SEC Week 13 picks: A split decision on the Iron Bowl, taking a flier on a South Carolina upset

Herbstreit excited for Alabama-Auburn with title implications (2:11)

Kirk Herbstreit says the two players to watch for in the Iron Bowl are Auburn RB Kerryon Johnson and Alabama QB Jalen Hurts. (2:11)

To get you ready for this week's action, ESPN reporters Sam Khan Jr. and Alex Scarborough give their picks and analysis of Week 13 in the SEC. Visit our college football PickCenter page for additional information on these games and many more.

Scarborough: All right, Sam, we've finally made it. It's the final week of the regular season and your last chance to catch me before the bowl matchups come out. You're currently trailing 76-17 to 72-21, but this is a big week with a lot of games that could go either way.

No more Group of 5 gimmes, so let's get straight to the action with the Egg Bowl and Ole Miss traveling to Mississippi State.

On paper, this is a game the Bulldogs should win easily. They're at home, they're the better football team and they've won four of their past five. But this is a big rivalry game, it's on Thanksgiving and tensions are going to be high with the NCAA investigation into Ole Miss and all the tentacles that spread out over that entire state. What's more, there's the added wrinkle of whether or not Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen is on his way out the door to another job. So while I like Mississippi State here -- I like the way QB Nick Fitzgerald is playing and I think Todd Grantham's defense will make enough big plays -- I'm holding my breath because this is Ole Miss' Super Bowl with no bowl game to look forward to, win or lose, and things could get a little sideways.

Khan: Mississippi State had a harder time with Arkansas than I anticipated. You were right about that, Alex. That said, Mullen is 5-3 in the Egg Bowl since he took over, including a win in Oxford last year. The Bulldogs have a better quarterback and are better defensively, so give me the Dawgs, too.

Scarborough: By the way, that rather high 15-point line in favor of Mississippi State is Vegas' way of begging people to bet on Ole Miss.

With that said, what do you think about Missouri going into Arkansas? The Hogs have been struggling of late, but showed some fight against Mississippi State.

Khan: I like what the Razorbacks showed against Mississippi State, but overall, they haven't been good enough defensively this season to convince me they'll slow down Mizzou, a team that's rolling on offense. Tigers win to finish the regular season 7-5.

Scarborough: I agree. That Missouri offense is firing on all cylinders and Arkansas coach Bret Bielema appears to be on his way out of town. Give me the Tigers as well.

Khan: Georgia-Georgia Tech. It's a rivalry game and crazy things can happen, but I think the Dawgs take a businesslike approach here and prevail by double digits. You?

Scarborough: I agree. Georgia has spent a little bit of time all season practicing for that dreaded triple option, and I think the Bulldogs will handle it well. Coach Kirby Smart let off the gas against Auburn and let his team come out flat, and I don't see that happening again. Georgia takes care of business to set up a win-and-you're-in SEC Championship Game.

Next up: Florida State-Florida. What do we make of the dumpster fire in the Sunshine State?

Khan: This could honestly go either way. Florida State is still playing for bowl eligibility (don't forget, the Seminoles have that Louisiana-Monroe game after this). Florida hasn't beaten a Power 5 team since September. Give me the Noles.

Go ahead, Alex. Take the Gators. You know you want to do it.

Scarborough: You know what? I'll do it. I've wondered for a few weeks now whether the Seminoles quit on coach Jimbo Fisher, and I think the Texas A&M rumors might make them throw the towel in completely. Going by X's and O's, I don't have justification, but something tells me that at home the Gators find a way to win.

Khan: Attaboy. All right, Louisville and Kentucky. I'm betting Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson has had this one circled on his calendar a while. He didn't play well in this game last year and it was a big Wildcats win. I think he gets redemption in a Louisville victory.

Scarborough: You're not going to bait me into taking the other side on this one. As 10-point favorites, I like Louisville here. I think Jackson goes off and forces Heisman voters to stamp his return trip to New York. Not saying he should win it over Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, but his numbers are undeniable.

What do you think about Vanderbilt at Tennessee? I don't feel like I've taken Tennessee in a while, and while I'm scared to do so now, I'm going to go for it. Vanderbilt hasn't been playing well of late, losing back-to-back games while giving up 40 or more points in each contest. I think the Vols play with a chip on their shoulder at home and send the senior class out with a W.

Khan: I'll be honest, I have no idea what to make of this game. Neither team has won an SEC game and both have lost most of them by double digits. When in doubt, take the more talented team. So I'll go Vols here, too.

Scarborough: Let's go to the game I believe you'll be at: Texas A&M at LSU. I like the Tigers to win big here, but the "Play for Kevin Sumlin" motivation could be a factor.

Khan: Sumlin's fate seems sealed, but the Aggies haven't quit playing hard for him. LSU is the better team, but because these things sometimes get a little wacky, my wild guess is A&M goes in and pulls the upset and -- in what is quite possibly Sumlin's last game at A&M -- gives him his first win against LSU and his first winning November record since 2012.

Scarborough: There we go. We've got a legitimate upset pick on the board now.

Let's see if we can get another: Clemson at South Carolina. Feels like a trap game to me, but what say you, Sam?

Khan: The Gamecocks have been a great story this season and won a lot of close games and I'm tempted to take them here, because you know we never get a clean ending in late November with playoff contenders. It's a rivalry, they'll be ready and they'll be competitive, but Clemson is the better team ... you know what? I'll go for it. No logic here, just a hunch. South Carolina QB Jake Bentley plays the game of his life and Clemson gets caught in a Sandstorm. Gamecocks with the upset.

Scarborough: Yessir!

I'm tempted to be right there with you. I really am. I just can't do it. If Clemson was undefeated and hadn't learned its lesson against Syracuse, I'd pull the trigger. But I think coach Dabo Swinney has his team ready and the Tigers find a way, even if it's not pretty.

All right, it's time for the big one: the Iron Bowl. It has been two weeks of going back-and-forth on this game for me, so I'll yield the floor to you, Sam. What are your initial thoughts on the matchup between the Tide and Tigers?

Khan: This feels like a ripe time to pick Auburn because of what the Tigers did to Georgia two weeks ago and the way they're playing. Alabama looks as vulnerable as it has in a while and the game is at Jordan-Hare. The spread is even small (Alabama favored by 4.5). That said, I can't pick against the Tide. I feel like coach Nick Saban is going to be feeding all that positive Auburn press to his team to get it ready, and quarterback Jalen Hurts has been in big-time spots before. I trust him. I like Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham and he's really good, but doesn't strike me as a wild card in the way some of the previous quarterbacks who have beaten Saban in recent years (à la Deshaun Watson, Chad Kelly, Johnny Manziel, etc.) have. So give me the Tide.

Scarborough: I'm going to be honest with you, Sam, I have no idea what to do here. I've thought about it and thought about it and thought about it some more, and it's a toss-up game to me. Auburn linebacker Jeff Holland is a real problem for a banged-up Alabama offensive line. But it's not like Auburn's line has done a fantastic job protecting Stidham. Then there's Tigers RB Kerryon Johnson against a banged-up Alabama front seven. But the last time Alabama gave up 150 or more rushing yards to a running back during the regular season, it was 2013. But that was the Iron Bowl and Tre Mason and the symmetry of it all ...

This is all a very long, very tortured way of picking Auburn. There's something dangerous about a Gus Malzahn team with confidence and momentum, and I worry about Alabama throwing a true freshman middle linebacker out there in Dylan Moses in that environment and against the bevy of shifts and misdirection Malzahn likes to run. An error in judgement could come at the absolute wrong time on Saturday. And while I have a very hard time picking against Hurts and he'll probably make me eat my words, I think the home-field advantage makes for an upset and a victory for the Tigers.