Happy Thanksgiving Gator fans!
I’m thankful to live in a country with a President, as opposed to, say, the Taliban.
I’m thankful to have a great family, even though a high percentage is pure FSU Seminole.
I’m thankful to be part of one of the proudest fan bases in the nation. Look at how much we’re moaning about being 6-5, and then think how much worse Ole Miss fans feel.
I’m also thankful that this season, I’m 73-13 with my picks, though now it gets a bit harder.
(3)Arkansas (10-1, 6-1 SEC) @ (1)Louisiana State (11-0, 7-0 SEC), 2:30pm Friday, CBS
The best game is saved for first, I guess. The air battle challenge is on in Baton Rouge, and it should be the toughest test for LSU. I don’t think LSU has seen an offense like the one Arkansas has, with Tyler Wilson at the controls and Joe Adams, Cobi Hamilton, Greg Childs and Jarius Wright on the receiving ends. Then again, I’m not sure Arkansas has seen a defense quite like LSU’s. Alabama’s D is great. LSU’s is a solid metal wall, and their offense seems to be better with Jordan Jefferson as the starter. Arkansas has gotten the better of the Golden Boot rivalry lately, but LSU is too focused and too good to fall this close to glory.
Louisiana State 27, Arkansas 13
(13)Georgia (9-2, 7-1 SEC) @ (23)Georgia Tech (8-3, 5-3 ACC), 12:00n, ESPN
Georgia Tech’s wacky triple option offense is nothing new for Georgia. They watched Tim Tebow run them over with a similar offense for years and now their defense is ready for Georgia Tech’s slightly less pass oriented option attack. Pressure is also nothing new for them, as they’ve ripped off 9 straight wins. Remember this: if, and it’s a huge if, UGA wins this game and the SEC Championship Game with big numbers, it will be hard to turn them away. Mark Richt has his boys focused enough to win the Battle Of Clean, Ole Fashioned Hate with his second string. They won’t lose to anybody who isn’t clearly better than them, not the way Aaron Murray is playing.
Georgia 35, Georgia Tech 14
Tennessee (5-6, 1-6 SEC) @Kentucky (4-7, 1-6 SEC), 12:20pm, SEC Network
Both teams have a win in conference, so that’s out the door in terms of motivation. But both teams do have a ton to play for. Kentucky is trying to desperately end the 26 game losing streak to the Vols have going, while Tennessee is scrambling desperately to snatch a bowl berth, and of course to keep that nasty stranglehold on the Cats. It’s in Kentucky, so advantage Wildcats. But Tennessee is simply better at everything, from Tyler Bray and the passing game to the defense to coaching. The Vols get it done in the Beer Barrel Bowl and go bowling in the holidays.
Tennessee 41, Kentucky 16
(2)Alabama (10-1, 6-1 SEC) @(24)Auburn (7-4, 4-3 SEC), 3:30pm, CBS
The Iron Bowl is just one of those rivalry games where you throw all the records, stats, and hot streaks out the window. It’s impossible to predict, kind of like Jurgensen the Troll when he forgets his medications. Alabama appears to be worlds better, but remember the last time they traveled to the Plains- they had to fight for their lives to simply escape with a win. The talent gap is about the same now as it was then. If Auburn doesn’t beat themselves like they did against LSU and Georgia, this could be fun. I’m going out on a limb and say they won’t. Ultimately, Trent Richardson will be the difference- but not before Alabama gets a taste of what’s coming in the approaching years under Gene Chizik.
Alabama 31, Auburn 20
Vanderbilt (5-6, 2-6 SEC) @Wake Forest (6-5, 5-3 ACC), 3:30pm, ESPNU
This is the We-Are-Not-A-Joke Bowl. Both teams traditionally are terrible, yet this year neither team has lived up to that dubious stigma. And good for them, getting themselves to the level of mediocrity. The winner of this game takes a huge step in the right direction- Vandy would be bowl eligible and Wake would beat an SEC team. But James Franklin’s boys are due for a big one. They have come so close so many times and have nothing to show for it. Expect that to change against the Demon Deacons. Jordan Rodgers throws the Commies into a bowl game.
Vanderbilt 23, Wake Forest 13
Mississippi (2-9, 0-7 SEC) @Mississippi State (5-6, 1-6 SEC), 7:00pm, ESPNU
If you have no soul, you will root for MSU to mercilessly pound the helpless Rebels, like me. Well, actually, I’m pulling for the Bulldogs because how can you root against Dan Mullen? He’s also the coach that likes to get the blood of the opponents boiling. But this would be a bad time to do that, if only Ole Miss had any sort of pulse, which they don’t. MSU has also underachieved, but their expectations were so much higher than Mississippi’s, due to vastly superior talent, namely Vick Ballard and Chad Bumphis. Expect that vastly superior talent, namely Vick Ballard and Chad Bumphis, to be the difference in Houston Nutt’s sad little finale in Egg Bowl 2011.
Mississippi State 45, Mississippi 17
Florida State (7-4, 5-3 ACC) @Florida (6-5, 3-5 SEC), 7:00pm, ESPN2
How is this game not on CBS when it’s been on CBS every time it’s been in Gainesville since 1995? Here’s why: both teams suck. It’s not the Battle For Sunshine State Supremacy, it’s the Battle For We Suck Slightly Less. The Gators’ defense has been quietly solid, and the offense has been quiet, period. FSU’s offense is much better, and should prove a good test for Florida, for, um, I guess the Liberty Bowl? FSU’s defense is good, too, though they do occasionally give up the huge play. If Demps and Rainey can get freed up, watch out Noles. But they won’t, because our offensive line is offensively inept. And while Florida has much more raw talent, they also excel in the art of teasing the fans, and then screwing themselves in crunch time. This team hasn’t improved at all since week 1; in fact, they’ve gotten worse. The slide continues against an unranked FSU team in the Swamp.
Florida State 31, Florida 14
(17)Clemson (9-2, 6-2 ACC) @(12)South Carolina (9-2, 6-2 ACC), 7:45pm, ESPN
North Carolina State’s romp over Clemson took a little of the buzz off this matchup, but it’s still a fascinating game for Gator fans who are too disgusted with their team’s horrific play to watch another snap. Clemson is an exciting team to watch, between dual threat QB Taj Boyd and freshman receiver/running back sensation Sammy Watkins. They will go up against a great Steve Spurrier defense (oh, how the world has changed) that has been lights out for the most part this season. Well, actually, credit Ellis Johnson for the great defense, but Spurrier is the head ball coach of SC and his team has done a great job fighting off distractions, between the Stephen Garcia mess and Marcus Lattimore’s injury. They’ll get it done at home, though barely.
South Carolina 34, Clemson 28