Below is a full rundown of this weekend’s SEC action, including television information (all times Eastern), the latest odds from Las Vegas, and our own predictions, prognostications and projections. Have at it…
Auburn at Clemson
12:00pm on ABC
Why It Matters: The nation’s longest win streak (17 games in a row) is on the line in this one. And while the outcome will have no bearing on the SEC race, a win at Clemson would only further lift the confidence level of Gene Chizik’s young team.
What Vegas Says: Clemson by 3.5 (opened at -3)
What We Say: On paper, Clemson should probably be the pick. After all, Utah State and Mississippi State have shown that Auburn’s defense can be run over and run through. But it’s one thing to put up more yards than Auburn… it’s something else entirely to put up more points.
Prediction: Auburn 34, Clemson 31
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt
12:00pm on SEC Network
Why It Matters: Wouldyabelieve Vandy has won four of its last six against the Rebels? Or that Ole Miss has lost 16 of its last 18 Southeastern Conference openers? Well just as he couldn’t afford another loss to an FCS squad last week, Houston Nutt can’t afford his second loss in two seasons to Vandy.
What Vegas Says: Ole Miss by 2.5 (opened at -2)
What We Say: If Vanderbilt gets past Mississippi, we’ll go all-in with James Franklin’s club. As it stands, we’ll go with the school that’s signed Top 20 recruiting classes in each of the last three years. UM should have more talent than Vandy. Shouldn’t it?
Prediction: Ole Miss 28, Vanderbilt 20
Coastal Carolina at Georgia
1:00pm on PPV
Why It Matters: Because if Mark Richt somehow loses this one, he’ll be run out of Athens on a rail… Homer Stokes-style.
What Vegas Says: No Line, FCS Opponent
What We Say: Georgia gets a much needed blowout win, but we do they come through it unscathed? UGA sure can’t afford any more injuries.
Prediction: Georgia 44, Coastal Carolina 10
Tennessee at Florida
3:30pm on CBS
Why It Matters: Old friends Derek Dooley and Will Muschamp are trying to prove to pollsters and recruits that it’s back to normal at two of the SEC’s traditional powers. Both teams have looked good so far. But both are stepping way up in competition on Saturday.
What Vegas Says: Florida by 9.5 (opened at -10)
What We Say: UT has the passing attack to challenge Florida’s secondary. But the Vols have given up 4.9 yards per rush attempt to Montana and Cincinnati. That doesn’t bode well going against a run-first Gator team that’s averaged right at 250 yards per contest (even if it came against FAU and UAB). As long as John Brantley avoids major mistakes, UF should run to victory.
Prediction: Florida 34, Tennessee 24
Navy at South Carolina
6:00pm on ESPN2
Why It Matters: Carolina hasn’t looked great so far — just ask Steve Spurrier – but the Gamecocks are still undefeated and still in the Top 10. As nutty as it sounds, BCS hopes are still alive in Columbia.
What Vegas Says: South Carolina by 17 (opened at -16.5)
What We Say: Navy’s triple-option is not what a team with tackling woes wants to see rolling into town. Carolina should be able to put up points on offense and avoid a repeat of its famous upset loss to the Midshipmen in 1984. But they’ll get a scare. SEC teams just aren’t used to seeing a well-executed triple-option game.
Prediction: South Carolina 37, Navy 30
Louisville at Kentucky
7:00pm on ESPNU
Why It Matters: We can probably repeat this line all season — Because Joker Phillips needs to start winning over the UK fanbase.
What Vegas Says: Kentucky by 6 (opened at -7.5)
What We Say: Kentucky has looked pretty rough in wins over Western Kentucky and Central Michigan. But better to be 2-0 with two ugly wins than 1-1 with a loss to Florida International… which is what’s on Louisville’s resume. Look for Morgan Newton and Josh Clemons to get the Cats’ run game going.
Prediction: Kentucky 21, Louisville 17
North Texas at Alabama
7:30pm on FSN
Why It Matters: I got nothing. This will be a rout and everyone knows it. Why even play this game?
What Vegas Says: Alabama by 47 (opened at -43.5)
What We Say: At least Nick Saban will be able to get Phillip Sims some mop-up duty.
Prediction: Alabama 50, North Texas 3
Troy at Arkansas
7:30pm on CSS
Why It Matters: Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson will be back in the lineup after taking a blow to the head last week. Two other Hog starters were injured last week, too. So we’ll go the injury route on this one — The game matters because Arkansas doesn’t want any more injuries against outmanned opponents.
What Vegas Says: Arkansas by 23 (opened at -26.5)
What We Say: Troy has given SEC teams trouble in the past. But Bobby Petrino’s just got too many weapons. The Trojans won’t be able to keep pace tomorrow.
Prediction: Arkansas 41, Troy 17