IT Picks the SEC

Seven SEC games are scheduled this weekend, with Auburn kicking off the festivities tonight at West Virginia. Everyone else except South Carolina, which has an open date, will be playing Saturday.

InsideTennessee.com analysts Jeffery Stewart and Randy Moore are on a roll, each having gone 5-0 on last week's SEC picks. Stewart now stands 39-12 for the season, while Moore is 43-8.

Here are their predictions for this week:

RANDY'S PICKS

AUBURN AT WEST VIRGINIA (THURSDAY): Two of the biggest flops in college football collide in a game that projected to have national championship implications back in August. Now it has fire-the-head-coach implications. West Virginia 20, Auburn 13

OLE MISS AT ARKANSAS: The emotion will be off the charts as Rebel rouser Houston Nutt returns to Hogland for the first time since surrendering the Razorback reins last December. Ole Miss is up and down, while Arkansas is mostly down. Ole Miss 31, Arkansas 20

KENTUCKY AT FLORIDA: The Gators showed what they're capable of two weeks ago, hammering a very good LSU team 51-21. The injury-depleted Wildcats can expect some mercy from Urban Meyer ... but they won't get any. Florida 35, Kentucky 14

GEORGIA AT LSU: The Tigers' home-field advantage won't be as pronounced at 3 o'clock as it would be at 8 o'clock, so LSU fans will just have to start drinking immediately after breakfast. If they overindulge, though, they might miss what should be a superb football game. LSU 27, Georgia 24

MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT MISSISSIPPI STATE: The Bulldogs have a split personality. The bad Dogs lost 38-7 to Georgia Tech but the good Dogs played LSU tough in a 34-24 loss one week later. The good Dogs upset No. 13 Vanderbilt 17-14 but the bad Dogs got hammered 34-3 by Tennessee a week later. The good Dogs are due to show up this weekend. Mississippi State 24, Middle Tennessee 13

DUKE AT VANDERBILT: Whereas Ole Miss and Mississippi State have the Egg Bowl, these two teams have the Egghead Bowl. The Blue Devils and Commodores are so smart their offensive linemen actually understand the concept of flipping. Vanderbilt 28, Duke 21

ALABAMA AT TENNESSEE: After appearing comatose in Games 1-6, Tennessee finally showed signs of life in a 34-3 Game 7 defeat of Mississippi State. Look for the resurrected Vols to give the second-ranked Tide a good game. Just don't look for them to win. Alabama 24, Tennessee 17

JEFFERY'S PICKS

AUBURN AT WEST VIRGINIA (THURSDAY): Both teams are coming off bye weeks which couldn't have come at a better time for the Tigers who had lost a pair of cliffhangers to Vanderbilt and Arkansas. Tommy Tuberville has been in these situations before and has a demonstrated an ability to bounce back. The Tigers have had some time to rework their offense and are 5-2 against Big East opponents. Furthermore they are 6-1 all-time in Thursday games. Look for the Tigers to find a way to win this one in an upset. Auburn 24, West Virginia 20.

OLE MISS AT ARKANSAS: This one has pathos out the wahzoo as Houston Nutt comes home again, leading the Ole Miss Rebels after a decade at Fayetteville as Boss Hog. Ole Miss has been an up and down team with a road victory over Florida, followed by a home loss to South Carolina before going to Tuscaloosa and putting a scare in the Tide. Ironically Nutt led Arkansas to four straight victories in this series by an average winning margin of 29 points per contest. No wonder Ole Miss was waiting to hire him. With both teams coming off close loses the one that recovers quicker will take this game. Bobby Petrino is making progress with the Hogs and has home field advantage but the Rebels will prevail. Ole Miss 27, Arkansas 24.

KENTUCKY AT FLORIDA: The Cats used eight lives getting past Arkansas last week and may lack the fire and firepower needed to keep it close against a Florida team that appears to be back on track after its rout of LSU two weeks ago. The Gators had last week off and Urban Meyer has been unbeatable with two weeks or more to prepare. The fly in the ointment for Florida is looking ahead to next week's showdown against Georgia. Florida 34, Kentucky 16.

GEORGIA AT LSU: A big match-up with potential national title implications as the defending national champion LSU takes on preseason No. 1 Georgia in a must win for both teams to stay on course. The Bulldogs may be better on the road than they are at home while the Tigers rep in Baton Rouge is greater than their results over the years. Georgia 31, LSU 27.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT MISSISSIPPI STATE: In a scheduling oddity this is the third week in a row the Bulldogs will have played a team from the Volunteer State, following Vanderbilt and Tennessee. An SBC (Sun Belt Conference) foe should go down much smoother and be less filling too. Mississippi State 30, MTSU 17.

DUKE AT VANDERBILT: Aren't these the academic schools competing in super conferences that aren't supposed to win? Apparently Bobby Johnson and David Cutcliffe didn't get the memo. Vanderbilt should get back on track but the Blue Devils won't make it easy. Vanderbilt 26, Duke 24.

ALABAMA AT TENNESSEE: The results of last weeks contests has added some credibility to this annual epic clash of Crimson and Orange. The Vols appeared to find some rhythm against MSU last week in the second half while Bama had to survive a second half rally by Ole Miss to win by a nose. However that tale of two halves may be more of an aberration than transformation. The Tide was probably looking ahead to UT and the Bulldogs let down after giving up a pair of demoralizing defensive touchdowns. Alabama 23, Tennessee 13.


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