SEC Picks, Week 3

There are only eight games on this weekend's SEC football schedule but two of them are intriguing intra-divisional battles. Tennessee and East rival Florida collide in Gainesville, while Arkansas and West rival Alabama tee it up in Tuscaloosa.

InsideTennessee.com analysts Jeffery Stewart and Randy Moore went 7-2 on last weekend's picks. Each missed on South Carolina's upset win at Georgia and South Florida's upset win at Auburn. Stewart's record two weeks into the season is 18-2, while Moore checks in at 17-3.

Here are this week's predictions:

RANDY'S PICKS

ARKANSAS AT ALABAMA: The Tide has a "Million Dollar Band" and a $4 Million Dollar Coach. Apparently, there was no money left over to buy a defense. Arkansas 31, Alabama 24

MISSISSIPPI STATE AT AUBURN: The Tigers' offense is kind of ugly right now, but it will look like Halle Berry compared to the Bulldogs' attack. Auburn 20, Mississippi State 10

TENNESSEE AT FLORIDA: The Gators (54 points per game) haven't been stopped yet. Of course, they haven't played anyone yet. Florida native Daniel Lincoln (Ocala) wins it at the wire. Tennessee 30, Florida 27

WESTERN CAROLINA AT GEORGIA: The Catamounts surrendered 97 points to their first two opponents (Alabama and Eastern Kentucky), making them just the confidence-builder the Dawgs need after a 16-12 loss to South Carolina. Georgia 56, WCU 7

LOUISVILLE AT KENTUCKY: The Wildcats average 526 yards and 53.0 points per game, yet they are underachieving compared to the Cardinals, who average 692 yards and 65.5 points. Neither team understands the concept of defense, so this one should be fun to watch. Kentucky 49, Louisville 45

MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT LSU: The Blue Raiders scored 42 points last week against Louisville, which may have the NCAA's worst defense. They'll be lucky to score at all against LSU, which may have the NCAA's best defense. LSU 42, Middle Tennessee 7

OLE MISS AT VANDERBILT: The Rebels are coming off a home-field loss to Missouri. The Commodores are coming off a home-field loss to Alabama. Whatever happened to Home, Sweet Home? Vandy 27, Ole Miss 21

SOUTH CAROLINA STATE AT SOUTH CAROLINA: The Gamecocks are coming off an emotionally draining upset win at Georgia, so ... Nah, I'm not going to go there. South Carolina 42, S.C. State 7

JEFFERY'S PICKS

ARKANSAS AT ALABAMA: Although these teams aren't traditional rivals they are crossroad competitors and mutual measuring sticks. History says the winner of this game can be expected to go on and enjoy a good season while the loser faces an uphill climb. Last season's game underscores that observation. Alabama came into the contest with an unblemished 3-0 mark, suffered a heartbreaking double OT defeat, and finished the season 6-7. Conversely, the Razorbacks entered the home contest at 2-1 after absorbing a 50-14 home hammering courtesy of USC, and a very fortunate — translation: dumb luck —19-17 win in Nashville. The overtime affair propelled the Hogs to an SEC West title, and 10-4 record. Alabama has a significant edge at quarterback and nobody schemes better against the run than Saban, especially against a mono O. Then there's the home-field advantage which is significant. An open week gave Arkansas time to thoroughly prepare, but byes after the first game can be problematical. I'll ride the Tide. Alabama 23, Arkansas 19,

MISSISSIPPI STATE AT AUBURN: The Tigers have blanked the Bulldogs the last two meetings and may need to do the same thing this year if they want to win. That's how bad Auburn's offense appears. Brandon Cox throws like he's heaving a regulation size ice sculpture, and lack of confidence has eroded his intangibles. Last in the SEC in both rushing and total offense, the Tigers are vulnerable, but they're also home and have won 14 straight SEC openers. The Bulldogs have already lost their SEC opener as well as six straight in this series. Auburn 20, Mississippi State 13.

TENNESSEE AT FLORIDA: Would your rather come into this contest after two tough tussles or a couple of cake walks? There are good arguments for both. The Vols are better tested, but at what cost? The Gators are better rested but are they mentally prepared for the tempest that is Tennessee-Florida? Perhaps not, but this team has a lot of big-game experience and Urban Meyer has yet to lose a game in Gainesville, including wins over Tennessee, LSU and Florida State. Finally it's difficult to get up emotionally three weeks in a row particularly on the road. Florida 31, Tennessee 24.

WESTERN CAROLINA AT GEORGIA: The Bulldogs won the only other meeting between these programs 48-0 in 1991. History will repeat itself between The Hedges as the schedule-maker throws the Dawgs a bone. Georgia 48, Western Carolina 0.

LOUISVILLE AT KENTUCKY: This game might rival their basketball counterparts for point production which will make for entertaining television. The Big Blue is new and improved although this seems like a giant leap from beating Eastern Kentucky and Kent Sate. No. 9 Louisville returns 14 starters from last year's 12-1 team. UL has won four straight in this series and a fifth appears to be in the Cards. With that said, it won't be easy. Louisville 44, Kentucky 38.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT LSU: Nothing like gulping down some refreshing Raider Aid between big games against Virginia Tech and South Carolina. Rate this one R for Rout. LSU 45, MTSU 9.

OLE MISS AT VANDERBILT: Beating Ole Miss every other year and Tennessee every 20 years translates to success at Vanderbilt, and job security for head coach Bobby Johnson. Seriously, does any head coach in the conference consistently get more from less? Vanderbilt 27, Ole Miss 21.

SOUTH CAROLINA STATE AT SOUTH CAROLINA: I know three things about South Carolina State. (1) It's located somewhere in the state of South Carolina. (2) It's not Appalachian State. (3) It will leave Columbia on the short end of the score. South Carolina 52, South Carolina State 6.


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