There's another light SEC slate this weekend – only five games – but there are some intriguing match-ups on tap. Vanderbilt looks to rebound from its first loss of '08 between the hedges at Georgia. LSU, still smarting from a 51-21 loss at Florida, will look for redemption at South Carolina. Up-and-down Ole Miss challenges second-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Kentucky, coming off back-to-back losses, hosts an Arkansas team coming off a road upset at Auburn. Tennessee and Mississippi State collide in Knoxville to round out the schedule.
That said, here are this weekend's prognostications:
OLE MISS AT ALABAMA: On the surface this looks like a slam dunk for the Crimson Tide who'll roll into Bryant-Denny Stadium ranked No. 2 with a 6-0 mark after a bye week, but Bama has had to go the distance to beat the Rebels 27-24 in 2007, 26-23 (OT) in 2006 and 13-10 in 2005. Houston Nutt's squad won it's opener vs.Memphis, lost to Wake Forest, won at home over Samford, lost at home to Vanderbilt, won on the road against Florida, lost at home to South Carollna. Last week was a win week but the Rebs, like Bama, were off. They'll get back on schedule with a defeat in Tuscaloosa but it might be closer than oddsmakers think. Alabama 27, Ole Miss 19.
ARKANSAS AT KENTUCKY: Bobby Petrino is familiar with Kentucky, owning a 4-0 mark over the Wildcats in his Louisville tenture. Plus he brings the Razorbacks in on a high from last week's upset victory in Auburn. Kentucky has lost two straight at Alabama and vs. South Carolina. The game is critical to both teams' postseason hopes. Look for the Cats to bounce back and nip the Hogs at the wire. Kentucky 20, Arkansas 17.
VANDERBILT AT GEORGIA: The last time Vanderbilt visited Athens was 2006 when they entered as 14-point underdogs and scored a 24-22 upset. As fate would have it the Dores are once again 14-point underdogs against the Bulldogs between the hedges. However without a cloak of vunerability and the element of surprise they won't catch these hairy Dawgs napping. Georgia 24, Vanderbilt 13.
LSU AT SOUTH CAROLINA: The Tigers are hardly experiencing hard times but they've never looked more beatable under Les Miles than they did in Gainesville last week. Even their highlight comeback victory at Auburn looks like a suspect achievement. Don't be fooled, the talent is there but the intangibles may be missing. By contrast the Gamecocks return from a pair of road wins at Ole Miss and at Kentucky and on a four-game win streak. The have momentum, confidence and a big home field advantage. In other words the Tigers have them just where they want them. SEC football: as the pendelum swings. LSU 33, South Carollna 24.
MISSISSIPPI STATE AT TENNESSEE: A true test for Tennessee against a team whose strength matches the Vols' weakness. Should be a close, low-scoring contest, but the Bulldogs beat Vanderbiltin a squeaker last week and on Saturday the sun will finally shine on the backside of Smoky. Tennessee 19, MSU 13.
OLE MISS AT ALABAMA: Both teams are coming off open dates, so they'll be equally rested. The catch is, they aren't equally talented. Alabama 31, Ole Miss 20
ARKANSAS AT KENTUCKY: The Razorbacks beat Auburn last weekend, which is one more SEC victory than I thought the Hogs would post this fall. The Big Blue is looking to end a two-game losing streak. Snap ... Kentucky 27, Arkansas 17
VANDERBILT AT GEORGIA: The Bulldog offense has got to be tired after being on the field 42 minutes last weekend vs. Tennessee. Still, the Dawgs should have enough energy to whip a Commodore team that returned to Earth last weekend at Mississippi State after a 5-0 start. Georgia 30, Vandy 21
LSU AT SOUTH CAROLINA: The Tigers looked pretty vulnerable last Saturday in a road loss at Florida, while the Gamecocks looked pretty good in a road win at Kentucky. I've got to believe both performances were deceiving. LSU 24, Carolina 16
MISSISSIPPI STATE AT TENNESSEE: Two teams who play "prevent offense" meet in what projects to be a defense-dominated game. Look for the homestanding Vols to have difficulty determining if their fans are booing or merely snoring. Tennessee 20, MSU 17