Last Week: 13-2
Comment: Best week of the season catapults the 2009 grade up into the A- range. Several tough games this week, a few with national implications.
Best Pick: Arkansas was a trendy choice to whip Ole Miss, but the rejuvenated Rebels ripped the Razorbacks.
Worst Pick (Tie): If you can figure out Clemson or Miami let me know. Canes could have taken control of ACC Coastal, but Tigers tamed them. TCU outclassed overrated BYU.
Here are this week’s SEC picks and national games of interest.
Ole Miss (5-2, 2-2) at Auburn (5-3, 2-3)
11:21 a.m. CT
SEC Network / ESPN360.com / ESPN GamePlan
Pat Dye Field/Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451)
Comment: Two teams headed in different directions play on the Plains. Rebels easily handled Arkansas last week and may be starting to live up to preseason hype, with offense clicking (Dexter McCluster became first Ole Miss player since at least 1965 to gain over 100 yards both rushing and receiving vs. Hogs). Auburn would love to generate that type offensive performance. The Tigers “O” has scored progressively fewer points for four straight games. Reality has come to the Chizik era for 2009.
Professor’s Pick: Ole Miss
Florida (7-0, 5-0) vs. Georgia (4-3, 3-2)
3:30 p.m. ET CBS Sports
Jacksonville Municipal Stadium (80,000)
Comment: The cocktail party has gotten a little cranky the past two seasons. First was Georgia’s 2007 “celebration” when the Dogs spilled onto the field after an early touchdown, caught the defending national champ Gators off guard, and stomped to a 42-30 win. Urban Meyer and UF did not forget and took a little extra time to savor last season’s 49-10 destruction of the Dogs by calling timeouts at the end of the lopsided game. Gators have won nine of twelve in the series, but I do not believe the Florida offense is good enough to blow this game open. Georgia may not be able to score much either, but expect this to be close into the fourth quarter.
Professor’s Pick: Florida
Eastern Michigan (0-7) at Arkansas (3-4, 1-4)
6 p.m. CT ESPNU
Reynolds Razorback Stadium (72,000)
Comment: Hogs need three more wins to go bowling in Bobby Petrino’s second season, and the 0-7 Eagles from Ypsilanti provide an inviting treat on Halloween. Razorbacks rumble.
Professor’s Pick: Arkansas
Mississippi State (3-5, 1-3) at Kentucky (4-3, 1-3)
7 p.m. ET FS South / ESPN360.com / ESPN GamePlan
Commonwealth Stadium (67,942)
Comment: Cats can secure a fourth consecutive bowl bid with wins over State this week and Eastern Kentucky or Vandy the next two. The Bullies are no pushover, but a letdown after the emotional Florida loss is to be expected. Wildcats move closer to post-season.
Professor’s Pick: Kentucky
Georgia Tech (7-1) at Vanderbilt (2-6, 0-5)
6:30 p.m. CT CSS / ESPN 360.com / ESPN GamePlan
Vanderbilt Stadium (39,773)
Comment: The ACC figures to gain bragging rights when the conference’s best team plays the cellar-dweller of the SEC. The Johnson boys, Bobby of Vandy and Paul of Tech, have a history of good competition dating to their days leading Furman (Bobby) and Georgia Southern (Paul). The Tech option is a dream to watch, but a nightmare to defend, and one week prep time is not adequate even for the scholars of the gridiron in Nashville.
Professor’s Pick: Georgia Tech
South Carolina (6-2, 3-2) at Tennessee (3-4, 1-3)
7:45 p.m. ET ESPN
Shield-Watkins Field/Neyland Stadium (100,011)
Comment: Not sure even massive Neyland Stadium can contain the egos of the two coaches in this one. Lane Kiffin of UT gets another chance to beat somebody he insulted before the season, and Steve Spurrier of SC can prove he still wields the sharpest tongue in town. Offensive coaches aside, this promises to be a terrific defensive struggle between two of the league’s most physical and rugged units. The Neyland crowd might help Mr. Brash (young) beat Mr. Brash (old). Keep the mics open for this one.
Professor’s Pick: Tennessee
Tulane (2-5) at LSU (6-1, 4-1)
7 p.m. CT TigerVision PPV/ESPN 360.com/ESPN Game Plan
Tiger Stadium (92,400)
Comment: While the Bengal Tigers cannot treat the Green Wave as a Saturday night scrimmage in preparation for the trip to T-Town next week … well, that’s what it should be. LSU fans are seeking an identity (and some consistency) on offense before the Bama brawl.
Professor’s Pick: LSU
Selected National Picks
Miami at Wake Forest: Hurricanes need help to reach ACC title, but none in this game. Professor’s Pick: Miami
Kansas at Texas Tech: Can a Big 12 North team win a meaningful game? Doubtful. Professor’s Pick: Texas Tech
Michigan State at Minnesota: Big Ten bowl bound teams battle for best Florida destination. Professor’s Pick: Michigan
Cal at Arizona State: PAC-10 is deeper than most “experts” think. Cal is the best of this duo. Professor’s Pick: Cal
West Virginia at South Florida: Mountaineers try to keep Big East hopes alive. They get it done in Tampa. Professor’s Pick: West Virginia
Texas at Oklahoma State: The biggest remaining obstacle between Longhorns and title game. Bevo is up to the challenge of fending off the Stillwater Cowboys. Professor’s Pick: Texas
USC at Oregon: Winner likely on way to Pasadena … for granddaddy or BCS title game. The Ducks are hot, but to be the champ you’ve got to beat the champ. Trojans have earned the respect. Professor’s Pick: USC
See you at kickoff!