The struggles of the previous week were long forgotten last Saturday. Not to overstate an achievement, we were 6-0 against the spread last week. That’s right — SIX-AND-O. Interviews and autographs will be held at secret locations that will be made available at a later date.
Anyhoo, did I mention 6-0?
Of course the nature of sports in general and football in particular mandates that you are only as good as your last Saturday (6-0). Whether we can say that next week, well, that’s anyone’s guess.
(Last week’s guesses: 6-0 straight up, 6-0 against the spread.)
Tennessee at South Carolina
12:21 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, S.C.
* TV/Radio: WDSI/106.5 FM
* Breakdown: Heading into the eighth game of the season, Tennessee’s shortcomings have long been apparent. There is little talent and less depth, and now comes a road game against a punishing offense that has a myriad of weapons. This may be the worst loss of the season for a Vols team that is looking to avoid its first 0-5 start in the SEC since 1977. Nope.
* Line: South Carolina minus 17 1/2
* Pick: South Carolina, 48-13
Georgia vs. Florida
3:30 p.m. at EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla.
* TV/Radio: CBS/107.9
* Breakdown: Georgia has scored 40 or more points in each of its last three SEC games — all wins. Florida has managed all of 41 points in its last three SEC games — all losses. So what gives? Why is this game close, the Bulldogs favored by a mere field goal? Because it’s Georgia-Florida, and if that’s not enough for you, well, sorry.
* Line: Georgia minus 2 1/2
* Pick: Florida, 31-27
Auburn at Ole Miss
6 p.m. at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, Miss.
* TV: ESPN2
* Breakdown: Two soon-to-be-weathier-than-me defensive tackles may well determine this game. If Ole Miss and massive defensive lineman Jerrell Powe can keep Cam Newton in check, then anything is possible. If Auburn and Nick Fairley close the pocket on Jeremiah Masoli, well, any score is possible. If both happen, let’s just say a backup QB showdown between Auburn’s Barrett Trotter and Ole Miss’s Nathan Stanley will leave even die-hard fans fumbling for the remote control.
* Line: Auburn minus 7
* Pick: Auburn, 38-28
Vanderbilt at Arkansas
7 p.m. at Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, Ark.
TV/Radio: Fox Sports South/1310 AM
Breakdown: When told Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett was going to play, Vandy coach Robbie Caldwell simply said, “Dern.” The language may get far saltier for a Commodores team that has changed offensive coordinators this week, and that may not be their biggest hurdle today. Stopping Mallett and the Hogs’ SEC-leading passing game — Mallett has an SEC-best 56 completions of 15 yards or more — and the running of Knile Davis, who went for 176 yards and three scores last week against Ole Miss, are more pressing concerns.
Line: Arkansas minus 20 1⁄2
Pick: Arkansas, 45-13
Kentucky at Mississippi State
7 p.m. at Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, Miss.
* TV: ESPNU
* Breakdown: The Bulldogs have earned respect by being outstanding at one of the most under-appreciated aspects in all of football: They are the most self-aware football team in the SEC. They are not the best, or the most talented, or the fastest, but they know what they can do and they do it. Well. They run the football over and over again. They play tough defense. They are patient. Kentucky has more talent, but Mississippi has that “it” factor — not to mention more cowbells.
* Line: Mississippi State minus 6 1/2
* Pick: Mississippi State, 28-24
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 ...