounter after an off week. They also have home field advantage and revenge as a powerful motive. Erik Ainge's "we know we're going to win" talk didn't make much sense, nor did it make the challenge any easier, but the Vols should have enough firepower to prevail in a game that Coach Fulmer always has his team fired up to play. Tennessee 30, Alabama 17.

Randy's picks:

OLE MISS AT ARKANSAS: Rebel QB Bret Schaeffer is in for a shock this weekend at Fayetteville. I'm guessing 72,000 people have never yelled "Soooey, pig!" at him before. Arkansas 24, Ole Miss 7

MISSISSIPPI STATE AT GEORGIA: Mark Richt's boys have lost two games in a row, so this Bulldog Battle could be billed "Sylvester Croom and the Hedges of Doom." Georgia 35, Mississippi State 7

TULANE AT AUBURN: The Tigers are sure to be flat coming off their emotional upset of second-ranked Florida but it won't matter ... much. Auburn 31, Tulane 10

SOUTH CAROLINA AT VANDERBILT: The Commodores stunned Georgia on the road last weekend, so they should be able to beat the Gamecocks at home this weekend ... except Vandy historically has trouble handling success. South Carolina 24, Vanderbilt 20

FRESNO STATE AT LSU: This would've been an exciting game a few years ago, when Fresno was really good. Unfortunately, the 2006 Bulldogs are 1-5 and about to be 1-6 ... emphatically. LSU 38, Fresno 7

ALABAMA AT TENNESSEE: The Tide has been squeaking by against mediocre foes such as Hawaii (25-17), Vanderbilt (13-10) and Ole Miss (26-23 in OT). Look for the Vols to apply enough grease to stop the squeaking. Tennessee 27, Alabama 13


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