MR. CFB/Pick Six for Nov. 3: A big day for the SEC

Photo courtesy of secsports.com

With four Top 10 teams squaring off in two monster games, the SEC could decide both its division champions on Saturday.

We went 2-4 against the spread last week because:

**--I picked Georgia to win against Florida but I didn’t think the Bulldogs would cover seven points. Wrong. Georgia 36, Florida 17.

**--I thought Texas A&M was clearly a better team than Mississippi State and that the boys in Vegas were dead wrong to favor the Bulldogs. That final: Mississippi State 28, Texas A&M 13.

**--I thought South Carolina would win and cover the 7 ½ against a Tennessee team that would be recovering from an Alabama hangover. The Gamecocks won 27-24.

**--My gut told me that Oklahoma State was going to beat Texas but my brain wouldn’t let me pull the trigger. Ouch! Cowboys win straight up.

So now were are 26-30 ATS. Here’s hoping we’ll have a November to remember.

On to this week’s picks:

*****

The game: No. 1 Alabama at No. 3 LSU (plus 14 ½)

The skinny: After watching Alabama, which is averaging 54 points a game, lay waste to eight straight opponents it is pretty clear that LSU must find a way to get to the second half and still be in the game. If LSU can do that the Tigers will get their best player, the suspended Devin White, back for the final 30 minutes.

The best matchup will be Alabama’s deep corps of wide receiver against one of the best secondaries in college football. LSU leads the SEC with 14 pass interceptions.

Alabama’s quarterbacks have combined for 205 passes with only two interceptions (both by Jalen Hurts). Tua Tagovailoa has 25 touchdown passes and no interceptions.

The atmosphere will be electric, as it always is at night at Tiger Stadium.

An Alabama win gives the Crimson Tide the SEC West championship. If LSU wins the Tigers will still have some work to do.

I may regret this but here we go: Alabama wins but the Tide does not cover the 14 ½.

The score: Alabama 31, LSU 17.

*****

The game: No. 6 Georgia at No. 9 Kentucky (plus 8 1/2)

The skinny: The winner of this game clinches the SEC East championship and a spot in the conference title game on Dec. 1 in Atlanta.

This is correctly being billed as the biggest home game in Kentucky football history.

If Kentucky is going to have a shot running back Benny Snell, the SEC’s leading rusher, will have to step up big time. Georgia’s rushing defense continues to be a concern as it is ranked No. 8 in the SEC. Snell needs 65 yards to reach 1,000 for the third straight season.

Kentucky also has a shot because of a defense that leads the SEC, allowing only 13 points per game. Kentucky is the only school in the country without a game where it has allowed more than 20 points.

And don’t forget to watch Kentucky’s Josh Allen, who leads the SEC with 14.5 sacks. See how much pressure he gets on Georgia’s Jake Fromm.

Georgia burned me last week when I picked them to win but not cover against Florida. I won’t make that mistake again. Georgia gets a late touchdown to cover the 8 ½.

The score: Georgia 24, Kentucky 14.

*****

The game: Texas A&M (plus 4) at Auburn

The skinny: After two straight losses against Mississippi State and Tennessee, Auburn beat Ole Miss 31-16 by rushing for 269 yards on 46 carries. The win on Oct. 20 took a little heat off the program and coach Gus Malzahn.

But here’s the deal: Ole Miss has the WORST run defense in the SEC, giving up 4.97 yards per play.

And one other thing: Texas A&M has the BEST run defense in the SEC (89.25 ypg).

The Aggies (5-3, 3-2) will be in bounce back mode after losing 28-13 at Mississippi State.

Auburn’s best running back, Boobie Whitlow, returned to practice on a limited basis after dealing with an undisclosed surgery.

With No. 6 Georgia and No. 1 Alabama coming up in the next three weeks (both on the road), Auburn really needs to win this game. Take the Tigers and lay the points.

The score: Auburn 28, Texas A&M 20.

*****

The game: Missouri (plus six) at Florida

The skinny: Missouri (4-4, 0-4 SEC) simply can’t catch a break. On Oct. 6 the Tigers lost to South Carolina (37-35) on a field goal with two seconds left. Last week against Kentucky the Tigers lost 15-14 on a pass interference called on the game’s final play. Kentucky won with a touchdown pass on an untimed down.

So, will Missouri have any fight left when the Tigers travel to The Swamp?

The Gators (6-2, 4-2) lost an emotional game against Georgia 36-17 last week but have the schedule to go 10-2.

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock will get a lot of pressure. It will be interesting to see how he handles it.

Take Florida and give the points.

The score: Florida 31, Missouri 24.

The game: South Carolina at Ole Miss (Pick ‘em)

The skinny: South Carolina (4-3, 3-3) was picked to finish second in the SEC East so, in that respect, it has been a disappointing season for the Gamecocks. So what South Carolina wants to do is finish strong and get to a New Year’s Day bowl. That’s why this game is crucial for Will Muschamp and his group.

As we said earlier, Ole Miss has the worst rushing defense in the SEC (217.88 yards per game) and the 113th rushing defense in the in the nation.

So look for South Carolina to keep it on the ground in order to improve on their rushing attack, which is averaging only 163.7 yards per game.

*****

The game: West Virginia (plus 2) at Texas

The skinny: This is a game I’ve been waiting on all year because, quite honestly, I want to see if West Virginia (6-1) and Will Grier are for real. The last time the Mountaineers were on the road they lost at Iowa State. The only team with a winning record they have beaten is Texas Tech (5-3). The Big 12 needs for West Virginia to win this game to keep alive the possibility of a big showdown game with Oklahoma (7-1) on Nov. 23 in Morgantown. If West Virginia loses then the Big 12 is basically down to one team, Oklahoma, with a shot at the playoffs. I like the Longhorns (6-2) at home.

The score: Texas 31, West Virginia 28.

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