Georgia Bulldogs center David Andrews (61), a former Wesleyan player, celebrates with fans after beating the Florida Gators at EverBank Field on Saturday. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Daily Post staff correspondent Andrew Hall, who breaks down the week’s SEC football games weekly for the Daily Post, offers his previews of Week 11’s matchups.
Here’s his take on this week’s schedule:
Vanderbilt at Florida
Saturday, noon/Fox Sports Net
These teams enter this game with identical 4-4 marks, but contrasting track records. Florida is 3-3 in SEC play while Vandy is just 1-4. And yet, Vanderbilt defeated a Georgia team that Florida lost to. As banged up as this Gator squad is, Will Muschamp’s squad showed a lot of fight in the second half against Georgia last weekend. Some of that will carry over into this week’s matchup with a much less athletic Commodore team.
Our pick: Florida by 14.
No. 9 Auburn
At 4-5, this Volunteer team is threatening Bowl eligibility with three games remaining under first-year head coach Butch Jones. Meanwhile, Gus Malzahn has Auburn looking to improve to 9-1 in his first season in one of the more dramatic single-season turnarounds in college football history. The Vols’ upset mentality was on full display in a close loss to Georgia and a surprise win over South Carolina, but how much of that momentum was lost in back-to-back setbacks against Alabama and Missouri by a combined score of 76-13?
Our pick: Auburn by 10.
No. 8 Missouri
While these two teams dwelled in the cellar of the SEC East last year, their paths have certainly deviated this year. Kentucky remains winless in the SEC and is nursing a disastrous 2-6 overall mark. Missouri, on the other hand, is 4-1 in conference play and looking to maintain a lead in the SEC East race. The Tigers’ cause will be helped this week with a comfortable win against the Wildcats.
Our pick: Missouri by 21.
Arkansas at Ole Miss
Saturday, 12:21 p.m./Peachtree TV
After opening the season with an impressive 3-0 start, Arkansas has lost six consecutive games. To be fair, the last five losses have come to teams that were ranked in the top 25. Ole Miss will improve to 6-3 in this game, but it will be closer than many expect.
Our pick: Ole Miss by 7.
Appalachian State at Georgia
Saturday, 12:30 p.m./ABC
The question here is not about the outcome of the game. Georgia will win. The question is whether or not Georgia wins by a margin comfortable enough to merit meaningful playing time for backups like quarterback Hutson Mason. Expect Georgia’s offense to open fast and expect the defense to at least threaten a shutout against the Mountaineers. Lots of reserves will play in the second half.
Our pick: Georgia by 28.
at No. 15 Texas A&M
Saturday, 3:30 p.m./CBS
Despite a few minor injuries and a short suspension, Johnny Manziel’s 2013 campaign has been just as impressive as last year’s Heisman run. In fact, in some regards (his passing statistics) it’s been even better. In his eight starts this season, Manziel has averaged 415 yards of offense per game to go with just shy of four total touchdowns per game. No team has been able to stop Manziel. Even in defeat, he’s been productive. Conversely, Mississippi State does not have the offensive firepower to put up the 45-plus points it takes to beat Texas A&M.
Our pick: Texas A&M by 21.
No. 13 LSU
at No. 1 Alabama
Saturday, 8 p.m./CBS
LSU has stumbled twice this year, but that doesn’t minimize the importance of this game. While Alabama is ranked as the nation’s best team and seems to be the class of the SEC, the Crimson Tide could still lose this game and a matchup with Auburn could be very interesting. Accordingly, this game still means a lot for LSU in the short-term. That being said, the home crowd in Tuscaloosa will be a factor, as will the well-rounded play of the Tide.
Our pick: Alabama by 10.