Auburn Tigers defensive tackle Ben Bradley (50), a Norcross grad, celebrates with defensive back Jermaine Whitehead (9) after a play during the second half against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Jordan Hare Stadium. (John Reed-USA TODAY Sports)
After a disappointing 5-2 showing in Week 7, Daily Post staff correspondent Andrew Hall is now 45-9 in predicting SEC football games. Here’s his take on this week’s schedule:
No. 15 Georgia at Vanderbilt
Make no mistake — Georgia will win this football game. Even with a depleted roster and a still-struggling defense, this Bulldog team is too talented to lose for a second straight week. That being said, the difference between merely surviving against Vanderbilt and winning comfortably will be Todd Gurley. If Gurley plays and is healthy enough to be productive, Georgia wins by two or more scores. Without Gurley, this could be yet another nail-biter for the Dawgs.
Our pick: Georgia by 10.
No. 11 South Carolina at Tennessee
Tennessee fans insist that the Volunteers turned a corner in the moral victory that was an overtime loss at home to Georgia. Following an off week, Butch Jones’ squad will get a chance to demonstrate marked improvement against the Gamecocks. The task at hand won’t be an easy one for the Vols. South Carolina’s defense came into its own last weekend en route to holding Arkansas to just 248 yards and seven points. And, South Carolina’s offense has scored 30 or more points in four of its last five games.
Our pick: South Carolina by 14.
No. 22 Florida at No. 14 Missouri
Saturday, 12:21 p.m./SEC TV
Missouri impressed last week in a big win over Georgia, but that was only the beginning of a brutal stretch for the Tigers. This week Missouri takes on Florida before squaring off with South Carolina next week. Florida has the defense to seriously disrupt Missouri’s offense. Combine that with the absence of star quarterback James Franklin, and Missouri’s stay in the top 15 will prove to be brief.
Our pick: Florida by 7.
No. 24 Auburn at No. 7 Texas A&M
Saturday, 3:30 p.m./CBS
Auburn may also see its poll position decline thanks in no small part to the daunting task of playing one of the nation’s best teams on the road. Texas A&M boast the nation’s fourth-best scoring offense, and there’s little reason to believe that the Tigers will be able to slow down Johnny Manziel and the Aggie offense. Conversely, Auburn does not have the offensive firepower to stay in this game well into the fourth quarter.
Our pick: Texas A&M by 14.
No. 6 LSU at Ole Miss
Saturday, 7 p.m./ESPN 2
Ole Miss will try to break a three-game losing streak against one of the more balanced teams in the country. LSU is one of just 14 BCS conference teams to rank in the top 35 in both scoring offense and scoring defense. The Tigers have scored 35 or more points on six occasions this year and have held opponents under 30 points six times. Ole Miss will continue its run through the SEC West leading up to an early November date with Alabama.
Our pick: LSU by 14.
Arkansas at No. 1 Alabama
Saturday, 7 p.m./ESPN
For all of the alleged struggles of this Alabama team, it sure has performed well over the last four weeks, outscoring the opposition 149-16. This team has shown offense (49 points against Texas A&M, 48 points against Kentucky) and defense (only one team has scored more than one touchdown against the Tide), and things are coming together for Nick Saban’s team. Meanwhile, Arkansas has followed a 3-0 start by going 0-4.
Our pick: Alabama by 21.