IT picks the SEC

Fourth-ranked Ole Miss gets its first real test of the 2009 season when it faces South Carolina tonight at Columbia.

After sandwiching blowouts of Memphis and Southeast Louisiana around an open date, the Rebels need a quality win to prove they are a legitimate top-10 team.

Clearly, Ole Miss at South Carolina is the marquee matchup on this week's eight-game SEC schedule. It shapes up as a tough game to pick, since the Gamecocks tend to play very well at home.

InsideTennessee.com analysts James Bryant and Randy Moore went 7-2 on last week's SEC Picks, as did guest picker Dave Hooker of The Knoxville News-Sentinel and GoVolsXtra.com. All three missed on Georgia's win at Arkansas and Mississippi State's win at Vanderbilt.

For the season Randy stands 23-4, James 22-5 and Dave 22-5.

Here are their picks for this weekend:

Randy's picks

OLE MISS AT SOUTH CAROLINA (THURSDAY): The Ol' Ball Coach upset the Rebels last year in Oxford and still has their number. SC 27, Ole Miss 24

ARKANSAS AT ALABAMA: Ryan Mallett is about to be nailed by a Tide defense that is way better than the ones he saw going against Missouri State and Georgia. Bama 41, Arkansas 21

BALL STATE AT AUBURN: Ball State (0-3) already lost to North Texas, New Hampshire and Army. Need I say more? Auburn 56, Ball State 7

FLORIDA AT KENTUCKY: The Flu-rida Gators appear to be virus-free this week, so they should be back to winning big, right? Flu-rida 34, Kentucky 13

ARIZONA STATE AT GEORGIA: The Dawgs have scored 93 points the past two weekends, and they should score a bunch more this weekend. Georgia 44, ASU 27

LSU AT MISSISSIPPI STATE: LSU's Game 1 win at Washington is looking a whole lot prettier now that the Huskies have upset Southern Cal, doesn't it? LSU 24, Mississippi State 17

OHIO U AT TENNESSEE: The Bobcats limited Cal Poly to one completion in 11 attempts last weekend but they haven't faced a passing attack as potent as the Vols' (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Tennessee 31, Ohio 10

VANDERBILT AT RICE: The 0-3 Owls are allowing 47 points per game, so Vandy might score in double digits this week. Rice 20, Vandy 13

James' picks

OLE MISS AT SOUTH CAROLINA (THURSDAY): This will be the first true test for the Rebels this season. Going on the road in the SEC even if its South Carolina won't be easy. The Gamecocks knocked off the Rebels last year after Ole Miss defeated Florida in the Swamp. 24-21 Ole Miss in this one.

ARKANSAS AT ALABAMA: This one should be interesting. If it wasn't at Alabama, I might call for the upset in this one. The new high power offense of the Razorbacks is something that Saban will have to control. Alabama 31-28 in a good game.

BALL STATE AT AUBURN: Auburn new offense is clicking, allowing the Tigers to gain a lot of confidence. Auburn in an easy one 45-14.

FLORIDA AT KENTUCKY: This might be the SEC Game of the Week. Oh how sweet it would be for the Wildcats to win this one, won't happen but I can dream can't I. Look for Meyer try to run up the score in this one, like always, and Rich Brooks didn't even say anything bad about the Mighty Gators. 52-28

ARIZONA STATE AT GEORGIA: Georgia is one of the most unpredictable teams in the conference. One week they play ok the next they look like Gator Beaters. This will be a good test for the Dawgs. 31-28 Georgia victory.

LSU AT MISSISSIPPI STATE: Mullens defeated bottom dweller Vandy, don't expect two miracles in a row. 45-28 Tigers.

OHIO U AT TENNESSEE: After taking the No. 1 team to the task in the Swamp, Tennessee needs to find its offensive attack. Vols 45-7 in a good tuneup for the SEC.

VANDERBILT AT RICE: The Bowl of the Brains. At Rice, expect the wise Owls to win this one 24-21.

Dave's picks

OLE MISS AT SOUTH CAROLINA (THURSDAY): Ole Miss is just an all-around better team. But you know Ole Miss will drop one they shouldn't. Not this time. Ole Miss 27-16

ARKANSAS AT ALABAMA: Step aside Florida, there's a new No. 1 team in the SEC. And Arkansas is feeling good. Blowout alert. Alabama 38-17

BALL STATE AT AUBURN: Auburn will be a factor in the SEC this season. No, they won't win the West but they're playing well enough to surprise some teams. Auburn 34-13

FLORIDA AT KENTUCKY: Florida, flu or not, will play better this week. Still the Gators have some issues in their passing game. Florida 39-14

ARIZONA STATE AT GEORGIA: The Bulldogs have struggled this season but they're at home and will rebound. Georgia 28-24

LSU AT MISSISSIPPI STATE: The Tigers are quite a bit better than Mississippi State, which is flying high after beating the Commodores. Really. LSU 30-17

OHIO U AT TENNESSEE: The Vols are feeling good after getting beat. Really. UT 58-6

VANDERBILT AT RICE: The Commodores know the bounce-back role well. Vandy 27-17.


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