There were only seven games last week and picks such as Alabama over Georgia State were sure things. Surprising Missouri, now 5-0, spoiled things for the Almost Perfect Picks team as the Tigers defeated Vanderbilt. If Missouri can win this week at injury-riddled Georgia, the Tigers will no longer be considered surprising. It will mean that Missouri is for real.
Again this week there are only seven games involving Southeastern Conference teams, but unlike most weeks there are quite a few tough selections.
Approaching the halfway mark of the regular season, there are only two undefeated SEC teams. It is no surprise that the Crimson Tide, the pre-season number one team in the nation and still at the top of all polls, is one of them. But also at 5-0 is Missouri.
On the other hand, there are only two league teams with losing records. Kentucky, 1-4, won’t get out of that under .500 category this week or this year. Mississippi State should make it to 3-3 this week.
This week, Tennessee and Vanderbilt have open dates. Thus, Alabama fans have a choice in traveling to Lexington for the Kentucky game. Those who want to stop along the way can pick Knoxville or Nashville without fear of fans having clogged the hotels.
After this weekend, there will be only two teams that have not had open dates. Arkansas gets its first on Oct. 26 after eight straight games. LSU has its first open date before playing Alabama after nine games on Nov. 2.
Mississippi State and Auburn are playing non-conference games this week.
Western Carolina (1-5) at Auburn (4-1, 2-1SEC) – Western Carolina ranks among the very worst teams in the nation. Auburn 49, Western Carolina 0.
Bowling Green (5-1) at Mississippi State (2-3, 0-2) – Eerily, this is one of those rare times when a prediction of a Mississippi State game doesn’t feel terribly risky. Mississippi State 31, Bowling Green 17.
There are four really interesting intraconference games, and two or three of them would have been considered yawners before the season.
Texas A&M (4-1, 1-1) at Ole Miss (3-2, 1-2) – The Rebels are reeling after back-to-back losses at the hands of Alabama and Auburn. Texas A&M has a porous defense, but the Aggies also have Johnny Manziel. Both teams like to play fast. Texas A&M plays a bit better than Mississippi. Texas A&M 42, Ole Miss 24.
South Carolina (4-1, 2-1) at Arkansas (3-3, 0-2) – This is a battle of barnyard animals with the Gamecocks seemingly in a crazy coop. The Arkansas Razorbacks are on a three-game losing streak, two of them to heavyweights Texas A&M and Florida. Upset special? Maybe next year, when Jadeveon Clowney is definitely gone. South Carolina 28, Arkansas 17.
Missouri (5-0, 1-0) at Georgia (4-1, 3-0) – Switch the schedules of these teams and Georgia – which has played a monster early slate -- would be an easy 5-0. Missouri playing the schedule the Bulldogs have faced might be 2-3, no better. Georgia is missing a lot of weapons, but has the main armament in quarterback Aaron Murray, who has been winning big games. Georgia 34, Missouri 17.
Florida (4-1, 3-0) at LSU (5-1, 2-1) – LSU had the toughest test of SEC Western Division teams with Georgia and Florida on the schedule this year. The Bengal Tigers failed the first test against the Bulldogs. A loss to Florida and LSU falls into the spoiler role for the rest of the season. Les Miles doesn’t like having to play the Gators, but the LSU offense should be too much for a very good Florida defense. LSU 31, Florida 24.
Alabama (5-0, 2-0) at Kentucky (1-4, 0-2) – Although Alabama is number one in the nation, and even though the Crimson Tide has dominated four of five opponents with wins over three teams that have been nationally ranked, no one feels comfortable about the performance of Bama to date. Still, this is football. Alabama 42, Kentucky 6.