Like It Is

Wally Hall's weekend football predictions

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) looks for a receiver during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Without a doubt, the biggest game in the country will be played in SEC country Saturday afternoon when No. 1 Tennessee travels to Athens to play No. 3 Georgia.

Those are the official College Football Playoff rankings, and it was a bit of surprise for the Volunteers to jump the Bulldogs and Ohio State in the initial poll of the season.

Another huge game is No. 6 Alabama at No. 10 LSU, which is why the first one mentioned is in the afternoon and this one at night.

Arkansas is the only team with a nonconference opponent this weekend and is one of four teams looking to get bowl eligible.

Last week was a better week with picks, going 5-1 to bring the season record to 66-18.

Liberty at Arkansas

Are the Flames better than Missouri State? Probably. Since losing to Arkansas 38-27, the Bears are 1-4 on the season.

The question is not will Hugh Freeze try to exploit the Razorbacks’ biggest weakness — pass defense, which ranks 13th in the SEC — but will he call for a pass on two out of three plays? The Flames have a solid running attack, too. Most likely a Liberty win would be a resume builder for Freeze if he gets an interview at Auburn.

Obviously, the Razorbacks have played a much tougher schedule, although they and Flames beat BYU. Arkansas beat the Cougars by 17 and the Flames by 27, but the Razorbacks played on the road and Liberty was home.

The big question is can Liberty slow Arkansas’ powerful running game and KJ Jefferson’s passing? No. Arkansas, 41-31

Tennessee at Georgia

This game has had a month’s worth of hype this week, but the two undefeated teams deserve it. There are only six teams without a loss. The Vols are averaging almost 50 points per game and more than 43 in SEC play. The Bulldogs are averaging about 42 and 41 but have the No. 4 defense in the nation. Georgia, 42-37

Alabama at LSU

A loss in Death Valley would probably eliminate the No. 6-ranked Crimson Tide from the College Football Playoffs. Alabama is good but not the Alabama good that has struck fear in the hearts of opponents. Both teams were off last weekend and had extra time to prepare for this showdown. The Tigers come in the game off wins at Florida and previously undefeated Ole Miss. Brian Kelly is proving to be a good hire. Nick Saban has nothing to prove. Alabama, 31-27

Auburn at Mississippi State

The Bulldogs are looking to get bowl eligible at home. The Tigers are looking for the end of the season, a new coach and a new beginning, again. Expect Auburn players to be fired up for Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, the interim coach who started his coaching career at Henderson State University, but doubt they can sustain it for four quarters. Mississippi State, 45-24

Florida at Texas A&M

The Aggies have lost four consecutive games and need a better offensive performance to stop the slide. The Gators have given up 168 points in SEC play, which is ahead of only the Hogs, who have allowed 169. The Gators have lost two in a row. A&M is thankful for Auburn so they don’t finish last in their division and the Gators appreciate Vanderbilt. Texas A&M, 21-17

Kentucky at Missouri

The Wildcats are looking to get bowl eligible and the Tigers are hoping to get within one game of postseason play. Both teams have been up and down, mostly down. Kentucky, 28-24

South Carolina at Vanderbilt

A win by the Gamecocks makes them bowl eligible and a loss makes the Commodores one game away from being mathematically eliminated from postseason play. South Carolina, 21-17