Finally, a week when I finished over .500.
I went 4-2. And it could have been better.
I picked Kentucky to beat Tennessee, something the Wildcats had done only once in the past 32 years. But Kentucky won 29-26 and did not cover the six points.
I flat out missed Texas A&M’s game at home against Mississippi State, which dominated the Aggies 35-14.
But, for a change, the football gods smiled on your humble scribe.
Georgia Tech and Clemson played in a monsoon which kept Clemson from covering the 14 ½. Georgia Tech won by a half point.
Vanderbilt was a 6 ½ point underdog to South Carolina. The Gamecocks won by seven (34-27).
Arkansas was a 3 ½ point underdog at Ole Miss and rallied from a 31-7 deficit to win 38-37.
Early last week I didn’t think there was any way Georgia would cover the 14 ½ in the Cocktail Party against Florida in Jacksonville. But then I spent two days in Gainesville, Fla., and realized things there were in a state of flux. Georgia won 42-7 and Florida fired its coach the next day.
So after digging a hole early we are 26-28 against the spread after nine weeks. Let’s hope we can get to .500 with these enlightened picks:
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LSU (Plus 21.5) AT ALABAMA: LSU (6-2, 3-1 SEC) has righted the ship with wins over Florida, Auburn, and Ole Miss since the disastrous loss to Troy on Sept. 30. Last season this game was 0-0 going into the fourth quarter and Alabama prevailed 10-0. Not this time. Alabama has won six straight over LSU. This will make it seven straight. Alabama might tack on an extra score or two as a message to the CFP selection committee, which make the Crimson Tide No. 2 in the first rankings.
The winner: Alabama.
The score: Alabama 35, LSU 7.
AUBURN AT TEXAS A&M (Plus 15): Auburn has had a week off to get ready for a November the Tigers hope to remember. If Auburn can get past the Aggies (5-3, 3-2), who were trucked by Mississippi State at home last week, then it will have SEC games remaining against No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Alabama, both at home. Auburn will have to do it without running back Kamryn Pettway, and that could make this game closer than the experts think.
The winner: Auburn.
The score: Auburn 31, Texas A&M 14
FLORIDA (Plus 3 ½) AT MISSOURI: There is no telling what kind of Florida team is going to show up at Missouri under interim coach Randy Shannon. Sometimes teams get re-energized with a new voice. Sometimes they pack it in. Missouri (3-5, 0-4) had a chance to catch its breath with two non-conference wins against Idaho (68-21) and UConn (52-12). The question is whether or not Shannon, a former head coach at Miami, can get the Gators excited about playing football again. Florida will give quarterback Malik Zaire his first start.
The winner: Florida
The score: Florida 24, Missouri 20.
SOUTH CAROLINA (Plus 24 ½) AT GEORGIA: After taking care of Florida in Jacksonville (42-7) last Saturday the rest of Georgia’s regular-season path includes four games against teams with winning records (South Carolina, Auburn, Kentucky, Georgia Tech). Win all those and the No. 1 Bulldogs probably get a date with No. 2 Alabama in the SEC championship game. South Carolina (6-2, 4-2) is already bowl eligible after another close win last week over Vanderbilt (34-27). South Carolina, coached by Georgia grad Will Muschamp, hangs in there early but the Bulldogs are too talented and too deep over the 60 minutes.
The winner: Georgia
The score: Georgia 42, South Carolina 17.
OLE MISS (Plus 3 ½) AT KENTUCKY: Kentucky (6-2, 3-2) recovered from a 45-7 loss to Mississippi State two weeks ago to beat Tennessee (29-26) for only the second time in 33 years. Kentucky is still mathematically alive for the SEC East championship. Ole Miss (3-5, 1-4) may be running out of gas after blowing a 31-7 lead and losing to Arkansas 38-37 last week.
The winner: Kentucky
The score: Kentucky 35, Ole Miss 30.
CLEMSON AT N.C. STATE (Plus 7 1/2): Last season N.C. State missed a chip shot field goal that would have beaten the Tigers and denied them a shot at the national championship. This Clemson team is not as explosive as the 2016 edition but the Tigers are pretty hard to beat because of that defense. A win by Clemson (7-1, 5-1 ACC) all but clinches the Atlantic Division for the Tigers. They would still have to beat struggling Florida State (2-5, 2-4) next week at Death Valley.
The winner: Clemson
The score: Clemson 24, N.C. State 14.