Pasquali's Pix: More blowouts in store for Bulldogs, Crimson Tide

Pasquali's Pix: More blowouts in store for Bulldogs, Crimson Tide

October 5th, 2017 by David Paschall in Sports - Columns

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, left, and Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen shake hands after Malzahn's Tigers routed Mullen's Bulldogs this past Saturday. Auburn is 2-0 in SEC play this season, with a combined score of 100-24 in the victories against Missouri and Mississippi State.

Photo by Butch Dill

If you're a fan of a Southeastern Conference football team, chances are you've already enjoyed or endured a blowout this season.

There were 13 head-to-head matchups of SEC programs in September, and seven were decided by at least four touchdowns. Mississippi State alone has experienced three such results, waxing LSU 37-7 before getting clobbered the past two weeks by Georgia, 31-3, and Auburn, 49-10.

Is there more league imbalance this season?

"I don't know about that," ninth-year Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said Wednesday. "Some years there are good teams, and every team is up and down at different times. In my understanding of the league, you've got seven teams in the West whose fan bases expect them to win a championship every single year.

"Those are the expectations, but it's always an up-and-down cycle, and it's always cycling through."

Obviously LSU is experiencing a downward cycle, given that its 30-point humbling in Starkville has since been followed by last Saturday night's 24-21 home loss to Troy. It also is quite evident Georgia is on an upward trajectory after it followed a thrashing of Mississippi State with last Saturday's 41-0 win at Tennessee.

Georgia's 72-3 margin of victory through two league games is the program's largest since the 1981 Bulldogs recorded routs of Tennessee, 44-0, and Ole Miss, 37-7, in their first two conference contests.

"Based on the numbers, it would not appear to be as competitive as in years past or not as much parity as in years past," Georgia's Kirby Smart said. "I would also argue that the year is not over yet, and a lot can happen between now and then."

LSU's Ed Orgeron said the programs thriving right now have recruited well the past several seasons, adding, "Their rosters are intact, and they're doing a good job of coaching."

Auburn's 2-0 league start by the combined score of 100-24 marks the best in program history, yet every SEC team continues to chase Alabama. Nick Saban's Crimson Tide have opened conference play with bludgeonings of Vanderbilt, 59-0, and Ole Miss, 66-3, heading into this weekend's game at Texas A&M.

The 125-3 combined count reflects the most dominant SEC start in Alabama history, which is saying something.

"It's always a challenge to maintain consistency," Saban said. "Success is not a continuum. It's momentary, so what we did in these last two games really doesn't mean anything in terms of what we're going to do in the next game, which is the most important game, because it's the one we play this week."

Pasquali's Pix:

Georgia at Vanderbilt: Smart is winless lifetime against Derek Mason — at least for a couple more days. Bulldogs 38, Commodores 7.

Ole Miss at Auburn: The Tigers are the only Football Bowl Subdivision team yet to allow more than 14 points in any game this season. Tigers 30, Rebels 13.

LSU at Florida: LSU is on an economic roll, paying Troy $985,000 last week to pull the upset and paying former coach Les Miles $133,000 a month with $7.9 million still to go. Gators 19, Tigers 17.

Miami at Florida State: For the first time since 1983, the Hurricanes are the only ranked team in this rivalry. Hurricanes 20, Seminoles 16.

Arkansas at South Carolina: The winner here gets the SEC's eighth-place ribbon. Razorbacks 27, Gamecocks 24.

Furman at UTC: That missing medical golf cart at Finley Stadium just doesn't seem like a good omen. Paladins 24, Mocs 23.

Missouri at Kentucky: Other than Alabama's talent display every Saturday, is there anything more intimidating in SEC football than Missouri after an open date? Wildcats 31, Tigers 24.

Alabama at Texas A&M: Considering the Crimson Tide opened in Atlanta and took over Nashville, this would be their first legitimate road game of the season. Crimson Tide 34, Aggies 10.

Last week:

Winners..........................20

Sergeant Carters..............5

Pasquali is now 103-21 overall (83.1 percent) this season.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

Other picks

N.C. State 27, Louisville 24

Memphis 26, UConn 19

Clemson 35, Wake Forest 12

Oklahoma 42, Iowa State 9

Penn St.38, Northwestern 15

TCU 29, West Virginia 28

Notre Dame 30, N. Carolina 21

Ohio State 31, Maryland 16

USC 44, Oregon State 17

Va. Tech 23, Boston College 20

Michigan 19, Michigan St. 14

Wisconsin 17, Nebraska 10

Washington 45, California 22

Syracuse 24, Pittsburgh 19

Oregon 41, Wash. State 38

UCF 32, Cincinnati 25

MTSU 20, Fla. International 7

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