Friday, November 14, 2003

SEC Week 12 picks

The week after 3 of the top-5 BCS teams lost found me paying a lot of attention - probably way too much - to the what-ifs and could-bes of the final weeks of the season. Is it better for us if Georgia loses to Auburn and we get Tennessee in the SEC Championship? ... If Ohio State loses to Purdue and then beats Michigan, both of those teams get taken out of the BSC mix ... What are the chances Oklahoma loses the Big XII Championship? ...

But, alas, these are all secondary concerns. LSU has to beat Bama this weekend for any BCS eventualities to mean anything to us.

Nevermind that Alabama is 4-6 and LSU is 8-1. That means little here. Bama is playing well, has nothing to lose and has everything to gain by knocking us out of our No. 3 ranking and the BCS mix.

Bama's offense is not unlike Auburn's - they run better than they throw. Their 174 yards on the ground, 189 in the air and 27.6 points per game don't mean a lot given the 7 periods of overtime they've played, but they don't, in fact, suck on offense.

The Tide defense is respectable, having held Oklahoma to 20 points (nobody else has kept them under 30) early in the year, and coming off a shutout of the woeful Miss. State Bulldogs. They give up 112 yards rushing and 216 yards passing a game (also overtime-inflated).

So I think Alabama has enough talent to win this game. I'm sure they're one of the best 4-6 team in the country.

The key to the game, then, is LSU's ability to focus on Bama as the next obstacle toward an SEC Championship and not as a 4-6 team we play in the game before Ole Miss.

As I've said many, many times, LSU would traditionally blow it here. If we can manage not to blow it, that would (again) say a lot about Nick Saban.

I, for one, am nervous about this game. I hope the team is, too.

I'll pick LSU to squeeze by an up-for-it Bama squad. LSU, 24 - 20

Elsewhere, the "big game" is Auburn at Georgia. Before the season, Auburn was the pick here; early on in the season Georgia was; then Auburn seemed like the better team, and now both are looking for some salvation. Auburn dropped the ball, so to speak, against Ole Miss last week, and Georgia's still smarting from the annual "Florida beats Georgia" game of two weeks ago.

One of the big problems for Georgia two weeks ago was injuries. A week off helps that tremendously.

And Georgia still has a big prize - the SEC Championship Game if they can win out (thanks to a bullshit mid-season change of the tiebreaker rules) - to get them up for this game. Auburn needs a win to qualify for the Bluebonnet Bowl. Tommy T: "Let's go, guys! Bluebonnet Bowl or Bust!!!"

So I like Georgia to win this one. Dawgs, 31 - 17

Florida at South Carolina - The Crocs against the Cocks. A win for Florida here makes their matchup against Florida State meaningful again. A win for South Carolina makes ... not much of a difference. Crocodiles, 31 - 10

Mississippi State at Tennessee - Will the Vols be caught looking foward to their annual showdown with Vandy next week? No. Vols, 28 - 13

Kentucky at Vanderbilt - zzz. Cats, 49 - 14

New Mexico State at Arkansas - Why the hell are the Hogs playing some bad out-of-conference team this late in the season? Hogs, 27 - 10


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