The “no lines” were fairly accurate last week as the expected one-sided games were indeed one-sided.
This week, not so much.
There is intrigue at every SEC stop today with the possible exception of Arkansas and LSU, each of which has a chance to relax and catch its breath before the final few lengths of the season.
Certainly, whether Cam Newton plays will have a great swing on the Auburn-Georgia game. With Newton the Tigers have been on a rampage the last six weeks. Without him, well, it’s hard to say since we have little pertinent knowledge of backups Barrett Trotter and Neil Caudle.
As of Friday afternoon, the official word from Auburn on Newton’s eligibility for today was “No comment.” Which means, well, whatever you want it to mean. I think Newton plays, and here’s hoping the Tigers send Trotter out to take the first snap. Then let Newton sprint unto the field and let the crowd of 87,451 go nuts.
Yes, it may have a little bit of a professional-wrestling feel, but after all the drama of the week surrounding Newton, everyone could use a break.
(Last week’s guesses: 6-2 straight up, 3-2 against the spread.)
Ole Miss at Tennessee
Noon at Neyland Stadium, Knoxville
* TV/Radio: CBS/106.5 FM
* Breakdown: The statue of Gen. Robert Neyland will be officially unveiled today, and the Vols have a secret weapon to show the home folks, too. Vols Nation, meet Tyler Bray, the freshman quarterback making his first home start. I think you’re going to like him.
* Line: Tennessee minus 2
* Pick: Tennessee, 34-20
Vanderbilt at Kentucky
12:21 p.m. at Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, Ky.
* TV/Radio: WDSI/1310 AM
* Breakdown: This is not as much about how good Kentucky is; rather, this is simply a Vandy team that has hit a rough spot. The Commodores were not exactly the deepest team in the league to start the preseason, and a river of injuries have sunk their chances.
* Line: Kentucky minus 14 1/2
* Pick: Kentucky, 38-10
Georgia at Auburn
3:30 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Ala.
* TV/Radio: CBS/107.9 FM
* Breakdown: Lost amid all the hubbub involving Cam Newton is the second-half surge of Michael Dyer. The Auburn running back is 31 yards from breaking the school’s freshman rushing record set by Bo Jackson. And I don’t know much, but if you top any record set by Bo Jackson, well, that’s doing something.
* Line: Auburn minus 8
* Pick: Auburn, 41-31
Louisiana-Monroe at LSU
7 p.m. at Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La.
* TV: Pay-per-view
* Breakdown: Gambling oddity here: The Tigers are a 33-point favorite, but the over/under on this game is 46. What does that tell us? Well, for starters the oddsmakers are not expecting La.-Monroe to score many La points.
* Line: LSU minus 33
* Pick: LSU, 42-3
Mississippi State at Alabama
7:15 p.m. at Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
* TV/Radio: ESPN2/97.3 and 99.3 FM
* Breakdown: Physical and ground-oriented, this game could be done in a little more than two hours. Trent Richardsons is doubtful for Bama, which means Mark Ingram’s workload may increase. Here’s thinking that’s not a bad thing.
* Line: Alabama minus 13 1/2
* Pick: Alabama, 27-17
South Carolina at Florida
7:15 p.m. at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Fla.
* TV: ESPN
* Breakdown: The winner gets a spot in the SEC title game, so expect the unexpected. Florida has reached deep into football history with its recent offensive success using a three-quarterback rotation. When asked if he’d ever seen anything like that, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said yes — the 1960s San Francisco 49ers. It would have been awesome, too, if they had helmets and facemasks in the ’60s.
* Line: Florida minus 6 1/2
* Pick: Florida, 30-27
UTEP at Arkansas
7 p.m. at Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, Ark.
* TV: ESPNU
* Breakdown: Arkansas enters off arguably its best performance of the season — a 41-20 beatdown of South Carolina. Yes, Ryan Mallett is a super talent and is ranked as a sure-fire first-round NFL pick on several draft boards if he decides to skip his senior season. But the Razorbacks have hit full speed now that Knile Davis has emerged as an every-down running back.
* Line: Arkansas minus 28 1/2
* Pick: Arkansas, 51-20
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...