This week all 14 SEC teams are in action and the entire schedule is within the conference. Alabama continues to look invincible while Tennessee is still fighting for bowl eligibility, along with just about every other SEC team.
Mississippi State at Alabama
The Bulldogs are in Tuscaloosa facing the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide and the Bullies are ranked 16th in the country. Normally this match up would appear to be much better but Alabama is looking more and more like your National Champion. Last week they totally dominated a good LSU team in Baton Rouge 29-0. In fact, I personally believe there is only one team in the country that has a chance against Alabama and that would be Clemson, currently ranked second in the polls.
These two teams seem to be headed toward a fourth straight post season match up. But for now it's 16th-ranked Mississippi State. Unless 'Bama suffers a huge letdown and plays terribly, the Tide will win easily.
Alabama 38 Mississippi State 10
LSU at Arkansas
The Bengal Tigers are now officially eliminated from the SEC West title chase, so now they're playing for a major bowl game. There will likely be at least a bit of a letdown after the loss to Alabama last weekend, but even with a letdown, LSU should not have a problem picking up win number eight on the season. The Hogs are pretty bad, even worse than Tennessee. It has not been a good year for first year head coach Chad Morris and Razorback fans seem to be having second thoughts about hiring Morris. I think Morris is a good coach and with time, he can build a winner at Arkansas; just not this week.
LSU 44 Arkansas 14
Auburn at Georgia
The South's oldest rivalry doesn't seem to be as enticing as it was in the pre-season. This is also a rematch of last year's SEC Championship game, easily won by Georgia. The Bulldogs are again heavily favored after wrapping up the SEC East title last week with a win at Kentucky. This has been a disappointing season for the Tigers. They are 6-3 overall and 3-3 in league play. They've lost to LSU, Mississippi State and Tennessee. Even though the Tigers are ranked 24th in the country, they're big underdogs this weekend. Georgia easily got past Kentucky last week, wrapping up the East title and setting up a National Championship rematch with Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. Barring a miracle, the Bulldogs will get another W.
Georgia 30 Auburn 17
South Carolina at Florida
It's no secret that Florida has played better on the road than in "The Swamp".Two of the Gators' three losses have come at home, with the third one coming on a neutral field. Despite those losses Coach Dan Mullen has done a great job in his first year as Florida's head coach. This week, his Gators will face one of their old coaches in South Carolina's Will Muschamp. The Gamecocks are 5-3 overall and 4-3 in the SEC. They still need a win to be bowl eligible and will likely get it next week when the UTC Mocs invade William Bryce Stadium. They sure won't get it in their season finale at Clemson.
Florida 24 South Carolina 20
Vanderbilt at Missouri
The Tigers are coming into this one fresh off a huge win last weekend at Florida and while Mizzou is still one win away from bowl eligibility they are sticking to their most recent script of playing very well down the stretch. Missouri will be going to a bowl game, it's just a matter of which one. Vandy on the other hand is 4-5 and the Commodores need a pair of wins to get to a bowl game. It will likely come down to what Vandy does the next two weeks because they're not getting win number five at Missouri this week.
Missouri 40 Vanderbilt 17
Ole Miss at Texas A&M
The Aggies have lost two in a row on the road and dropped out of the top 25 polls. They are still 5-4 overall and a win this weekend will send them to a bowl game. The Rebels on the other hand are still on NCAA probation and couldn't go to a bowl game even if they qualified. So, every game for Ole Miss is looked at as a bowl game. The Johnny Rebs lost a high scoring squeaker last week, 48-44 to South Carolina. That shows you how bad Ole Miss is on defense because South Carolina is certainly not considered to be an offensive powerhouse. This week the Aggies get back in the win column.
Texas A&M 45 Ole Miss 24
Kentucky at Tennessee
By now everyone knows the Volunteers must win two of their last three games to be bowl eligible and they are an underdog this weekend at home against Kentucky. Tennessee will be facing a ranked Kentucky team for the first time since 1977 at Neyland Stadium, so the odds are against a Tennessee victory. The biggest thing in the Vols favor is the fact that Kentucky may be facing a huge letdown after their loss last week at home to Georgia; a loss that eliminated the 'Cats from the SEC East Championship. Tennessee needs every possible advantage to beat Kentucky this week because as I've been saying for a long time, the Vols are just not very good. With that said, this could be the week I pick them to pull off an upset. I didn't pick them to beat Auburn and they did. So why not?
Tennessee 24 Kentucky 20
Last week: 5-2
Year to Date: 63-22
* * *
Randy Smith can be reached at email@example.com