Professor’s Picks and Around the SEC Week 7

Breakup the Commodores!

We are only a week away from the halfway point of the season, and Vanderbilt is one of only three unbeaten conference teams (with Alabama and LSU).Reserve quarterback Mackenzi Adams replaced injured Chris Nix and led Vandy to a 14-13 comeback win over Auburn in Nashville. The win was no fluke as Vanderbilt controlled the second-half and outgained the Tigers 263-208.

The game carried historical implications. Vandy is 5-0 for the first time since WWII, beat Auburn for the first time since the 1955 Gator Bowl, and needs only one more win to reach a bowl for the first time since 1982.

Alabama is on a roll too.

The Tide avoided too much of a letdown after the dramatic victory over Georgia, and hung on to beat a tough Kentucky squad 17-14. Bama has the best shot of any SEC team to go undefeated … a realistic shot with one real tough remaining test – a visit to LSU on November 8th.

LSU has a rougher road ahead.

The defending national champs visit Florida for a prime-time Saturday night game this week.

Should the Tigers pass that test, home games with Georgia and Ole Miss (in addition to Alabama) and a road trip to South Carolina could pose problems.

Rumblings on Rocky Top continue to get louder as the Vols prepare for a trip between the hedges.

Tennessee sent out a new QB (Nick Stephens) but the Volunteers still got ugly results in a 13-9 win over visiting Northern Illinois. Phillip Fulmer is rapidly using up the remaining patience of Vol fans, and needs a good showing in Athens (where UT historically plays well).

The Ole Miss Rebels take a week off to let their collective feet heal up after shooting themselves in them in a loss to South Carolina.

Miss State gets a chance to upset the Vanderbilt bandwagon in Starkville. Read on to find out whether the Pigskin Prognosticator believes the Bullies will pull out the win.

Bobby Petrino returns to Auburn as head coach … of Arkansas … several years after Auburn brass tried to hire him behind Tommy Tuberville’s back. Think Tub would like to win this one?

Well, he wants to win enough that he jettisoned brand-new offensive coordinator Tony Franklin midway through the OC’s first season on the Plains. Tuberville goes through coordinators like Petrino goes through jobs.

Enjoy the games!

Game Day Weekly Conference Ratings

1. Alabama … Tide overcame Kentucky behind big game from RB Glen Coffee (218 yards) and now rests.

2. LSU … Tigers plunge into the Swamp for a game between the two most recent national champs.

3. Vanderbilt … Commodores need only one more win to go bowling … are there any lanes in Starkville?

4. Florida … Gators still inconsistent on offense, but, my-oh-my, the speed.

5. Georgia … Dogs had week off and now welcome struggling Tennessee. Injuries are a concern.

6. Kentucky … Wildcat showed they could compete with Bama, now can they handle a team they should beat?

7. South Carolina … Head ball coach plays head games with QBs but gets big win in Oxford.

8. Ole Miss … Fumbles by offensive stalwarts QB Jevan Snead and WR Dexter McCluster doomed Rebels against SC.

9. Auburn … Tiger offense just can’t get right … mediocre quarterback play is the reason.

10. Mississippi State … Bullies can stave off Vanderbilt bowl march another week … will they?

11. Tennessee … Vol fans were ready for Halloween early … many came dressed as empty seats.

12. Arkansas … Petrino’s Pigs competed with Florida, but may not win another game this season.

Professor’s Picks
Last Week’s Record 3-2
2008 Record 36-12

The old prognosticator got off-beat in music city when Vanderbilt handled Auburn. South Carolina also muddled up the picks by whipping Ole Miss. Maybe the SEC West is not so much better than the East. We’ll find out this week when LSU visits Florida.

(All Times Eastern)

Arkansas at Auburn (5:00)
If we could go back to the days before overtime, we might get ourselves a good, old-fashioned 0-0 tie. Arkansas actually moved the ball pretty well against Florida in a 38-7 loss, but the Hogs never punched across many points. If you are an Arkansas fan, don’t worry about missing the first quarter … the Hogs haven’t scored in the opening period in eight games. How bad is it at Auburn? Bad enough that Tommy Tuberville showed Tony Franklin the door. Bad enough that Vanderbilt shoved the Tigers around in Nashville, controlling the game, outgaining the Tigers by 55 yards (263-208), and got one (sack) for the thumb by dumping Tiger QBs five times. It is questionable whether the Razorbacks win another game, but this might be their best chance.
Game Ball: Auburn

LSU at Florida (8:00 CBS)
See SEC Game of the Week.
Game Ball: Florida

Tennessee at Georgia (3:30 CBS)
Whatever juice Phillip Fulmer has left in Knoxville is getting sucked down like a big orange slurpee. Tennessee escaped with a 13-9 win over Northern Illinois in front of several thousand no-shows. New QB Nick Stephens connected on a third-quarter 52-yard TD pass to Denarius Moore to provide the victory. Georgia fans feel a bit glum too. The Dogs had a week off to lick wounds from the Alabama debacle, but questions linger on both sides of the ball. The offensive line plays musical chairs, the defense gives up too many yards and points, and injuries continue to mount. Call this the grumpy bowl.
Game Ball: Georgia

South Carolina at Kentucky (12:30 Raycom)
Just when the SEC thinks the head ball coach might be ready for a permanent tee time, Steve Spurrier takes his South Carolina Gamecocks to Oxford and does something Florida could not do … beat Ole Miss. QB Chris Smelley passed for 327 yards and 3 TDs, and SC took advantage of Ole Miss turnovers to get the big win. Kentucky played Alabama tough to the very end in a 17-14 loss. This game promises to be a bruising battle of two outstanding defenses. I like Big Blue.
Game Ball: Kentucky

Vanderbilt at Mississippi State (2:30)
The Commodores moved within one win of being bowl eligible for the first time since 1982 with a huge 14-13 victory over Auburn in front of ESPN College Gameday and a national television audience. These are heady times in music city, but the Dores better beat either State or Duke in two weeks because they will be underdogs in every other game. This is a State team that can be rugged at times, especially on defense, and had the week off. I never liked the story of Cinderella anyway so I’m going with the Bullies in an upset.
Game Ball: Mississippi State

Open: Alabama, Ole Miss

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