IT Picks the SEC

The LSU Tigers may not have the toughest team in college football but they probably have the toughest schedule.

Four weeks ago they visited Florida, which a lot of folks (including me) pegged America's No. 1 team in preseason. Two weeks ago they hosted Georgia, which The Associated Press and coaches polls pegged No. 1 in preseason. This week they host Alabama, which is No. 1 at the moment.

LSU did not fare particularly well in its previous outings vs. elite teams — bowing 51-21 to Florida and 52-38 to Georgia. Can the Tigers find the magic formula in time to slow down Nick Saban's Crimson Tide? That's the big question facing analysts Jeffery Stewart and Randy Moore this week.

Jeffery went 7-0 on last week's SEC picks, improving his season's record to 51-14. Randy went 5-2 last week and stands 53-12 for the year.

Here are their picks for this week:


ALABAMA AT LSU: A lot of Tiger fans are mad at Nick Saban for leaving Baton Rouge four years ago. They'll be even madder at him for returning Saturday night. Alabama 34, LSU 24

ARKANSAS AS SOUTH CAROLINA: They bombed at the NFL level but Gamecock coach Steve Spurrier and Razorback boss Bobby Petrino should put on a pass-happy fun-to-watch shootout Saturday in Columbia. South Carolina 27, Arkansas 17

TENNESSEE-MARTIN AT AUBURN: Tommy Tuberville's seat is sizzling with the Tigers mired in a three-game losing streak. Beating UT-Martin will not cool it appreciably ... but you take wins where you can find them on the Plains these days. Auburn 31, UT-Martin 14

FLORIDA AT VANDERBILT: The Commodores are stuck in a three-game losing streak, too. It's too bad they can't be playing UT-Martin this weekend instead of the hottest team in all of college football. Florida 38, Vandy 17

GEORGIA AT KENTUCKY: You know the Dawgs are frustrated after being crushed 49-10 by Florida last Saturday, and you know they'll be looking to vent that frustration this weekend. Essentially, the Big Blue will play the role of fire hydrant. Georgia 34, Kentucky 14

WYOMING AT TENNESSEE: If you love offense, find Texas Tech's game on satellite TV. If you don't, you'll want to buy the pay-per-view telecast of the UT-Wyoming game. The Vols rank No. 114 nationally in scoring at 17.0 points per game, yet they're a juggernaut compared to the Cowboys, who rank 119th — dead last — at 11.7 ppg. Tennessee 27, Wyoming 10


ALABAMA AT LSU: Saint Nick's long awaited return to Baton Rouge lacks some of the sizzle since the defending national champion Tigers have dropped to earth with a thud in blowout defeats vs. Georgia and Florida. Meanwhile aspiring national champion Bama enters on high tide with a No. 1 ranking and an unblemished record. If we could match LSU's 2007 team against the current Crimson Tide this would be a classic. Instead we'll settle for interesting. The revenge factor is being overplayed. I mean how mad can LSU fans really be at Saban? He brought them a national championship and left the foundation of last year's national champion in place. There's only one class remaining at LSU he even recruited. Besides he didn't leave LSU for Alabama, and if he had an inkling of how it would turn out he may not have left them for the Miami Dolphins. The way I see it LSU fans should give him a standing ovation and hope he doesn't hang a half-a-hundred on them. Alabama 38, LSU 24.

ARKANSAS AS SOUTH CAROLINA: The Gamecocks are crowing and Spurrier is cock of the walk again after last week's win over Tennessee. But the Ol' Ball Coach better beware of a big letdown with this game falling between UT and Florida. Even a blind Hog can find an acorn. South Carolina 23, Arkansas 17.

TENNESSEE-MARTIN AT AUBURN: The Tigers are 0-4 since defeating Tennessee on Sept. 27 and Tommy Tuberville is said to be on the ropes. Auburn will break the losing streak this week but with Georgia and Alabama left on the schedule it might be Double T's last victory at the Loveliest Village on the Plain. Auburn 42, Martin 6.

FLORIDA AT VANDERBILT: The Gators are dismantling quality SEC opponents with such thrift dispatch and commanding fashion it's like the prime time days of Fun and Gun that so devastated the league in the mid-90s. Don't look for this juggernaut to slow down now, and Vanderbilt's offense is good for a ton of three and outs. Tim Tebow is a man possessed of competitive fire and consummate skills. Florida 45, Vanderbilt 10.

GEORGIA AT KENTUCKY: The preseason anointed No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs would need a miracle to even win their six-team division. That proves the SEC East can be tougher to win than the national title. If the Dawgs aren't too hung over from last week's beatdown in Jacksonville they should handle the Kats, who got bowl eligible with a 14-13 victory in Starkville. Georgia 31, Kentucky 17.

WYOMING AT TENNESSEE: Have you ever wondered why players are supposed to try harder for a coach who has been fired than one who's gainfully employed? Me neither. But effort hasn't been Tennessee's problem this season. Execution has. The Vols may not execute much better against the loathsome Cowboys, but it will seem like they do. Tennessee 31, Wyoming 10.

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