My willingness to pick Kentucky to upset South Carolina, coupled with my squeamishness about picking Mississippi State to
upset beat Florida caused me to go 4-1 in last week’s SEC forecasts, thereby improving my season-long ledger in conference prognostications to 34-9. That rate of success is unsustainable, however, so, ere I dive into this week’s predictions, I must warn you, as always: Don’t Bet On It!
The following games all are slated to be played on Saturday, October 23, because we’re a legitimate BCS conference, dadgum it:
UAB Blazers at Mississippi St. Bulldogs: I really tried to come up with something witty to say about a game pitting the head coach every Florida fan wishes was still on the staff in Gainesville against the head coach no Georgia fan wishes was still on the staff in Athens, but I drew a blank, so I’m just going to tell you this: UAB ranks last in Conference USA in red zone offense---the Blazers have scored ten touchdowns in 23 trips inside the 20---while MSU ranks third in the SEC in red zone defense, having surrendered just eight TDs on 21 drives inside the shadow of the Bulldogs’ goalposts. I’m thinking the team that held the Sunshine State Saurians to seven points can shut down the Blazers, so I’m taking Mississippi State to attain bowl eligibility.
Alabama Crimson Tide at Tennessee Volunteers: As we move from the University of Alabama at Birmingham to the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, I find myself intrigued by the question of how Nick Saban will approach this game. On the one hand, there is an argument for exacting vengeance on the Vols after last year’s narrow escape against
former head coach self-aggrandizing bigmouth Lane Kiffin; on the other hand, Derek Dooley is a disciple of the Armani Bear. Which way does that cut? I’m guessing Coach Saban doesn’t have time for that stuff, so I’ll just pick the Tide and be done with it.
Mississippi Rebels at Arkansas Razorbacks: Say what you will about the absurdity of the black bear, but at least he’s just one dude. The Hogs’ collection of mascots is large enough to populate a porcine family reunion photo. They have Big Red, Ladyback Big Red, Sue E., Pork Chop, Ribby, and Boss Hog. They also have a football team that is going to hang some points on Ole Miss, which is why I’m going with Arkansas.
South Carolina Gamecocks at Vanderbilt Commodores: The winner of this game controls its own destiny in the SEC East. Don’t think about that for too long, or your brain won’t stop hurting until next April . . . and that doesn’t even take into account the fact that Florida is projected to receive an invitation to the Music City Bowl. All you need to understand is this: South Carolina had a letdown last weekend, while Vanderbilt was just being Vanderbilt. That’s why I’m going with the Gamecocks.
LSU Tigers at Auburn Tigers: I’m going with the Tigers. (That joke is funny every single time.) You know the old saying "I’d rather be lucky than good?" Not this Saturday, you won’t, because a good Auburn team is going to get it done at home against a lucky Louisiana State squad.
Take those forecasts for what they’re worth, but please bear in mind that my track record as a prognosticator is far from good. Putting stock in my predictions is a fool’s errand, so, please, whatever you do, . . . Don’t Bet On It!
Coming Soon: National Games of Interest.