Season Record: 70-27
Last Week’s Record: 6-5
Welcome back to The Campus Game and Week 8 of the 2010 college football season.
Each week, predictions for all SEC games and a selected number of national games will be posted here.
Comment: Ouch! The professor came back unprepared after the midterm break and paid for it with a middling mark. This week features league leaders squaring off in the SEC (Auburn-LSU), the Big 12 (Oklahoma-Missouri), and the Big Ten (Wisconsin-Iowa).
Best Pick: Ummm … there really wasn’t one but call it for Iowa over Michigan.
Worst Pick: Plenty of choices here, but underestimating Auburn (again) versus Arkansas gets the nod slightly over calling for Nebraska to handle the Longhorns.
Here are this week’s SEC picks and national picks of interest.
Note: XM and Sirius channels are listed after time and television.
Ole Miss (3-3, 1-2) at Arkansas (4-2, 1-2)
11:21 a.m. CT SEC Network 200 (UA) 220 (UA)
Fayetteville, Ark. • Reynolds Razorback Stadium (72,000)
Comment: Yes, Arkansas got the raw end of two blown calls in the loss at Auburn … but the Hog defense laid down in the slop. QB Ryan Mallet should start. Ole Miss, after never threatening Alabama, could win this game to move up the bowl pecking order in the brutal SEC West. Stick with the porkers one more week.
Professor’s Pick: Arkansas
LSU (7-0, 4-0) at Auburn (7-0, 4-0)
2:30 p.m. CT CBS Sports 143/122 (AU); 130 (LSU)
Auburn, Ala. • Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451)
Comment: The only two teams in the nation that truly control their own national title destiny meet on the plains of Auburn. Simply put, should either of these teams win out (unlikely in my opinion), that squad would play for a national title. Auburn QB Cam Newton continues a Heisman-esque rampage (25 TDs!) and faces his toughest defense of the season to this point in LSU. Planning to stop Newton is simple – stay in rush lanes to keep him from scrambling, bring occasional pressure, and make him throw. Stopping him is complex – he’s bigger than your linebackers, stronger than your safeties, and faster than your corners. He will have a bad game at some point I suspect. LSU’s offense continues to be woeful. To have a realistic shot, Jarrett Lee has to play and throw effectively. So naturally the Bengal Tigers will start Jordan Jefferson. The professor has picked against Auburn several times (and the Tigers were pretty fortunate to beat SC and Miss State) … not going against the Plainsmen this week.
Professor’s Pick: Auburn
South Carolina (4-2, 2-2) at Vanderbilt (2-4, 1-2)
6 p.m. CT FSN 200 (VU) 220 (VU)
Nashville, Tenn. • Vanderbilt Stadium (39,773)
Comment: Get this … the winner of the game controls the SEC East. South Carolina still holds the inside track, and should the Gamecocks sink the Commodores, Tennessee, and Arkansas the next three weeks (certainly possible) the matchup with Florida will not even matter. They take the first step.
Professor’s Pick: South Carolina
Alabama (6-1, 3-1) at Tennessee (2-4, 0-3)
7 p.m. ET ESPN 201/219 (UT); 141/121 (UA)
Knoxville, Tenn. • Neyland Stadium (102,455)
Comment: The famed Third Saturday in October matchup is off (and not just because this is the fourth Saturday of the month). The teams arrive on Rocky Top with vastly different agendas. Bama still holds realistic hopes of running the table and reaching the BCS championship game (they would probably simply need two teams to lose of the Oregon, Oklahoma, Michigan State trio – forget Boise and TCU – the Tide would outrank them). The Vols and coach Derek Dooley (a Nick Saban protege’ and friend) are simply trying to get something positive going and avoid being blown out. Expect a hard-fought, reasonably close (at least for a half or so) Bama win.
Professor’s Pick: Alabama
UAB (2-4) at Mississippi State (5-2, 2-2)
6 p.m. CT ESPNU 198 (MSU) 218 (MSU)
Starkville, Miss. • Davis Wade Stadium
Comment: Caught State coach Dan Mullen on a local radio program this week and the guy is confident and charismatic. It’s a program on the rise – and think how close he was to having Cam Newton leading the Bullies. UAB coach Neil Callaway is only 13-29 with the Blazers in four years.
Professor’s Pick: Miss State
Georgia (3-4, 2-3) at Kentucky (4-3, 1-3)
7:30 p.m. ET CSS 199 (UK) 217 (UK)
Lexington, Ky. • Commonwealth Stadium (67,942)
Comment: Don’t look now, but Georgia may be playing the best ball in the East Division … and the Dogs have a realistic (if undeserved) opportunity to reach the SEC title game. Beat Kentucky and Florida the next two weeks, have South Carolina lose twice (remaining games with Vandy, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida) and Georgia wins the East – even if the Dogs lose to Auburn. Not implausible. First, the Dogs must get past a high-scoring Kentucky team that broke a 3-game losing streak by beating SC. The loss of standout RB Derrick Locke hurts the Cats. Plenty of points in beautiful bluegrass country.
Professor’s Pick: Georgia
OPEN: Florida (4-3, 2-3)
(all times Eastern)
Wisconsin at Iowa (3:30 ABC/ESPN) … the two best teams in the Big Ten in this professor’s grade book. Home field plays a big factor in picking the Hawkeyes. Professor’s Pick: Iowa
Nebraska at Oklahoma State (3:30 ABC) … The Cowboys are the nation’s lowest ranked undefeated team. Expect the Cornhuskers to show us why. Professor’s Pick: Nebraska
Georgia Tech at Clemson (3:30 ABC/ESPN) … these teams played for the ACC title last season. Georgia Tech, defending champs, are in the thick of the Coastal race and beating the Tigers would set up what a probable division-deciding game at Virginia Tech in two weeks. Love that option. Professor’s Pick: Georgia Tech
North Carolina at Miami (7:30 ESPN2) … many of the Tar Heels (at least former members) have made the trek to Miami before. Butch Davis would love to win this game in the city that may bring his tenure to an end in Chapel Hill. Winner remains in contention for ACC Coastal. Professor’s Pick: Miami
Oklahoma at Missouri (8:00 ABC) … the Game Day crew visits Mizzou where two undefeated teams meet in what might be a preview of the Big 12 Championship game. The Sooners stand atop the BCS rankings and have played a vastly more challenging schedule than the Tigers. That should make the difference. Professor’s Pick: Oklahoma