SEC Picks, Week 11

Remarkably accurate on their SEC picks in Weeks 1 through 9, InsideTennessee.com analysts Jeffery Stewart and Randy Moore took it on the chin in Week 10, suffering through a collection of close calls and near misses. Stewart went 4-3, Moore 3-4.

"There's still a lot of season left," Stewart said. "I just need to continue picking them one game at a time. There's still a lot to pick for. I just have to be more picky. There's no "I" in the word team, but there are two in winning. And you can take that to the bank."

Meanwhile, Moore was more succinct, blaming an assortment of factors for his losing record last Saturday. "It was like a perfect storm," he lamented.

Despite last week's misadventure, Stewart carries an impressive 69-9 record into this weekend's games. Moore checks in at 65-13.

With the two Mississippi schools enjoying open dates, only five games are on this week's SEC schedule. All are intra-league match-ups.

That said, here are this weekend's picks:

RANDY'S PICKS

ALABAMA AT LSU: Mississippi State beat Bama by eight and LSU beat Mississippi State by 31. That means the Tigers are 39 points better than the Tide. Hmmmm ... I never was good in math. LSU 24, Alabama 10

GEORGIA AT AUBURN: The 2006 Dawgs seem to be finding a new way to lose each week. They won't have to look hard to find one this Saturday. Auburn 27, Georgia 13

SOUTH CAROLINA AT FLORIDA: Urban Meyer's team is far from invincible but the Ol' Ball Coach is just as far from having enough manpower to prove it. Florida 28, South Carolina 17

VANDERBILT AT KENTUCKY: These teams usually meet to see who finishes last in the SEC East. This year they meet to see who finishes its season in a bowl game. Kentucky 31, Vanderbilt 27

TENNESSEE AT ARKANSAS: The Vols ran out of big finishes last week against LSU. The way things are going they're likely to run out of players pretty soon. Arkansas 27, Tennessee 20

JEFFERY'S PICKS

ALABAMA AT LSU: When these teams met last year in Tuscaloosa, LSU toppled the No. 4 ranked Crimson Tide 16-13 in overtime, as the Tigers won for the fifth time in the last six meetings of this storied SEC series. This year the game is being played in Baton Rouge with Alabama (6-4) coming in unranked and struggling to salvage its season. Mike Shula's squad needs a split in its final two games ( LSU and Auburn) to have a winning record. It won't happen against LSU, although the Tigers might still be licking their wounds from a hard-fought victory over the Vols. LSU 30, Alabama 13

GEORGIA AT AUBURN: This is the 110th meeting in southern football's oldest rivalry, and Auburn holds a narrow 53-48-8 series lead. The Tigers are still in contention for the SEC and national titles, although they would need help. Georgia (6-4) needs a lot more help just to notch a winning season and migrate to a minor bowl. Here's what you have to ask yourself: if the Bulldogs couldn't beat Vanderbilt or Kentucky what chance do they have against Auburn and Georgia Tech? Answer: Slim and None. Auburn 33, Georgia 17.

SOUTH CAROLINA AT FLORIDA: Once again Steve Spurrier has proven himself a talented coach by guiding a suspect Gamecock squad to a 5-4 mark. But playing consecutive games against Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida is hazardous to a team's health. So is playing in the Swamp a year after upsetting the Gators. Ironically, Spurrier's sentimental journey will come to an abrupt halt on the very field where his legend was launched. Florida 28, South Carolina 13.

VANDERBILT AT KENTUCKY: Admittedly, this is a game that has me flummoxed. (And I'm not even sure what flummoxed means.) Kentucky (5-4) has the better record and is playing at home. Vanderbilt (4-6) has the better defense and has played the tougher schedule. In fact, four of the Dores' defeats — to Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and South Carolina — were by a touchdown or less. Additionally, Vandy is a good road underdog while the Wildcats are poor home favorites. Plus, Bobby Johnson's team has a good ground attack (No. 4 in the SEC with 151 yards per game, while Kentucky is last in the Conference in run defense.) Finally, the Dores have plenty of motivation since the Kats knocked them out of a bowl bid last season with a 48-43 victory in Nashville. Hey, suddenly I don't feel quite so flummoxed. At least, I think I don't. Vanderbilt 21, Kentucky 17.

TENNESSEE AT ARKANSAS: Plotting SEC games is not so easy as simply comparing opponents. You have to compare schedules. Clearly, the Vols have had a tougher road coming into this one. UT has played three straight games that have gone to the final buzzer with the outcome hanging in the balance. By contrast, the Hogs have wallowed their way to this point with easy wins over Mississippi and Louisiana-Monroe, followed by a close victory at South Carolina. Now that's not as tough as the road the Vols take into Fayetteville, but it's actually tougher than the Razorbacks have traveled this season. And it's the first time this season Arkansas has played teams that have winning records on consecutive weeks. Houston Nutt's charges had an entire off season to prepare for Southern Cal. (It didn't help.) Before they played Vanderbilt, they played Utah State. Before they played Alabama they played Vanderbilt. They had an off week before playing Auburn. They played Southeast Missouri State before they played Mississippi. They played Louisiana-Monroe before they played South Carolina. In truth, Arkansas' reputation is based almost exclusively on the upset of Auburn. UA's only other win over a team with a better than .500 mark was against South Carolina (5-4) and Alabama (6-4). The wins over Vandy and Bama were as much gifts as triumphs. Here's something else that is often overlooked about the Auburn upset. It was a sandwich game for the Tigers who caught the Hogs between contests at South Carolina and vs. Florida. Tennessee has more players banged up but Arkansas lost its best safety, Michael Grant, last week and it doesn't have quite as much depth as the Vols. Also Arkansas is assuming an unfamiliar role as favorite over a ranked team, while UT relishes the role of lowly underdog. Tennessee 27, Arkansas 24.


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