As we delve deeper into conference play, this week features another interesting slate of matchups. The big one is obviously Florida at LSU, a game with national title implications. However, Alabama at Ole Miss, Auburn at Arkansas, Houston at Mississippi State, and Georgia at Tennessee are all intriguing, as well. Here are my picks.
The big question in this game is whether or not Tim Tebow will play. However, even if Tebow does play, the Gators are likely in for a tough game, as LSU is riding high after last week's victory and thrives on the kind of environment Deaf Valley will produce on Saturday night. Look for a classic a la 2007, with the Tigers pulling off the upset.
Alabama Crimson Tide at Mississippi Rebels
Before Ole Miss lost to South Carolina, this game was shaping up to be a showdown between two top-five teams. Now, Ole Miss looks vulnerable while 'Bama looks like one of the most complete teams in the country. Should be a blowout 'Bama win, right? Wrong. Ole Miss is capable of playing at a high level, and Houston Nutt's teams typically play their best in games like this. I think this one will be a classic, but I do think 'Bama will sneak out of Oxford with a win.
This game may end up being a better measure of how far Auburn can go this year than last week's win over Tennessee. It will, of course, certainly have more implications for divisional rankings. Expect plenty of offense in this one, as both teams have piled on the points while giving up lots of yards. While I don't doubt that Arkansas can score on Auburn, though, I do think the Tigers have a shot at pressuring Ryan Mallet and slowing down the Hogs just a little bit. I don't, on the other hand, think Arkansas's woeful defense will do much against Auburn. I'm picking Auburn to pull away late for the win.
Vandy shouldn't have too much trouble with Army, which has suffered some ugly losses this year, including a blowout at the hands of Duke (!). However, this may be the last win of the year for struggling Vandy, whose upcoming schedule features a barrage of ranked teams.
After starting strong, Houston took a step back last week when they lost to UTEP. MSU, on the other hand, has looked improved since last year but has had trouble winning. This week, I think they do it. Look for the Bulldogs to win in a shootout. (Yes, that does sound weird.)
During the Ron Zook era, this one would have probably been for the East. Now, it's a game between two teams struggling to salvage their season. This isn't to say, though, that these teams can't make some noise this year. Georgia has lots of pieces in place to make a run, and Tennessee at least has a good defense. I don't think, though, that Tennessee has enough offense to beat a team like Georgia, so I'm picking the 'Dawgs.