Are you worried about Auburn yet? We correctly called them covering the 8-point spread at Arkansas, and now they're 8-1 and ranked ninth overall. They also boast the best rushing offense in the conference. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
But that's another week away. For now, the team needs to focus on Appalachian State, and we need to focus on picking the SEC Game of Interest. Our 10-8 conference record could use a boost, but, unfortunately, we have to pick the conference's most hyped match-up: No. 13 LSU at No. 1 Alabama (-11.5).
The pick: LSU + 11.5
Why you should care: This match-up has become the de facto SEC West championship game. LSU or Alabama has attended 8 of the 12 SEC Championship Games played since 2000, and they have only lost twice in that span. In the last six years, one of these two teams has attended all but one SECCG, and the Western Conference has taken 5 of 6.
Rationale: You should check out Billy Gomila's "Fact & Fiction" piece over at ATVS. Here's the most relevant excerpt for our purposes:
Since hiring the Short Lord of the Sith in 2007, this series is 4-3 in the Tide's favor by an average score of 22-18. And that's including the 21-0 BCS title game result. . . . [That was the] single double-digit margin, and even that game, lopsided as it was, was a two-score game until the fourth quarter.
The Bayou Bengals have a balanced offense and an above-average defense. They've played well on the road, and two of their wins over Bama in the Saban era have come in Tuscaloosa. I don't know if the Tigers will beat the Tide, but this game will be closer than 2 scores.
Miscellaneous Thoughts: Auburn (-7.5) is much, much better than Tennessee, but there's no telling what will happen in Neyland. The Vols need to clean up their sorry excuse for a field before anyone else gets hurt. I hate Auburn (though nowhere near as much as Kyle Commenter does), but I sincerely hope they make it out of Knoxville without any of the serious injuries we suffered.