Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Jason Croom (18) runs with the ball as Florida Gators defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III (1) tackles during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
After going 7-1 in Week 5, Daily Post staff correspondent Andrew Hall is now 33-7 in predicting SEC football games this season. Here’s his take on this week’s schedule:
Georgia State at No. 1 Alabama
Saturday, 12:21 p.m./SEC-TV
Alabama is the nation’s top-ranked team and has managed to jump out to a 4-0 record despite failing to put together a complete game this season. In the season opener, the Crimson Tide offense looked altogether stagnant at times. Against Texas A&M, a weaker than expected defense was exposed. The Crimson Tide led lowly Colorado State by a meager 17-6 margin heading into the fourth quarter. Last week’s 25-0 win against Ole Miss was dominating, but the offense found the end zone just twice. Unfortunately for Georgia State, a complete game by Alabama won’t be necessary this week. The Tide rolls and continues to improve, which is scary.
Our pick: Alabama by 35.
No. 6 Georgia at Tennessee
Saturday, 3:30 p.m./CBS
Tennessee is still trying to find its way under first-year head coach Butch Jones. An upset win over the Bulldogs would be a tremendous momentum builder, and given the Vols ability to keep things close with UGA even during down years, such a scenario isn’t impossible. That being said, Georgia will come into this game with more focus than in years past as the Bulldogs won’t want to spoil a great season start.
Our pick: Georgia by 17.
Arkansas at No. 18 Florida
Saturday, 7:00 p.m./ESPN2
When you consider that Arkansas lost the turnover and time of possession battles last week against Texas A&M, it’s quite impressive that the Razorbacks trailed by only five points heading into the final quarter and lost by just 12. Quarterback Blake Allen threw two interceptions, but he also threw for a career high of 282 yards and three touchdowns. Combine that with a 200-yard rushing effort by a core of talented backs and there’s plenty to feel good about for Arkansas. Florida is still struggling to score points (93rd in the nation in scoring offense) but refusing to allow points (8th in the nation). So, this has another ugly Florida win written all over it.
Our pick: Florida by 6.
No. 10 LSU at Mississippi State
Saturday, 7:00 p.m./ESPN
This is the first game of the rest of LSU’s season. The loss to Georgia was heartbreaking for the Tigers, but an SEC West title and a potential rematch with the Bulldogs in the Georgia Dome is still very much at play. Fortunately for Les Miles, this game plays perfectly into LSU’s hands. LSU’s weakness is on the defensive side of the ball; Mississippi State has managed just 11.5 points per game against BCS Conference opponents this season. And although MSU’s defense has been impressive at times, a passing attack managed by Zach Mettenberger and a ground game led by Jeremy Hill will render LSU successful.
Our pick: LSU by 17.
Missouri at Vanderbilt
Saturday, 7:30 p.m./CSS
There are only two undefeated teams in the SEC. One is obviously Alabama. Quite surprisingly, the other is Missouri. A 4-0 start is the benefit of an opening slate that included Murray State, Toledo, Indiana and Arkansas State. A trip to Vanderbilt will be the Tigers’ first opportunity to demonstrate improvements against an SEC foe, albeit one that has been uninspiring thus far. In the end, Missouri’s playmakers will prove too much for Vanderbilt to stop.
Our pick: Missouri by 7.
Kentucky at No. 13 South Carolina
Saturday, 7:30 p.m./Fox Sports Net
South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw is practicing this week and may play through a shoulder injury that he suffered last week, but even his potential absence won’t change the outcome of this game. Dylan Thompson is a more than capable backup, and more importantly, South Carolina’s running game has emerged as one of the best in the conference. Sophomore running back Mike Davis has already accounted for 635 yards of offense and six touchdowns in just four games.
Our pick: South Carolina by 17.
No. 24 Ole Miss at Auburn
Saturday, 7:00 p.m./ESPNU
Last week, Ole Miss managed only 205 yards of offense and was held to 11 first downs en route to a scoreless effort against Alabama. Auburn’s defense won’t be as stout as what Bo Wallace and company faced last week, but it will still feature a similar caliber of athlete. The leaders of the SEC West are clear: Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M. This game will determine who is king among the West’s second tier, and the game may come down to home field advantage.
Our pick: Auburn by 3.