The ATL Kid and I were both too soft to pick Vanderbilt last week in an upset that several others around the country were predicting.
Sure enough, the Commodores went into the Swamp and made an already forgettable season for Florida that much worse.
That’s the only game we missed last week, both of us going 6-1. Something told me to pick the Commodores. But in my old age, I just couldn’t pull the trigger.
Picking Vanderbilt to win at Florida would be like picking the ATL Kid to get in before 2 o’clock in the morning one night. It just doesn’t happen.
And now that he’s branching out and covering the entire SEC, I will say that he’s become quite the country music fan. We were both bopping to a little “Dixieland Delight” last Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Kid even knew some of the words.
I’m proud of him. He’s truly evolving and still leading by a game in our picks contest. He’s 79-12 (.868) on the season, and I’m 78-13 (.857).
But these next few weeks are where you make your “jingle” in this business.
Here’s the way we see this week’s games going:
TROY at OLE MISS
Chris Low: After winning seven games a year ago in Hugh Freeze’s first season, Ole Miss is thinking bigger and better things this season. The Rebels will extend their winning streak to four straight games Saturday with a victory over Troy, setting up what will be a critical finish against Missouri and Mississippi State. Ole Miss 47, Troy 17
Edward Aschoff: The Rebels are rolling with both their offense and defense clicking. The last time Troy played an SEC team, the Trojans were throttled by 55. Expect another SEC rout. Ole Miss 51, Troy 13
KENTUCKY at VANDERBILT
Low: There used to be a time when Vanderbilt hated to see the month of November coming. The Commodores were always too beaten down physically to finish the season with any pop. Those days are long gone, as James Franklin has guided this program to six straight wins in November. Vanderbilt will make it seven in a row Saturday at home against Kentucky. Vanderbilt 31, Kentucky 17
Aschoff: These programs are going in opposite directions right now. Vandy is riding high after its first win at Florida since 1945, while the Wildcats will miss a bowl game for the third straight year. Vandy will inch closer to potentially having back-to-back eight-win seasons. Vanderbilt 38, Kentucky 14
ALABAMA at MISSISSIPPI STATE
Low: After watching Alabama in the second half last week against LSU and the way the Crimson Tide broke the Tigers mentally and physically, how could you possibly pick against the two-time defending national champions at this point? Nobody has come within 21 points of them since the 49-42 win at Texas A&M back on Sept. 15. Look for that trend to continue this weekend in Starkville. Alabama 34, Mississippi State 7
Aschoff: Alabama passed another big test with a commanding win over LSU last week. The Crimson Tide are playing at their best, and Mississippi State has dropped two straight during the gauntlet that is November. People think this could be a trap game, but Nick Saban will have his squad in top shape for the Bulldogs. Alabama 38, Mississippi State 10
FLORIDA at SOUTH CAROLINA
Low: The injuries and the losses just keep mounting in this nightmare of a season for Florida, which is in danger of having its first losing season since 1979. South Carolina, meanwhile, is rested, coming off a bye and hoping to stay in the Eastern Division race. The Gamecocks also remember the beating they got in Gainesville last season. South Carolina 31, Florida 13
Aschoff: The Gamecocks are still very much in the SEC Eastern Division hunt, while Florida is fighting for its postseason life. The Gators haven't missed out on a bowl game in 23 years, but with the injuries piling up, Tyler Murphy possibly out and South Carolina playing at another level, the Gamecocks will roll at home. South Carolina 27, Florida 10
GEORGIA at AUBURN
Low: The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry has ramifications in both the Eastern Division and Western Division races. Auburn has won six in a row and is eyeing a possible Iron Bowl showdown with Alabama with the West title on the line. Georgia is still hanging around in the East race, but needs some help. Both teams can put up points in bunches, but the nod goes to the Tigers and the SEC’s top running game. Auburn 35, Georgia 28
Aschoff: The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry has a lot on the line this weekend. The Plains will be rocking, as Auburn is still in the SEC West hunt and sniffing a BCS bowl berth. Georgia is barely hanging on in the East, but the Bulldogs are certainly a player. This one will come down to which defense can stop the run. Right now, Auburn's running game has been too much for anyone, as the Tigers have rushed for 280-plus yards seven times this season. Auburn 34, Georgia 30