AP file photo by Gerald Herbert / LSU coach Ed Orgeron, quarterback Joe Burrow and the rest of the Tigers have an open date this week before visiting Alabama in a pivotal SEC West game on Nov. 9.

The participants in this year's Southeastern Conference football championship contest should come into focus with this Saturday's Georgia-Florida showdown in Jacksonville and next Saturday's LSU-Alabama clash in Tuscaloosa.

Each of the four teams has an open date ahead of its matchup, and there hasn't been a peep of trash-talking to this point.

"Immediately after the Auburn victory, I talked to our team about not trying to win the game on the Twitter machine," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said Wednesday. "We don't need to do any talking. You can do your talking when the ball is snapped. We don't want to give them any bulletin-board material, but that's one of those things that's out of control — what they do on the Twitter machine.

"It's their own personal time, but hopefully they protect the team in everything they do."

Florida is ranked No. 6 and Georgia No. 8 in this week's Associated Press poll entering the biggest SEC East game of the season, while next week's SEC West collision pits the nation's top two teams. LSU slid past Alabama this past Sunday to claim the top spot for the first time since the 2011 season.

"We won't pay too much attention to that," Orgeron said. "It's great for our school and it's great for our team and it's great for recruiting, but we still have a lot of games to play. When the final College Football Playoff poll comes out, that's the one that matters. This is not a finish line for us.

"This is just a start."

These 1-2 showdowns are nothing new for Alabama coach Nick Saban, and Orgeron isn't foreign to them, either, after assistant stints at Miami and Southern California earlier in his career.

"It's where you want to be," Orgeron said. "When you come to LSU, you choose to compete at this level in the SEC and especially in the SEC West. I know not every game is one versus two, but every game is a challenge with great coaches on the other side and great players that you've recruited.

"There is obviously a lot riding on this game. We've put ourselves in a great position to have a great season."

Orgeron said LSU is preparing for Alabama fully expecting to see a healthy Tua Tagovailoa as the Crimson Tide's starting quarterback.

Pasquali's Pix

Furman at UTC: Rumor has it Ailym Ford could be a go-to guy offensively this weekend for first-year coach Rusty Wright. Mocs 23, Paladins 20.

Georgia vs. Florida: A team with Dan Mullen on its staff hasn't defeated a team with Kirby Smart on its staff since the 2008 SEC title game. Gators 27, Bulldogs 24.

Miami at Florida State: You can throw out the records for this one, which, of course, both 4-4 programs would like to do at this point. Seminoles 26, Hurricanes 21.

Wofford at Clemson: The Tigers take a break from ACC play to get a needed boost in strength of schedule. Tigers 48, Terriers 9.

Mississippi State at Arkansas: Joe Moorhead and Chad Morris were the only SEC coaches who went 0-for-October. Bulldogs 24, Razorbacks 21.

Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets probably need to win this one if the ACC Coastal Division is to end in a seven-way tie. Panthers 27, Yellow Jackets 16.

Ole Miss at Auburn: This marks the first time in Auburn history the Tigers will close a regular season with four consecutive home games. Tigers 30, Rebels 17.

UAB at Tennessee: The Volunteers have won eight consecutive nonconference games in November since 2008, which may be Tennessee's most stable statistic given the time frame. Vols 40, Blazers 21.

Vanderbilt at South Carolina: The Gamecocks have won 10 straight in this not-so-tight series. Gamecocks 32, Commodores 13.

Other picks:

Baylor 42, West Virginia 19

Appalachian State 35, Georgia Southern 22

Texas A&M 59, UTSA 16

Michigan 38, Maryland 15

Wake Forest 31, N.C. State 28

Syracuse 24, Boston College 23

Notre Dame 30, Virginia Tech 21

Kansas State 23, Kansas 10

MTSU 27, Charlotte 24

Washington 26, Utah 17

Cincinnati 45, East Carolina 26

Memphis 41, SMU 32

North Carolina 19, Virginia 14

Oregon 21, Southern California 20

UCLA 40, Colorado 25

Boise State 34, San Jose State 13

Last week:


Plays reviewed.....6

Pasquali is now 180-45 overall (80.0%) this season.

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.