This is “Separation Saturday,” where the true contenders in the SEC race (besides Alabama) will emerge. College Gameday is in Knoxville where Tennessee seeks to end its 11 game losing streak to Florida. If Florida does get the win, my good friend John Henderson (now 34 years old) can continue to brag that he held the game winning field goal the last time Tennessee beat Florida. Now, on to the picks…
Last Week’s Record: 6-0
Overall Record: 14-4
Kent State at Alabama
Kickoff: 12:00 PM EDT (SEC Network)
In a matchup between Nick Saban and his alma mater, the confidence of Bama’s freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts will continue to build.
Predicted Final Score: Alabama 56, Kent State 3
Georgia at Ole Miss
Kickoff: 12:00 PM EDT (ESPN)
Georgia has to feel fortunate to be 3-0 after narrow escapes over Nicholls State and Missouri. On the other hand, Ole Miss must feel sick that it blew 21 point first half leads against both Florida State and Alabama. Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly has another monster day, while Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason struggles with the ferocious Rebel pass rush.
Predicted Final Score: Ole Miss 34, Georgia 17
Florida at Tennessee
Kickoff: 3:30 PM EDT (CBS)
Tennessee’s offensive line has struggled immensely against Appalachian State and Ohio so I don’t have high hopes for them against the mighty Gator defensive front. On the other hand, Florida quarterback Luke Del Rio will miss the contest with a knee injury, and thus, the Gators will turn to Purdue transfer Austin Appleby at quarterback. In a low scoring affair, the Vols take first place in the SEC East.
Predicted Final Score: Tennessee 17, Florida 16
LSU at Auburn
Kickoff: 6:00 PM EDT (ESPN)
A loss in this game would be devastating to both programs and coaches. I have no doubt that Auburn will put up a fight at home behind its intimidating crowd and underrated defense. At the end of the day, Leonard Fournette is the best player on the field, and he wills LSU to a hard fought victory.
Predicted Final Score: LSU 20, Auburn 17
South Carolina at Kentucky
Kickoff: 7:30 PM EDT (SEC Network)
After a disastrous start to the season, this game is an absolute must-win for Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops. Despite a young, talent-depleted roster, South Carolina has played admirably behind first-year head coach Will Muschamp and must feel fortunate to be 2-1. The desperate Wildcats find a way to earn the first SEC win of the season.
Predicted Final Score: Kentucky 24, South Carolina 20
Texas A&M v. Arkansas at Arlington, Texas
Kickoff: 9:00 PM EDT (ESPN)
I always find this matchup entertaining because of these programs’ differing styles. Arkansas loves to play power football with a stout offensive line and smashmouth running attack, while Texas A&M’s offense is built on an effective passing attack with playmaking quarterbacks and lightning fast wide receivers. Arkansas knows that the best way to attack the Aggie defense is to run right at it. Ultimately, I like the chemistry of this Texas A&M squad and its quarterback Trevor Knight and expect the Aggies to win a thriller.
Predicted Final Score: Texas A&M 34, Arkansas 27