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Weekend Predictions: Full SEC slate keeps mind off basketball

By: Wally Hall
Published: Friday, September 29, 2017
Florida head coach Jim McElwain, left, greets Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason on the field before an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Florida head coach Jim McElwain, left, greets Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason on the field before an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

A couple of big SEC games on tap: Georgia tries to get a stranglehold on the top spot in the East and Mississippi State and Auburn aim to get a leg up on second place in the West.

Saturday's activity should supply some relief from all the disturbing college basketball news, which probably has a lot of coaches, assistants as well as head coaches, not sleeping great right now.

Last week was a better week for picking (6-3) than the week before. One of the losses, Arkansas, was in overtime and another, Kentucky, occurred as time ran out. Season total is 38-8 and here's this week's picks:

NEW MEXICO STATE AT ARKANSAS

The Razorbacks are favored by more than two touchdowns, and should be. They owe payback to some Aggies, and these Aggies might be the only ones they can get it against. It is the first time this season the Hogs haven't had extra time to prepare, which might prove to be a good thing. Arkansas 35-17.

OLE MISS AT ALABAMA

Who will be more miserable this Saturday, former Ole Miss football Coach Hugh Freeze or Rick Pitino, who is about to leave college basketball coaching under a bigger shadow than Freeze? Until his shameful resignation in late July, Freeze was the only active SEC coach to beat Nick Saban more than once. In Freeze's final game against the SEC giant last season, Ole Miss lost 48-43. But Freeze's .400 winning percentage against Bama was pretty amazing. No deep freeze for Tide this week. Alabama 49-17.

MISSISSIPPI STATE AT AUBURN

The Bulldogs were surprisingly ineffective on the road against Georgia and will be looking to get back on course, but that's a difficult thing to do on The Plains. The Tigers' lone loss was to Clemson, 14-6, and those Tigers are looking like they might be headed back to the National Championship game. Auburn 17-14.

VANDERBILT AT FLORIDA

It seems like the Gators have done everything they could to not play Luke Del Rio at quarterback, but after he led them to a come-from-behind victory against Kentucky, he's the man this week. The Commodores are pretty good, but not as good as they thought after Alabama slammed their doors, 59-0. The Gators, who have won their past two games by a total of seven points, and are favored by 10 because the game is in the Swamp. Florida 21-17.

GEORGIA AT TENNESSEE

This is the SEC's game of the week, and while the Bulldogs won at Notre Dame earlier, the Irish were not brain-washing the Dogs with hours of Rocky Top blaring from the speakers. The Vols lost that heartbreaker at Florida two weeks ago, but isn't that what the Vols do these days -- find a way to lose. They struggled last week with UMass. Georgia 31-24.

EASTERN MICHIGAN AT KENTUCKY

That laughter in Lexington, Ky., has nothing to do with the Eastern Michigan Eagles and everything to do with what is happening on that campus 79 miles north. The Wildcats football team won't be taking anything lightly as they try to bounce back after blowing a 24-10 lead to Florida. Kentucky 31-7.

TROY AT LSU

The Tigers have not proven to be as salty on defense as thought after shutting out BYU, 27-0, to open the season. BYU's only victory has come against Portland State. The Tigers won an ugly one against Syracuse last week, but an ugly victory is better than a pretty loss. LSU 24-10.

SOUTH CAROLINA AT TEXAS A&M

The Aggies are favored at home and have won three consecutive games, but they have not really been impressive in any of them. The Gamecocks lost to Kentucky and then struggled with Louisiana Tech. Almost makes you wish there were still ties in college football. Texas A&M 21-20.

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