Posted: 2:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, 2013
Last week's misfires dropped me to 23-5 on the season. As an unabashed Barner, I refuse to apologize for picking with my heart instead of my head last week. Texas A&M; may have made a fool of me, but this week looks like a slate full of common-sense picks in the SEC.
Remember when this game was really fun? Throughout the glorious '90s, Tennessee and Florida were bitter rivals. Even their respective coaches, Phillip Fulmer and Steve Spurrier, seemed to have a genuine disdain for each other. More importantly, both teams were regularly among the conference's elite -- guaranteeing this game as a marquee matchup every year. Though years mired in mediocrity have taken the edge from both teams, there is still no love lost between the Vols and Gators. Neither of these schools is a "complete" team this season. Tennessee possibly has a slightly better offense, but Florida's defense puts Tennessee's to shame. As long as Jeff Driskel doesn't Jeff Driskel too much, Florida should limit Tennessee to single digits and win comfortably. However, if Driskel leads the league in Driskeling again ... Verne may be in for an exciting finish at the Swamp. Florida has won the previous eight meetings ... and will most likely make it nine.
Despite losing at home to 'Bama, the Texas A&M; faithful should be pretty excited about an offense that put up 42 points against the highly acclaimed Tide defense. Those same faithful should be concerned about the Aggie defense, which has given up both yards and points in large quantities. The SMU Mustangs have a nice little aerial attack and can put numbers on the scoreboard. To win this game, however, they'd have to score 80. Take Manziel and the Fightin' Maroons.
Larry Blakeney and his Trojans will visit Starkville and face a Bulldogs team still smarting from it's
awesome heartbreaking loss in Auburn. Has Mississippi State found a legitimate dual-threat quarterback in Dak Prescott, or was this simply another case of Auburn making backup quarterbacks look like Steve Young? Troy has plenty of SEC game experience, can put up points and is looking to be a major player in the Sun Belt. I think Troy makes this one VERY close, but in the end CLANGA gets the win and claims an Alabama state title.
The Razorbacks are one of two SEC teams taking uncharacteristically long trips to the Northeast this weekend. The Hogs dropped this game at home last season, but have the running game to take this year's bout on the road. This game is extremely important for Arkansas' bowl chances. Despite being 3-0, the Hogs might not be favored in another game for the rest of the season. If they drop this one, they're almost certain to enjoy the postseason games from the comfort of their shanties and lean-tos. Look for true freshman Alex Collins to keep things rolling for Arkansas.
Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain was the offensive coordinator for two of Alabama's recent BCS title teams -- half of which almost certainly will not be vacated because of rampant cheating (Pawwwl). He may have escaped Tuscaloosa in time to avoid the NCAA hammer, but McElwain still finds himself in the crosshairs of Lord
Farquaad Saban this weekend. Don't expect Saban to take it easy on his former employee. He only calls off the dogs for enablers of pedophilia. My prediction? Pain.
A well-rested Georgia getting North Texas at home? Yeah, there's a reason this game is the 11:21 a.m. contest. This is an easy tune-up for the Bulldogs before a huge make-or-break game against LSU next week. Georgia can run the ball as well as anyone, but the Dawgs have also struggled stopping the run. Look for Mark Richt to try a few things this week to shake up the run defense before hosting LSU next Saturday.
Missouri has put up some outstanding offensive numbers, but the Tigers much less impressive once you consider that they have the easiest opening four games of any SEC team in recent memory. Chances are they're going to feel pretty good about being 4-0 (with wins over Murray State, Toledo, Indiana and Arkansas State) before crashing down to earth with the SEC schedule. This week, though, their solid quarterback, James Franklin, will be enough to win a shootout with the Hoosiers.
Here's the other SEC team taking a trip to the Northeast. Vanderbilt may be sitting on 1-2, but the Commodores have shown some spunk in both losses -- especially on the offensive side of the ball. Massachusetts, on the other hand, is an awful football team that hasn't managed to be competitive in any of its three losses to below-average competition. Look for Vandy to break out the abacuses and tally up plenty of points.