SEC Picks, Week 12

The Arkansas Razorbacks will clinch the SEC West title this weekend if they can beat Mississippi State in a clearcut "sandwich" game. Houston Nutt's team sandwiches the Bulldogs between last Saturday's big game with No. 13 Tennessee and next week's showdown with No. 9 LSU.

On paper, Mississippi State (3-7 overall, 1-5 in SEC play) appears unlikely to give the fifth-ranked Hogs (9-1, 6-0) a game. The Bulldogs are coming off a 24-16 defeat of Alabama and an open date, however, so the Razorbacks could be in for trouble if they get caught looking ahead to LSU.

InsideTennessee analyst Randy Moore went 4-1 on last week's picks, improving his season's record to 69-14 and closing the gap a bit on cohort Jeffery Stewart. Jeffery had his first losing record of the season, going 2-3 and seeing his worksheet slip to 71-12.

That said, here are this week's picks:

Jeffery's picks

AUBURN AT ALABAMA: This season the Crimson Tide has been just good enough to keep things close against strong opponents, but not good enough to win. Likewise, Alabama has managed to edge out second trier type teams, especially at home. Despite Auburn's poor showing at home against Georgia, it is a strong opponent. The Tigers may have been caught looking ahead last week. There's nothing to look forward to this week but Alabama. Auburn 23, Alabama 17

ARKANSAS AT MISSISSIPPI STATE: Last week the Razorbacks walked over Tennessee for the first time since 1999, and into the top ten for the first time since 1998. Now they have a chance to wrap up the West Division title and a date in Atlanta against the Gators for the SEC crown and their first ever BCS bowl bid. That's a lot pile up in front of them to be looking ahead to LSU. That's why it's hard to believe Arkansas comes into this one flat. Besides the Hogs have played well on the road this year scoring victories over Vanderbilt, Auburn and South Carolina. Arkansas 30, Mississippi State 13.

WESTERN CAROLINA AT FLORIDA: Since the Gators will maul, mangle and murder Western Carolina, you can only catch this 60 minutes of mayhem on the Crime Channel. Florida already has quite a record and faces a trial next week in Tallahassee. Florida 45, Western Carolina 3.

LOUISIANA-MONROE AT KENTUCKY: This has got to the be dream situation for the Wildcats, who are assured a winning season and bowl bid with a victory over Louisiana-Monroe in Lexington. That removes the pressure of going to Knoxville next week and enhances Kentucky's chances of ending a Neyland Stadium drought that stretches back to 1984. That's all the incentive this team will need on what is sure to be an emotional day for the seniors. Kentucky 33, Louisiana-Monroe 14.

OLE MISS AT LSU: The games in this longtime SEC series have a way of ending up a much closer than they ever should. With an encounter against Arkansas just six days away, don't expect LSU to go for style points vs. the Rebels. LSU 34, Ole Miss 17.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT SOUTH CAROLINA: Isn't this one of those directional schools Steve Spurrier used to deride when he was at Florida? After a diet of Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida in which the Gamecocks came close but never tasted victory, I can't blame the Ol' Ball Coach for snacking on a cupcake. But don't eat too much you've got to a dinner date at Clemson next week. South Carolina 27, MTSU 13.

TENNESSEE AT VANDERBILT: After a tough stretch of four straight games, the slate lightens up this week for Tennessee against a Vandy team that has lost 22 of the last 23 in this intrastate rivalry. Still the Dores scored an upset in Knoxville last year and will likely play to their potential against the hated Vols. Coach Bobby Johnson has shown he can formulate sound game plans and make good tactical adjustments. But Vandy doesn't have Jay Cutler to carve up UT's secondary. Plus they're sure to have Tennessee's full attention this time. Tennessee 31, Vanderbilt 24.

Randy's picks

AUBURN AT ALABAMA: If the Tide loses this weekend, Mike Shula will be 0-4 vs. this heated in-state rival, 2-6 in SEC play this season and looking for a new job by Monday morning. Goodbye, Mike. Auburn 27, Alabama 17

ARKANSAS AT MISSISSIPPI STATE: The Razorbacks won't match the emotional peak they hit against Tennessee last Saturday but they won't need to. A late entry in the Heisman derby, Darren McFadden needs to post some big numbers. I suspect he will. Arkansas 31, Mississippi State 14

WESTERN CAROLINA AT FLORIDA: The Gators needed a blocked field goal on the game's final play to beat South Carolina last weekend. All they'll need this weekend is to show up by kickoff time. Florida 42, Western Carolina 7

LOUISIANA-MONROE AT KENTUCKY: Incredibly, the Big Blue (4-3 in league play) ranks second in the SEC East, and we're NOT talking basketball. Even if success goes to their heads, the Wildcats should win handily. Kentucky 31, Louisiana-Monroe 17

OLE MISS AT LSU: The Rebels are coming off an open date, which means they had two weeks to prepare themselves for this beat-down. LSU 42, Ole Miss 14

MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT SOUTH CAROLINA: Steve Spurrier didn't get to beat the University of Tennessee this year, but the Blue Raiders are from the same state. Maybe that'll provide some consolation. South Carolina 31, Middle Tennessee 10

TENNESSEE AT VANDERBILT: The Vols have dropped two games in a row and they haven't forgotten last year's humiliating home-field loss to the Commodores. Quoth the raven, "Never more" Tennessee 31, Vandy 20


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