Finally, a week with many exciting, significant games. Our features this week will be two big SEC games between LSU-Georgia and Auburn-Tennessee and two good non-conference games between Texas A&M-Arkansas and Georgia Tech-Mississippi State. The two SEC games are especially interesting, as Georgia and Tennessee need to win to keep a leg up in the Eastern Division race. (That means we want them to lose.) Meanwhile, Auburn will be looking for a statement win that would get them into the top 25, while LSU will look for some validation after a series of close games against ostensibly lesser teams. LSU might be looking for a little revenge, as well, after Georgia whalloped them last week.
Here are my picks.
'Bama won't be up on Kentucky 31-0 after the first. However, don't be surprised if it's getting close to that by the half and exceeds 42-7 by the end.
The Tigers are ripe for a loss after an underwhelming performance last week. Is Georgia, though, the team to give it to them? The big story in this game will be the matchup between LSU corner Patrick Peterson and Georgia receiver A.J. Green. While I doubt Peterson will shut down Green, I do think he can slow Green down, and that should spell problems for the 'Dawgs. I'm picking LSU to get it together and look like a real football team this week.
Mississippi Rebels at Vanderbilt Commodores
The Rebels suffered the classic "Vandy loss" last year, falling to the 'Dores seemingly through every fault of their own. (We know how it is, Rebels fans.) Jevan Snead played horribly, throwing four interceptions. Expect a different outcome this year. This year's Ole Miss will be looking for blood, and this year's Vandy doesn't appear to be quite as opportunistic. Look for the Rebels to win in an ugly rout.
Texas A&M Aggies at Arkansas Razorbacks
This former SWC rivalry revives featuring two high-powered offenses. However, unlike the Aggies, the Hogs have proved they can move the ball against good teams not named Alabama. Moreover, they have homefield advantage. Look for a high-scoring, close game early, but watch for the Razorbacks to pull away late.
The Bulldogs left it all on the field in a close loss to LSU last week. Can they do it again, this time with the win? I don't think so. This one will be closer than last year, but the Bulldogs will make a couple of mistakes against Paul Johnson's option and allow the Jackets to win.
This game matches two teams with new coaches looking to get past last year's disappointing seasons. So far, the Tigers have been more impressive. Auburn has surprisingly shown off a good offense, albeit against average competition. Tennessee, on the other hand, looks much the same team they were last year: great defense, crappy offense, unbelievably crappy quarterback. While I'm interested to see if Auburn will be up to their first big test of the year, I think they're playing better ball than Tennessee right now and expect they'll win a close game.