Mike and Jay's College Picks

It's been a long past few weeks for Vanderbilt fans. From the high of 5-0 to the lows of the inexplicable loss to Duke on Homecoming, we all could use a little cheering up as our previously undefeated team is now looking at a 5-4 record and a lot of unanswered questions. But cheer up, Vandy fans! Good times are just around the corner!

With very winnable games lined up down the stretch, we'll hopefully be shaking off this funk very soon. But regardless of the outcome of the next few weeks, we here at Mike and Jay's College Picks are here to serve you, the fans. That's why this week's column is dedicated to cheering up Vanderbilt football fans. With each and every pick this week, we'll give you something to feel good about. Now, on to the picks!

Louisiana-Monroe @ Mississippi

JW: The Houston Nutt Era so far is getting off to a relatively slow start, though I doubt you'll hear many Rebels fans wishing they had stuck with Coach O. After all, they'll always have that Florida win to hang their hat on (and they could conceivably eventually be able to say that they were the only team to take down the National Champions all year). At 3-3 in conference and 5-4 overall, the Rebels can lock up bowl eligibility with a win over a lowly directional Louisiana school. That's definitely a good thing, as a non-directional Louisiana school is right around the corner, as is a relatively tough Egg Bowl matchup. Don't worry, Ole Miss fans. You'll get your sixth win. And Vandy fans - cheer up! You beat Ole Miss this season by six points! Since the Rebs beat Florida by one, that means you actually beat Florida this year by seven points! Pay no mind to last week's result. Rebels by 21.

Troy @ LSU

MO: Ok, how is LSU ranked #20 at this point? I understand that they're 6-3 but their losses have all come against teams that are currently in the BCS Top Ten (#1 Bama, #4 Florida, and #10 Georgia), and they just about upset the top-seeded Crimson Tide last week. That makes them worse than a two-loss North Carolina team? Or even a two-loss TCU team? That's simply ridiculous, and the Tiger will come out with a fire to prove the pollsters that they're better than they're currently and should paste the Trojans, who have already lost to Louisiana-Monroe this season. Commodore fans, rejoice! We don't have to face LSU this season! Too bad for Troy that they're not as lucky – they're in for a night of pain. Tigers by 31.

Mississippi St. @ Alabama

JW: Let's see. Alabama is playing strong, undefeated, pulling out close games, and has locked up a trip to the SEC championship. They're hosting a Mississippi State team that's sitting at 3-6 and battling Arkansas for last place in the SEC West, but has still played a lot of decent teams close. Is this the recipe for a massive upset? I'd like to say so, because I always enjoy watching Bama get taken down a peg, but unfortunately I don't think that's going to happen until they head to Atlanta. While I think this game will be closer than a lot of Tide fans would like, ultimately Bama comes out with the win and heads into the Iron Bowl undefeated. Hey, Vanderbilt fans - want to feel good? Both Vanderbilt and Alabama are undefeated in College GameDay appearances this season! Crimson Tide by 6.

Georgia @ Auburn

MO: Georgia survived a scare at Kentucky last week, but continued was has been a good season, if not quite the expected season based on their #1 ranking. AJ Green has exploded onto the SEC scene, already with 806 receiving yards, and Knoshown Moreno has had the excellent season that most were expecting with 1,113 yards rushing. They're coming into a game, however, against an Auburn team with one of the better defense in the league, allowing more than 20 points just twice this season, including two defensive shutouts – that's, of course, if you count the 3-2 win over Mississippi St. win in which the Tiger defense allowed no points. Auburn's problem, of course, has been offense, and don't look for it to get any better against a stout Bulldog defense. This is one of the oldest rivalries in the countries, with 111 games already played between the two teams, but even that familiarity between for Auburn can't overcome the fact that Georgia is simply the better team. Take heart, Commodore fans! Auburn still has a worse record than we do! That's a fact that won't change this week, either. Bulldogs by 13.

South Carolina @ Florida

JW: Don't look now, but South Carolina has started to play some decent football. Maybe I just wasn't paying attention lately, but this certainly took me by surprise. The Gamecocks have broken into the top 25 after winning 6 of their last 7 games, including conference wins at Ole Miss, at Kentucky, and a home drubbing of UT. Steve Spurrier obviously figured something out after losing to Vanderbilt and Georgia way back in September, because Chris Smelley and Co. are looking pretty good. Unfortunately for them, they now have to face a Florida team that many (including myself) believe is currently the best team in college football. Look, when you break 40 points against your last 4 conference opponents (and put up at least 30 on the rest), you're clearly doing something right. Florida just looks downright scary. Sure, Ole Miss showed that anything can happen, but I think the Gators (with a 100% Tim Tebow) are going to steamroll right through the rest of their schedule, the SEC championship game, and then give a whoopin' to whatever non-SEC team gets the privilege of playing for the BCS championship. But don't feel bad, South Carolina, everyone's getting destroyed by the Gators this season. And cheer up, Vandy fans! You lost to Florida by a closer margin than Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Arkansas, and Hawaii! Florida by 30.

Vanderbilt @ Kentucky

MO: On a personal level, this game, its history, and our opponent make my blood boil. As a freshman in '99, I saw what had been a promising season fumbled away in my first night game as a member of the Spirit of Gold. At Memorial, I would seethe at the Blue Mist that settled upon Memorial (though weaker there than most other venues). And while as a whole Vanderbilt won more against Kentucky while I was there, it wasn't until after I'd graduated that we started to beat the Wildcats in the more prominent sports on a more regular basis. The '03 football win, the four straight wins in men's basketball, and of course, last year's glorious victory that was 93-52. As for the game, say what you will about Chris Nickson (and we have in the past), but the kid knows how to win, even if it's ugly, and right now any win is what Vandy is looking for. I think that the heartbreak that comes after a loss like Kentucky last week can carry over into the next week, and that may be the window that Vanderbilt needs to take an early lead and let their defense have achance at holding a second half lead, something they haven't had a shot at in weeks. Fellow Commodores fans, this is the good news we've waited to hear for a long, long time: The Vanderbilt Commodores will be bowl-eligible by Sunday morning. Commodores by 6.

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