We could be in for a rather chaotic weekend. Let’s hope so because chaos is always fun. We could legitimately see Boise State, TCU and Alabama in the Top 3 next week.
AROUND the SEC
SEC Last Week: oops!
SEC Overall: 29-13
Tennessee @ South Carolina: South Carolina struggled last week without Marcus Lattimore. Lattimore returns this week and the Gamecocks win fairly easily, but I expect the Vols will put up a fight. Gamecocks win 34-17.
Florida @ Georgia: The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. This is the first time these two teams have met where both have been unranked since 1979. It’s hard to say how much of an impact Chris Rainey will have, but he was reinstated to suit up against Georgia. Georgia has been playing well lately. They are averaging 38.8 points per game since A.J. Green returned to action, however the quality of defenses they have played can also be questioned. A.J. Green will be a factor, but I really think that Washaun Ealey is the x-factor today against the Gators. The run game will be very important.
One thing about the Gators is that they have played good defense despite being woeful on offense. The Gators insist on running the read option with QB John Brantley even though he is not a threat with his legs by any means. The guys strength is his arm. Florida offensive coordinator, Steve Adazzio, is quite stubborn, though. He isn’t going to change things up.
Georgia has a better defense this year and an improved offense. The success of the offense can be attributed in part to Freshman QB, Aaron Murray. The run game will be very important today for both teams. I have no reason to think that Florida’s struggles won’t continue. This will be a tight game, but Georgia gets the victory, 24-17.
Ole Miss @ Auburn: Houston Nutt is a dangerous man in the underdog role. Here’s a look at some recent upsets while Nutt was the coach (most while at Arkansas):
2003: 38-28 win at Texas
2006: 27-10 win at #2 Auburn
2007: 50-48 win at LSU
2008: Ole Miss beats Florida 31-30 in The Swamp
I’ve already put Auburn on upset alert and made the call. Ole Miss wins.
Vanderbilt @ Arkansas: Ryan Mallett is expected to start against the Commodores, but I don’t think that would make a difference. Arkansas wins 38-17.
Kentucky @ Mississippi State: This should be an interesting matchup for Mississippi State’s defense. I think the Bulldogs will be able to have their way on the ground, but Kentucky can make the quick strikes for touchdowns. This will be a close game, but I’m giving the edge to MSU because they are at home. Bulldogs win 27-24.
LSU and Alabama hit snooze this weekend, but they will meet in Baton Rouge next weekend for a big SEC West showdown.
Other Match Ups
Michigan State @ Iowa: Tough call here. The Hawkeyes lost at home last week to Wisconsin, but these are two fairly even teams. Both play good defense and have a balanced offensive attack. The Spartans have gotten off to slow starts the past two weeks against inferior opponents, but they can’t afford to do that this week. For that reason, I’m going with Iowa to upset #5 Michigan State, but I’m not sure Iowa covers a 6.5 spread.
Baylor @ Texas: It’s hard to believe that Baylor has the capability of upsetting Texas at home, but the Bears are led by a fantastic young QB in Robert Griffin III and Texas has two embarrassing losses at home already this year to UCLA and Iowa State. Will they suffer a third? I’m guessing Mack Brown will have this team ready. Texas still has nice talent out there so you can’t sleep on them. I think Texas ends Baylor’s hopes of notching a Big 12 South title.
Stanford @ Washington: Washington has been up and down this season while Stanford has been moving right along. The Cardinal are led by a better quarterback (Andrew Luck) and a better team. Stanford wins on the road.
Utah @ Air Force: Air Force was blown out by TCU last week, but they get the Utes at home this week. Air Force is a pretty solid team and always a candidate to pull off an upset. The Falcons took Utah to overtime last year and I think we’ll see a close game again this year. All of their losses this season have come on the road. I’m calling upset here. I like Air Force.
Oregon @ USC: The Trojans are quickly becoming a trendy upset pick this week. I don’t expect USC to be able to stop Oregon. The Trojans still make a lot of mistakes, but their offense is legit. I think USC has a little chip on their shoulder. I’m taking USC in a close shootout.
Missouri @ Nebraska: Missouri is overrated. They are coming off a huge win over Oklahoma and they’re flying a little high. It’s time for Nebraska to bring them down to Earth. Nebraska wins.
Enjoy your Saturday! It should be a great one.
Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment box below. You can e-mail me suggestions or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @JoeSportswriter.