We went 3-3 last week ATS but we really had to sweat out some finals:
**--Vanderbilt needed a controversial catch/no catch to beat Ole Miss 36-29 in overtime and cover the three points we were giving.
**--As we projected, Alabama did not cover the 51 ½ points against The Citadel. That deal was pretty much sealed when it was 10-10 at halftime.
**--We also predicted that Kentucky would not cover the 16 points against a pretty decent team from Middle Tennessee State.
But we also missed some and missed them badly:
**--Tennessee fell apart when its quarterback, Jarrett Guarantano, got hurt against Mizzou. The Volunteers got boat raced 50-17.
**--I thought Arkansas would put up a decent fight against Mississippi State. I was wrong. Arkansas put up no fight at all, losing 52-6. But we later found out that before the game two Arkansas players were hanging out with the members of the Mississippi State dance team. Yeah, that’s the reason the Hogs were taken to the woodshed.
**--I really thought UAB would keep it close at Texas A&M, but the Blazers couldn’t handle running back Trayveon Williams (167 yards) and the Aggies covered the 16, 41-20.
So, with two Saturday’s left in the regular season we are 35-38 ATS. Would love to get to .500. I would also like to look like Brad Pitt. Neither is going to happen.
Still, here are six picks as we give it that old college try.
The game: Auburn (plus 24) at No. 1 Alabama
The skinny: After the whole world worried about Tua Tagovailoa’s knee last week against The Citadel, he comes out and throws for 340 yards. Now Auburn has a very strong defensive front and DC Kevin Steele is going to throw a few tricks into the mix to get pressure on the Alabama quarterback. Here’s the problem: Auburn can’t run the ball on anybody and QB Jarrett Stidham, it's safe to say, is going to have a most uncomfortable afternoon. The Crimson Tide covers and starts getting ready for the SEC championship game against Georgia.
The score: Alabama 35, Auburn 10.
The game: Georgia Tech (plus 17) at No. 5 Georgia
The skinny: This rivalry is called “Clean Old Fashioned Hate” for a reason. Georgia Tech, which started 1-3 and is now 7-4, would dearly love to upset Georgia’s hopes of reaching the College Football Playoffs. It could be argued that Georgia will get into the playoffs even if it loses to Tech and beats Alabama. But then Georgia fans would still have to live with the Georgia Tech people for the next 365 days. Georgia (10-1) has been a very good team since its 36-16 loss at LSU on Oct. 13. The Bulldogs just have too many weapons and will force at least two turnovers. The Bulldogs cover.
The score: Georgia 35, Georgia Tech 17
The game: Florida at Florida State (plus 5)
The skinny: Think about this. Florida State has gone to a bowl game for 36 consecutive seasons. The Seminoles have also had 41 straight winning seasons. Both streaks will come to an end on Saturday if Florida (8-3) can knock off the Seminoles (5-6) in Doak Campbell. New Florida coach Dan Mullen was 4-0 against the Seminoles as an assistant to Urban Meyer and would dearly love to end the aforementioned streaks and also break Florida State’s current five-game winning streak over the Gators. After looking thoroughly confused for the first 10 games of the season, Florida State got a good win over Boston College (22-21) last week. The Gators win and they cover.
The score: Florida 28, Florida State 21.
The game: Tennessee (plus 3) at Vanderbilt
The skinny: Both teams are 5-6 so the winner goes bowling and the loser goes home. Tennessee was coming off its most impressive performance of the season, a 24-7 win over Kentucky, but just could not handle Missouri last week. But the Volunteers can still go to a bowl in the first season under Jeremy Pruitt and, after going 0-8 in the SEC last season, they could finish a decent 3-5 in the league. Vanderbilt pulled one out of the fire last week against Ole Miss and can now go to a bowl after a two-year absence. It would also be Vanderbilt’s third straight win over Tennessee, which hasn’t happened since 1926.
Tennessee is getting three points. I’ll take them but the Vols win straight up.
The score: Tennessee 24, Vanderbilt 20.
The game: South Carolina (plus 26) at Clemson
The skinny: It has been an up and down year for the South Carolina Gamecocks. They have won games by two (37-35 vs. Missouri), three (27-24 over Tennessee) and four points (48-44 over Ole Miss.) They have also lost games by three (to Texas A&M 26-23 at home) and four points (35-31 at Florida).
This one, however, will not be close.
Will Muschamp was a very good defensive coordinator before he became a head coach but his defense, which is giving up 26.7 points per game (11th in the SEC) is simply not good enough to handle the No. 2 team in the nation, which is averaging 44.7 points per game (fifth nationally).
And did we mention that Clemson has four pros playing on its defensive front?
I would like to say that the Gamecocks could hang in there and make it a game. No sale. Clemson wins big and gets ready for the ACC championship game with Pitt.
The score: Clemson 45, South Carolina 17.
The game: Kentucky at Louisville (plus 16 ½)
The skinny: After two straight losses to Georgia and Tennessee, Kentucky (8-3) bounced back nicely to beat Middle Tennessee State 34-23 and post its first eight-win regular season since 2007. Now the Wildcats have a chance to make some history. Beat Louisville (2-9), which has already fired Coach Bobby Petrino, and Kentucky will have a chance to become the third Wildcat team to win 10 or more games in a season (1951 and 1977 are the other two).
Kentucky wins and covers the 16 ½.
The score: Kentucky 31, Louisville 13.