Randy Smith: SEC Picks Week 4

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit said this week that this weekend's slate of college football contests is full of "monster" games. A couple of them are in the Southeastern Conference. Thankfully for Tennessee fans the Vols don't play in one.

Ole Miss is idle

Alabama at Vanderbilt
Vandy coach Derek Mason said this week that his Commodores have "something" for Alabama. Vanderbilt fans are hoping that "something" is an upset win. Vandy is a perfect 3-0 on the year after a 14-7 win over #18 Kansas State last weekend. I'm still not sure how impressive the win over the Wildcats was but it was a win the Commodores wouldn't have had a couple of years ago.
Alabama will be the biggest test of the year for Coach Mason and, if Vandy pulls the upset, they will win the SEC East this year. Vandy is good but Alabama is better. Much better.
Alabama 27 Vanderbilt 10

Arkansas vs Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas
You might call this game the "mediocre" bowl because both these teams are "mediocre" when it comes to  SEC teams. The winner does get a step up in the SEC West but in the end, it's Alabama's to lose. Both coaches in the game are on the hot seat but the winner gets a reprieve for a week or two. Kevin Sumlin of the Aggies and Bret Bielema of the Hogs each have something to prove, mainly to prove their teams are better than they've shown so far. This one is hard to pick a winner but here goes.
Texas A&M 34 Arkansas 30 

Auburn at Missouri
A few weeks ago this game had more excitement around it. That was before the Mizzou offense went in the tank and before Auburn struggled with Southern Conference member Mercer. Auburn is 2-1 on the year and will be favored to pick up SEC win number one. Auburn has too much offense for Missouri's porous defense. This game could be over by halftime unless Missouri finds a way to score points again as well as a way to stop the Auburn attack.
Auburn 38 Missouri 20

Florida at Kentucky
The Gators are coming to Lexington, Kentucky after a win they shouldn't really have gotten last week when they scored a 26-20 victory over Tennessee. This could be the worst Florida team I've seen in years, especially when you consider that nine players are still suspended due to alleged credit card fraud. Kentucky looked very impressive in their big win at South Carolina last week; that coming after two unimpressive wins over Southern Miss and Eastern Kentucky to start the season. Kentucky is beginning to put things together and with a win Saturday night at Commonwealth Stadium will get a big leg up on the SEC East race.
Kentucky 24 Florida 14

Syracuse at LSU
The Bengal Tigers laid a big egg on the field last week in Starkville in a 37-7 loss to Mississippi State. They were undisciplined, and totally ineffective against a good Bulldog squad. That loss is behind them now and they face the Orangemen this week and Troy next week before going to Florida on October 7th. Ed Orgeron should have his Bengals ready this week, because they sure weren't ready last week.
LSU 45 Syracuse 17

Mississippi State at Georgia
It's a battle of Bulldogs Saturday in Athens. Both teams are nationally ranked and both teams are 3-0. As they were three years ago, Mississippi State is a real surprise after an impressive 37-7 win at home against LSU last week. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald will be tested to the limit to move the ball on a really good Georgia defense. At the same time, the State defense will be challenged to contain Georgia's running game. The big difference in this game could be the rowdy home crowd between the hedges at Sanford Stadium. If Georgia could pull out the victory, the Bulldogs will have a huge SEC win under their belts.
Georgia 31 Mississippi State 28

Louisiana tech at South Carolina
The Gamecocks ran into a buzz saw last week on their way to the SEC East title. After starting the season 2-0 and 1-0 in the league they were soundly beaten at home by Kentucky. Going into week four there appears to be Georgia, then every other team in the SEC East. South Carolina has a chance to right the ship this week before they play a huge SEC road game next week at Texas A&M. Jake Bentley should get it going this week against the Bulldogs.
South Carolina 37 Louisiana Tech 10 
  
UMass at Tennessee
Things have been bad this week in Knoxville. In fact, someone painted the famous rock on campus with "Fire Butch now" After last week's debacle at Florida the groundswell of support to fire Tennessee head coach Butch Jones has been gaining steam all week. A lackluster performance against the Minutemen this week followed by a loss to Georgia in two weeks could bring out the lynch mobs in east Tennessee. The Vols are much better than they showed last week against the Gators but I'm not sure they're good enough to save Butch's job before the end of the year. Still the Vols have a chance to straighten things out and finish strong. We'll see.
Tennessee 54 UMass 14

Last week: 6-4
Year to date: 27-9

* * *

Randy Smith has been covering sports on radio, television and print for the past 45 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has written two books, and has continued to free-lance as a play-by-play announcer.  His career has included a 17-year stretch as host of the Kickoff Call In Show on the University of Tennessee’s prestigious Vol Network. He has been a member of the Vol Network staff for 30 years. He has done play-by-play on ESPN, ESPN II, CSS, and Fox SportSouth, totaling more than 500 games, and served as a well-known sports anchor on Chattanooga television for more than a quarter-century. In 2003, he became the first television broadcaster to be inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame. Randy and his wife Shelia reside in Hixson. They have two married children, Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith. They have five grandchildren, Coleman, Boone, Mattingly, DellaMae, and CoraLee.



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