IT Picks SEC Slate

Tennessee has an open date this weekend, and five of its SEC brethren have the next-best-thing – home-field breathers.

The sacrificial lambs include Tulane (at Alabama), Louisiana-Monroe (at Arkansas), Central Michigan (at Georgia), Norfolk State (at Kentucky) and Southeastern Louisiana (at Mississippi State).

That's five games that should pad the prognosticating records of analysts Jeffery Stewart and Randy Moore.

Moore went 9-3 last weekend, missing on the Tennessee loss to UCLA, Mississippi State's loss to Louisiana Tech and Kentucky's upset of Louisville. Stewart went 8-4, missing the same three as Moore, plus Alabama's upset of Clemson.

Undaunted by the whims of a fickle public, they're offering another batch of predictions this week.


SOUTH CAROLINA AT VANDERBILT (THURSDAY): Both teams are coming off victories. Vandy can keep it close but two road wins in a row is too much to expect against a South Carolina team that looked solid against N.C. State and is tough to beat in Columbia. South Carolina 24, Vanderbilt 16.

TULANE AT ALABAMA: An infusion of young talent has brought the stride back in The Tide along with a little Saban swagger thrown in the mix. Lean and hunger I look for the Crimson Tide to swamp the Green Wave in true Tuscaloosa beat down. Alabama 42, Tulane 17.

LOUISIANA-MONROE AT ARKANSAS (LITTLE ROCK): Bobby Petrino is Pop Porker since Frank Broyles slipped deftly into retirement and Houston Nutt bolted for Oxford. He'll pick up another win but pity the Pigs who face a slaughter house run against Texas, Alabama, Florida and Auburn. Arkansas 30, Louisiana-Monroe 21.

SOUTHERN MISS AT AUBURN: With the War Eagles hosting the Golden Eagles you might expect an air battle but this one will probably be decided on the ground where Auburn has the edge. Auburn 31, Southern Miss 17.

MIAMI (FLA.) AT FLORIDA: A ton of talent and an abundance of speed will define this intrastate encounter. played on the boggy turf of the Swamp. Tim Tebow's superpowers could be put to the test, but the Gators will prevail. Florida 34, Miami 21.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN AT GEORGIA: Schedule makers toss the Dawgs another bone before UGA gets into the meat of its slate next week at South Carolina. Georgia may not be as good as advertised but you wouldn't know it from this meeting. Georgia 40, Central MIchigan 19.

NORFOLK STATE AT KENTUCKY: Septembers in Lexington haven't looked this beautiful since Hal Mummy animated the Wildcats dismal offense into a run-and-shoot attack that produced points with virtually no defensive interruptions and very few points. Kentucky 49, Norfolk State 16.

TROY AT LSU: Whenever they play this game LSU will win by a comfortable margin against a game Troy that is simply overmatched and on the road. LSU 44, Troy 14.

OLE MISS AT WAKE FOREST: Ed Orgeron did recruit some talent at Ole MIss and Houston Nutt has a track record of doing more with less. The Rebels in an upset on the road. Ole Miss 25, Wake Forest 24.

SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA AT MISSISSIPPI STATE: Lose to a Louisiana directional team a week after losing to La Tech could launch Sylvester Croom right from the hot seat into unemployment line. Bulldogs fans may not expect championships for their $1.7 million but they expect wins against mediocre squads. Mississippi State 23, Southeastern Louisiana 13.

Randy's picks:

SOUTH CAROLINA AT VANDERBILT (THURSDAY): I'd give the Commodores a chance to win this game if they hadn't beaten the Cocks last season in Columbia, sending SC into a season-ending five-game tailspin. I'm guessing Spurrier wants revenge. I'm guessing he gets it. South Carolina 31, Vanderbilt 17.

TULANE AT ALABAMA: Instead of getting hammered by Hurricane Gustav in New Orleans, the Green Wave will get hammered by the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. At least Tulane's players will be dry in Tuscaloosa. Alabama 38, Tulane 10.

LOUISIANA-MONROE AT ARKANSAS (LITTLE ROCK): Since the Razorbacks had to score in the final two minutes to edge lowly Western Illinois 28-24 last weekend, I hesitate to call this game an Arkansas cakewalk. I guess it's more like a cakecrawl. Arkansas 27, ULM 14.

SOUTHERN MISS AT AUBURN: Even Auburn looks like a big city when you hail from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Auburn 31, Southern Miss 13.

MIAMI (FLA.) AT FLORIDA: After splashing Hawaii 56-10 last weekend, the Gators appear to be playing only colleges surrounded by water this fall. Florida 34, Miami 17.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN AT GEORGIA: The Chippewas got the approval of a nearby native American tribe before adopting their unusual nickname. Too bad they didn't seek approval before scheduling a visit to Athens. Heap big whuppin' due. Georgia 49, Central Michigan 21.

NORFOLK STATE AT KENTUCKY: The Big Blue scored 14 points on fumble returns in last weekend's upset of Louisville. My advice to Norfolk: Don't fumble. Kentucky 31, Norfolk State 7.

TROY AT LSU: My gut pick is that this game will be canceled due to Hurricane Gustav. There's a slight chance it will be played, however, and an even slighter chance Troy will win. LSU 41, Troy 10.

OLE MISS AT WAKE FOREST: Wake Forest could be the best football team in the ACC this year ... which is sort of like being the best hockey player in the Mojave Desert. Wake Forest 27, Ole Miss 24.

SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA AT MISSISSIPPI STATE: After losing 22-14 at Louisiana Tech last week, Bulldog boss Sylvester Croom probably figures things can't get any worse. Watch what happens if you lose this game, Coach. Mississippi State 24, Southeastern Louisiana 10.

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