IT Picks the SEC

This weekend's action won't settle the SEC's Eastern and Western Division races but it should clarify them a bit.

Six contenders will be meeting head to head in what could be termed "elimination" games. One game pits West foes Auburn and LSU in Baton Rouge. Another game pits East foes Florida and Kentucky in Lexington. The third, an interdivisional battle between Tennessee of the East and Alabama of the West, is scheduled for Tuscaloosa.

The three winners will move a step closer to division titles, while the three losers will be virtually eliminated from championship consideration.

InsideTennessee's Randy Moore went 5-1 on last week's SEC picks, improving his season's record to 45-12 and closing the gap a bit on cohort Jeffery Stewart, who went 4-2 and now stands 47-10.

Here are their projections for this week:


TENNESSEE AT ALABAMA: There are pathos aplenty in this annual altercation of ardent athletic rivals. The Third Saturday in October is a hallowed day in the annals of southern football legend and lore. A clash of colors at the crest of fall, a battle in which the combatants fight with as much honor as ferocity. It's almost a shame one team has to lose. I never bought into the Saint Nick sentiments coming out of Alabama, but not to respect Saban as a coach is to not appreciate the a well coached team. He is to defense what Steve Spurrier is to offense. He is also 2-1 against Tennessee, but none of those games were played with David Cutcliffe calling plays for UT. He's been hot the last three games and he holds the talent advantage. Saban's schemes, crimson passion and high energy will keep it close before the Vols prevail. Tennessee 27, Alabama 24.

ARKANSAS AT OLE MISS: Somebody gets off the goose egg Saturday as these winless SEC West cellar dwellers come face-to-face in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks have adjusted their goals from returning to and winning the SEC Championship Game to reaching a bowl game not named after a bathroom fixture. Even that is too much for the Rebels (2-5) to realize what with road games at Arkansas Auburn, Mississippi State and a home game against LSU left on the ledger. The Hogs get wide receiver Marcus Monk back just in time for a second half of the season rally. Arkansas 27, Ole Miss 20.

AUBURN AT LSU: Both teams are coming off tough road games but Auburn comes in off a 9-7 win and LSU off a 3 OT loss. Combine that with LSU's 7-3 defeat at Auburn last season and a rowdy Cajun crowd craving revenge and you've got to go with the purple and gold. Let the good times roll in Baton Rouge. LSU 28, Auburn 17.

FLORIDA AT KENTUCKY: These Kats have nine lives and 11 good players every time they take the field. After their upset of No. 1 LSU — which I never saw coming — these bluegrass boys can't be dismissed even against a team they haven't beaten in 20 years. But Florida has had a week to stew over its loss to LSU and what better way to shake that setback than by beating the team that knocked the Tigers from the top perch? Besides Urban Meyer is 22-2 with two weeks or more to prepare. Florida 37, Kentucky 28.

MISSISSIPPI STATE AT WEST VIRGINIA: The Bulldogs beat Auburn on the road earlier this season and are usually a good value pick as a road underdog. The Mountaineers have an explosive running game that compiled 312 yards last season in Starkville. Crooms crew didn't appear to be any better at slowing the run against Tennessee last week. West Virginia 40, Mississippi State 21.

VANDERBILT AT SOUTH CAROLINA: Steve Spurrier is 14-0 against the Commodores in stops at Duke (2-0), Florida (10-0) and South Carolina (2-0). There's a better chance he'll be named as next head of coach of the Redskins next season than he'll suffer his first loss to the Dores on Saturday. South Carolina 35, Vanderbilt 13.


TENNESSEE AT ALABAMA: The last time these teams met in Tuscaloosa (2005), the Vols limited the Tide to six points but still lost. I'm guessing John Chavis would be tickled pink to hold Bama to six points this time, although I'm not sure pink is one of John's best colors. Tennessee 27, Alabama 20

ARKANSAS AT OLE MISS: Razorbacks coach Houston Nutt is 0-3 in SEC play and feeling the heat. Rebels coach Ed Orgeron is 0-4 in SEC play and feeling the heat. At least Nutt can't be booed by his home fans this Saturday. Arkansas 24, Ole Miss 20

AUBURN AT LSU: Incredibly, Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville has won 13 of 14 SEC road games over the past 3 1/2 seasons. However, the one loss in that stretch was on his last trip to Baton Rouge in 2005. I don't know what that means; I just wanted to impress you with my knowledge. LSU 20, Auburn 16

FLORIDA AT KENTUCKY: Two weeks ago I picked Kentucky to beat South Carolina, but the Cats lost. Last week I picked Kentucky to lose to LSU, but the Cats won. This week I'm picking the Cats to lose. Translation: Bet the house on the Big Blue. Florida 27, Kentucky 20

MISSISSIPPI STATE AT WEST VIRGINIA: Who's the genius in Starkville that scheduled this game? The Bulldogs lost 38-21 at South Carolina in their last road game, and this one probably won't be any closer. West Virginia 31, Mississippi State 14

VANDERBILT AT SOUTH CAROLINA: Commodore coach Bobby Johnson looks like comedian Steve Martin. Gamecock coach Steve Spurrier looks like a genius every time he plays Vandy. South Carolina 30, Vanderbilt 10

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