In the spirit of Lee Corso donning some sort of team-related headgear for his picks, we’ve decided to do a much cheesier, low-budget version of this. So, this week at least, come for the brilliant commentary and insightful predictions, but stay for the hastily thrown-together webcam pics! And now, on to the picks (and pics)!
Florida @ Arkansas
JW: Florida vs. Arkansas is a story of a team with a disappointing game against a team with a disappointing season. After a couple of squeakers against Western Illinois and Louisiana-Monroe, the Hogs proceeded to get absolutely STOMPED by Alabama and Texas. While those two teams certainly aren’t slouches, Arky didn’t even put up a respectable fight. Florida, on the other hand, is coming off a tough loss to a surprising Ole Miss team down in Gainesville. So both teams are trying to prove something, but honestly, which team do you think has the better chance of actually doing that? The Gators will be fired up and angry, while the Razorbacks are spending their free time writing angry letters to Houston Nutt. Whether it’s Casey Dick or Tyler Wilson behind center, the result will be the same. Florida wins this one in a 30-point rout, making some delicious pigs in a blanket out of the pitiful hogs.
Northern Illinois @ Tennessee
MO: The Volunteers struggled this season, much to the delight of most everyone else in the SEC. Not only are they 1-3, including a loss to a UCLA team that subsequently went and got blown out by BYU in their next game, but they’ve also had UT alumnus arrested under the charge of marijuana and drug trafficking charges. But all that goes away for a few hours at least as Northern Illinois visits Neyland Stadium for yet another loss to an SEC team. The Vols will win by 27 in a laugher, but come the next week, they’ll get to look forward to a beating from the Bulldogs. PICTURE NOTE: Since neither Mike nor Jay would ever put anything orange in front of our face, much less Smokey’s head, we’ve decided to show you something commonly found in front of the face of the Tennessee coaching staff.
Oregon @ USC
JW: Ooh, look everyone! It’s the marquee match-up of the PAC-10! While PAC-10 fans still try to claim that USC’s loss last week to Oregon State actually shows how deep their conference is, we SEC fans smile smugly to ourselves and consider how USC or Oregon would fare having to regularly play Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and so on. Sure, this could be a good game – the Trojans, for a change, look beatable, and Oregon, despite some serious depth problems (last I heard, they were on their 12th string QB), has shown a way to keep winning despite the adversity. With Oklahoma now holding the “Team That Will Get to the National Championship Against an SEC Team Instead of a Second SEC Team that Deserves it More,” spot USC is simply trying to re-assert its dominance over its conference rivals. Of course, following up a conference upset by going against the team that’s known for being your regular conference upset can’t be too comforting. I think this is going to be a pretty evenly-matched game, but Oregon’s ability to rush seemingly at will against all of its opponents, combined with USC’s seeming inability to stop the rush, will be the edge. The Ducks might be a little ragged at QB (much like the helmet I used), but they’ll still quack their way to a 7-point victory. And yes, this is the best Oregon headgear I could come up with.
South Carolina @ Ole Miss
MO: Ole Miss is coming off of an impressive victory at Florida (which, let’s not forget, was preceded by losing to Vanderbilt in Oxford), while South Carolina beat UAB handily. The Rebels seem to be taking to the new coach and offensive weapons quite well, while the Gamecocks seem to be struggling with a suddenly average coaching staff and shaky quarterback situation. Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt has been known to lead surprise teams to SEC West titles, and this could be a good step towards achieving that yet again. I’ll take the Rebels by 8, and as you can see below, the Rebel fans should be able to enjoy some fried chicken this weekend.
Texas Tech @ Kansas St.
MO: So, the Big 12 has four teams ranked in the Top 10, including Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, and Texas Tech. Wait, what? Texas Tech? The Red Raiders? They’ve faced the Murderer’s Row of Eastern Washington, Nevada, Southern Methodist, and Massachusetts, and they get to be considered one of the top teams in the nation? I don’t buy it, and neither should Kansas State. It’s time for the men from Manhattan to bring Texas Tech back down to Earth, and hopefully bringing the pollsters back to reality along with them. I’ll take the Wildcats (just like the one kind enough to act as my mask in the picture below) to win by 11.
Kentucky @ Alabama
JW: So everyone apparently thinks Kentucky can be some big surprise team based on their 4-0 start and the fact that they haven’t played a SINGLE SEC team yet. I would be more inclined to agree with these statements had the Wildcats actually played some worthwhile teams in this span. Louisville is 2-2, Norfolk State is 2-3 (with losses to William & Mary and Bethune-Cookman…yikes), Western Kentucky is 2-3, and MTSU is, well, we all know what MTSU is (and this is a family-oriented site). So I’m not buying it until I can see the Wildcats put up a decent fight in conference. And what better way to do so than against #2 Alabama? Unfortunately for Kentucky, this probably isn’t the best way to start off the conference slate – I’m sure Rich Brooks would’ve preferred a cupcake like Tennessee to start off conference play. With this game being played in front of thousands of rabid fads clad in crimson at Bryant-Denny Stadium, and the fact that Bama has been firing on nearly every cylinder lately, I don’t think Kentucky really stands a chance. Look for the Crimson Tide to wash over the Cats to the tune of a 20-point victory.
Auburn @ Vanderbilt
MO: Here we are, the game of the week. And this time it’s not just because it’s the Vanderbilt game – it’s because it’s one of only two games where both teams are ranked in the Top 20, and it’s the ONLY game that will be hosted by ESPN Gameday. As for what goes on between the sidelines, though, this shouldn’t be that pretty of a game. Both teams are known for strong defenses and not-so-potent offenses, which doesn’t promise for a barnstorm of a game. That, however, doesn’t mean it won’t be a good one! I think that Auburn comes out big and takes an early lead, but we’ve seen time and time again this year that Vanderbilt excels in the second half. With an extra week of rest, I don’t think that story changes this week and the Vanderbilt of Now wins out over the Vanderbilt of Old, tacking on a late score to make the outcome seem a lot less in question than it actually will be. I’ll take the Commodores to win this one by 13, and a whole lot of fans will be as excited leaving the game as they will be for Gameday Saturday morning (though I doubt any of them will have the sword as seen in our final picture).
Ohio St. @ Wisconsin
JW: After their upset loss to Michigan (it’s still weird to call any loss to Michigan an “upset loss,” but, well, here we are – Michigan is unranked and Vandy’s in the top 20. What a great world we live in.), Wisconsin is hoping to get back on track against the Buckeyes. Unfortunately, OSU apparently has put its horrific loss to USC behind it, and is starting to click. Terrelle Pryor has established himself as the QB and Beanie Wells is back in action, which will give the Badger defense (who, incidentally, gave up four touchdowns in roughly 13 minutes of action to the relatively unimpressive Wolverine offense) plenty of headaches. Wisconsin, of course, does have the home field advntage, and P.J. Hill is certainly no slouch. But I just don’t see them able to overcome OSU’s power – ultimately, we might be looking back on the USC game as a fluke, and while the Buckeyes might not be able to pull themselves back into the hunt for a national championship, they can definitely still make some BCS noise. OSU by 6. (WARNING: LAME, LOW-BUDGET SPORTS PUN BELOW)